[D]mergent believes that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. predicted the Predicted the Decline of the Mainline Church. Perhaps the blog speaks to all churches as all are in decline as the “nones” become the largest faith group:
…Unfortunately, Christianity—because of so many botched attempts at fitting in, at being relevant, at making sure society doesn’t think us metaphysical rubes and hayseeds—has domesticated the faith to such an extent that disbelief takes little effort. We have fostered a situation in which it is appallingly easy, as Terry Eagleton says, to reject faith “on the cheap.” Faith, in the hands of too many of Jesus’ loudest and most unremittingly convinced fans, cannot but feel like the spiritual equivalent of polyester underpants—unflattering, out-of-date, and scratchy in the tenderest places.1
Here’s the thing: If the “nones” find disbelief preferable (and Lord knows there are plenty of really good reasons to do so) why not try to give them something interesting in which to disbelieve? My fear is that at the heart of much disbelief sits a reality that I, as a Christian, don’t have any stake in believing in either.
If the “nones” are leaving the church (and again, anyone with a little sense and some walking around change admits that there exist arguably compelling grounds for doing so) why not give them a true picture of what is they’re leaving? My fear is that they’re leaving because they’ve gotten a taste of a Christianity that many of us have no desire to defend….
Fifty years out, Martin Luther King called it. He said that “the judgment of God is on the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.”
And guess what happened. Over the next fifty years, we have seen those millions cast whatever loyalty to the church they might once have held aside. Looking like a social club apparently just won’t get it done….
Read it all here.