Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The coming evangelical collapse | csmonitor.com

The coming evangelical collapse | csmonitor.com

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Fred Smith said...

Actually some of what Michael Spencer predicts will happen in 10 years, has already been happening for some time. Evangelical Christianity already is too concerned with relevance, too much focused on "feelings" rather than "truth" and too pragmatic. Also, the larger culture of America has been turning against Christianity for some time. The rate has increased lately, but the trend was there decades ago. Most people are still indifferent to Christianity, but a greater number than ever before are active opponents of it. Christianity is already seen by many as a negative force in society. Is this good or bad? It is certainly what Jesus predicted--he brings not peace but a sword. Blessed are you, He said, when men speak evil against you falsely for My sake."

Hamiltonh2 said...

I would like to ask this man a question: When he is refering to "relevance," is he speaking of doctrine, worship-style, or evangelism; or all three?

Fred Smith said...

usually when one of these kinds of analysts speaks of relevance, he means worship style, and evangelism. This is true whether he advocates the way it is done or if he doesn't.

This author, and many others, fear that too much attention to "relevance" leaves us with a message packaged ina way that challenges no one.

The heart of the call to repentance in the gospel is a call to change your way of thinking and believing. If we package the gospel in such a way that no one senses a need to change anything in their thinking/behavior/lifestyle, then we are not preaching a gospel at all.

Sometimes we present a "gospel" that is so relevant, that it becomes little more than affirmation of where the hearer is "at" right now. (How much conservative evangelical preaching is nothing more than affirming the "rightness" of suburban values and lifestyles? To what extent are self centered and materialistic suburbanites ever challenged out of their comfort zones? It is wayyyy too rare!

Hamiltonh2 said...

Completely. Within the past three months, within my home church, the focus has been mostly on the economy.

It is hard to say this to brothers and sisters in Christ, but I do wish they could be a bit more introspective about this: Yes, they may be losing their jobs in the next year. But, God forbid they should lose their 245,000 dollar home and have to move into an apartment, all the while being distraught over losing all but the three digital channels on their televisions.

As a society, as Christians within our society, we have no concept of Bonhoffer's "costly grace." Of course I am not perfect in any case...

After thinking along these lines for so long, I think of the question:

What in the world are we getting right? (if anything.)