Not too long ago I was discussing the current state of evangelicalism with our commentator Robert, who gave me permission to quote his remarks.
We were discussing via e-mail a certain extremely poor "argument" (really, just a series of assertions), which Robert takes apart here. I had recently had the unpleasant revelation that there are quite a few Christian young people out there who would find the nonsense in question "compelling." I ranted:
What is happening that such a weak...piece as hers could seem like a "strong argument" to a generation? Can it really be that empty rhetoric like "the blazing furnace of Jesus' love"...just overwhelms people and they feel like they have to agree? Talk about sophistry! It makes me tremble really for the future of the church. Something has to have happened to these young people if that's their initial reaction to her nonsense...Do you have any insight on that?
This was Robert's reply:
There is a very unhealthy mistrust of anything mental and a [blind] acceptance of personal experiences. Second and maybe worse is that it seems the youth today are the first or second generation of assumed Christians. By that I mean, their parents just assume them to be Christians and never actually teach them anything. We just assume they know everything important by osmosis.
This is damning.
Technically, I was not raised evangelical. I was raised Baptist fundamentalist, and my parents and teachers were concerned to point the contrast. The evangelicals, I was told, were the squishes. They were wishy-washy. They didn't bother with doctrine. They encouraged people to go to whatever their local church might be, regardless of whether it gave true, biblical teaching. And so forth.
As I grew up, I decided that evangelicals weren't all that much different from me after all, except that they listened to Christian rock and didn't think alcoholic beverages were intrinsically immoral. I was a little worried about the liberalism of some of them and their fondness for people like Tony Campolo but tried not to think about it too much as I looked for Christian friends on secular campuses. In a sense, I assumed that evangelical churches were just like fundamentalist churches, only a little looser on inessentials, but with the same emphasis on Christian formation, on urging young people to examine themselves, to keep away from sin, to love and follow Jesus Christ, and to know their Bibles that I remembered in my own upbringing. The fact that I never actually belonged to any church that identified itself as such (I went straight from the Baptist fundamentalist churches to looking into liturgical churches and ended up in a continuing Anglican church) kept all of this at the theoretical level. Except for personal contacts with individuals, I never checked out my guesses directly.
Now I'm beginning to think perhaps my parents were right after all. Maybe the evangelicals had already started letting the wolves in the door away back then, and by this time...well...they surely have. If there are any fundamentalist churches and schools left, the wolves will go for them next.
I believe that Satan has looked at America and seen here a last bastion of sincere Christianity, and has attacked it, and is attacking it with alarming success.
Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's church.