2.01.2009

Evangelical Crash

If you've ever met an evangelical...

If you call yourself an evangelical...

If you're a leader in a Christian church, ministry, school, or other organization...

Whoever you are...

You must--absolutely must--read this article.

I know, I know. So many of you are busy with jobs, with housework, with the Superbowl, but please. It only takes a few minutes to read an article that will keep you from being paralyzed like a deer in headlights by the advancing post-Christian world. It's called The Coming Evangelical Collapse. My mouth is still gaping and my heart sinking, but my reason can do nothing but nod in disbelieving agreement. It's already happening--in other countries first, and now I see it more steadily in the States.

I don't mean to be sensational or bullhorning doomsday. My only hope is that you'd read this article to make a resolve: to build your house on more than the shifting sand of church culture, church programs, political agendas and emotions. Now more than ever we can't debate, can't argue, but love: to build our daily principles on Scripture, join unshakeable communities of faith, reach out of ourselves with our actions (not just empty words) into our local neighborhoods, and of course pray that God's people would be made stronger through it--as God promises.

I would love to hear your comments after you read the article. Specifically:

1. Do you agree? Why or why not?
2. The author will have upcoming posts about what the crash will mean for our culture and the church at large specifically, but what do you think?
3. How do you see it happening already?
4. Is there hope in this?
5. How can we share hope with a post-Christian world when we look like the hateful, unloving ones? In other words, when we look like the problem?

4 comments:

Jen Mc. said...

Good article!
1. Hmm.
2. We have some pretty reliable info that there really is an end to all of this. It is a call to pray for people to meet Jesus and fall head over heels.
3. American idolatry. We've given ourselves over to every mundane pleasure, and while we live in the defensive territory of, "Really, this film is totally neutral" we are weakening internally. I mean, we're okay if everything stays exactly the same, maybe. But let's say the little prophecy of Joel is on its way, and God's judgment is going to bring something like famine...well??? What would evangelicals look like/do/be known for? Can we withstand anything, as we should, will we have a backbone collectively in Jesus as Lord and Savior? Or will we pout because Tues. night is rolling around and American Idol isn't on (let alone, we're hungry/cold/uncomfortable, whatever).
4. Jesus is our hope. He is thinking about these things proactively, not the watch-winder in the back somewhere napping or guzzling a Coke. Hope is a Person, not an idea.
5. Take all of it seriously- the call to repentance + the call to keep from judging others. As Tony Campolo has said, love the sinner & hate the sin in myself. (In a more specific context...you know once you enter a romantic relationship that you can only change yourself. And yet, there is some magic in this).
j.

joanna said...

(don't have time to answer all your questions at the moment, but...)

i've considered myself what you could call post-evangelical for a little while now (though not with that label)...

morbid as it sounds, i think things are heading in that direction and to be honest, i'm kinda glad.

"Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!"

eph 5:13-15

Amy said...

to me the article is hopeful, not devastating or shocking. in my experience, the rest of the world isn't as complacent as american christianity. i know that's a huge generalization, but i'm speaking mainly of myself here, too. it's not as easy to have a nominal faith when you're a minority in a secular culture. you're forced to rely on Christ in a tangible, real way. real problems demand real answers, and i'm not convinced that our country sees our problems. we've shoved them under the rug or we've disguised them or we've ignored them. my prayer is that the recent economic crises will force us to look outside of ourselves for answers.

Ann said...

Hi Amy,

Yes, as in England we know that it has happened. Evangelical ministers find it hard to get licensed, start a church, or use buildings in the Anglican church (richard Coekin had his license revoked for opposing liberal bishops who constantly went against the Bible). I taught Religious Studies for a semester there...I was shocked by the scorn and ridicle my students had for Christianity, truly none of the respect in the USA (even skeptics show a modicum of respect), yet with other religions, it was "cultural" and therefore acceptable, even preferred--even if there are more riduculous claims than Christianity!

Secondly, the schools that are Church of England/Catholic have been largely taken over by the government (aka "voluntary aided) and while are free to express their religious views, few do. They are just like the state schools, but may have a religious message once a week, and, of course, many of the bishops just teach a moral lesson. Phoebe, another teacher at TBT, taught at a "Church of England" school, but she just said the students mumbled the Lord's prayer everyday and that was it. Sometimes she said, she was interviewed as the "token Christian" in school assemblies, where they'd interview people of all faiths as well.

England/Europe has become so PC as to include all religions as better than Christianity, and true Christians are different just by the simple belief that Jesus is the only way, among other things. I think we'll see America shift this way soon.