I was skeptical at the time [Michael Spencer]…wrote this, and said so in print. But today I admit that Spencer was more right than he was wrong. Recent events and surveys bear out many of his predictions. We truly are in a moment of crisis in the American evangelicalism.
To be clear, I have no money in this game, meaning it doesn’t matter to me if, as many predict, the movement known as American evangelicalism fades away with the sunset. God has raised up many reform movements since the day of Pentecost, and has seen many die—some of which I suspect he has killed off. If evangelicalism fades away, he will in his mercy raise up another movement that will revive his people. The future of the church in America does not hinge on the health of evangelicalism; it hinges on the power of God. I’d say we’re in good hands.
That being said, American evangelicalism has had a unique beginning, one that energized it and carried it along for two centuries and more. And it has been one of the most revolutionary movements in church history, changing the face not only of North American Christianity, but with the 19th century missionary movement, the entire globe. This history has many troubling elements, as many have pointed out. This is not surprising, because it is a movement full of sinners. But God has been good and has nonetheless used it to enable people from all walks of life and every corner of the world to know the unsurpassable grace of Jesus Christ.
Still, contemporary evangelicalism is in serious trouble. Actually, its crisis is the same one that afflicts all Christianity in America. At the risk of hubris, and the risk of merely adding one more item to the seemingly endless list of crises, I believe that the crisis lies at the heart of what ails large swaths of the American church. Alexander Solzhenitsyn named it in his speech upon receiving the Templeton Prize in Religion in 1968. He was talking about Western culture when he used it. I apply it to the American church, evangelical and not:
We have forgotten God.
— Mark Drinnenberg (@MarkDrinnenberg) May 23, 2019