Michael Spencer boldly predicts the collapse of "evangelical Christianity" in the next 10 years in his recently sited blog post. He suggests that over 1/4 of Americans call themselves evangelical, so we're talking about a major collapse with wide ranging implications to American culture. I suggest that defining "evangelical" is difficult at best. I further surmise that many who once thought of themselves as evangelical, no longer do, but have in no way become liberal (mainline), Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Agnostic either. For me, I am finding "Reformed" or "Reformation" to be the most accurate label for what I believe, indeed for who I am.
With that preface in mind, I move to the next two statements of Spencer I wish to analyze. First, Spencer says-
"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."
An "anti-Christian" chapter in American History has already begun. Modern U.S. government has widely taken on a strange interpretation and application of Separation of Church and State, one that none of the framers of the U.S. Constitution would have adhered to, even those who were in no sense Christian. Various Federal and State judiciaries have discriminated against Christianity, most visibly with cases banning the public display of the Ten Commandments and Nativity scenes near public buildings. Every year courts at various levels hear lawsuits against the use of "In God We Trust" on our national coinage and the use of "One nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. State run (Public) schools have been factories of anti-Christian sentiment for years promoting the religion of Darwinism and the "ethics" of humanism. Many public schools have recently achieved new heights of discrimination with the re-writing of history books that outright skew heavily attested historical events, particulary ones that show Christianity in a postive light or other religions in a bad light.
Add to these "anti-Christian" agents the mass media. Who would argue about the media's love affair with anything that attacks Christianity? We are well advanced in to the so-called "anti-Christian" chapter Spencer says is yet to come. It will get worse. Spencer is right about that.
Second, Spencer says-
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.
To the degree these various individuals and ministries are not grounded in the apostolic, biblical Christian faith, they will indeed "quit", "end", or be "reduced". Some will be eliminated. Good riddance to such a form of Christianity. Apostolic, biblical Christianity is never threatened by the whims of a changing culture because it is stayed upon eternal truth. It seems that much of American Evangelicalism has become so given to pragmatism, so starved to be seen as relevant, so focused on pet causes instead of committed to sound biblical doctrine and practice that it deserves to become extinct.
I appreciate this statement by Spencer as he closes his introductory thesis statement-
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.
So far I generally agree with Spencer. Next he gives his reasons for why evangelicalism will decline. I will take the next several posts to analyze what he puts forth.