Monday, June 02, 2008

The Decline of Evangelicalism

Yesterday, Christine Wicker wrote an interesting piece published in the Dallas Morning News entitled, "The Great Evangelical Decline.

The basic theme of the piece is that evangelicals are not as prominent in America as published reports indicated (i.e., there aren't really as many believers in America as most people suppose). That's something I've been suggesting for a long time.

Wicker then offers three reasons why that is so:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous and all its 12-step offspring…
  • The second attack came within the church as American evangelicals themselves became less willing to proclaim that they are the only ones saved.
  • And along comes The Pill. It's merely one of the insidious attacks science has launched against traditional religious faith, but it is surely the most successful. Nothing in history has changed human relations as much as that little white pill.

These surely are not the only reasons, but I would agree that they are contributing causes; and I don't agree with all her conclusions:

Evangelical leaders defend their stance by claiming that God doesn't change and that neither does sin. But sin does change. Slavery wasn't sin once. Now it is. Taking a wife and a concubine wasn't sin once. Now it is. And God – or our understanding of what God is, which is all we actually have – changes, too.

I think that the Scriptures are quite emphatic that neither sin nor God are mutable. Nor were slavery, adultery and fornication once right in the eyes of God and now they are wrong. They have always been sin and always will be.

However, the piece is worth reading for the thought it provokes about what has gone wrong in the evangelical church.

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