Future History of the Church

A question posed recently by one of my professors started me thinking.  Knowing the quality of intellect represented by Nephos commenters, I thought I’d get your perspective on it.

What is the most important challenge(s) you believe American Christianity will be facing in the next fifty years?

What do you think? 

BTW . . .I HAVE already finished the assignment, so your answers aren’t helping me cheat!  🙂  

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13 thoughts on “Future History of the Church

  1. What is the most important challenge(s) you believe American Christianity will be facing in the next fifty years?

    Being lulled into a false sense of spirituallity.

    I truly believe that we, as a country, have some ball & chains around us that keep us from seeing just what spirituallity is.

    Our wealth keeps us from “feeling the need” to rely on God.

    Our freedoms have removed a “servant” mindset that would help us understand just what being a servant means.

    Our superpower status breeds into us a sense of being better than others.

    Obviously, none of these represent true reality. But I’m convinced that most of us would draw near to God in a BIG WAY if our lives brought with them something more than the idea that God is a supplimental vitamin pill whose job is to make up the difference between what we can do and what needs to get done.

    If I were truly spiritual, I would understand my need for God and plow through any obstacle that tried to keep me from Him.

    And I don’t see anything changing in the next 50 years except that we will be even more lulled.

  2. Danny, that is a great answer. I was thinking along those same lines though I know a lot of folks that struggle with the purpose of the church. We know; but does anyone else really know?

    In so many ways the church has “outsourced” herself that many people do not see its relevance and that a lot of what she is supposed to do is being done more successfully by other institutions.

    Hence the apparent success of parachruch organizations as well as government inclusion in providing for the “least of these.” Benevolent ministries seem to me to be lacking somewhat and a healthy benevolent ministry gives many churches credence in their communities.

    But the church has too readily turned over these things to whomever will take them and failing to do what God has clearly said to do. But hey, if welfare is more effective, why bother?

  3. I’m going to write my answer before I go read what Danny and Tony have written, just in case I get influenced by them…

    I think the most important challenge in the next 50 years will be a loss of “comfort” and freedom as Christians. I honestly can see, in that time period, many Christians in America experiencing “underground” Christianity, although maybe not to the extent that we see in other countries such as China.

    But the current “bedfellows” of evangelicalism and political leadership are, in my very humble opinion, headed for a nasty divorce.

    This is all just my own prediction, and I do not even dare to claim to be offering prophecy from God. I may turn out to be entirely wrong on this, but that’s my answer to the question.

  4. I think the greatest challenge will be the same as it has always been: to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

    I believe the other answers that have been give are closely related to this, with Danny’s and Tony’s being symptoms of a failure to love God, and Steve’s answer being the consequences of that failure.

  5. Bro. Cameron,
    I think along the lines of the other comments .

    I will say that the CBS news cast about athiest trying to figure out about the reasons they are athiests , and some of the answers they gave seems to me that they are telling the world that it is ok to be an athiest ?
    They are saying that they have a kind of illness that makes them to be an athiest !
    This along with the other reasons in the other comments add to the problems in the next 50 years ! I realize we have athiests in our society, but according to the news cast it seemed to me that all they wanted is more worldwide recognition?

    Blessings. Ron.

    BTW- I’m not real intelligent either , and feel free to correct me ?

  6. Thanks to all for your great responses. Right now I won’t attempt to interact (at this time)with all that is said other than to say I am in agreement with what I’ve read. At least a part of my answer was along the same lines. I’ll try to write more on this later.

    Steve, you’ll notice that I allow Gordon to post too! 😉

  7. Ron,

    There is certainly seems to be an strong effort by atheists for social acceptability. A number of “apologetical” books have been written in the last months by atheists. I don’t think this is a concerted effort, but I do think they want to move their ideology from the margins into mainstream. The church’s response to this most likely be one of the challenges we face in the near future.

  8. DK,

    “Our wealth keeps us from “feeling the need” to rely on God.

    Our freedoms have removed a “servant” mindset that would help us understand just what being a servant means.

    Our superpower status breeds into us a sense of being better than others.”

    This reminds me of the church in Revelation “you are rich and have need of nothing.” It’s a shame that the material “blessings” we have been given are the very things that will ultimately destroy us.

    Tony,
    That’s a great observation regarding “outsourcing.” Seems to me that conservative reaction to the social gospel drove some to the opposite extreme. This isn’t necessarily intsitutionally (I know of several ministries that are doing a wonderful job) as it is individually. Most Christians do little to help the poor of their community.

    Steve,
    You hit on a part of my response. The church is going to face a completely different dynamic in the future. I personally don’t think we will see a return to the time when “Christianity was king.” We’re going to have to learn to survive in an increasingly pluralistic society.

    Gordon,
    Great summary! As usual, you have gotten to the heart of the issue.

    Again, thanks for the great responses. I plan to post the second half of the question as well as my respones in the near future. Stay tuned! 🙂

  9. Cameron,
    It has been some time since I came and read one of your articles, then I see this.
    I really do not see the challenges being any different that that of the early Church in Jerusalem. They were dispised, not respected, and persecuted. Though we have not yet experienced the persecution, in the USA, like the early Church; I do think it is coming. Especially if some of these hate crimes bills are passed.
    Then, we will definitely be “Intolerant” and sentenced to jail and/or prison for our “Hatred” for those who fail to believe in the exclusiveness of Christ.
    I hope I said that right. I don’t see myself as being intelligent either. I am thankful for what little God gave me.
    T.A.

  10. Pastor Tim,

    It’s good to have you stop by again! I agree with your assessment. I believe in the near future, we will see an increase in governmental and cultural interference in our religious liberties. The big question is, will the American church have enough character to stand?

  11. Cameron,
    I think, as to your question, that is something we need to make a solid determination now. If we cannot stand now we will not then.
    T.A.

  12. As per the vision of Daniel and John in the Isle of Patmos, the Church, that is the True Born Again Church worlwide is going through and will continue to go through persecution. The Church follows a Lord who was willing to die, and so must the Church be willing to die, not loving her life unto death – Rev. 12:11. All this talk of Dominion and Kingdom Now is a rehash of old Jewish hype of supremacy that they wanted to assert through Jesus as He rode to Jerusalem through the Hosannas. Only after the Saints were overcome that the Ancient of Days would come to snatch the power from the Enemy and hand over to the Church.

    It happened to Jesus. He was willing to die and only thereafter was he highly exalted and given a name above all names, to rule and to put down. The Lord said to his disciples, ‘As my Father sent me so send I you’ (John 20: 21, The Church in America and the Churches in the rest of the world under the influence of the American Churches must understand that the life of the Church is the Midrashic recapitulation of the very life of Jesus. It is seen recapitulating in the life of the early Church and it is happening to Churches in countries like India, Pakistan, China and such.

    The Dragon is enabled by the Lord and not by the Devil to wage a war against the Saints. He is given a mouth not by the Devil but by the Lord to blaspheme. Rev. 13: 6-7 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them:and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

    May God help us to wake up from a dream of false hopes and hypes blessed by a false theology that is cooked up in the minds of intellectually challenged or intellectually over-worked Christians who have the least idea of what it is to live out the life of a witness at the face of extreme persecution.

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