At first glance this post might not seem like one on outreach but, in my mind, it really is. Like it or not our actions put a face on Christianity to the current crop of unbelievers.
There was a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html%3E .
In it the author is described as: Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as “a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality.”
He lays out multiple reasons why Christians known as evangelicals will soon be part of lost history. One of the primary reasons he says it that evangelicals are just too strongly associated with the political conservative movement in the United States and that they seem to be against much more than they seem to be for. Another is that they simply have not been able to convince their children that the evangelical movement should be a life long pursuit. Although I discount much of what is in the article I do believe there is some truth to the political realities. Given the significant Obama victory the conservative movement has taken quite a hit. And in the press the evangelicals are most often reported on what they are against rather than what they are for. Will these facts affect how successful they are in Christian outreach? Of course it will! Will this result in a shrinking evangelical population? That is very likely unless they can reverse the current trends.
I to believe that Evangelicals are just too closely linked to radical right political agenda. To many current unbelievers Christians, particularly Evangelicals, are known for Gods, Guns, and Gays. (for, for, and against).
There are just too many red letters in the Bible to even try to associate a follower of Jesus Christ to the social conservative political agenda. Jesus did not tell us to shun, blame, and scorn the least of these as the radical right seem to do. He, instead, told us to embrace them and to treat them as our brothers with love and compassion.
No, I don’t think that the Evangelical community is on the verge of imminent collapse but I do think that it is possible that they will become much less significant in the Christian community if they insist on continuing to attach themselves so closely to a radical political movement. Jesus taught us to be in the world but not of the world. This message seems to have been lost on those Christians who espouse the radical right political agenda.
3 thoughts on “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”
Actually, I’d be happy to discover that Evangelicalism as I have observed it WERE on the verge of collapse! Maybe we’d finally focus on re-orienting our priorities toward the content of those red letters you keep writing about! That would be a good thing. . .
Greg Boyd’s on your same wavelength with a post on this same subject today. . .he entitled his “Don’t Weep for the Demise of American Christianity.”
Dan, I just read Greg Boyd’s post you referenced. Thanks for pointing me in his direction. I do agree with much of what he said but there are issues that I don’t. Of course I agree that getting Christians out of the extreme alignment with the radical political right would be a good thing. I’m just not sure that “hoping” for the collapse of Evangelicalism is productive. I would rather see a radical realignment to truly Christian values as shown by the early church and those of us who concentrate on the words of Jesus. I am just afraid if Evangelicalism collapses that what replaces it will be worse than the original. We, particularly in the United States have just become so fixated on “stuff” that it is our god now. The Bible warns us that we cannot serve two masters. To summarize, we need a drastic realignment of Christianity in the US, not it’s collapse.
we need a drastic realignment of Christianity in the US, not it’s collapse.
Oh, I agree with you, RJ, and I suspect Boyd would too, though I won’t presume to speak for him. I guess after roughly 20 years of bouncing around the Evangelical world, I’m not sure it can be realigned without a creative destruction first. Kinda like the new trees can’t even grow in the forest until the canopy that’s blocking the light is burned away. There is just so much garbage that has accreted to the name of Christ that I’m not sure the institution as it stands can be reformed.
It’s one of those places I will be elated when/if proven wrong. . .but my faith is not at that high of a flow right now.