Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do You Agree With These Problems?

My friend Kevin Nelstead points us to "THIRTEEN CRITICAL PROBLEMS FACING CONTEMPORARY EVANGELICALISM." :

"Vast evidence of a growing doctrinal deterioration on the essentials and implications of the Gospel.
The expansion and influence of the “Prosperity Gospel” throughout evangelicalism.
The loss of the concept of meaningful church membership and the rise of the “audience-only” model of church participation.
The loss of the theological “center” in mainline churches at the precise time many evangelicals are open to reconsidering the mainline vision of worship, especially in Anglicanism.
The triumph and glorification of unchecked pragmatic entrepreneurialism, especially in worship, but in all areas of evangelical life.
The corrosive and compromised influence of Christian publishing in shaping evangelicalism, as exemplified in the rise of Joel Osteen, The Prayer of Jabez and the Prosperity Gospel.
Growing chaos in the theological and practical preparation of pastors, especially in the “emerging” church.
The failure of the “Seeker” model to use its vast resources and influence to produce a Christian counter-culture or challenge the “program centered/facilities centered” model of evangelicalism.
The lack of rising “Billy Graham” quality new leaders for the larger evangelical movement.
The failure of most evangelical denominations to broadly embrace and effectively mentor the current church planting movement.
The demise of quality Biblical preaching at the hands of technology and entertainment.
The apparently fatal infection of much of the emerging church movement with the failed theology of 20th century liberalism.
The cannibalism of evangelicalism on issues related to theological, cultural, social and political diversity. "

In every age Christians must strive to hold fast to Christ, stand firm in the message of the Gospel, from that firm stance reach widely to the world, and work in the cultures and settings where our Lord has planted us.

This calls for humble hearts and minds. Let us make sure that where we see pitfalls and concerns we use that insight to build others up and keep them on safe paths, appealing to brothers and sisters, rather than to tear down and put down and divide. Easy to write, difficult to do with grace and love. (Actually, impossible apart from Christ in us.)