Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Colapse of Evangelical Christianity

A few days after Russ from Satire and Theology posted his most recent, I ironically posted on the basis of the same article.

"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth".
I Timothy 2:3-4


"...till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;"
Ephesians 4:13


The Coming Evangelical Collapse , the title given to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, by Michael Spencer lays its foundation on the lack of Biblical education among Christians and identifying with the culture war.

I agree with Spencer on one of his two main points. I identify with his criticism of the church on the culture war. However, I do not agree with Spencer when he implies the decline of Evangelical Christianity began when we began to oppose such things as abortion and homosexuality.

Christianity has become more of a culture, in which Christian media takes precedence over actual Christian education. And, yes, there are some congregations that have set out on a type of crusade to bring down ‘secular humanist’. However, in my opinion, the problem began when the church lost its courage, fearing that their tax exempt status would be lost, so it allowed the ushering of secular humanism by the likes of Madeline O’hare.

Here is the Question, then...

What is the “Knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:3-4), or “the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13)?


In my opinion, as an individual, my relationship with Christ strengthens when I admit my weaknesses. Are we to encourage “Christian humanism” by not offending someone when, as a Christian, we ask the new convert to give up his ideas of homosexuality or his fight in favor of “Christian humanism”?

29 comments:

Jody said...

The decline of evangelicalism has happened because God's Word is not taken for what it is. Not just true, but the TRUTH. Love the sinner and point him to Christ, hate the sin.

satire and theology said...

Hi Jim and Vicki.

My post is concerned with the same article.

Spencer has some reasonable insights and some of his predictions will likely be accurate.

I hope all is well.:)

Russ

jeleasure said...

Thanks Jody,
Yes, we must love the sinner. It would be hypocrytical to do other wise, as we are commanded to love. And, yes, hate the sin. Pointing to Christ, in my opinion includes leading the sinner on the path called "The way".

jeleasure said...

Thanks Russ,
I agree with you. He does have some reasonable predictions that will likely come true.
A few weeks ago, I did the same thing with Greg. Only, I actually preceeded his article.
I'll be over to check out your blog.

the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Jim,

As Christians we build human concepts that compromise the truth of the message of Jesus Christ. This is just as true within evangelical Christianity as other branches of Christianity.

The purifying work of God's spirit will work to bring believers to focus on God's work rather than our agendas.

Good work brother!

Joyfully Serving,

Kermit

jeleasure said...

Thanks Kermit,
I was not certain I would represent my thoughts in opposition to Spencer's idea's. However, as you say, our human concepts are not what God needs. So, where there is weakness, the purifying Spirit can work to strengthen.

A second thought I have on purifying the church, is I fear what God may be allowing. And, for that, I should know better that to fear.

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Jim,

I think you hit the nail on the head when you made this statement:

In my opinion, as an individual, my relationship with Christ strengthens when I admit my weaknesses.

A person must first acknowledge their weaknesses and sins so as Christ can begin to work in their life His strength and Grace as to overcome the bondage of sin. I think what we are seeing today is many won't acknowledge their sins because they feel as though they aren't sinning. This tells me that the Word of God is not being taught in the Truth and Power of the HOly Spirit. So many hardened hearts out there that need softened and it's only going to come when the Word of God is brought forth in Truth and Love and in the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit. That must be our prayer for the salvation of the lost!

jeleasure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeleasure said...

Tamela,
Well, yes, that is true. People do not feel they are sinning. In fact, many people feel God is an imposing figure attempting to ruin life. I've heard arguments for sexual promiscuity, that say "Why would God be so cruel as to give me a means of having fun and then punish me for doing so".
This person and others like him just don't get it. They don't want to.

Farrah said...

What is happening has been happening for thousands of years. Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.

There seems to be great evil and darkness present on the earth at all times in history. We see it in the paganistic early civilizations, all through the Old Testament, and in more recent history . . . the dark ages, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, wars . . . and then we have today.

And God has always been there, reaching out trying to save as many as are willing. I am glad to have accepted the invitation. :-)

jeleasure said...

Good point, Farrah.

Vicki said...

Dearest,
Happy Anniversary to us!!
Since we are about to go to breakfast, I will make this short.
It is when we are weak and ready to admit that we really need the Holy Spirit that we are strong in our walk. Your words are more succinct.
I love you.
Vicki

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Jim and Vicki,

Happy belated anniversary! My husband an i just celebrated our 25th. anniversary on March 10th! Hope you all had a wonderful day!

May the Lord bless you two with many more to come :)

jeleasure said...

Thanks T.
Happy anniversary to you and your husband, as well. Twenty five years is wonderful.

We did have a very nice day. We will be going to be with friends tomorrow evening.

Greg said...

Happy Anniversaries, Jim and Tamela!... Err... to your respective spouses, that is! :)

Sorry I've been so absent. Just been too busy to give any mindshare to blogging.

Yeah, secular humanism is one of my pet peeves. I did not read the article you refer to, but I strongly agree with you that congregations out there have lost their backbone, opting to keep quiet, so as to not lose their tax-exempt status. It so frustrates me when I hear a church complain that the government is censuring them, when in fact, they have every right to stand up for the truth. They just don't want to lose that exempt status, or maybe lose congregants, who bring in money.

Kermit's most recent post is along these lines, as well.

I am all for the outspoken evangelicals standing against sin, wherever it is found. Keeping quiet probably contributed to us losing prayer and Bible reading in schools.

Ooh! You just gave me an idea on a new series of blog entries! Now if I can just find the time!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Greg,
Nice to have you back. I also am looking forward to your sharing some insights on this topic.
Jim

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

Well, what do you know? I have argued for years that the church should give up its tax-free status. I realize a lot of people get upset at such a suggestion, but it came with strings restricting what can be said. (Although we see certain politicians in certain churches breaking the rule every election without repercussions.) I do not want churches practicing politics, but we Christians should never put on gags restricting our pointing out what favor's God's will and what doesn't.

However, it would not surprise me to see today's government remove tax-free status from churches claiming separation of church and state, and siting the economic situation as the need to do so.

As far as a collapse of Evangelical Christianity, has not that already occurred in the U.S.? But there are parts of the world where it is growing, and they tend to be where persecution makes it difficult.

Is it not true that what we are experiencing was predicted in Scripture? Why are we surprised? It says a time will come when men will have "itchy ears" and not want to hear the Word. But there will always be a true Body of Christ, which I pray we are a part, which will speak God's words up until the day He chooses to remove us.

If I am in a lifeboat in a storm watching a sinking ship, my concern becomes how many can I rescue from the sea into the lifeboat, not how can I raise the sinking ship.

We should be encouraged to speak out more to reach the lost in this sea of human secularism that is sinking our country and flooding through many churches. We should be pointing out the lighthouse on the Rock. Salvation is in the Gospel, not in a human cause.

Larry E.

Kait said...

Yeah, I started having trouble signing into my old blog so I just decided to delete and take a break. Then the blogging bug caught me again so I created a new one. Thanks for the tip but I'm not a big church goer. Okay I'll be honest I am not one at all, lol. Hope all is well : )

jeleasure said...

Hi Larry,
Yeah, the tax exempt thing has always seemed to me to be a muzzle.
There are some congregations in the world that can sustain without the c-3. However, I would probably be considered to be cruel for preferring we did pay taxes.

You are right. We did reach the point of colapse a while back. Just not a complete cave-in. And, what is very interesting is we have to think about when that occured. It was so subtle, no one noticed.

Larry, I have to visit your page. The unfortunate thing is, I never know when I will have time. I'm on call, currently. So, I tend to not get comfortable at home. As soon as I allow my self to enjoy something, I get called out.
So, I am going to catch up on email. Then, maybe I can get some time to at least read your page.
Thanks for the visit. I hope all is well. And, I will say I've been enjoying your memoirs.

jeleasure said...

Hey Kate,
nice of you to stop bye, after so long.

So, you are not. But, you have to be comfortable where you are.
I'll stay in touch.
Jim

Andrew Clarke said...

Hi Jim, I read the article you suggested, 'Satan's relationship with God.' I can see what you mean, Satan feared becoming redundant and trying to take over to avoid that. If it's true, the evil one succumbed to the sin of pride. It is a deep question, how the banished spirit can still appear before God's throne. An interesting read, and thought provoking.

Andrew Clarke said...

As you say, Christians are sometimes quiet and circumspect about sharing their faith and asserting the Word when their society is violating it. One of satan's most deceitful tricks is having Christians reviled for 'forcing their views on others' when any one else on Earth is free to spruik whatever they like. One comfort is, to know that God will always keep a remnant for Himself and always bring His people back to Himself.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Andrew.

I appreciate the open mind you have. My impression of those with narrow minds and intollerance for anything that opposes traditional concepts is that they will easily be disuaded from the truth of God's plan for mankind.

This infact is what has been happening for quite some time if you consider the dark age of the church. It occures in politics as well. Really, what I'm talking about in this reply is what we in the U.S. call 'brain washing'.

Gigi said...

<<"Are we to encourage “Christian humanism” by not offending someone when, as a Christian, we ask the new convert to give up his ideas of homosexuality or his fight in favor of “Christian humanism”?>>

Ugh, your post convicts my spirit Jim. Just this past Wednesday I had an electrician come to my new studio to give me an estimate on some work. His business card had the "fish" logo and I commented that I really appreciated supporting a fellow Christian. He then started saying things like even though he's a Christian, he doesn't believe the Church has the "right" to get into areas of social concern such as gay marriage, etc. Comments such as, "Why should I care if two homosexuals marry? It's none of my business and the Church should stay out of it."

My heart and mind cried out - you SHOULD care very deeply! Your God has declared such things an abomination! Have you not read His Word on such matters?

But my mouth remained silent.

More than anything, I pray for the Holy Spirit to give ME a strong spirit so that I can boldly speak out against these humanistic views.

I do not want to be part of the apathy that waters down our Christianity...

Great post, Jim!!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Gigi,
I'll pray with you.
It is difficult to be confrontational. I think that is a problem with our culture as well as Christianity.

I find myself in customer's homes being opinionated. But, when a person is working in your home, you have every right to feel secure in what you feel is right.
Jim

Farrah said...

Jim, I saw your comment at Andrew's blog, and I wanted to say that whatever happens, you will not be homeless. Not while you have brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to take care of each other. :-)

Gigi said...

Thanks Jim...this electrician is coming back on April 1st to do the work I need done. Let's see if I can't find an opportunity to stand strong in my convictions...maybe he'll leave here with HIS spirit convicted!! Wouldn't THAT be something?!

jeleasure said...

Gigi,
First, let me just apologize for not being able to find time for blogging. I'm on call this evening. Just got in and have to eat something. Maybe the coffee table.
I'll visit eventually.

About the electrician... Maybe you can start the conversation off with "April Fool'!"

jeleasure said...

Thanks Farrah. You are more than likely correct. Vicki and I took in a family of three when they had sold their home and could not close on the home they were attempting to buy because of a lean, or something. In the same way, not saying that we are in the process of foreclosure, but, if it comes to that, I can see that we would have friends who would not just allow us to be without a place to live.
I just see how fragile our financial situation is and worry about that.