Goodbye, Evangelicalism

Many of these “influencers” have little or no theological education, they haven’t done any Biblical scholarship, but they have wide audiences because they are perceived as authentic or “write from the heart”.

This applies equally to progressive and conservative influencers, I hasten to add. Some of them are very well-expressed, but many of the ideas they share are simply at odds with a Christian worldview.

.. a great many of these people who had been raised on Scripture, prayer, and Sunday School lacked any kind of cohesive Christian worldview. They knew dozens, maybe hundreds, of Bible verses but could not connect them to larger themes or ideas. The problem is that when ideas about sex or greed or whatever are not grounded in a larger framework, it’s easy to simply discard them. “We don’t practice animal sacrifice as Leviticus tells us, so why should I take what it has to say about sex seriously?”

.. the minute that a younger Christian faces cultural pressure because of their beliefs, the inclination is to ask “How important is this particular belief?” rather than “Is my entire framework for living going to collapse if I change?” And what I saw was that despite all the Bible study and whatnot, the culture won almost every time.

.. Even in youth groups, certain kids were held up as role models of what good Christian kids look like, even though the entire county knew those same kids were hammering down beers illegally on Friday night, bragging about stealing, and even discussing sexual adventures on social media. Yet come Sunday they are “walking right with the Lord”. And there seemed to be an invisible but very real pressure among families to present as the Mr. & Mrs. Perfect Christian Family, as if problems don’t exist in truly Christian households.

.. My Evangelical church does almost nothing together except sing. We don’t say any common prayers, or creeds; we don’t confess or repent together; even our Communion ritual is centered around “what Jesus did on the Cross for us”. We don’t do any community events, or really even sponsor any organizations – educational, charitable, whatever – in our area, but leave it to the individual congregants to do that.
In a nutshell, we’re a very atomized, even alienated group.

.. The Evangelical emphasis on right belief is in many respects admirable, but it is also stifling: what if I end up helping someone who isn’t an exact theological copy of me? The horror!

.. we’ve lost 18 legacy members of the church recently, basically the next generation of church leaders, who have all decamped to a newer, slicker church where nobody over the age of 40 is allowed in “public-facing ministry”.

.. my brief and not-at-all comprehensive survey suggests that it’s the 40-60 crowd that likes contemporary praise music; the young people don’t like an awful lot of it because they think it’s “cheesy”, “manipulative”, and “trying too hard”.

.. “We know church music is supposed to be different, so why are they trying so hard to sound like pop music?”

.. our whole church service is focused on the conversion moment, the proverbial altar call.