The Internet Monk has written a piece for The Christian Science Monitor about the coming collapse of evangelical Christianity. Now I have my own quibbles with evangelical Christianity. But I find myself disagreeing with the prediction of this collapse in almost every instance. His reasoning is:
1. EC’s (evangelical Christianity’s) identification with conservatism will make them an increasing target as society turns more and more leftward. EC’s know how to articulate social causes, but not the gospel, therefore they will diminish.
2. EC’s have not passed a viable and long- lasting Christianity on to their children. The next generation’s ignorance of Scripture and theology will diminish them.
3. The three kinds of EC churches (consumer- driven megachurches, dying churches, and fragile new churches) will have difficulty surviving and thriving in the new century.
4. EC has not produced an educational method that can compete with secularism.
5. In order to survive, EC ministries will take on a less and less Christian face. (I am not sure I understand his reasoning of why this is so, but perhaps it has to do with pressure from governmental regulation or secularism, or else just an inability to survive because its EC base is shrinking?)
6. Even in strong EC areas like the Bible Belt, EC’s will have less and less success passing on Christianity to the next generation.
7. The money will dry up.
I find myself disagreeing with all of these assertions, and all for the same reason. It doesn’t take into account God’s plan, provision, or power to bring His church forth triumphant from the world, as He did Israel from Egypt. When the Lamb appears on Mount Zion in Revelation 14, the beginning of which coincided with the Reformation and is still ongoing, His victories increase until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.
For many years now, prophecy has come forward from the church that a new Great Awakening is about to come upon God’s people. I believe this Great Awakening, this last great end time Revival, will raise the church from her great sleep, will breath life into her bones and strengthen her with power. The signs and wonders, I believe, will follow as in the days of Acts. But God will be moving in this way, all over the world, and not just in Israel or in a few cities of the Roman Empire. God will glorify His name, and the entire world will know that I AM is God, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. Even Richard Dawkins. Holiness will characterize this end time renewal as never before.
Now why am I predicting a much different picture for the Bride of Christ before Yeshua’s return?
1. The Torah is history- prophecy, almost all of it concerning the Messiah. By history- prophecy, I mean the historical events recorded in Torah are not only the true history of Israel, but also prophecies about the Messiah and His people Israel (into whom the church has been grafted). So when God delivers His people from Egypt with great plagues and power and might, and leads them triumphantly to the Promised Land, plundering the Egyptians and miraculously providing for their every need, I believe that is a prophecy with a two- fold fulfillment: it is first fulfilled in a spiritual sense, when we are delivered from the kingdom of darkness as a type of Egypt. But it also has a physical fulfillment, I believe, that we will see with the return of Jesus Christ. God will Himself plague our plaguers and He will deliver His church with power to the glory of His name.
2. God is just. And if the whole world believed the lie that Satan had perpetuated, that God is dead and nature is the creator of all that is, then people would have an excuse to not worship or serve the Lord, when they stood before His judgment seat. But God is not unjust. Just as Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should let His peope go?”; God showed him who He was, so that Pharaoh had no doubt. And I believe in like manner, God is not going to let the lie that He is dead and that nature is the creator of all that is, stand. That lie has been enduring body blows for some time now, but those have been for the benefit of the church. I believe that the judgment on that lie will be much more extensive and punishing, and the WORLD will be left with no doubt that He exists and that He is returning soon. Some will still choose to disbelieve it. But they will at least have no excuse. And I believe He will do it by magnifying His name above all else, and that at the name of Jesus, signs and wonders will increase. The sick will be healed, the dead raised, and all will know that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It is already happening, just not here. But it will happen, even here.
3. We are in COVENANT with the covenant- keeping God, and our children are in covenant with the covenant- keeping God. Revival does funny things to dead churches. It breathes life into them, and lifts them on their feet. It brings back prodigals and strengthens that which was weak. If the church has a weakness in making theologically sound disciples, including children, that can change in a nanosecond when God raises up teachers of wisdom and understanding to establish His church on a solid foundation of His word. And I believe He will do it, to the glory of His great name by which the church is called. Not because we deserve it. Not because we can reverse the trend described in the article. But because God is good, and He will see His promises come to pass upon His people for the sake of His great name.
And there’s a start, as to why my perception of the future of the church is brighter than shown in this article.
To be continued …
Update: continued in The coming evangelical collapse, part two