The Collapse of Evangelicalism?

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After same-sex marriage was judicially imposed on America in 2015, I joined many who predicted that cultural pressure against the biblically faithful Christian church would increase. It did.

One of the burning questions in my mind has been not whether evangelicalism would culturally compromise, capitulate and assimilate, but how quickly would it occur? In recent weeks, during deep conversations with mature believers, I found myself making the declarative statement: “Evangelicalism is collapsing.” I paused, hoping that my friends would say “no” and try to convince me that I was wrong, but they did not. I was very sad when they agreed with me.

Perhaps a better question is, why is Evangelicalism collapsing? The simple answer is the toxic mix of extreme cultural pressure and our human frailties and sin. But here are a few specifics areas of concerns that I have observed fighting on the front lines in our recent culture wars.

•  Lack of Biblical Leadership: There is a rapidly diminishing willingness of pastors and Christians leaders to be bold and courageous—to be clear where the Bible is clear when it confronts and contradicts the culture, especially in the clash with the forces of radical sexual liberty and the rapid infiltration of the new age paganism (Hinduism & Buddhism) in the church. Many sheep, unfortunately, follow the “lead” of these weak shepherds.

•  Fear of Man: We do not want people to dislike us or call us names, so we are increasingly quiet and culturally disengaged. For example, many of us are no longer sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbors. We ought rather to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

•  Sin & Disobedience: Many evangelical churches have erased the word “sin” from their vocabulary. Weak “fire insurance” Christianity is preached, while discipleship and obedience are seen as, at most, optional for the lazy and narcissistic. Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Jesus Christianity (Matt. 16:24) is optional—but only for a few radical believers.

•  Self-Preservation: We do not want to lose our standing in the community or our livelihoods—as have the Christian photographers, bakers, and florists and others. So we are quiet and don’t resist.

•  Idolatry & Fatigue: It is easier to just give in, and thereby at least temporarily keep worshipping our American Christian idols of comfort and success rather that the tireless task of continuing to oppose evil and darkness by standing for righteousness.

There are, of course, notable exceptions to these fractures and dark trends in evangelicalism. There are pastors, Christian leaders, and faithful laypersons who are unmoved by the recent pressure and are uncompromising. But this pool of the faithful seems, at least to me, to be shrinking rapidly. Repentance and revival—starting with the church—is sorely needed.

I believe much is at stake. Not only is the faithful gospel witness of the church in play in this generation, but the dark forces at play are potentially civilization-ending events—if history is any indication here—and I strongly believe that it is. The rapid demise of evangelicalism is joined by the demise of Western Civilization, in fact, the demise of the Judeo-Christian worldview. This is a very big deal. This is a profound loss. If we truly love our neighbors—and our children and grandchildren—we will take a principled stand for righteousness and fight for the common good.

Jesus Christ warned his disciples about a day when we will be hated because of His name, when we will be persecuted and killed because of our faith. That false prophets will arise and deceive many people. Why? “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mathew 24:12-14). The raw coercive pressure of evil will force widespread compromise. We live in such a day now.

So I ask: “How strong is your love? Your love of God? Your love of His Word? Your love of truth? Your love of His people? If it is not red-hot with committed passion, it will not last—you probably won’t make it. I believe we are witnessing, under pressure, the process of separation of the sheep and the goats. It will be painful, yet focusing and purifying.

Yes, our ultimate hope is God’s faithful promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. But the time for fair-weather, half-hearted, wimpy, “fluffy bunny” Christian disciples is finished. There is a war happening on our watch. Surrender is not an option. We must run to the battle, confident that our Father is good and that our future is secure in Jesus Christ.

— by Dean R. Broyles, Esq.

Broyles is a constitutional attorney serving as the President of The National Center For Law & Policy (NCLP), an organization fighting to promote and defend religious freedom. Copyright© The National Center For Law & Policy. Reprinted with permission.

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