The Collapse of Evangelicalism

I just picked up a recent copy of The Baptist Messenger and one of the articles immediately caught my attention.  It was originally written last year by Michael Spencer, known in Cyberspace as the Internet Monk.  Sadly, Michael went to be with the Lord earlier this month.

The article is entitled The Coming Evangelical Collapse. It is a thought-provoking and somewhat chilling read.

Here is an excerpt:

Many who will leave evangelicalism will leave for no religious affiliation at all. Others will leave for an atheistic or agnostic secularism, with a strong personal rejection of Christian belief and Christian influence. Many of our children and grandchildren are going to abandon ship, and many will do so saying “good riddance.”
This collapse will cause the end of thousands of ministries. The high profile of Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Hundreds of thousands of students, pastors, religious workers, missionaries and persons employed by ministries and churches will be unemployed or employed elsewhere. Visible, active evangelical ministries will be reduced to a small percentage of their current size and effort.

Nothing will reanimate evangelicalism to its previous levels of size and influence. The end of evangelicalism as we know it is close; far closer than most of us will admit.

Click on the link above for the full article.

Mixed Martial Arts Ministries

Here is a link to a New York Times Article concerning a growing trend to base church ministries on the violent sport of mixed martial arts.

Here are a couple of interesting excerpts with commentary:

The young man was a member of a fight team at Xtreme Ministries, a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy. Mr. Renken, who founded the church and academy, doubles as the team’s coach. The school’s motto is “Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.”

A church that doubles as a MMA academy?  What a perfect example of the marriage between the contemporary church and the world.  Hey, I love the sport of football but would absolutely abhor the idea of starting a church that doubled as a facility for teaching football fundamentals to youth.  You cannot mix the spiritual with the flesh and remain true to the call of the gospel.

The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing.

This is the fruit of the Seeker Sensitive/Church Growth movement.  These ministries attempt to lure in a specific demographic of ‘unchurched’ people by catering to their perceived felt needs and wants, then molds an idolatrous facsimile of Christ that appeals to them so that they make some sort of ‘commitment’ to it.

The lack of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ as a savior from sin is staggering.  The fact that this ministry confesses it is trying to make Christianity more appealing is quite revealing.  They believe the message of God’s perfect, holy, immutable, soul transforming word somehow needs an extreme makeover to win converts in today’s sophisticated and enlightened culture.  This kind of philosophy toward ministry is devastating to the visible church and soul destroying to those who buy into it.

The idea of injecting machismo into the church and altering our perception of the person of Jesus Christ into a big and buff bouncer of religious hypocrites is an extremely dangerous trend.  I dare say that the world’s ideal of machismo and God’s view of godliness are two entirely different entities. I don’t recall Jesus doing any chest-thumping or choking  Pharisees into submission the last time I read through the gospels.

As the article reveals, a decade ago MMA was denounced as too bloody and violent.  It was illegal in most states.   Now it is legal in 42 states and embraced by recognized Christian ministries such as the National Association of Evangelicals.  How quickly the culture’s perception of right and wrong changes.   I shudder to think what American evangelicals will embrace next in order to win the culture over.

The Society of Satan and His Gospel

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great ‘brotherhood.’ It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to ‘the best that is within us.’ It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed.” –A.W. Pink

As I prepared to post this I was reminded of a similar quote from a recent article by Dr. Michael Horton entitled ‘Christless Christianity: Getting in Christ’s Way’ originally published in the May/June 07 issue of Modern Reformation magazine. Continue reading