I’m not so sure Christianity is dying; so much as only a certain kind of Christianity is dying. The kind of Christianity I’m referring to is the American kind of Christianity.
Some might know it as Evangelicalism others might have seen it in their mainline denominations, either way, or either form of tradition, American Christianity is nearing its end, it’s quickly losing its power, it’s steam, and it’s appeal.
This politically charged, fundamentalist, religious right is fading out. It’s no longer the bandwagon to jump on. Quite honestly, I don’t think that’s bad. Though Mark Driscoll would disagree as he writes in his upcoming book, A Call To Resurgence: Will Christianity Have A Funeral or A Future?:
“Christians are ostracized. Gay marriage is celebrated. Abortion is literally destroying an entire generation. The bandwagon has stopped carrying us and has started running over us. The church is dying, and no one is noticing because we’re wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing.”
I want to be clear, I agree, to a large part, with what he’s acknowledging, but from a far different perspective. What I think he’s missing is that the Church is not dying, it’s only his version of Church that’s dying, and it’s not that we’re not noticing, it’s that many of us are hoping the ship will sink faster.
For instance when he says that, “Christian’s are ostracized,” I’m not sure it’s that, so much as it is that the fundamentalist religious right is being ignored. We’re tired of arguing over ordeals (homosexuality and abortion) that Jesus never mentioned, focusing on creating political agendas that quite frankly oppress rather than free…
So as American Evangelical pastors are shouting from inside the four walls of their church, “The Church is dying, and no one is noticing because we’re wasting time criticizing rather than evangelizing…”
“People are dying (literally), and yes, you are wasting your time criticizing and politicizing while we have left Sunday morning programs to focus in on evangelizing (that being serving, loving, and caring for the poor, powerless, and oppressed).”
We begin to read the bible and discover that the same Jesus found in the New Testament is rarely found within our American Churches. We begin to see that, though Sunday morning programs are not bad, it is bad when Sunday morning programs become the whole of your faith and walk with Christ. It is in fact terrible, when our tithes, go first towards a building project, and only later (if at all) towards the poor and needy.
Theologically and practically speaking, we’re beginning to notice that this Americanized version of Christianity is more closely centered on us than it is on Christ.
So we’re not walking away from Christianity; many of us are simply realizing that what we grew up in might not have ever actually been Christianity. We do not want to destroy or abolish the Church and it’s institution, we simply want to reform the Church and it’s institution.
It seems the only two types not openly willing to accept this are:
- Those who have thrived, or are currently thriving off of careers from American Christianity.
- And Those who have never read the bible, yet attend these
Again, I want to be clear, my goal is NOT to destroy the Church; I am dedicated to serving the Church for the entirety of my life. I am simply seeking a reformation of the Church.
The Church is not dying it’s thriving. I truly, whole-heartedly believe that the Spirit of God is stirring in our Western Church more than it has in the last 50 years – but you know how the saying goes… “Sometimes things have to get worse in order for them to get better.”