“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
Citing statistics from the ARIS study and the Pew Research Center, the decline of church attendance and affiliation is a hot topic in the news lately. From USA Today to Newsweek, articles are being written about “The End of Christian America.”
“Young Christians are sick of pablum. It doesn’t work anymore. They are tired of rabbinical hair-splitting, empty liturgical apparatus, Sunday school minutiae, the ghostly voices of the old regime; they reject stuck minds and methods and by their indifference to structures and traditional authorities have declared them bankrupt, cancelled.”
– Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God
Somewhat surprisingly, in Charisma, J. Lee Grady recently said,
The charismatic movement as we know it has ended.
A “new generation” church is emerging.
No one has coined a term for this movement yet, but it is growing—and it represents the future of Christianity in our country.
He also seems unfamiliar or unaware of the emerging conversation and the growing Post-Charismatic conversation. Charismatics are notorious for not realizing that christianity exists outside of their
They are not the only ones. Many denominations and congregations can be like people who live in houses without ever looking out the windows. As long as everything is fine inside the house, they are unaware of problems or changes. If there is disruption to their house, they come running out with apocalyptic warnings.
Another quote that I read recently along these lines…
“The problem for the western church today is that people have done what the church told them to do, they have done what the preachers told them to do, they have followed the program, the bizarre religious ritual with its Bible labels. And they have found no glory, no river, no great dance.
Everyone in the western world seems to know this but the church. People are not listening to the church. And it is not because they hate God. It is because they have listened, and they have done what the church told them to do, and it has left them empty.
Could it be that the disinterest of the world in Christianity is owing to the fact that the world sees the religious nothingness it produces and wants nothing of it?”
– C. Baxter Kruger, The Great Dance
It doesn’t have to be this way. The church has an incredible opportunity at this time to redefine itself and its message to something that more accurately reflects the heart of God, to offer to the world a spirituality that is actually good news and brings life and love that can truly transform.
God forgive us for representing christianity as a lifeless form of dogma, tradition, and religiosity.