Michael Spencer, who has more than once had some pretty harsh things to say about yours truly and this ministry, nonetheless speaks much truth in this article in the Christian Science Monitor. Colin Smith pointed this out to me two days ago, and Phil Johnson commented on it on his blog today. I agree with many of his predictions, and with a large portion of his identification of the problems with much of evangelicalism. But what is missing in Spencer’s commentary is rather glaring: the wrath of God upon Western Society as a whole. The reason more and more people are godless and religionless and in love with secular humanism is not merely due to a “failure” of evangelicalism. Let’s face it: America follows Europe’s lead, and as God has blessed the USA greatly with material blessings, we have become more and more hardenend in our thanklessness. We focus upon ourselves, our needs, and revel in our sins. Yes, of course the church has failed to clearly preach the gospel, clearly call for repentance, choosing a man-friendly version of “preaching” that allows you to avoid the scandal of the gospel. But a healthy, thriving church is a blessing on any nation, and the fact is, a nation in love with itself and at war with God does not deserve the blessing of a sound church. The two are intertwined. I truly believe that what we are seeing today with the perversion of marriage, the exaltation of deviancy, etc., is not what will bring the wrath of God, it is the wrath of God.
I have been saying for years now that the day is coming when we will have to count the cost to speak the truth in Western society. Spencer seems to agree:
This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.
We are seeing this already in Europe with great clarity, and we can see it in the words of the new leadership in the United States as well. The rhetoric of the left in the last election made it very clear, and the fact that there are people this very day seeking to destroy the reputations and businesses of anyone who contributed to Proposition 8 in California is clear testimony to the diseased nature of Western society.
Another of Spencer’s comments needs to be repeated:
We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
I cannot glibly dismiss this strong statement by saying, “Well, not in MY home, not in MY church!” I have done all I could to avoid this very problem in my own life, but the fact is that my generation has utterly failed the next in passing on any meaningful connection to the past, any meaningful passion for the faith. Oh, sure, there are exceptions. I think of some of the young folks I know through our ministry’s chat channel, like Lane and Sue and Stark and slam and Floggy and Mika and SirBrass and Machaira and Yogi—but the exceptions sadly prove the rule. Sure, as my daughter Summer would tell me, her own generation is intent upon ignoring even our feeble efforts, being far too busy pursuing after the things of this world. But the reality is, the speed at which the degeneration of our society is proceeding will only accelerate over the next two decades, barring an outpouring of God’s Spirit bringing repentance and revival to our land.