The coming evangelical collapse

Provocative, to say the least.

csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

**What will be left?

•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success – resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.

•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the “conversion” of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

**

Sounds like there may in fact be a church against whom the “gates of hell shall not prevail”.

Thanks for the link Mike.

I wonder if the article wasn’t more of a rallying cry to evangelicals, rather than an actual prediction of evangelical collapse.

He’s right on-target when discussing the types of ministries that are popular amongst megachurch evangelicals, where the focus is on experience, emotion and relevance at the expense of doctrinal rigor. One of the most successful churches in our area (at least with respect to church growth statistics) is exactly as he’s described.

Thanks for the link Mike. Very interesting!

in Christ
Steph

I have been a United Methodists all my life and continue to be until Pentecost when I become (thank you Lord!) a Catholic. I have argued some of the same points with various pastors, chorale leaders, youth ministers and even my wife.

The whole schlock of contemporary christian culture from the music to the free flowing “worship” services serves nothing but to marginalize God and Christian Doctrine.

As the church founded by John and Charles Wesley our history is in bringing up people in the faith and creating knowledgeable disciples of our members.

Now days we sing cruddy songs so that people will like us and fill the pews. In the old (just 20 years ago) days we sung hymns that reinforced doctrine.

Now days we have “sermon themes” that use 6 different bible versions to get the quotes to line out right and teach us corn pone and aw shucks but no spiritual meat. In the old days we had sermons that broke open the word and challenged the congregation to read the bible (The RSV only, thank you very much) and to understand what was going on.

Now days we never say creeds and usually try to incorporate the Our Father into the community prayer. In the old days we said the Our Father, we sang the Gloria Patri, we said either the Apostles or Nicene Creed and were challenged to understand them.

Now days the closest thing to admission of any sin is the Our Father (if said) but it was never dwelt upon. In the old days we said a community prayer of repentance and were challenged to better ourselves.

The evangelical church movement is dying, too much of it has become the “Name it and Claim it” style of church (Joel Osteen, Kirbyjon Caldwell)
Others seem to split fairly regularly into yet other denominations that meet “our” current needs.

Glorious Father in Heaven,

I am so thankful that through all of this, you have held your true Catholic Church open to us that we can come home and be with You, Your Church and Your Blessed Mother.

Amen,

Bryan

I know what you mean. A while back we were at the in-laws (all Southern Baptist) and my daughter went to church with her cousin. After, she told me that she liked it there because it is so much more fun than going to Mass.

That’s when I had to explain to her that we don’t go to Mass to be entertained, we go to worship God. Seemed like she got the point.

Anyway, WELCOME TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!! :clapping:
I’m so happy for you!

I find most of the previous comments to be “right on!” All of you have articulated what I have felt for years. Thank you for your insight!

That’s only one man’s opinion. Those churches that no longer evangelize will certainly die but God is going to contiune to bless those churches that are active in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before I begin, let me iterate that I love my Evangelical/Pentecostal upbringing - it is what kept me from a life of self destruction and it taught me much about nurturing family life.

I would agree that generally speaking, much of what was emphasized in my experiences was more emotionally driven than doctrinally founded and this is sad. On the flip side, it is even sadder that the majority of Catholics/Orthodox do not appreciate their faith thus leaving them just as equally unfounded in their faith, if not worse.

We go to Mass to serve God, not to be served “feel good” homilies. We actively participate with the celebrant in the sacrifice of the Mass and in a sense, we are co-celebrants (loosely speaking). As part of the Church Militant, we should prepare ourselves accordingly. Emotions are too fleeting to be relied upon so we must rely on the unchanging Truth of our faith. Build your house on the rock, not the sand.

When persecution worsens beyond the borders of political correctness, we will be left with many uprooted trees while others will dig deeper into the faith and become more solidified. It is a well documented fact that the Church flourishes most when it is facing persecution. Believers become driven to discover their faith and once they encounter the absolute Truth of it, nothing will sway them. Nothing separates the sheep from the goats more effectively than persecution.

Persecution that does not kill us will make us stronger if we persevere. But because Christ has overcome the power of death, the persecution that does kill us makes us infinitely stronger as we become fully united with Christ and the Church Triumphant. It’s a win-win situation.

God Bless, CSJ

There could be a lot of truth behind that article…
The only thing that I don’t trust completely is the source… The source is a page deriving from a newspaper founded by Mary Baker Eddy who lived in the 19th century and had strong relations to the occult and wrote a book about them… The fact that the homepage is advocating that book does not prove them trustworthy…

Mary Baker Eddy who formed the Church of Christ Scientists in 1879. She wrote a book correcting the so-called errors of traditional beliefs. She claimed that her teachings were based solely upon the Bible but that the Bible was full of mistakes and she was the one to correct them. It is reported that Eddy believed the Bible contained 30,000 errors in the Old Testament and 300,000 in the New Testament. When she published her work “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” she claimed it was the final revelation of God to mankind and asserted that her work was inspired of God. The word key in the title of her book is in reference that she is the key to unlocking the Bible which she called a dark book and that her writings provided the key spoken of in Revelation 3:7.
Therefore as the “key” Eddy sought to explain certain misunderstandings e.g. the Bible says, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him and the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” (James 5:14,15) Eddy has criticized in her teaching that “…prayer for the sick is not what will lead to one’s healing, only enlightened understanding heals.” Eddy wrote specifically that “The common custom of praying for the recovery of the sick finds help in blind belief, whereas help should come from the enlightened understanding.” Among other problems were the issues of sin and death. Eddy taught that these things were only illusions and that a person must overcome by realizing their unreality. Meanwhile the Bible says that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23) and that “… death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12). Furthermore the scripture says that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (John 1:8) But Mary Baker Eddy taught that “…there is no sin” and “The belief in sin which has grown terrible in strength and influence in an unconscious error…” Concerning the sacrifice of Christ on the cross she taught that “The material bloods of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon the ‘accursed tree’ than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his father’s business.” Eddy next sought to deny death itself by redefining the resurrection of Christ with shadowy language that seems to foretell the New Age. She said “The final demonstration of the truth which Jesus taught, and for which he was crucified, opened a new era for the world. The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problem of being. His three days in the sepulchre set the seal of eternity on time. He proved life to be deathless.” Eddy’s views concerning Jesus seemed to echo the same conclusion brought as a result of the Fox sisters spiritual encounter. The idea that, “There is no death and there are no dead.” Researcher Gary Hand sums up Eddy’s views concerning Jesus saying she taught that “Jesus Christ was just a man who overcame death by realizing that it did not exist, therefore He did not rise from the dead because He never died.” “Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, did not come from God but is only an idea from the Infinite Mind, i.e. the principle of God.” Eddy said that “Jesus demonstrated the power of Christian Science to heal mortal minds and bodies. But this power was lost sight of and must again be spiritually discerned…”

Thanks for posting, VociMike. As you know, I’m a former evangelical Protestant, and my husband and I had a lot of the same thoughts about evangelical churches while we were still very much involved with them.

We were especially concerned with the lack of knowledge of a systematic theology and basic Christian doctrines. When we were growing up, our Sunday School classes taught doctrine, and we attended classes where we learned all about the Biblical basis of Christianity.

Now, most kids get classes in “Music, Movies, Dating, and Sex.” And young children get very fluffy classes about the Life Of Jesus, in which Jesus is presented as a long-haired super-hero like Spiderman, only Jesus doesn’t have a girlfriend.

Several years ago, before we knew anything about the Catholic Church, I wrote a huge “essay” called “17 problems that I see in Protestant churches” for a Protestant online forum. (It’s probably somewhere in this computer!) Although the evangelical churches appear to be vibrant, I fear for their survival. I really do.

This article says many of the same things I’ve been saying for years about what I call “pop evangelicalism.”

Have you noticed that the big mega-churches that preach the heresy of Holy Prosperity are all in rich white suburbs?

You never see them in the poorer parts of town.

Why is that?

Well, the “source” is really just a conduit. The author has a very interesting blog of his own, internetmonk.com/ (“Dispatches from the post evangelical wilderness”)

BTW, you can find a more expanded version of his article on that site, in three parts.

Wow! That is an awesome statement!
Welcome Home, btw.

I would be interested in reading your essay, if you can find it again…

Man! This brings tears to my eyes!
Welcome Home!!!

How many times is someone going to post this link as if it really means something :shrug: The guy who wrote it admits he may be in error and it’s pure speculation.

Bryan no disrespect brother but the evangelical movement is still the fastest growing “brand” of Christianity there is today. It’s not dying by any means. If the Catholic church fulfills you spiritually then GOD Bless.

As a Catholic I cannot rejoice when I read an article like this.It is a blow to the entire Body of Christ.I hold no brief for evangelical eclaisial bodies but they DO contain some of the Truth,and they are our brothers and sisters in Christ,even the anti-Catholic ones…Those who are easily discouraged will secumb to grinding secularism and it’s anti-Christian biases and coming persecutions.In the near future hostility to Christ,and His followers will result in public ridicule,humiliation and persecution that will test the mettle of ANY Christian.The result will be a Remnant that will be forged in the Fires of these secular(Satanic)persecutions.The wheat will indeed be seperated from the chaff.

We must be willing to be martyred in EVERY sense of the word.

As St Paul said we must persevere until the end.

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