Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Evangelical Collapse in 10 years?--maybe most...

Amanda Drury pointed out this article predicting that evangelicalism is about to die. Where do I disagree with the man?

1. A clearly defined stream, the missional ones, have not hooked their train to political conservatism. Think Sojourners.

2. Those groups that have instilled the core values of Christianity in our children (like the more pietistic forms of Christianity) have raised children who will live Christian because they have it deep down regardless of what's going on in their heads.

3. The ancient future revitalization is also recovering an appreciation for symbol and sacrament. These powerful modes of interaction with God are more powerful than ideological wars.

Basically, what we might see die are the fundamentalist and Calvinist forms of evangelicalism, as well as those in Wesleyan and other circles who have mindlessly absorbed some of these trends.


circuitrider said...

Whatever religion can be concealed, is not Christianity." John Wesley
Sermon #24

keith 1 Cor 13

Pastor Al said...

Sensational journalism provides great pulp fiction. The Church has always found a way to be faithful to its call and reach their particular generation. It may look different...but it remains the same Church.

Keith Drury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith Drury said...

It is true that Evangelicals may have reached their zenith during the Bush administration and with Obama's election they are losing power... not just politically--they are losing out to
#1. secularism-Godlessness which is the fastest growing religion and #2. to high church Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

BUT evangelicals are experts at "free market religion" they know how to adapt and offer what the religious customer wants. While they cannot offer a secular faith (and continue to be evangelicals) I bet they will move over to offer high church experiences like Catholics and Orthodox "if that's what the people want." Evangelicals are fast on their feet and adapt to the changing market faster than most others... So while the rise of anti-religion is serious the "religious competition" from high church religions is less so.

I see evidence of this is right nearby at my own Wesleyan church where a full blown liturgy with ashes-on-the-forehead Latin-singing Ash Wednesday service happened on Ash Wednesday with apparent approval of a host of aging people...and the same day at IWU students were walking allover campus with forehead ash-crosses --and they didn’t have to go anywhere off campus to experience this--they went to chapel!

It is going to be interesting to watch as this market shift happens. If I were betting I'd bet on the evangelicals--but they won’t be the same kind of evangelicals but a new brand--but that's not new--evangelicals are always reinventing themselves to adapt to the religious market-- see the baby boomer church.

The rise of confessional secularism. civil religion and "anti-religious faith" is however another matter and must be treated seriously. This movement is "evangelistic" and actively recruits disciples. Boomers have created a churchful of such shallow "believers" that I suspect many will join these new "faiths"--but they were never really a part of us anyway as John would say.