I’ve titled this commentary “The Death of Christianity.” You probably consider that an odd subject for a Christian website. Is Christianity as a religion in danger of dying out?
Jesus Christ stated plainly in Matthew 16:18 that He would build His Church and that the gates of the grave would not prevail against it. Isn’t Christ saying that Christianity cannot die?
Let me begin by strongly agreeing with Scripture—Christianity, as proclaimed by Jesus Christ, Peter, Paul and others, certainly won’t die and, in fact, cannot die. So what is this commotion going on today inside Christianity?
NBC News reporter Becky Bratu recently titled a news report “Is Liberal Christianity Signing Its Own Death Warrant?” Her article is about the turmoil going on inside the Episcopal Church. Recently this denomination overwhelmingly voted to approve a provisional rite for blessing gay unions and the ordination of transgender people.
Bishop Mark Joseph Lawrence, the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina, declared that the Episcopal Church is moving too far out of the mainstream and his group in South Carolina has chosen to leave the Episcopal conference of churches. In several parts of the U.S. more conservative Episcopalians have departed to join with a more conservative group.
But it isn’t just the Episcopalians who are divided over social issues and conservative vs. liberal philosophies. The same is true of several so-called mainline churches.
In an editorial in The New York Times Ross Douthat wrote about the looming extinction of liberal Christianity. He wrote: “Practically every denomination—Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian—that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance.”
In a little over a decade, the Episcopal Church has lost more than 16 percent of its membership. This is also happening across the board in the Protestant churches. So, what is the answer?
It seems that mankind can never get it right. We have competing elements—conservative vs. liberal throughout politics and throughout the Christian church. But did Christ propose a theology that was liberal? Or was it conservative?
The reality is that Jesus Christ taught values, morality and obedience, as well as grace, mercy and love to all people. It seems that His philosophy would not be accepted in most Christian churches today. So, what should you as an individual do?
You can be assured that the Christianity taught by Jesus Christ and the Church He founded will never die. Both are alive and well. While the Bible doesn’t say there will never be problems or persecution, it does promise the continual existence of the Christian Church as a body of people.
I would simply challenge all of you to find out from the Bible what the real message of Christianity is. I think you will find that it is at odds with those who profess to be liberal and many of those who profess to be conservative in their views. The only correct view is found in Scripture. Pull out your Bible, and check it out. Is Christianity dying? No, not at all. Is the religion of men failing? The truth is, it always has and it always will.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Jim Franks.