This leads me to a startling claim that appeared in the Christians Science Monitor a few years back; “Within two generations evangelicalism will be a house deserted…” So ran the opening line of an article called “The Coming Collapse of Evangelicalism,” written by an evangelical pastor named Michael Spencer.
Below I offer some of Spencer’s reasoning, believing his argument to be just as sound as it is troubling.
"Within 2 generations evangelicalism will be a house deserted..."
- its unneccesary identification with social and political conservatism and the so-called “culture wars”
- its failure to pass on to evangelical young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive
- its inability to produce, through Christian education, a people who can withstand the rising tide of secularism
- its ministries increasingly coming into conflict with a secular society that sees “good works” as “bad”
- its failure to pass on to its own children an evangelical confidence in the authority of Scripture
- its excess of debt and dwindling sources of revenue
Someone reading this might ask me - why raise this gloomy issue at all?
To begin with I am part of the Reformed tradition... and while most American evangelicals consider the Reformed tradition to be (at best) a kind of eccentric and stogy step-cousin, to the evangelical family, I nevertheless have a great deal of heartfelt sympathy for my evangelical brethren. It would grieve me tremendously to one day see the great house of evangelicalism lying in ruins. Furthermore, I prayerfully hope that the problems highlighted by Spencer (assuming they are accurate) can be corrected within the evangelical community and that Christ will graciously protect it from any and all self-destructive errors. But over and above all of this, I recognize what I hope all Christians reading this post will recognize regardless of the theological tradition from which they come – namely, that the errors which plague one part of Christ’s Body today might easily plague another part tomorrow.
Let us earnestly consider how Spencer’s argument might apply to us and let us humbly ask the Lord of the Church to correct our own in-house errors so that we - along with all of the household of God - might be strengthened in Christ for His glory and never fall into dereliction.