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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the coming evangelical collapse: the core

In my last post, I offered some thoughts on Michael Spencer's blog series The Coming Evangelical Collapse. On the whole, I think Spencer has identified some real problems, which all stem, IMO, from one core issue. And it's not limited to Evangelicals.

American Protestant Christianity is, to borrow a phrase, a mile wide and an inch deep. Now I want to make two things clear: 1) I say this as an American Protestant; I think Protestant Christianity has some life in it, and I think it does have something unique to offer. 2) I've met many dedicated people, both staff and laity, in American Protestant churches, people who are sincere in following the call God has placed on their lives.

But the American Protestant churches have been seduced by power. Not just political power, but the economic power that comes with being the majority in a wealthy and influential nation. Not only have we ignored the growing inequity in American society, we've largely been responsible for it. Ken Lay, founder of Enron, was a well-respected member of his church in Houston. Former CEO Richard Scrushy of HealthSouth, now in prison for bribery and mail fraud, donated a million dollars to his church during his trial.

When we're too cozy with the oppressors, we can't speak out against injustice. We are — to borrow another phrase — rich and prosperous, thinking that we need nothing, failing to see that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

If it takes a monumental collapse to rejuvenate the church, then I'm ready for it.

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