Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The "Left Coast" and the future of American Christianity

On the Stand Firm website, Sarah Hey asks the question: "So How Is The Inclusive, Open-Minded Left Coast Doing With 815’s New Gospel?" She then posts statistics (with graphs) to show that every Episcopal diocese in the state of California has lost nearly 25% of its average Sunday attendance in the last 10 years.

The apostle Paul wrote: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16)

America is becoming post-Christian (more quickly in some places than others) after the manner of Europe, and for the same reason. In the face of modernity, the church retreated and became ashamed of the Gospel. Liberal and "mainline" Christians felt that society's advances would provide the answers to society's ills. All the church needed to do was provide the spiritual component (for those who still required it).

Well it hasn't worked. The Brave New World doesn't need chaplains. A purely horizontal "gospel" overlaid with a religious veneer just isn't appealing to anyone. If people want to support gay rights and the Millennium Development Goals, all they have to do is vote Democrat, and they can sleep in or take the kids to soccer on Sunday morning. And they can probably feel better after a Yoga session, an hour of transcendental meditation, a walk on the beach, or a work-out at the gym than they will after a service at the typical liberal church.

If we don't preach the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ that can save souls and transform lives, then we need to give up, period.

Fortunately there are churches that preach the authentic Gospel on the "Left Coast." A few of them are Anglican, but hardly any of them are Episcopal (sadly). But the ones who do so are growing.
 

3 comments:

Donald said...

Thank you, Dean Munday, for this post, especially:

"If we don't preach the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ that can save souls and transform lives, then we need to give up, period."

Your passion for Jesus is palpable in those words!

God bless you!

Don+

Unknown said...

You said it well, Dean Munday. Your wisdom, boldness, and clarity here . . . God-breathed! (Thanks for listening to the Holy Spirit.)

JC Fremont said...

To echo a comment to Sarah's original post: "No one has ever needed a church to teach them how to be more secular." The 'Left Coast' is leading the secular charge, and they will ultimately disappear.