Two articles caught my eye this past week. Neither of them really portends good things, IMO.
The 1st was reported by COG Writer on 11 March. Robert Thiel commented on a Christian Science Monitor article titled “The coming evangelical collapse” by Michael Spencer. Let’s face it: Most “evangelicals” couldn’t articulate what they believe in a coherent manner if their life depended upon it. So many of them don’t even read their Bibles that it should be shameful (the fact that it isn’t shameful to them says even more than I could say about it). So many have bought into the “feel good” teachings of some of these megachurches that they no longer have a Biblical base at all for their beliefs. Furthermore, they are unable to pass on these beliefs to their children, as they cannot adequately explain them.
At the same time, antagonism towards Christianity in general will continue to rise. In the West, it will be seen as “the opponent of the common good.” Political involvement has tapped out the conservative Christian movement, which will cause political leaders to view it as a threat to cultural progress.
What will be the result of these forces, according to Spencer? “Aggressive evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.” Many may give up political engagement, and response to the culture war will fragment. The “emergent church” will disappear as well. The winners? Roman Catholicism and Orthodox will take on many ex-evangelicals. The other major winner will be Charismatic-Pentecostalism.
The Catholic churches have seen an influx of evangelicals in recent years. Even some Protestants have been striving to go back to more “traditional” services of various types, although Spencer doesn’t mention it. All in all, the lines between Protestant and Catholic are becoming more blurred.
Spencer believes that “Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.”
Well, to answer his question, I turn to the other item I read last week, “Todd Bentley marries woman he had affair with; Rick Joyner wants you to send Bentley some money” from ReligionNewsBlog.com.
In a message titled, “Todd Bentley Begins Restoration Process” Rick Joyner — controversial for his extra-Biblical and un-Biblical teachings — insists that Bentley’s Lakeland Revival “was from God”:
Those of you who were touched by the Lakeland Outpouring do not lose your encouragement. What happened there was from God, and Todd is a true servant of God. He has made some mistakes, and he is trying to get his life back in order, and you can be confident that he will.
– Source: MorningStar Ministries, Mar. 9, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
It seems to me that Christianity within the US is becoming polarized to 2 extremes. Unfortunately, both are emotion-based instead of fact-based, and the COG is likely to be caught in the middle.