The Coming Collapse of America's Christian Denominations

In his book, "Enquiries into Religion and Culture" (1933) Christopher Dawson emphasized that religion is the foundation of culture and the source of ethics. If that foundation is destroyed then society will disintegrate and the culture will die regardless of how prosperous the people:

"....the society or culture which has lost its spiritual roots is a dying culture...Consequently, the problem of social survival is not only a political or economic problem; it is above all things religious, since it is in religion that the ultimate spiritual roots of both society and the individual are to be found." (Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? Patrick J. Buchanan, p. 67)

In agreement with Dawson, in 1938 Hilaire Belloc concluded that Europe was losing its' Christian faith to agnosticism, skepticism and atheism. The West and America, said Belloc, have embarked on a voyage destined to end in its' death.

The death of the God of Revelation, Christianity and Judeo-Christian presuppositions has long been sought by the intellectual heirs of a rebellion against the God of Revelation and Christian theism that began as far back as the Renaissance, and Orthodox Christian Russia was their first attempt at building a godless socialist society.

That it would inevitably result in totalitarianism and genocide was foreseen by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Atheism, Darwinism and materialist socialism had nearly captured the minds and hearts of his countrymen. Desperately concerned for his people and the survival of his country, in 1879 Dostoevsky declared,

"...a second tower of Babel stands in the place of the high ideals created by Christ. The sublime Christian view of human nature sinks down to the view of an animal herd and, under the banner of social love, shows entirely unconcealed its contempt for mankind." (Political Apocalypse: A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Ellis Sandoz)

Ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn survived the "tower of Babel" to warn the West and America about the organized, militarized and tenaciously malevolent godlessness practiced by Marxism. The hatred of God said Solzhenitsyn, is the principle driving force underlying all of atheist socialism's political, scientistic, and economic pretensions.

Standing in agreement with Dostoevsky, Dawson and Belloc, at the Harvard commencement of 1978 Solzhenitsyn began by strongly castigating America for its loss of faith, will, courage, truth, and morality as well as for its' love of moral relativism, pleasure, hedonism, materialism and its satisfaction with legalism in human relations. Then he warned Americans and Westerners that once the God of Revelation has been removed from the hearts and minds of men, it means the logical end of of modern Western and American history.

But as is so often the case, the warning voices of those with the vision to foresee coming consequences are rejected for a number of personal reasons, meaning that the voyage toward death on which America and the West embarked more than eighty years is nearing its' final destiny, leading Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to ask,

"Are we witnessing the death of of America's Christian denominations?"

He then answers his own question:

"Studies by secular and Christian organizations indicate that we are. Fewer and fewer American Christians, especially Protestants, stongly identify with a particular religious community..." (Buchanan, pp. 35-36)

We are on the verge, "... within 10 years- of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity," writes Michael Spencer, who describes its progression:

"Collapse....will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and that will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West. I believe this evangelical collapse will happen with astonishing statistical speed; that within two generations of where we are now evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its current occupants, leaving in its wake nothing that can revitalize evangelicals to their former “glory.”

"The party is almost over for evangelicals; a party that’s been going strong since the beginning of the “Protestant” 20th century. We are soon going to be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century in a culture that will be between 25-30% non-religious."

" Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become particularly hostile towards evangelical Christianity, increasingly seeing it as the opponent of the good of individuals and society."

"The response of evangelicals to this new environment will be a revisiting of the same rhetoric and reactions we’ve seen since the beginnings of the current culture war in the 1980s. The difference will be that millions of evangelicals will quit: quit their churches, quit their adherence to evangelical distinctives and quit resisting the rising tide of the culture."

"Many who will leave evangelicalism will leave for no religious affiliation at all. Others will leave for an atheistic or agnostic secularism, with a strong personal rejection of Christian belief and Christian influence. Many of our children and grandchildren are going to abandon ship, and many will do so saying “good riddance.”

"This collapse will cause the end of thousands of ministries. The high profile of Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Hundreds of thousands of students, pastors, religious workers, missionaries and persons employed by ministries and churches will be unemployed or employed elsewhere. [ ]. Visible, active evangelical ministries will be reduced to a small percentage of their current size and effort."

"We’re going to find out that being against gay marriage and rhetorically pro-life (yes, that’s what I said) will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence and are believing in a cause more than a faith.... Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people the evangelical Christian faith in an orthodox form that can take root and survive the secular onslaught.... In what must be the most ironic of all possible factors, an evangelical culture that has spent billions of (dollars on) youth ministers, Christian music, Christian publishing and Christian media has produced an entire burgeoning culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures that they will endure."

"Evangelical churches have now passed into a three part chapter: 1) (Rick Warren style) mega-churches that are consumer driven, 2) churches that are dying and 3) new churches...whose future is dependent on a large number of factors. I believe most of these new churches will fail, and the ones that do survive will not be able to continue evangelicalism at anything resembling its current influence."

"Nothing will reanimate evangelicalism to its previous levels of size and influence. The end of evangelicalism as we know it is close; far closer than most of us will admit." (The Coming Evangelical Collapse, Michael Spencer)

And what about the Catholic Church? Buchanan observes that no institution has been more ravaged by the revolution against the God of Revelation than has the Catholic Church. Catholic colleges and universities remain Catholic in name only while parochial schools are shutting their doors. Millions of Catholic children are being taught by heretics, mass attendance is a third of what it was and Catholic politicians openly support abortion on demand, 'gay' equality, euthanasia, and socialist policies.

Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church in America has undergone,

"...a decline to rival what happened in some northern European countries during the Reformation." (Buchanan, p. 91)

Catholic losses have been staggering, writes Fr. Joseph Sirba,

"...if one excludes immigrants and converts from the calculations, the Catholic Church has lost to other religions or no religion at all 35.4 percent---or more than one-third---of the 64,131,750 of its native-born members." (ibid, p. 91)

Today Evangelical and Catholic beliefs mean less to a majority of Christians than their political beliefs and social concerns, as demonstrated by the fact that large numbers of Christians voted for Obama, a man who captured the endorsement of the National Abortion Rights League and supports partial-birth abortion,

"(a procedure) in which the baby's skull is sliced open with scissors in the birth canal and the brains sucked out to ease its passage..." (ibid, p. 100)

Pope Benedict XVI called post-Christian Europe "a desert of godlessness" that has embraced the "culture of death," and given where America is headed spiritually, morally, and culturally, traditionalist Catholics and Evangelicals are already saying, "this isn't our church or our country anymore."

In 2009, nine traditionalist U.S. archbishops joined the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and 135 Evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian leaders in signing the Manhattan Declaration: A Call to Christian Conscience. We pledge, said the signers that ,"no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence:'

"We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, (or) treat them as marriages or the equivalent." (Buchanan, pp. 113-114)

"The dangers to religious liberty are very real," said Princeton's Dr. Robert George, a Catholic who, with Evangelical Charles Colson coauthored the declaration. Among notable signatories are:

Leith Anderson, National Assoc. of Evangelicals

Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop of Oakland

James Dobson, Focus on the Family

Timothy Dolan,Archbishop of New York

Robert Duncan, primate of the Anglican Church in N. America

Bishop Basil of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of N. America

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologetic

Joining with the notables are 534,507 traditionalist Christians and Buchanan asks,

"Is an era of Christian civil disobedience ahead?"

@Linda Kimball