There seems to be a discussion going on over what they consider to be fads and trends in evangelicalism, or I would say the Church as a whole. They both come up with interesting lists, but I’m not sure what I think about the whole thing. I agree that there are many fads and trends within the Church, and especially within evangelicalism.
I tend to think that evangelicalism for the most part, at least how it is carried out in American suburbia life, has been hijacked by a consumer mentality that is not healthy at all. It is something that I struggle against in my own spiritual life, and it is something that I struggle against in the ministry that I have been placed in. Because bottom line, I like to consume. I have resonated with the article in Christianity Today from 2003, titled Suburban Spirituality.
But for me to say that the American Church has been hijacked by consumerism is a broad generalization. It may have some truth in it, or a lot of truth in it, but it doesn’t paint, explain, or diagnose the real issue, or what is the issues that truly undergird the overarching problems within evangelicalism. I can point my fingers at a lot of things, or a lot of people. That’s easy to do, and doing it in the blogosphere is like a drive by shooting, where we pull up, point our fingers at someone, and take off without so much of a discussion most of the time. And we all do it. I did it earlier this week when I used Karl Barth in comparison to Lewis Sperry Chafer. But I’m thinking, that doesn’t help out much of anything.
So after looking at the two above bloggers, I can probably agree with some of their lists, and some of their thoughts. But there are a lot of things I disagree with. And I’m not exactly sure if those fads, trends, or people they mention are the problems. Maybe the problems lie within us. Maybe we are the problem, and we need to look at ourselves, and not point our fingers at everyone else.
I too was pretty disappointed with this list as well, and I thought a lot of really, really important people were left off of it. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the really important things that are happening in the Church, or evangelicalism, are being done by people we don’t even know, or have never even heard of. Not that great things aren’t happening with the people on those list, but maybe celebrity status doesn’t equal certain things.
I’m pretty judgemental myself at times, but I have to believe and think that God is using all kinds of people, and all kinds of movements, fads, and trends to bring people closer to Him. And maybe what we consider a trend or fad is really our own perception of things. I mean, Evangelical Outpost, Phil Johnson, and myself could probably not be more different when it comes to our education, theological beliefs, and the church we attend. So we are all coming at these things with our own skewed vision. The one thing that we can probably all agree on though, is that sometime we don’t always present, or live out Christianity in the proper way. But we will keep moving forward, making mistakes, and hopefully try to head in the right direction.
I agree with one of my professor in that he says it is not the church of the past, or even the present that we are hoping for, or wanting, but it is really the church that is coming out of the future. It is the church at the end of time, not the church in the 1st century that we are aiming for. So I have hope that the Church, the Church that will be there when God returns is continuing to emerge and take shape.
Feel free to comment, because I would like to hear your feeback on these articles. I’m afraid myself, that I have been inconsisent, and one who likes to point fingers as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if I come up with my own list of fads and trends. Hmmmmm. In a predicament.