Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

One more news story that caught my eye from the news links at sermonaudio.com. Check out this article by Michael Spencer on "The Coming Evangelical Collapse." He begins with this prognostication:

Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
Is this just gloom and doom? Read the rest of the article. Many of his observations seem to me on target as to why he thinks this will happen, including the failure of the church to educate its young people in an orthodox form of faith. Among his other predictions: The "emerging church" will be a flash in the pan that will disappear from the evangelical landscape; "Aggresively evangelistic fundamentalistic churches will begin to disappear"; and many will give up on "political engagement" in favor of deeper discipleship.
In the end he does not see this as a necessarily bad thing. In his view evangelicalism doesn't need a "bailout" but a "funeral." I definitely don't see eye to eye with him on all his observations. He sees the future of "evangelicalism" surviving among charismastics, in home-churches, and in non-denominationalism (obviously revealing his own bias and preferences). Still, he provides some good food for thought on the weak state of the evangelical church.
JTR

1 comment:

Lonnie said...

It's not coming, it's already here... (and it's not limited to just Evangelicals either)