Mere Churchianity, part 2
The second in a series of repostings of a series I started earlier in the year on Michael Spencer’s book Mere Churchianity.
We’re continuing our discussion of Michael Spencer’s book Mere Churchianity, picking up on themes from Chapter 2, which is titled The Jesus Disconnect.
The first theme Spencer addresses is that of many evangelical Christians failing to see the problem of non-Christians distancing themselves from the church, wanting very little to do with it or the Christians who comprise it.
Spencer then addresses the first thing I think of when I hear a statement like that: of course pagans won’t want anything to do with Christianity nor Christians. It’s an understandable, and easy, response to have, and it can kill the discussion right then and there.
You have to frame it in such a way that the discussion goes beyond the obvious. Why do non-Christians want nothing to do with Christians and the church? Why do non-Christians seem more open to Jesus than His followers? Is it their sin, or is it ours? This I believe is what Spencer is aiming to address.
One of the responses, Spencer says, was from evangelicals who replied by saying everything was alright by pointing to their prosperity.
But how does that prosperity account for the growing trend of people abandoning the institutional church in America? Not necessarily their faith, but the institutions they came to faith in and spent years in before finally walking away?
One factor Spencer points to is evangelicalism’s tendency to be culturally relevant, and what he calls a “misdirected brand of spirituality and community that is being promoted by the most successful evangelicals”.
He then follows up with a potentially provocative comment: “Evangelicalism has become the sworn enemy of biblical Christianity…it’s more like a fraternal lodge with its own language, rules, requirements, rituals, and secret handshake”. Then he comments on people abandoning evangelicalism en masse for Catholicism, Orthodoxy, or no belief at all.
Evangelicalism, Spencer charges, has abandoned Jesus. And people in turn are abandoning evangelicalism because of its disconnect from Jesus.
Spencer gives examples of what contemporary evangelicalism sells
provides tofor its customersmembers and attendees:
- Financial prosperity
- Good sex
And what of the concept of community, as presented by many evangelical churches?
Is it like the community Jesus gathered around Himself…or not?
Spencer is asking if what the evangelical church presents as Christianity actually representative of Jesus, or consumeristic religion….like a pecan pie without pecans.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself, and my opinions are my own and not those of the author nor the publisher. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”