Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton recently said ”Never waste a good crisis.”. That seemed to bother many and without getting into the politics of the moment I am thinking there is some merit to her statement. Last week I mentioned the article The Coming Evangelical Crisis which was written by the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer. Others have commented on this article as well. Phil Johnson at Team Pyro responded with Evangelicalism Down the Drain? James White at Alpha-Omega responded with The Coming Evangelical Collapse and even Mark Galli at C.T. got in on the discussion with his piece On the Lasting Evangelical Survival. Although Galli takes a bit of a different view for the most part many of the discernment ministries are in agreement with Spencer’s conclusion although not with his solutions. As I have had time to think on this over the week it occurred to me that, as Hillary Clinton, we should never waste a good crisis. Some are asking, “Whatever could you mean?”
A crisis is not necessarily a bad thing. It is nearly always scary and uncomfortable but can either break or strengthen people and circumstances. A crisis can bring clarity of purpose and direction. It is nearly always a turning point. Evangelicalism has changed a lot with the advent of the “Seeker Sensitive” and “Purpose Driven” market based product which is the current popular way “of doing church.” The way it functions is a sort of Christianized multi-level marketing plan. Attendees are to invite friends and neighbors to the presentation location where the potential candidate can be wowed with an impressive show and after several weeks a dramatic closing appeal. Once they agree they in turn begin recruiting more down line. The bulk of the Evangelical investment is in the building, staff and marketing in order to continually expand the Evangelical market base. The stresses are already being seen in these institutions with the advent of the Emerging Church. The marketing and function have shifted as the consumers tastes have turned more towards mysticism and away from sound teaching. This is really necessary in order to hold on to and perhaps expand the market share. As the practices within the Evangelical Church continue merging toward New Age, Wicca and other mystical practices, there will indeed be a collapse of Evangelicalism in its current form. That is not a bad thing biblically speaking. The Apostle Paul pointed out the importance of this sort of crisis in 1 Corinthians 11:19:
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Which churches will survive? Those that train their congregation to take their faith outside to share and defend in the pagan culture in which we live. The emerging Evangelical church will indeed be smaller but not dependant on large centralized facilities. It will train and equip individual believers in essential defense of the faith, critical thinking and skills of persuasion but most importantly a dependence on God for the increase in bringing the lost to Him. The Church will again become the place where believers meet for edification, growth, comfort and teaching. Non-believers will be met where they live and gather. In light of that I wonder is the current Evangelical churches will become another part of the mission field?