Many people are now “their own theologian-in-residence,” and embrace an “unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs,” mixing eclectic and syncretistic Christian and non-Christian views. Feelings and emotions are now king, while preaching and Bible study are disliked, resulting in even more Biblical illiteracy.
“We are the generation that will see the end times… and the return of Jesus,” Hal Lindsey wrote in the 1980’s. Like all false prophets dating back 2,000 years ago, from Montanus (150) to Melchior Hoffman (1533) to William Miller (1843-4), all of the current false prophets believe that ours is the “terminal generation.”
In contrast to Philip Yancey’s three qualities of an “alive” and “healthy” church – diversity, unity and mission – are the three marks of a true church – gospel, sacraments, church discipline – set forth by the Protestant Reformers.
In his new book “Christless Christianity,” Dr. Michael Horton says, “Jesus has been dressed up as a corporate CEO, life coach, culture-warrior, political revolutionary, philosopher, copilot, cosufferer, moral example, and partner in fulfilling our personal and social dreams,” but rarely as the crucified and resurrected Redeemer of a powerless people dead in sin.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, recently weighed in again, this time with a profound thought that “Beatles songs are as likely to explain Christianity as the Bible.” Essentially equating rock bands with the Holy Spirit, he says, “They [rock music] are able to open our imagination to a way of thinking about God that we’ve become deaf to in church language.”
Desmond Tutu writes in the foreword, “It is possible to have a new kind of world, a world where there will be more compassion, more gentleness, more caring, more laughter, more joy for all of God’s creation, because that is God’s dream. And God says, ‘Help me, help me, help me realize my dream.'”
Churches are transforming the Faith into a form of consumerism, marketing, pragmatism, politics, entertainment and therapy. Christless Christianity reveals the big problem with American religion: countless sermons in churches across the country are focusing on moralistic concerns and personal transformation rather than Jesus Christ crucified and risen again.