December 11, 2017

The Original Coming Evangelical Collapse Posts

UPDATE: I’ve been linked at Out of Ur, GetReligion and all over today. I want to say two things to all of them: 1) The CSM piece was on the commentary page. It is commentary, not news or research. 2) I did not say that evangelicalism is dying. I said it is going to decline quickly to a smaller, more chastened, more diverse, less influential form.

For all my new readers, here are the original, longer and more detailed “Coming Evangelical Collapse” posts.

The Coming Evangelical Collapse: Part 1
The Coming Evangelical Collapse: Part 2
The Coming Evangelical Collapse: Part 3

Couple of notes on the original posts that may clear up some commenter feedback:

1) I clearly said that evangelicalism was going to suffer a collapse, not at all meaning it would die. I said that HALF of evangelicals would be something else within 2-3 generations/10-20 years.

2) I clearly said I am not a researcher or a prophet.

3) I am all about church planting and new churches.

4) Megachurch evangelicalism will survive on size, not on fidelity to the Gospel.

5) Pentecostalism has more energy, not less problems. It is also more cross cultural and open to the work of the Spirit.

Comments

  1. Fatigue – that’s what will bring about its demise. People flocked to Evangelicism for simple answers and the promise of non-judgmental fellowship. They got the former but usually missed the later. The problem with simple answers is that also can be simple to formulate and suffer reasoned inquiry.

    Evangelicism is a tribal religious practice taking its form from the orthodoxy of our ancient ancestors. Eventually we will evolve (oops, sorry) into that more modern, rational creature we evidently have been moving toward for centuries. Our species seems to take two steps back for each big one forward…and I think we are getting ready for another step forward.

    The appeal of American Evangelicalism and all orthodox approaches are it’s bold assertions in an uncertain, modern world. An era noted by our vexation with questions, and questions are threatening to dogma – doubting Thomas notwithstanding. Evangelicalism could never really explain the world to its thinking adherents, and as America is in the early stages of a new economic reality we can expect to see many questions being asked and hard thinking endeavored. This may not bode well for American Evangelicism, but its not going away either. What I hope is that it changes to a form that’s honest about what it KNOWS vs what it BELIEVES. It will blossom if it does and may find itself a little less self righteous as a result.

  2. Dear Michael,

    I just read your post in Christian Science Monitor. I was very much a part of the Calvary Chapel phenomenomen in the 70s. Became involved in Youth With A Mission in the 80s. Graduated from an Assembly of God College… became a youth minister in a church, took over the group when the pastor had an indescretion with a woman, and was asked to step down because I was a woman. I had grown the group from 30 kids to 75 kids with a thriving adult leadership team. Needless to say, because I wasn’t “a man”, in a church that ordains women, I left the church all together and began to study Matthew Fox and his theology of creation spirituality in Original Blessing… Now jump forward 20 years and check in via Facebook on those I fellowshipped with years ago… they are protesting the Mexicans coming into the country… they are hatemongers when it comes to homosexuality, and they tout a conservative platform that assaults my logic. It is embarrassing to even state that I am a Christian these days.

    What ever happened to “loving your neighbor” Is not the homosexual our neighbor? Is not the Mexican our neighbor?

    Evangelicals have focused on the so called “great commission” when Jesus only said there was one “great commandment”… to Love God and others. I hope that the faith that emerges amongst our young is one of a deep commitment to loving as a spiritual path. It is easier “to do” which border on conjuring, that it is “to be” loving. I have sometimes referred to evangelicals as those who are saved, but often still LOST.

    It is nice to be part of a community that is thinking about these things and pondering the impact. I am not sure I see eye to eye with you on everything, but I am definitely elated that you are thinking about these things and publishing them.

    Thanks

  3. @Nate: I can see your point, but there’s no flaw to the Bible, it still conveys a message of truth. Infallible…yes, Inerrant….possible not. The translations could’ve been mixed or we’re missing some key words, but the general content isn’t lacking any truthful message. And that would have to be an objective truth as well.
    2 Timothy 3:16

  4. Saw you reprint on CSM on Yahoo.

    Hope you are correct. The trouble with evangelicals today is that they do not follow George Carlin’s advice “Keep Thy Religion to Thyself.”

    I have always been an atheist since I was dragged to Latin Mass as a child and it never took.

    One of my best friends was evangelical and his family did not even own a TV. He graduated from Biola when he went on to school. We were great friends growing up and he had his beliefs and I had mine.

    I grew up in the Mormon West and played basketball at the Mormon Stake and had Mormon teachers in school and Mormon friends. They are good people, almost every one I ever met.

    People can believe whatever they want and as long as that is something to instill virtue and honesty and honor in them all the better.

    In the last 20 years evangelicals have forgotten George’s Rule and have tried to influence others and government in accordance with their views. That is unacceptable in America with separation of church and state. Unacceptable. If it continues there is a backlash forming that will push back very hard against it. Your articles recognize this is coming.

    Just remember that there are 15%, and more every year, of the population who are atheists and we do not have any belief in any god of any kind. We have no need of saving at all because we do not believe that there is any heaven, or hell, or Jesus, or angels or buddha or satan, or anything like that.

    I will continue as most other atheists will continue be honest hard working members of society with the same virtues and upstanding character as any religious person. We are no more or less happy, sad, fulfilled or unfulfilled than any other human on earth.

    Less religion of all types is a good thing not a bad thing.

  5. Nate: “Evangelicals have a flaw. That flaw is belief in an object, the Bible, instead of faith in God.”

    I have been saying for years that “fungelicals” make the Bible the “fourth person” of the Trinity…

  6. Lance in TX says:

    Headless Unicorn Guy… Are you being sarcastic when you state the following or do you really fully mean it?

    Well, the Christians in that comment thread got their wish. That Godless Mormon isn’t in the White House. They can take comfort in that as they bend the knee and burn the pinch of incense while the Children’s Choir sings to Obamessiah. At least they stood for Christ and kept that Mormon (TM) out!

  7. A note to Kelly. The modern Evangelical movement has become like it’s earlier fundamentalist predecessors – a scandal. But that’s no surprise; the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You need to consider that only a few years before you got involved in the 1970s, elements of the youth in the fundamentalist movement adopted the Marxist, neo-pagan inspired free community ideals of the 1960s – the Jesus Movement. This youth movement was mainly in response to the dismay the followers had at redneck southern Baptists who water cannoned blacks in the south for trying to vote and sit at lunch counters. In the 1970s the idealism and tolerance of its adherents grew, while America as a whole let its hair grow – then came Reagan and the Republican Youth of 1980s. Over a spent generation this utopian endeavor morphed into various mainline traditions, but lost its soul.

    The sad irony is their rebellion was defeated and their ideals stolen by the corruption of aging and cynical solipsism. Now those legacy churches are an ugly riot of miscreant bullies – of the sort Jesus of Nazareth took a special umbrage to. The movement has these constitutional flaws that don’t seem to leave – perhaps its because it’s dogma considers itself the sole guardian of the “Truth”….This is the fate of the first church some 80 generations ago….some things never change. For every big step forward, there seem to always be a few back. The hope is our species will evolve, and people like you who keep that idealism alive are the downpayment on that faith. Jesus’s miracle was he represented that big step forward so long before all these cascading missteps which followed occurred.

  8. Sarah:

    “Living overseas also showed me how much of the Evangelicalism I grew up on is dependent upon American culture for its relevance. Once removed from the American context, Evangelicalism lost its meaning for me.”

    There is a lot to think about in that paragraph.

    Thank you.

  9. Tedster,

    If I were merely flippant I would retort: “The violence in N. Ireland makes me never want to be Protestant or Catholic,” but this argument is stale and you probably deserve a lot more than the virtual middle finger such a message would convey.

    To explain it simply, I am as tired of the argument “people of religion x are bad, so therefore their religion is bad” as I am of the prevalent opposite argument “so-and-so of religion y is a nice person, their religion must be good.” To expound this at length, I think we in America have the tendency to overvalue “niceness” in our evaluation of the authenticity of a religion. Whether a person acts “nice” or not is largely a matter of their upbringing, whether it is Christian, atheists, or whatever. Also, “niceness” is rather subjective, in another time and place a slave-owner and a Nazi could be considered “nice” people (to use two extreme examples). While our goal is always to live up to the example of the first Christians in Acts whom the pagans observed “look how they love one another!” whether a person is nice or not they are still a person whom Christ died for, and they need to “work out their salvation” just the same. A good Christian, a person who is striving to follow Christ, could still be a really mean person. One hopes that as such a person grows in Christ they will become nice, but some people never do, and I would hesitate to fault their religion for that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend anything that happened in Bosnia (though I think many of the political actions NATO took there were/are silly). But long-standing violence on all sides, Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, and Atheist will create violent people. Violent people are not very nice, no, but I can not fault them for not overcoming the violence in their own soul because I do not know if, were I them, I would be able to keep violence from overtaking my soul either.

    Honestly, most of Serbs I’ve met who are from Serbia scare me, I’m careful not to do anything which may make them angry at me! But God will be their judge, not me. All I can do is pray for their soul and take comfort in the fact that God’s forgiveness is boundless.

    Authentic Christianity is not bound up with how good people are at carrying it out, thank God! So, to me, judging the various “denominations” based on broad external aspects is faulty. I base my judgments upon whether or not a “denomination” can effectively bring people into a healthy repentance of their sins and communion with Christ, while realizing that not everyone in a “denomination” will accomplish this equally well. Given this viewpoint, I think there are much larger issues in some of the denominations much closer to home (such as ones which deny that sin is an affront to God’s holiness) than what people have done in Bosnia, or N. Ireland for that matter.

  10. It has saddened me for years what seems like the lack of interest in helping society of the evangelical churches. I have felt it first hand as I developed a strategic plan and simple materials to help families and marriages across America. I could see how the churches could really help children who are so hurt by family dysfunction and disintegration. My wife and I did not have much money to market, but we did present at a few conferences reaching churches and spent all of our available retirement money to try to help the church realize that it could love families and kids and show the love of Christ in the way He did. (Jesus went out among the people doing good.) We had a way to do that in our society where kids face so much trauma as a result of families falling apart. After not finding one church to try what we were suggesting even though they agreed with the approach, we spent our last $1,000 dollars on a half-page add in Outreach Magazine. It was designed by the group the magazine uses. We hoped that the 30,000 churches most interested in outreach would yield a couple of interested churches. In fact, only one church asked about what we were suggesting and that church only wanted the materials for their own church families. My heart was broken at the lack of concern for people outside of the church. Now we are trying to interest cities in our approach, having seen the disinterest of the church. I am very sad and fear that your predictions are going to happen. (I hope I did this right, as this is the very first blog comment I have ever submitted.) Dick Wulf, MSW, LCSW, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  11. While I agree with trend analysis in your Coming Evangelical Collapse posts, I must be remembered that trends can bend.

    Acts 9:35 reports that “all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him (Aeneas whom Peter had healed), and turned to the Lord”. Whole towns turned to the Lord quickly.

    John MacArthur’s study notes report that the Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 50 times in the Book of Acts. Luke’s second book might be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit rather than the Acts of the Apostles. Religious awakenings, spiritual revivals, or whatever you like to call them can happen.

    Whole towns can turn to the LORD quickly again. In Acts, there’s no small amount of suffering endured by the likes of Peter, Stephen, James, and Paul. Acts of courage and suffering and fervent prayer would be likely to accompany any moves toward revival but it can happen. The Bible reports extra-ordinary miracles from Genesis to Revelation. The extra-ordinary can and will happen again. Keep hope (and courage and devotion and prayer) alive.

  12. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3

    It says ALL the world wondered after the beast. Is it any surprise that this would include the majority of professing Christians going back into Babylon? Or maybe the question should be asked, “Did Evangelicals come all the way out of Babylon?”

  13. Here are the thoughts I wrote in my blog:

    On the heels of a flurry of three previous posts I wrote about the mindlessness of evangelicalism and its worship practices, you might think of me as too pessimistic. Well, my friend Scott sent me a link to another article with even more ominous thoughts.

    The Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, has an article that would surely put evangelicals into defensive denial. In “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” published by csmonitor.com, Spencer discusses reasons and results of this demise and wonders, “Is all of this a bad thing?”

    His bold predictions only echo what many of us in historic Reformed churches have been saying: the gospel-less anti-doctrinalism, emotionalism and moralism of evangelical churches which started with the 1960s hippie revolution will end up as another footnote in the history of the modern church. Only three decades after Newsweek published its cover story in 1976, “The Year of the Evangelical,” noting the spiritual and numerical growth of evangelical churches, “we are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity.”

    Among other things, Spencer lists the causes of this demise: its identification with political conservatism; “fail[ure] to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught”; the secularization of Christian education; and the “great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.” The Internet Monk sees the failure of “billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media” that has produced generations of

    “young people [who] have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.”

    Billions of dollars invested in producing a generation that could play Internet games for days on end, but finds a 30-minute sermon too boring and unable to spare a few minutes to read and study the Bible. What “faith” would this generation pass on to the next but a next-to-nothing knowledge, narcissistic worship and Biblically-disconnected practice?

    While evangelical apologists are in denial, keen observers of political, social and religious trends will not fail to see this demise in study after study done by the Barna Group, Pew Forum and other researchers.

    The Internet Monk sees the remnants of the evangelical movement scattered all over the religious spectrum. Many will seek refuge among the Catholic and Orthodox churches (this phenomenon has been ongoing in the last few decades). Most who stick will be in the remains of “pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches.”

    Will this evangelical collapse result in a second reformation? While Spencer does not think so, I believe that small Reformed churches which are faithful to the five solas of the 16th century Protestant Reformation will gain adherents. Where will the disenchanted and disenfranchised go? They have three choices: (1) apostasize in unbelief; (2) go back to Rome; or (3) go back to Reformed Geneva and Heidelberg. I believe that a small remnant will choose the last option.

    While I concur with Spencer’s general ideas on the reasons for and possible results of the death of evangelicalism, I disagree that “Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders.” It is precisely this movement that has a huge hand in the evangelical demise, with its emphasis on anti-doctrinalism, emotionalism, and entertainment gimmicks that has resulted in generations of “young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it.” It is this movement that has spawned all kinds of abuses by the Word-Faith movement and prosperity gospel, and influenced evangelical churches to adopt entertainment gimmicks into their delirious, frenzied worship services. From where did the “praise and worship” band and contemporary “Christian” music come, but from Vineyard, Hosanna, Integrity and Hillsong – all Pentecostal companies?

    Spencer believes that “if American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.” No so. The demise of American evangelism will be repeated in Asia, Africa and Latin America because everything that happens in American/Western evangelicalism are exported all over the world. As I look around evangelicalism in the Philippines, I see exactly the same anti-doctrinalism, emotionalism and moralistic psychotherapy in the churches.

    If, at all, Reformation comes to the Charismatic-Pentecostal movement and its accompanying worship practices, it will cease to be Charismatic-Pentecostal anymore. This is because the Protestant Reformation is the antithesis of this movement.

  14. *Michael please gets in touch with “J” and offer him the occasional guest post as a “friendly atheist” the man is a genius!*

    Now accepting volunteers for the post of Guy Who Stands on The Back of My Chariot Whispering in My Ear “You Are Only a Man”.

  15. My dear brother,

    Part of what I see, as leading to the decline of Evangelicalism, is apathy. I head up an international crusade ministry. We are currently working with 8 different nations to hold large city-wide gospel crusades in countries where 50-99% of the population lists itself as other than Christian. When I present the need within most Baptist churches in the U.S. to help us go and hold crusades, I get the standard line of excuses.

    Usually, it’s that they are in a building program (to bless the 100 or so that show up). Or their budget is down because of the economy (isn’t God supposed to be in charge of their personal finances?) or even worse the pretended interest which leads to no follow thru.

    If Billy Graham were starting out with the culture of today’s churches, I seriously doubt he would have been able to reach the millions he has reached with the Gospel. May God have mercy on His church. Do they not realize that if the rapture takes place very soon, like they are preaching that it will, they will leave all their building projects, new carpet, stained glass windows, and other items for the use of the anti-christ? Sure makes you think.

    Keep up the good work brother. You tell it the way it is!

  16. iMonk,
    Excellent “observations”. I’m curious to how you came to your conclusions. As an SDA Christian we have had Ellen G. White’s writings as a suplemental source of guidance to the Bible for over a hundred years. She clearly predicted(most fervently in her landmark book -The Great Controversy) the exact same condition of the mainstream USA culture against Christianity that you describe.
    The wave of secularism and even occultism will continue to expand and persecution in many forms towards the Christian church will grow.
    All in the name of the Common Good. It will be subtle and hard to argue against. I mean, who wants to be against seemingly “good things”?

    Your take on sincere, steadfast Christians looking to Catholicism in troubling times is right out of E.G. Whites writings also, where she says that American Protestant denominations will “reach across the sea” to the Catholic church. Now, don’t think I’m Catholic bashing…I’m not.
    It makes perfect sense as the CC is still an entity that stands for what it believes and vocalizes it. That historical power will seem a refuge to Christians in the USA under assault.

    The ecumenical movement has already begun in many ways. It will continue to grow.
    The merits or pitfalls of THAT union with Catholicism is for another discussion.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. “If, at all, Reformation comes to the Charismatic-Pentecostal movement and its accompanying worship practices, it will cease to be Charismatic-Pentecostal anymore. This is because the Protestant Reformation is the antithesis of this movement.”

    You are absolutely correct. “Grievous wolves…” have entered the flock, “And no marvel: for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14

    All this has strengthened the infidel in their infidelity (notice the rise of atheism), and is leading many Christians back to the attractive “forms and ceremonies” of Babylon’s works based salvation system (another gospel).

    But sadly the deception is only to increase. The false movement of “the spirit” is to take the world captive and unite the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon. Only those who have fortified the mind with the Word of God will be able to withstand these deceptions. “For if possible it will deceive the very elect.”

    “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16

    “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Revelation 13

  18. Lance in TX says:

    dvopilgrim,
    You state the following:
    Will this evangelical collapse result in a second reformation? While Spencer does not think so, I believe that small Reformed churches which are faithful to the five solas of the 16th century Protestant Reformation will gain adherents. Where will the disenchanted and disenfranchised go? They have three choices: (1) apostasize in unbelief; (2) go back to Rome; or (3) go back to Reformed Geneva and Heidelberg. I believe that a small remnant will choose the last option.

    I think there is a 4th option that you did not list: go to a Restoration Church (like the LDS Church).

    Why do I think this is an option is because this is what I did and what MANY people I know have done. The converts to our Church are coming from Evangelical Churches, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, and other Christian Churches. They are finding what they feel is missing from their Churches. They feel the Holy Spirit in our Church. They see the love for Christ in our Church.

    Just wanted to point out another option for those that feel disenchanted and disenfranchised with their current Church.

  19. A note to Bible Thumping Revelation quoters….Do you ever feel a little twinge of guilt condemning others so blithely? Probably not, since your kind are so eager to condemn, its really just a casual reaction of temperament. Unstable dispositions rule the unruly. Yes, let’s find something ominous from the scary part of scripture to pull out and slap in front of those who don’t think like us to scare them into submission. Actually, let’s extend that intimidation to those who do agree, since this kind of faux-prophesy is usually dealt out to other Christians who just happen to disagree with our feeble framework. It’s a form of mental torture, murdering any spiritualism that could ever sprout from your particular style of orthodoxy. Here’s a suggestion – I think Evangelicals should travel back in time to that wonderful late Bronze Age, or to the Roman villages of Asia Minor where all this doom you profess so eagerly was commonplace 80 – 100 generations ago. Try living like they did, a soft solipsistic American in the hardscrabble hot sun of ignorance and daily struggle for food and protection. I think your kind would benefit from a month there, and it won’t be like JesusLand in Florida…Religion has always stamped man’s hand on the eternal – and your fingerprints are all over it. John 11:35

  20. *Do they not realize that if the rapture takes place very soon…they will leave all their building projects…for the use of the anti-christ? Sure makes you think.*

    All evidence to the contrary.

  21. Michael,

    Amazing. You write a clear paper on a limited subject and you get massive soap-box-bombs incoming from everyone who ever had an opinion about “those Christians”.

    But your FIRST point was that Evangelical participation in the culture wars (about homosexuality, abortion, creationism, etc.) would TRIGGER or PROVOKE opposition.

    But this thread has proved that the opposition doesn’t even need to read or comprehend what you wrote. Some atheists have here praised you for giving the appearance that you are on their side. I think they think you actually wear a monk’s garb.

    Back to your article:

    I “feel” like the “megas” growth is a bad sign; but I’ve visited (travelling) a large number of them and they all have presented a clear gospel and emphasized Jesus saving work and our need for new life in Christ. And they all had Baptist-like adult classes doing exegetical studies of the Word.

    Still, I “feel” uneasy about that style of Christianity.

    Finally,

    How can Evangelicals or anybody reach the type of people venting in this thread? I suggest each of us take extra time to connect with our neighbors so that they, at least, know one believer who isn’t a kook.

    Keep up the good work.

    Phil

  22. I think Michael is on to something here identifying this trend. We are coming to a point in society where there is no middle-ground. Individuals must take a hard stand about their own beliefs.

    I believe the problem stems from two main issues in the Evangelical community:

    1. Organization – a greater level of organizing the masses for common causes is needed. Taking stands on moral and political issues. Providing a structure to develop the programs for youth and adults to foster personal development and providing leadership opportunities.

    2. Higher commitment level from members. No longer can we be spectators, or watching from the sidelines. This is where mega-churches fail; they don’t require much sacrifice from the attendees. Indifiduals go and listen, are inspired and donate money, but it’s the volunteerism that’s needed. We need to spend the time to be a youth pastor, sunday school teacher, sports coach, etc. There must be adult sponsorships for the youth to have meaningful programs which help them develop and grow into theri their full potential as leaders of our community and nation. Commitment level is an expression of one’s faith. As one’s faith in Christ increases, one’s desire and ability to help others is expanded.

    “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.”

  23. Soap Box Bombs; and from an Evangelical no less! That metaphor was coined for zealots in Hyde Park, most of whom are self-styled prophets – where I’ve watched your fellow rapturists lovingly condemn their fellow creatures for being human – how inhumane. I’d suggest another metahpor for American Evangelicals – it has to do with thowing stones and glass houses. Bombs away.

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Headless Unicorn Guy… Are you being sarcastic when you state the following or do you really fully mean it? — Lance in TX

    Sarcastic. Romney was probably the best candidate that matched their “Family Values” vote, yet they rejected him almost entirely because he was Mormon and ended up with a President Obama who they can’t stand, period. (Be careful what you wish for…)

  25. Michael

    Good piece!

    Too bad some are not really reading what you wrote instead are inflecting their own bent on your piece…. much like way too many people & churches do to the Bible…. “it will say what I want it to say”! Sorry, folks…. it’s not a piece of art work!

    God bless! keep up the good work and I will be back now that I discovered you.

  26. Gene Dirr says:

    Greetings,

    As an adult Sunday School teacher (and soon to be published author), I read the “eye-catching” article, (The Coming Evangelical Collapse by Michael Spencer), with interest. While each is entitled to their viewpoint, I do NOT see a collapse of Christianity in the USA in the near future.

    My insight for preparation of adult lessons comes from the Holy Spirit; and NOT from some “cleverly invented ideas”. AND, it is my obedience to “the Word” that allows me to produce some interesting and (I might say) accurate understand of the Scriptures.

    I do not pretend to be “a fore teller of the future”; but, based on my understanding of Jesus and Holy Scriptures, HIS CHURCH will be around until the Second Coming of Christ!!! An example of “this understanding” is the following remarks from an up coming lesson:

    A comment about this phrase from Ephesians 1:22-23 —

    “God appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body.”

    In this context, “the church” is NOT the facilities we have here at 1320 Main St., nor is it the intuitional organizations like the Catholics, Methodist, or Baptist. Here “the church” means “the community of believers”; or “you and me”. Since His ascension recorded in Acts 1:1-11,Jesus does NOT have a physical body on earth. (He will again at his Second Coming!!!)
    BUT, when we act on his behalf, we become his body for a few moments or time period in which that act transpires. He uses our imperfect bodies to do His work on earth. We become his hands, his feet, his heart, his mind to do the work of the Kingdom!
    He entrusted to US to carry His message to all nations. This is God’s plan. There is NO “plan B”. What a wonderful assignment!!

    SORRY, but no doomsday here!!!

    Sincerely,

    Gene Dirr, Author
    Always Growing in the Faith
    Houston, TX

  27. The little that I have had a chance to read and hear of your blog on Chris Fabry struck a chord with me. I also see the colapse of evangelical Christianity as we know it. Although, I believe that with persecution, the real church will grow, as you see in China and other countries where real Christianity is persecuted. I think the gospel actually grows in power and strength with persecution…and I too, see it coming…although I think it will be in less than 10 years.

  28. Ha, ha. We now have proof that some readers not only do not read what you wrote or what previous commenters above have written, but they don’t even read what they themselves write! (Will B, in particular, but over half of the commenters above also fit this pattern.)

    Ironically, a “self-styled prophet”, using this thread as his Hyde Park, does some “stone throwing” and name-calling, but doesn’t see the only authors fitting his pattern (in this thread) are his anti-Evangelical friends–and himself.

    But I’m praying that he will have at least one “rapturist” neighbor who follows what Evangelical churches actually teach about loving your neighbors.

    And on another note: Gene, you’re an example of what I elsewhere have noted about the health of the Evangelical churches today. They are still full of hard-working, faithful Bible teachers. But Michael does have a point about the “public image” and trends. And, as he elsewhere clarified, he was talking about a portion of high-viz Evangelical churches and activists and not Christianity in general.

    Thanks for your service, Gene. (And Michael, as before…)
    Phil

  29. An interesting piece of writing, but it is written from a Catholic perspective enjoying the benefits of the demise of Evangelical Christianity.
    In essence, the piece is stating the obvious of what will happen according to Bible prophecy. A one world government with a one world religion (ecumenicalism) that will unite the major faiths is just around the corner.
    The sad saps on this forum are blissfully unaware, because they do not study their Bible, that this is the appearance of the Antichrst (2 Thess 2) that will come before Jesus returns. Party now, and join it, if you must, but it will cost you eternity.
    Rather, stand firm in the gospel knowing what is about to happen — persecution, appearance of Antichrist, Great Tribulation then Jesus Christ returns.

  30. Lonnie Starks says:

    I heard you today on Chris Fabry & thought you might be able to use this or at least enjoy it.

    “My Kingdom is not of this World”

    I have been thinking quite a bit, in bits and pieces mostly, about war, nationalism, & patriotism in relation to Christianity. How I love John the man! He tells us things about Jesus that no one else reveals. Here’s the scene. Jesus and Pilate are together privately. Jesus has been interrogated by the Hebrew leaders, or perhaps he was the interrogator. He has been slapped around, probably beaten by them, but now he & Pilate are together, one on one. Pilate asks him, “What have you done?” As is Jesus custom, he answers the question with words which do not seem to relate at all to the question. “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36. “My kingdom is not of this world”. My goodness, those seven words speak volumes to Christians then and now, and Jesus’ follow-up statement leaves no room for speculation by Pilate or anyone who hears him speak the words. Shortly afterward, Pilate tells the accusers he can find no fault in the man. His crucifixion follows.
    I guess my first, and maybe only, reaction is that it’s always tempting and very dangerous for a Christian to place nationalism or patriotism on an equal level with or in front of living as a Christian, being an heir and a son with citizenship in God’s kingdom. This attitude seems very central to the evangelical church where I live, perhaps in all of the USA. It may even be a global phenomenon. Peter writes, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…For so is the will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using liberty as a cloak for maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:13-16. I must say, as an interlude, that I believe each Christian must make decisions with God’s wise counsel regarding joining the armed forces, fighting in war, even acting in self-defense or for the protection of another life. I believe these decisions can be well-thought out, or they may be spontaneous as an event arises. It’s not for me to judge; I don’t claim to know what I would do in a sudden, life changing encounter. Like Paul says, “Hey, I don’t even judge myself” , 1 Corinthians 4:3. I only hope I will do the right thing for the right reasons and count on my God to apply his judgment and mercy. But, or however, “what would Jesus do?” is a haunting question, though possibly trivialized and certainly profitized by the marketing industry. Jesus was crucified. It was his mission, but he was also set up by his own countrymen. One group was jealous of his authority and charisma (legalistic nationalists); another was dissatisfied with his plan of action (zealous patriots). Both groups may have believed they had the country’s best interest in mind. Also, isn’t it just like our heavenly Father to use one of Jesus’ most vocal and active opponents to utter one of the most significant prophecies in scripture? What about the high priest, the chief of the legalistic nationalists, the man with the plan, Caiaphas? “It is expedient that one should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” John 11:50. Poor Caiaphas did not realize that these words were spoken, not only for the nation, but for all the world.
    Jesus came. He gave to us healing, reconciliation, and deliverance. Even on the night he was betrayed, when Judas and the militia came, he healed the wound caused by Peter’s sword. At the same time he also exposed the Jewish elite for the cowards they were, but he never physically struck back although he mentioned that he could gather more than 12 legions of angels for support. Matthew 26:53. What did he gain in the end? “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Jesus was weighed on the scales of his Father and found NOT to be wanting. What will God say to me on that day of reckoning? Sometimes, I shudder at the thought.
    Where is “peace” in all this? It is most certainly an outward manifestation of an inward condition. A fruit of the spirit is peace. Fruit ripens when the branch is being fed by the living root, drawing nourishment from the light and water as it is cultivated and pruned by the gardener. Sometimes weeds encroach on the garden. And sometimes, the branch is sick with sin; it refuses the sustenance offered by the Gardener to bear fruit. See John 15:4 & 5. Jesus gives peace that is totally contrary to the world. “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer (‘cheer’, mind you!); I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I don’t know how long it may have taken, but Paul got it. “His sole purpose in life was to please his Commander in Chief, no matter what. Everything else was dung to him. If he was living in today’s world, he might be tempted to say, ‘Christ is everything. All the other stuff is bullshit.’ He even went so far as to say that he rejoiced in the suffering and affliction he endured as a foot soldier in Christ’s army.” Philippians 3:8; 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4.
    Approaching peace from another direction, Jesus said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. The sword cuts through. It separates one thing from another. It induces pain. It exposes what’s inside. God’s sword strikes skillfully – swish, slash, and thrust! Quick and powerful, it works to separate us from the world, causing old friends, family, religions, church groups, and entire nations to react violently toward the body of Christ. The sword also digs into our hearts exposing anything within us which would deny the presence of God in our beings. We live in turmoil and pain until we drop our shield and then allow mending and healing from the surgery. For my part, this work of the sword seems to be ongoing. Praise God, his motive is always for his peace and joy to be what’s left after his most recent incision.
    People often talk about world peace. Solutions are proposed. It all looks good on paper, but people and nations have, quite frankly, both superior and ulterior motives. From my perspective the only avenue to world peace is a one-world government. The only avenue to life is Jesus Christ. A life of peace will only exist with Christ as the ruling monarch. Let it be. The offer is always before us for now and forever, both individually and as a thriving community, the family of God. He is our king. Any and every other road leads to more confusion, anarchy, dictatorships, murder, envy, strife, vain-glory, mobs, riots, bombs, hatred, fear; it never ends and only gets worse. And the nations rage on and on and on …..
    As peace loving people of the cross and of a nation, we seek peace. Home and citizenship are very dear to people. The question of citizenship and origin lies at the heart of the Christian message. Our decisions based on citizenship communicate both who we are and where our priorities lie. We reside in a world after the fall. We partake of the responsibilities and privileges of the nation in which we dwell. We are involved with others in neighborhoods, towns, the nation, the world, and the church. We are connected to one another. “Allelon”, a Greek word, was used by Jesus. It is pronounced kind of like ‘all alone’, but its meaning is just the opposite. It means “one another”. “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” John 13:34 & 35. Jesus lets us know that we are not isolated beings. We are relational and, equally important, we are influential. This sphere of influence which emanates from us is based on our citizenship. We are under the authority of a leader and we exist as part of a kingdom. Tension comes into play when our allegiance is divided, and it can become divided so easily. It is one of Satan’s primary tools to disarm the saints; to divide, and then to conquer. Like Adam, after God asked “have you eaten of the forbidden tree?”, replied “She gave it to me.” Self-preservation is a likely entry point for the enemy into our lives. Satan has been very successful through the ages using this tactic with nations, tribes, families, and husbands and wives. His only reason for success is because we are so easily deceived by the tempter and so willing to compromise. We love to barter and bargain, to try to have it both our way and God’s way.
    Jesus clearly proclaims, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He fulfilled the old while ushering in the new. In Adam all die. In Messiah we are made alive. Adam was of the earth. Jesus is spirit from heaven. Although our residence at this time is on earth, our citizenship is with God. He writes his law in our hearts. The saints of old sought a fatherland. It is our privilege to possess it now. Paul writes to the Philippians, “For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” Philippians 3:20. To converse is to talk and to listen. “Conversation” is the word translated from the Greek word “politeuma”. In English it would be “polity”, which resembles politics and means government, community, and citizenship. We interact on this earth in a heavenly realm while waiting with full anticipation to receive the fullness of our Savior who shall at some future time change our earthly bodies and the entire world into completely new creations. We are looking for this to happen while we temporarily reside here. We can live in one place while enjoying citizenship in another. As strangers and aliens, we are not illegal immigrants, though perhaps unwanted by some, yet certainly under the cover of the KHSD, Kingdom Homeland Security Department. Our Bill of Rights includes “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of God.” God’s pursuit of us never changes. Our pursuit of God often gets tangled up with the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t it odd? If we are busy pursuing happiness, then happiness must surely be eluding us, or probably deluding us. It seems to be just beyond our current dream. However, Jesus says, “I come that you may have an abundant life of vitality and that your joy would be full and complete.”
    John 10:10.

    One may say with pride, “I am a citizen of the U.S.A.” Another will reply, “I am from here, or I am from there.” The name of the place isn’t important. We are citizens of a nation by birth. That’s just how it is. We did not choose our parents or the location of our birth on this globe. We can thank God for all that! The really important issue is whether or not we have been born from above by the labor of God’s love. Actually, only two nations exist, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Anti-God. The kingdom of Anti-God is sometimes described as the kingdom of this world. It is made up of nations, groups, and individuals with agendas for power and control. Sadly, the other kingdom is often similar in appearance though not by design. We too often mingle the kingdoms as we muddle through life. As Christians, this is a problem, for we do reside in the two kingdoms. We get mixed up. We know good and we know evil on theological and experiential levels. We can make choices based on our place in either kingdom or even both. We may separate our existence into compartments; this one is Christian, this one is country, one for God and one for me. The list becomes endless. We discern what is right and what is wrong but our judgment can also be influenced by what is of God and what is not. We get so accustomed to the dark that we don’t realize we always need to keep our Songlasses on.
    What is the purpose of all this? The purpose is for us to admit that we need Songlasses, to never quit wearing them, and to submit always to God. These glasses give us vision in three directions, up, in, and out; three directions, yet with one vision, similar to a three stranded rope not easily broken. Where we were once blind, now we see God, maybe not with our physical eyes but with spirit eyes. We begin to view life from God’s perspective. We get glimpses of the majesty of God in his son, our Lord, and through the beauty and wonder of creation. We also start noticing ourselves in a new light, causing us to want to know our Father even better. We find out that there’s a way to get rid of the garbage of our past and present. Like a puss-filled infection, all of the crud of our lives becomes exposed, rising gradually and forcibly to the surface, and we desire God to remove it. Apparently, it’s a life-long process. Finally, we notice others in a new way, with mercy, compassion, concern, empathy, and sympathy. We start to comprehend the value of the treasure given to us by the Lord of life. It’s a treasure beyond all treasures, and priceless, so there’s plenty for everyone. We begin to understand that all of the old stuff we considered so dear is really worthless in comparison. Actually, there is no comparison. We want to share the precious gift with others. We anticipate a great migration of people from one kingdom to the other, and we know that we are called to be travel agents, the welcome wagon, neighbors, and friends.
    That’s it. God’s way is simple. It is we who complicate it. All people are God’s people, and he is “not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. Today, that’s about 6,000,000,000 people, a bunch of folks. Our job is to deliver the bread, the manna of life. Some of it will be gathered and eaten. Some will be ignored and left to decay. Some folks won’t want the bread truck in their neighborhood and will do whatever is within their power to destroy the bread and anyone serving on the bread crew. They will not understand that the bread has a life of its own; it cannot be destroyed; only multiplied. Our job is to deliver the bread because we have been delivered and because Jesus told us, “Go. Build my kingdom. Here’s the tools. Use ‘em. Don’t cull anyone. I’m with you always.” Matthew 28:19 & 20. God takes care of the rest. It’s time to read Psalm 2.

    Lonnie Starks
    1-31-07 to 2-8-07
    © 2007 Lonnie Starks

    All scripture quotes are from the KJV, unless noted as ‘my interpretation’.

    Note: Copying & pasting did not capture my footnotes.

  31. Most readers consider themselves Christians but look to faith as the most important aspect of their life on this life? Faith is subjective. The Bible is not. Did you know that there were good Catholic Nazis serving in Germany in World War 2 that went to Christmas and did the rituals of the church believing they had faith? Now, their faith might have justified the tortured and inhumane treatment of others? Yet, their faith is just as real to them, and they believed their deeds were good! So, you cannot rely on faith as a basis of moral conduct because one can justify every evil act in the name of faith!
    The only moral standard is the Bible. We either accept all its teachings and the final authority or we reject all of it, and refuse to become Christians. Additional writings of the Jews’ were condemned by Jesus, likewise, additional writings of Catholic teachers are also to be condemned. There is but one final authority in our lives and we must live by it, and judge the church on whether it is teaching Biblical doctrine, not on good works or faith. Isn’t it about time, you repented of your liberalism and came back to the divine authority of scripture, people were tortured to bring you these scriptures! May it not be in vain, the early Christians would turn in their graves to see our liberalism!

  32. william Ash says:

    Evangelicalism may die because as a religious movement they can’t decide which Bible to use. They are wishy washy on living a seperated life. As society falls into imorality, most evangelicals are only a few steps behind and claiming they have liberty. Try Fundamental Independent Baptist. We desire to be faithful until the Lord returns. We see 600 a year baptised and 1500 a year saved, and thats in the Church. We see many more in the field. We may see less in the years to come but we are training others to do the same.

  33. Dear Michael Spencer…

    Thank for your commentary about what you perceive as the coming Evangelical Collaspe.

    I think everyone who has any spiritual discernment can see what you’ve said already beginning to happen.

    Your observation agrees with prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3

    False prophets have abounded and are paving the way for the ultimate ‘son of perdition’ figure in whom the entire world will follow after.

    The world may not be aware of what will happen to Christians under this new Anti-Christ leadership, just as Germany and so many were ignorant of what Hitler was doing as they relocated and then ultimately murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.

    However before this Anti-Christ figure takes control and sways the entire world with his great wisdom, the Bible prophesies of this Apostasy that you are speaking of. If there was no great Apostasy, then a figure such as this “Beast” (as scripture refers to) could never get such a foot hold, but you gave good reasons WHY these things will eventually take place.

    Many American Christians consider it their birth right to be healthy and wealthy. We have built our lives on mass consumption and prosperity, which will tapered off greatly in America now because of the economic decline.

    The Mega Church puts out messages such as “Love Your Life.” Which is direct opposition to what Jesus told us.

    Christians in America have made the mistake of becoming drawn into a political vortex. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Hannity can save no one. They are not the answer…Yet millions listen to them as if he were gods themselves.

    Many Christians have lost the ability to be humble.

    Those who claim Christ as their Savior don’t need anyone to tell them how to think, Christians need to learn to stay alert, humble and listen to what the Lord is telling them (meditate on the Word) and then to act in obediance to what the Spirit is saying.

    Thank you so much. I appreciated reading your intelligent essay.

    Peace & Agape!

  34. *In essence, the piece is stating the obvious of what will happen according to Bible prophecy. A one world government with a one world religion (ecumenicalism) that will unite the major faiths is just around the corner.*

    You do not actually believe this. I know you think you do, but in fact, you do not. Working from the assumption that you are an adult human being of at least average intelligence, Robert (you can write sentences and navigate the Intarnets), I *know* you do not actually believe that the “major faiths” are in any way coalescing into one or that the governments of the world are either A.) in such harmonious accord that they are literally about to melt into each other or B.) overawed by any single individual or power such that they will be forcibly joined together in a world empire.

    You don’t believe that, Robert. You know you don’t. I demand that you admit it.

    *The sad saps on this forum are blissfully unaware…*

    If it were true, I would be blissfully *aware* and pleased as punch–and so would you–that humanity had overcome it’s bloody, rivening differences. But since there are no signs whatsoever that this is happening, I remain UNblissfully UNaware of it.

    *Rather, stand firm in the gospel knowing what is about to happen — persecution, appearance of Antichrist, Great Tribulation then Jesus Christ returns.*

    Turning away from Robert specifically: How is premillenialism of this flavor different from the modernist (lowercase “m”) notion of “Progress”? The notion that we’re surely Going Somewhere and that The World Will Change Tomorrow seems scarcely any less corrosive in it’s effects if it’s religiously based rather than secularly so. Either one causes you to neglect the present–and the people, duties, and yes, pleasures around you in the present–in favor of eternal anticipation.

    Neither Progress nor Premillenialism seem much like genuine or humble “hope”. Both are rather wrapped up in a triumphalism that absolutely *begs* to be disappointed by the fact that the history of the future is overwhelmingly likely to be the same as the history of the past: just regular ol’ One Thing After Another.

  35. *…just as Germany and so many were ignorant of what Hitler was doing as they relocated and then ultimately murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.*

    No. I will not allow this supposition. As the grandnephew of a man who had the misfortune to be marched into Sobibor and the serendipity to walk out again under his own power, I will not allow the blithe peddling of the idea that “so many were ignorant”, particularly within Germany. That notion has been comprehensively slain by historians.

  36. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    J —

    I read Robert as running such a high Left Behind fever that he’s become delerious.

  37. “Your observation agrees with prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3”

    2 Thessalonians 2:7 says this “mystery of iniquity doth already work”, it had already begin to work in Paul’s day, not long after this was written the falling away (apostasy) continued for over a 1000 years. It is what we now call the dark ages. In verse 8 it says it will continue until it is “consume(d)” by the Lord at his coming. This antichrist figure is already here and is exactly the “man of sin” who faithful evangelical preachers identified in the past.

    “….then a figure such as this “Beast” (as scripture refers to)….”

    The Bible teaches that a “Beast” is a kingdom. “These great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings, [which] shall arise out of the earth. Daniel 7:17 This first Beast of Revelation 13 is a composite beast that has a whore (Babylon the great) riding on it’s back.

    “…..greatly in America now because of the economic decline.”

    The Bible says that things are going to continue pretty normal right up until the very end, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” Matthew 24:38

    Praise God that Jesus Christ “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

    Historically evangelicals had it right but they have failed to keep advancing in the light. Put your trust in God and His dear Son. Stop looking to man, politics (spiritual fornication James 4:4), organizations, and public opinion. None but the righteous are going through to glory, and that only if they are wearing Christ’s righteousness and their sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb.

  38. N..>*…just as Germany and so many were ignorant of what Hitler was doing as they relocated and then ultimately murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.*No. I will not allow this supposition. As the grandnephew of a man who had the misfortune to be marched into Sobibor and the serendipity to walk out again under his own power, I will not allow the blithe peddling of the idea that “so many were ignorant”, particularly within Germany. That notion has been comprehensively slain by historians.<

    Hello J

    Apparently I haven’t read the same historical books you have read.
    I think you’re saying they didn’t want to know?

    You’re probably right. Hitler was so aggressive that it is hard to believe when people said they didn’t realize what was really going on.

    If they did know, I can’t understand why they stood by and tolerated such things. Was it their own fear or prejudice that stopped them from objecting to such horrendous acts against humanity?

    It’s good to know your Grandfather was able to walk out of such horror, and lived to tell about it.

  39. Wednesday, March 11, 2009
    Return to Faith
    I very much agree with iMonk’s recent article about the potential fall of Evangelical Christianity. It doesn’t take a genius to see it slipping into the cog of political and intellectual depravity. But Christ has a solution.

    We must return to our first love: Salvation through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This message is being lost.

    Oh, people say they believe, but they rely on works more heavily than on faith, so much so, that works are produced by the flesh, which are always self-righteous and hypocritical. Instead, it is through faith that godly works are produced through and in the Spirit of Christ.

    We must return to our first love and do the first works, as the Revelation tells us to do. To begin, we must return to faith in Christ alone for salvation and let go of transforming the world or ourselves. Let Christ, through faith, transform us.

    Look, the world, as unbelieving, is not under the law of Christ. So how can we try to convert the world to godly works without it first coming to faith. That Christians use the laws of God to try to make an unbelieving world conform to godly works is proof that we, ourselves, are deceived, believing that good works will save us. I believe that Christ showed us through his life that that would be our undoing, our death, as it was the vehicle through which he was persecuted and crucified.
    Posted by Chris O’Nan at 8:31 AM

  40. J –

    You ARE quite opinionated, aren’t you, dude? Let me throw a thought out as if I were as opinionated: “You don’t believe the entire universe came into being from virtually nothing do you? You know you don’t believe it. I demand that you admit it! How could gazillions of galaxies and stars developed from, say, an atom. Explain where that atom (or whatever) came from. Go on, I dare you! You must be, at least, fairly intelligent. I mean, you do work at a college of engineering.”

    C’mon, man, chill-out a tad. Just because you blog the “loudest,” doesn’t mean everyone else’s opinion should have no value. Pesonally, I think you could use a hug! 🙂

  41. J,

    Keep on making us think, please. You’re not too opinionated, and you are quite polite in your interactions. Thanks.

    The comments by Robert got me thinking, so I had to Google a bit, there is an interesting page on Wikipedia that has some info about Nazi Germany and religion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany

    I think Robert is probably a little too much into Catholic bashing to realize how widespread the support for the Nazi’s was in the Protestant churches. Of course wikipedia.org could be a part of the conspiracy. 🙂

    It appears that the actual situation was very complicated, with multiple persons vying for power by using the German state to set up conglomerates of relious groups to help consolidate power.

    The article did make the point that the economic state had a lot to do with the early acceptance of the Nazi Party. Ignorance may have played a part early, but as the years progressed, it seems that it just became too late to stand against it. (unless you wanted to die)

    He (Robert) appears to be unaware that iMonk is not Catholic, and even though he disagrees, this post was written from a pretty middle of the road protestant view.

    I will admit now to being a pentecostal (Assemblies of God), but I don’t think we were meant to shut off our brains, so I hang around the fringes here at internetmonk. (Don’t tell anyone, but I read Christopher Hitchens religiously, he’s another one that does make you think)

  42. Bob Wahler says:

    MODERATOR NOTE: The following comment violates the comment policy of this web site. The recommendation of Spong and Ehrman are unacceptable here at IM. I’m making an exception here at the repeated request of the poster and against my better judgment. Please- I am NOT going to allow any future posts that promote Spong and Ehrman or that make the claims of this comment.

    Michael, you started quite a discussion on the Tax professional’s website forum “Quatloos.”
    All belief in Jesus Christ, Evangelical (as I once was) or otherwise, is faith centered, and Pauline. Christ taught something else, Michael. If theologians and Christians in general were more familiar with Eastern traditions, they would come to recognize, as I did, that Jesus taught a form of mystic transcendentalism–yoga, to be precise. Before you laugh, read John 3:8 and Matthew 6:22 and then Google “Sant Mat” –That’s “Teachings of the Sants, [or Saints–PLURAL]” and it is akin to “prayer” in the original meaning of the term as Jesus himself used it when he asked those falling asleep around him in Gethsemane if no one “could watch AN HOUR with me.”(Matt 26:40) Jesus revealed his astral transfiguration “going up the Mountain” to The Three in another mystic example (Luke 9:28-36). Few people pray (or “watch”) for “an hour” but many meditate that long or longer. Dr. Robert H. Eisenman reveals in his amazingly thorough “James, the brother of Jesus” work (1997, Penguin) that the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that James taught it too (“all night vigils in caves”) and was himself a Master, or savior–as were Jesus’ other two brothers, Simeon bar Cleophas and Theudas (or Judas, “the twin”).
    It’s hard to explain why this is such news to the world, as it has a 500 year continuous history in India going back to Nanak, Kabir,and even Namdev, 200 years before that. Dying a martyr for God is not unique to Jesus. John the Baptist and all brothers in Jesus’ family were killed by those who couldn’t abide such blinding light. There were others elsewhere. We in the West need to open up to other traditions and see that Mysticism is the Way worldwide, was in the time of Christ (the Nag Hammadi books, and Dead Sea Scrolls are pure Sant Mat), and will be for the foreseeable future. The Bible has been corrupted (read Eisenman and Dr. Bart Ehrman, or even Bishop John Shelby Spong). Even though the truth is there it is deeply buried under Pauline misinformation. Let Christianity fade to black so we can get on with the reality of God-realization: the teachings of LIVING Masters.
    There are 45 volumes to be read and assimilated at RSSB.org. –In all humility and sincerity, A brother. God bless all. This is strictly informational on my own initiative. We DON’T proselytize. Any seekers interested in more information are welcome to my email address (ask Michael), or invited to investigated the website.

  43. Michael G says:

    If you think this guy is talking tommyrot, just take a view of recent history in the UK, and think for a bit!!!!
    Sobering.
    But God is in charge and he will refine. We are already seeing this, a little bit.
    The true church is now growing where it shows what it really believes (and why), and also cares. Gods love and ours.
    Anyway we should aim for quality not quantity, and God will do the work.

  44. I read your very insightful piece described here in CSM, it is a thoughtful, detached analysis of a social movement.

    Interestingly, however, theres no mention of God’s will, or the Holy Spirit stepping in to pull it all back together and magically fix it. Evidently the church is left on its own to evolve with somewhat random socialogical and political winds.

    What exactly is the point of all this pointy-hatted nonsense if theres no god to come in and miraculously save everything proving once and for all that us athiests are fools and the church really is a divine institution? Seems to me, even the evangelicals, at their heart of hearts, realize god is actually just a figament of their imagination and a powerful motivator for a big, pointless and hopefully soon to be outdated institution.

    Thanks again for your piece.

  45. Andrew Sullivan is approaching the same “collapse” from a different place than you are, but there is resonance between your piece and his. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/andrew_sullivan/article5907453.ece

    pvk

  46. David van der Stoep says:

    Hi Michael,

    You’re starting to become world famous!!
    Here in the Netherlands we have 2 christian newspapers, who both have written articles about your article in the Christian Science Monitor. One newspaper even qualifies you as a church planter! Wow!
    Here are the links (unfortunately there’s no translation):
    http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1397788/Evangelicale+beweging+staat+op+instorten.html
    http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2009/maart/13/ineenstorting-evangelicalisme-vs-voorspeld

  47. This is all very fascinating.