The coming evangelical collapse

Discussions on Christian eschatology including different views pertaining to Jesus' second coming, rapture and tribulation, the millennium, and so forth.
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B. W.
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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#16

Post by B. W. » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:38 pm

ageofknowledge wrote:So everyone can just ignore reality and carry on ineffectively waiting for God to act B.W.? I never understood this kind of thinking because it's unscriptural.
Depends on how one defines what apostasy is...

Jonathan Edward's day - apostasy - set in the church. It woke it up. That so far is the pattern...
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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#17

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:13 pm

B. W. wrote:
ageofknowledge wrote:So everyone can just ignore reality and carry on ineffectively waiting for God to act B.W.? I never understood this kind of thinking because it's unscriptural.
Depends on how one defines what apostasy is...

Jonathan Edward's day - apostasy - set in the church. It woke it up. That so far is the pattern...
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Acknowledged; however, the church cannot be satisfied with only reforming itself. It still has to evangelize the world and do so effectively.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#18

Post by jlay » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:42 pm

Age,

I agree, but I don't think this is what BW is saying. We should be at the Lord's work. Many if not most of the "methods and strategies" for evangelism today are man centered and man powered, and thus are failing.

The bible tells that the early disciples preached and argued from the scriptures. (example: Philip with the Ethiopian and Paul in Acts 17)) Luke writes that the risen Lord "opened the understanding" of the scriptures to the disciples. (Luke 24:45) Too many of today's Christians have a Kindergarten understanding of the scriptures, and not much better of a grip on the New Testament. To be effective in evangelism means being prepared to give a reason for the hope we have. We need the Word and the Spirit. God has and will birth the strategies to advance His kingdom. But we need to be tuned in to respond. Jesus prayed "thine will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven." As the body of Christ, are we to impact our world? I think so. Did not the 1st century church? Absolutely.

I see valid points from this article and from Jac and the others. We'd like to think the country was more Christian in the 50s. I think it was, but not in the sense that many would like to believe. But I also see this country as a product of God's grace. Our founding fathers established a country that fostered the growth of Christianity, and we have watched that deteriorate, particularly within the last 100 years.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#19

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:18 pm

Ok. I agree with that.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#20

Post by Ngakunui » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:21 am

I know this will sound wrong, but this is how I see it.

If Christianity is no longer mainstream, it will become more... for a lack of words, Godly.

Reason being, churches now are more focused on "gittin ppl evanglizd" and "unity of the church" than any other thing. This is largely why it's becoming so corrupt. People forget why it's even proper to mention God and would prefer to have billions of people in their constituency. Please don't try using the scapegoats of "JESUS TELLS US TO GET PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH AND KEEP THE PEOPLE IN IT": firstly, it's pointless to get people who will do nothing but act like total heatherns in the church, then go around saying they're Christians while they act nothing like it, secondly you don't need to keep people in the church if they're taking up space and using it as a place to gossip. I'm not going to bother about whether or not this hurts anyone's feelings, but the reason most people join a church is so they can join it and brag about how they belong to a constituency, then do whatever they want to in its name. I'm not saying all of you are like that, but try to think about it. What good is a church anyway if all it does is cause perversions of the Bible and every other thing relating to God?

If churches need anything regarding their integrity, it's division before unity. If you want the churches to be better off, scare the wolves out: don't let them have any clear conscious of going to a church if they want to be devils. In that case, churches will improve because of the people living ungodly lives gone, and the people who are actually interested coming in. Churches shouldn't pretend to be secular in any way, and follow God's word very strictly.

If the church gets too secular, and discards the Bible even more, it will cause something much like the Spanish Inquisition, though likely less violent. They'll start incorporating superstitions and other garbage into their doctrine until there's hardly a trace of good in it- if any. I don't know if I can even consider any church christian when it gets that bad.

The "Evangelist movement" as you speak of it would be better off if it collapsed. I see too many fundamentalist groups that do nothing more than take advantage of would-be Christians and either indoctrinate them with a political ideology with next to nothing to do with God, or with a New-Age dogma. I think it would be best that these churches collapse and no longer call themselves Christian so they will no longer affect us.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#21

Post by ageofknowledge » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:25 pm

That sounds good to many I'm sure; however, there is a danger of losing the, materially speaking, cohesive sound doctrine we enjoy today. We saw this in the Soviet Union when Christians there were scattered and forced underground due to severe persecution from state atheism.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#22

Post by jeffreytonkovich » Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:20 pm

I believe there is going to be a falling away. First, because scripture tells us that there will be. Secondly, it is not because we are in a cultural war against society that evangelicalism will decline but more so that we have allowed the world to take root in the church and in many take over. However, God will rectify this situation. I believe that the church will go through the tribulation and that no rapture will take place (see the blog I posted on this date on Does the board believe in the rapture?). Our problem is that we are materialistic easy greasy Christians in the Western world, especially America. Take a look at the old testament when each time Isreal turned its back on God and look what God allowed them to go through, and these were the chosen people the apple of His eye. Do we really think in American churches that we are going to so easily slide into Heaven. Let's get real. Of this time when you line up the Seven churches in revelation that dipict the different phases the church will go through the last church Rev 3:14-22 the church of Laodicea is the time/phase we are now in. It clearly states that because we will not take sides and that we are lukewarm God is going to spit us out! But at the same time it clearly tells us the remedy. Repent and return back unto him. Another thing that we should carefully consider, do we really think that serving the Lord is and was going to be so easy? All the prosperity messages that are little more than materialsm in the church. Well let's look around the world. Where is God moving? I have heard of many testamonies coming out of Africa, the Middle East and China, why? Well maybe it could be because they have and are undergoing great persecution. Many have been jailed, tortured, killed, and enslaved for their beliefs. I wonder how many Western Christians would stay with the church if they had to endure these same things? I am almost certain we are about to find out. The reason why we are in the shape we are in today in America is that we have stood on the side lines and watched it happen. Too much, oh it will all work itself out in the end. No, we were suppose to be the ones who were doing the work and standing up for our belief in God. If you wait for God to work it out like the Isrealites did we might find ourselves on the wrong side of the rod of God. If you say anything bad about the Muslim religion look at the up roar that s caused. In many cases they will put out a fatah (I believe thats how you spell it) on you which says its every good Muslims duty to kill that person if possible. Not us we just stand by and say oh well that freedom of religion thing you know. Now, I am not advocating that we should go out and kill people in any way shape or form, but if we would raise up as Christians with one voice based and grounded on the word of God we would not be were we are today in America. I mean good God we have people who profess to be Christians that believe and support pro-choice, homosexual ministers and reunions, the divorce rate in the church is higher than the divorce rate in the world, and the list goes on and on and on. Now I'm not judging others in any way because since I have been saved I had to work through many issues and still am. I watch the TV programs that any more show almost pronographic material instead of watching just wholesome shows. I still go to the movies because I like action movies that invariable the hero and the heroin will have a pronographic sex scene. But if we as Christians wake up and start getting serious and real with God as I am working on doing and start boycotting the things that goes aganist the word of God I believe we would see a great change in Hollywood. We talk about how Hollywood has changed our country when we should of been the ones to stand up and forced Hollywood to change. We should of rallied behind the candidates that were the ones who closely adhered to our Christians roots and not the ones who promised us more wealth, good times and ample prosperity. I believe supposedly we are still a majorty in this country and yet we let our President stand up and say we are no longer a Christian nation and yet we still say nothing. Shame on me and all of us.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#23

Post by McMurdo » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:49 pm

The article is probably about right. The USA may end up looking something like much of Northern England today. Christians who take their faith seriously and have a truly Biblical worldview are as common as hens' teeth. The empty shells of big empty churches still fill bits of the skyline, but most have been pulled down.

We should not limit God however. Several revivals in the UK over the centuries came out of the most dire periods of our history. It takes just a few who are sold out for Christ, trust God implicitly and fear God alone to turn things round.

Some trends that need to be reversed:

1. Hardly anyone shares their faith.
2. Most evangelism is man-centred and does not focus on our sinfulness, judgement to come and the need for full repentance.
3. Much Christianity is cerebral and lacks Holy Spirit power.
4. Most Spirit-filled Christians are too inward looking and expect God to do what we have been commanded to do (repent, preach the gospel etc)
5. We don't take seriously Christ's teaching on divorce and remarriage.
6. We appoint church leaders who do not meet the criteria in Timothy and Titus
7. We send our children to secular schools, hostile to Christianity, rely on church Sunday schools and youth clubs to teach them the faith and we don't obey the scriptural command to teach them ourselves.
8. We neglect our children and spouses in order to do ineffective church work
9. We don't read our Bibles adequately. Most Christians have never read all of it or even a small %age of it.
10. Church discipline is often non-existent. Leaders fear their congregations.
11. Couples and families don't pray together

Just a few things that need to change.....

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#24

Post by ageofknowledge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:33 am

You've got me thinking of the Welsh revival McMurdo.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#25

Post by Telstra Robs » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:25 pm

McMurdo, you'd actually be surprised at how common Christians who take their faith seriously are. You just need to know where to look. You'll find that in European Protestant countries, less than half confess they believe in God whereas it is very high in Catholic European countries.

http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/arch ... ort_en.pdf (Page 11)

Furthermore, Christianity has a great following in both Africa and Latin America. In Africa, there are almost 400 million Christians (now the majority religion, near half the population), when there were less than 10 million a century ago. Six million African Muslims convert to Christianity every year.

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#26

Post by David505 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:31 am

ageofknowledge wrote:BIG changes are coming in our demographics and culture. You can go out fighting a losing battle or begin searching for a strategy that will yield positive gains over the coming years.

Letting go of losing strategies and finding winning replacements, mind open looking to God for wisdom, are going to be key if want to see real results on a large scale.

Because the times they are a changing...

Read this article:

The coming evangelical collapse
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.
By Michael Spencer
from the March 10, 2009 edition

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.

Why is this going to happen?

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

7. The money will dry up.

What will be left?

•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success — resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.

•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

•A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.

•The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.

•Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.

•Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.

•Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?

•Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before — a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.

Is all of this a bad thing?

Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?

Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.

Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.

The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.

Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.
Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.

Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.

The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.
Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."

We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born [assuming Christians CHANGE]...
I think the following quotes from your article summarize our challenge and our hope:

"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."

"Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."

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Re: The coming evangelical collapse

#27

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:17 am

Evangelicalism is not the whole of Christianity. Evangelicalism as a distinct christian tradition will either adapt to the cultural changes taking place in a manner that preserves truth while organizationally remaining contemporary and relevant or it will fall to the wayside and other traditions will arise or adapt to fill the void its collapse creates.

That's happened throughout Church history with other traditions. Evangelicalism is actually a relatively small segment of the whole scope of Christian organization today. We see it in the context of our immediate culture and history here in the US. Most of the strong growth and cutting edge change in world christian culture is taking place outside of evangelicalism and outside of the US in the third world.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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