Ten Things

I’ve been largely absent from the blogosphere lately and feeling derelict in my duties.  However, the time away has served to reinforce previous insights; 1) The american protestant world, continues to be remade in the image of Peter Drucker, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, John Hagee, Joel Osteen and the like.  As such, we have become the caricature of ourselves on SNL, Comedy Central, South Park, et al.  2) We’ve earned most every bit of ridicule we receive from the secular prophets.  3) Scarily, I’m noticing unbelieving friends start to buy some of our drivel. 4) Rome has won. Word-Faith has won. Protestant liberalism has won.  We don’t understand this well enough to have conceded. 5) The democratic party has finally seen how similar we are to them ideologically, how easy we are to turn, and have finally started to pander to us as a political base. 7) In desperation, I’ve seen many reformed pastors/churches doing their best Rick Warren impersonation via poorly executed “Kelleresque” culture transformation sermons and programs.-Rome continues to win.  8)  It’s going to get worse. 9) It’s getting worse.  10) I don’t see it getting better any time soon.

Happy Days.

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4 Responses to Ten Things

  1. mboss says:

    “Rome has won. Word-Faith has won. Protestant liberalism has won.”

    What have they won? Have they infiltrated and corrupted (or is it exposed?) that thing we call American Evangelicalism? Yes. Have they defeated Christ’s church? Of course not. While my glass can be just as half empty as the next guy’s, we ought not despair. Besides, the “good old days” weren’t always as good to those who lived them, and perhaps today there are more things to be encouraged about than we’re willing to admit.

    Mike

  2. sean says:

    Mike,

    Never said I was despairing, and I’m not longing for the “good old days”. The american church is a wasteland. I think any other analysis, is either an exception that proves the rule or just a dishonest or ignorant assessment. Part of the weakness of our churches, is this blatant unwillingness to be honest with who we are, and the reformed churches seem to be just as guilty of this pollyanna analysis as many others. Most of the churches are cheating, they refuse or are unable to faithfully display the marks, and the fact that they’re creedal or the trinity hymnal can be found in the pew doesn’t inoculate them from criticism nor make everything ok.

  3. Sean,

    Your analysis here sure is appreciated!

    In the Northeast sector (upstate NY), we’ve been fighting a losing battle for the last 15 years +. Even the so-called ‘reformed’ churches in the region are in an accelerated free-fall, gaining ground, on the heels of shallow evangelicalism.

    Again and again, we see a confirmed dominance of Civil Religion/Christless Christianity.

    Despairing? Yes, in part. When Christ and His Gospel are but a faint memory in a hyper-spiritual wasteland… yes, I’m weeping!

  4. sean says:

    Matt,

    It very much reminds me of when I first left the calvary chapel churches in so. cal. for the OPC back in ’89. You knew it was bad, and all the reformed Jeremiad’s against evangelicalism were proving true, still I remember thinking; it’ll get better. How could it get worse. We were already doing the “church campus” with our own gym and bowling alley, and altar calls to the point of neurosis. Still, we knew enough to laugh at TBN, and Hannegraff was busy burying every cult he could find. At least fm the perspective of apologetics, truth mattered. Those days are gone. TBN won. I say all that to say this; the gospel truths don’t seem to be cyclical. They don’t come “back in fashion.” They can be lost for thousands of years. They have to be fought for. There isn’t a whole lot of room for “niceness” in the face of attacks on gospel essentials. We americans are really bad at this when it comes to things “religious”. I see this sort of tolerance and Rodney King sensibility more and more in reformed churches. The twist in reformed churches I’ve noticed, and since we’re not congregationalists some of this is to be expected, is I perceive and have experienced more and more officers and clergy willing to “pull rank” if you will in the face of opposition (very Rick Warrenish). There is an aristocratic mood among many not dissimilar to what I experienced as an RC. They have a program and an agenda, they’re pursuing it and if you don’t like it, “you might want to consider attending elsewhere.” All of which would be fine if the agenda squared with creedal particulars. However, my experience is that they don’t. You’ve got under one tent; theonomists, neo-nomians, Union with Christ emphasis that obscures sola fide, 2-k adherents, klineans, monocovenantalists, bi-covenantalists, hard merit and soft merit champions. Not to mention all the other hot-button considerations such as political affiliations, homeschooling, creationism, evidentialists vs van-tillians, natural law adherents, and on and on. The WCF can’t bear the weight of all these camps. Not all are “essential” issues but enough of them are, and I don’t see the ones critical to the gospel, winning out without representation and a wilingness to call a spade “a spade.”- not an ethnic slur, thank you very much.

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