Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The End of Christian America? (4)

Somewhat as a response to Jon Meacham's article in Newsweek, "The End of Christian America," Greg Boyd wrote a piece entitled "Don't Weep for the Demise of American Christianity."  He puts forward some very good thoughts for consideration.  Today let us consider his assessment as to what has brought about this decline:

1.  American churches have been, to a large degree, gutted by good old fashioned American pragmatism.  We've become preoccupied with being "relevant" and "efficient" at the expense of holding fast to the theological depth of our biblically based traditions.  Megachurches in particular are guilty of this -- which in part explains why they become megachurches, for relevance and efficiency sell well to baby boomers.

2.  Evangelicals "have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism."  Spencer notes that "we fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith."

Manifesting typical Constantinian triumphalism, many conservative American Christians naively thought we could transform American society in a "Christian" direction by acquiring political power to enforce our (self-proclaimed) superior views on selected topics (especially abortion, gay marriage, creationism in schools and stem cell research) on the broader culture.  It has not gone well, to say the least.

After 40 years of intense political involvement, Evangelicals have little positive to show for their efforts.  To the contrary, we've arguably only succeeded in getting multitudes of non-Christian (or simply non-Evangelicals) to disdain us and the "Good News" message we're supposed to bring.  Now that the political parties and positions Evangelicals largely identified with have fallen on hard times, Evangelicals have, to a significant extend, fallen with them.

More tomorrow.       


1 comment:

Jeff said...

I could go on and on but I'll sound like a broken record. A thought I blurted out on another blog yesterday as stuck with me as I try to work through what it means for me.

If Christ is central to us, why would we ever end up on the right or left. Shouldn't we be in the middle where Christ is? Doing what Christ did? Serving who Christ served?

Why are we so worried about our nation when eternity is the grand prize? Not that we shouldn't have concern for everyone; in fact we should but not whether our nation is a "Christian nation."

I'm going to quit before I start rambling.