Thursday, June 29, 2006

Atheist/Agnostic Evangelical Christians

I received some spam just now. The subject line said, "Christianity in America Won't Survive Another Decade..." There's part of me that resonates with this sentiment. This is an atheistic and/or agnostic sentiment.

The spam continues: "Christianity in America won’t survive another decade… unless we do something now."

I think that if Christianity in America didn't survive the next decade, that would be a catastrophicly Bad Thing.

This spam message starts by saying Christianity in America WON'T SURVIVE. But then it says Christianity in America won't survive UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING NOW. Which is it? Will Christianity in America NOT survive or not survive UNLESS I do something? I suspect that the SOMETHING includes sending money to whoever spammed me.

All this is an atheistic sentiment because it presumes the success or failure of Christianity depends upon something humans do (or fail to do).

Does God get any say in this matter?

I've had the opportunity to visit a couple Baptist churches whose membership has rapidly declined of late. I feel a little bad about this. But my bad feeling is moderated by the knowledge that every true church is the property of God--not the preacher or the board or the membership.

I believe in the Sovereignty of God and I believe God works through people. But the ultimate ownership of a true church lies in God's hands. If you're someone like Kierkegaard or Bonhoeffer and you think there's something wrong with your church, it might be that it's not God's church. If there's any message we should take from Kierkegaard or Bonhoeffer, it is to make your calling and election sure, and apply that not just individually but corporately.

I'll grant that false churches may belong to the preacher or the board or the membership. And most probably such churches will not survive unless their owners do something. If you're in the business of selling Christian-oriented kitsch this will probably hurt your bottom line.

Therefore, here is my modest proposal for all those churches that won't survive unless we do something now: Get corporate sponsorship from those people who make so much money selling Christian-oriented kitsch. It's clearly in their financial interst.

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