The past month has seen the end of a long semester, a trip up the coast with my wife, and we have been doing all sorts of renovations over at Homebrewed Christianity. I have taken a little break from blogging and next week I will be away at a Youth Service Project with SSP. But I wanted to put a couple of things up this week:
- some thoughts about the future
- a theological query
- and there have been some requests to put my sermon transcript up
Some thoughts about the future of the church
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to an event at Fuller Seminary where Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner and Tony Jones were speaking. During the Q & R time I asked this question:
When you look at attendance rates across the board, the atrocious rate that we are losing young people raised in the church, and the passing of the WWII generation (I could have listed several other factors) … Do you think that 50 years from now there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today?
And if that is so, will homosexuality be the straw that broke the camels back?
Tony passed, Lauren wanted nothing to do with it (in their defense they are not ‘futurists’ by their own admission) so Phyllis gave the response. It was good. I have it on audio and will let her respond down the road.
I just wanted to post the question here. I do think that in 50 years there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today. I also think that is a problem… not because the church does not function well as a minority, but because the kind of christianity that we have is not calibrated well to be in that scenario.
Like it or not, the majority of our frameworks, institutions, establishments, attitudes, expectations, and Biblical interpretations are hold over from Christendom frameworks (if not colonial ones) but with the added blind spot of a lack of self-awareness. Most Christians that I talk to in Canada and the US seem to think that this is the way it should be.
I actually think that all this is just kindling. There is some gas that will be thrown on the fire. When the Baby Boomers retire (which they have just started to do) there will a significant loss of revenue and we will no longer be able to fund ministry the way that we have been. That is what will inflame the situation dramatically.
Add this to the Internet (making resources available and connections possible), the Browning of America (no white majority by 2050) and internal fighting of those who claim the name … and we may be talking about a tipping point.
Add this to fact that a lot of people have bought into a form of Christianity (whether it is conservative, charismatic, evangelical, etc.) that looks for the Rapture (Tim Lehaye style) . But 50 years from that still will not have happened… and the disillusionment will be devastating.
Put it all together and I think that in 50 years there will be 50% fewer Christians in North America than there is today. But that it just my opinion – I could be wrong.