10 March, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

Michael Spencer, http://www.internetmonk.com/, writes an interesting commentary that was published in the Christian Science Monitor called "The Coming Evangelical Collapse". He makes some very valid observations. Here is an excerpt:

" 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. "

But here is the excerpt that really caught my eye because it is something I have come to believe and agree with quite deeply:

Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with
political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake.
Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public
leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children,
and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has
depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage
and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive
majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We
fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

Yes, that is it exactly! We believed more in a cause than the Gospel.


Junkster said...

I read the full article and thought it was interesting. What he says makes a lot of sense, especially about the failure of evangelicalism to pass along a strong orthodox faith to the next generation and the increasing hostility of the world toward biblical Christianity. But I have mixed feelings about his apparent negativity toward attempts of conservative evangelical Christians to engage the culture and seek to promote moral values through political influence. I don’t think there is any salvation in politics and I agree that we cannot expect for our culture to be dominated by Christian ideals. But I also don’t think there is anything wrong with Christians being politically active and trying to make a difference and steer public policy in a direction in keeping with biblical principles.

Lindon said...

Hi Junk!

Thanks for stopping by. As a Christian, I also engage in politics and culture but it used to be part of my 'religion' and did not hold a proper place. So, I have mixed feelings about it.

Christendom fought a culture war for over 30 years and it did not work. It HURT US. We became more like the world for it yet thinking we are 'better' because we are more 'moral' than 'them'. In a way, this caused many to not see their own depravity because they were outwardly 'moral'.

We made questionable alliances and then felt we had to defend those alliances at all costs for the sake of a more 'moral' culture.

Where is the 'moral majority'? How many, who describ themselves as evangelicals, voted for Obama?

There is a big move in some churches to reclaim our culture. What culture? It has always been depraved. The only answer is not to reclaim a depraved culture but to PROCLAIM the need for repentance and follow Christ. Time is short. The workers are few...they are too busy fighting for a more 'moral' Rome.

Richard D said...

Lin - I agree that Christians should not have aligned themselves with a political party, but I wonder how much of the perception that they have done so is actually a smear attempt by those who hold an opposing ideology.

I have never considered myself a Republican. I have twice voted for Libertarian Party candidates and once Constitution Party. But I tend to present an apologetic that makes people assume that I am Republican.

The fact is, I am a Christian and that pretty much makes me not a Democrat. So when people hear my stand on the various issues they assume, falsely, that I am a Republican.

Lin said...

'Lin - I agree that Christians should not have aligned themselves with a political party, but I wonder how much of the perception that they have done so is actually a smear attempt by those who hold an opposing ideology. "

Welcome Richard!

Oh, I think there was definitely some smearing going on but we certainly handed them the ammunition.

And I often wonder how much we hurt our witness with our culture wars. There is a difference between being a culture warrior and a serious evangelists.

I am not talking about backing off truth. I am talking about our focus. It just seems that for too many years we were focused on the morals of society in general to
the detriment of the gospel. And where does that lead us? To people thinking that living a moral life equals salvation in way too many cases.

Politics is always the lesser of two evils.

Good to hear from you. Hope all is well your way.