Christian Living

thewebblog 03/10/09

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

There is a fascinating essay on the Christian Science Monitor website predicting, "The coming evangelical collapse." I'm not familiar with the author, Michael Spencer. But he describes himself as an evangelical and he comes to some compelling conclusions, including:

"We evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures."

Many will dismiss his conclusion that our involvement with the culture war and political conservatism "will prove to be a very costly mistake." But keep in mind, the decline of mainline Protestantism a century ago was triggered, in part, by its involvement in all kinds of seemingly good causes, including Prohibition. The problem is those mainline churches got so involved in "good causes," they left the Gospel behind. Soon, theological accuracy on the essentials of the faith, including the Trinity, the Resurrection, sin, justification by faith, etc., was jettisoned.

As an elder in a local congregation of an evangelical church, I would add one more concern to Spencer's list. I believe disloyalty displayed through "church hopping" is a grave sin in our movement. Too many people are all too quick to leave a church for unbiblical reasons. Having talked to dozens of people over the years who've left churches, I've discovered that many will say, "Well, we just weren't being fed at that church." But after scratching below the service, I've discovered they fled because of a conflict with a pastor, leader, or another member. As a result, they have rejected the notion that God, in His Sovereignty, placed them in that situation for their good; to work through the conflict and thus, bring glory to God. Scripture has given us clear guidelines for working through conflict, but far too many Christians ignore them and choose the easy, cowardly way out. If we're called to be imitators of Christ, we've failed miserably to show a lost and hurting world what His loyalty and faithfulness look like.

At any rate, click here to read Spencer's column.