Posted by MacRanger as Uncategorized
Over at the CS Monitor a story about the “Coming evangelical collaspe”. After the doom and gloom, he author asks “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. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.
We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.
I’m not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?”
As believers we need to remember the tenants of our faith. 1) God is in control. It may not appear that way at times, but them we are limited in both time and in our ability to see the big picture. Nevertheless He is in control. As we believe Christ was and is God, we believe that he will return one day and right this planet, whether people believe it or not, or even like it or not and rule. We who have trusted in his name will rule with Him, indeed the Bible tells us that we will judge the nations and even angels. The point is that in the end – through Christ – we win, because He wins. It’s as sure as the dawn.
2) The Bible clearly warns that in the latter days there will be a mass apostasy, as the “wheat is separated from the chaft”. It also warned of persecutions of believers. Remember believers this is alien territory, we are not of this world. So we shouldn’t be surprised when this happens, it’s been happening for centuries.
3) The coming persecution will be for the good of the Church on earth for it will purge from her midst the false believers, those who say they are, but are not. Throughout the Church’s history God has allowed this very thing to “clean his house”. This will mark a return to the basics of our faith, which is faith in God through Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
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