J. I. Packer once described American Christianity as three thousand miles wide and an inch deep. Although he intended this as a critique, theological and spiritual channel-surfing is now celebrated as a virtue. Surveys reveal that a huge percentage (some studies have it as high as 80 percent) of those reared in Evangelical churches drop out of church by their sophomore year in college.
One thinks of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. The seed is the Word of God, but the soil is the church, where the covenant becomes a living reality both “for you and your children and for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself” (Acts 2:39).
I think we have failed to see that emotional summer-camp experiences cannot sustain a robust faith through the trials of real life. So, ironically, while Evangelicalism celebrates reaching the lost, it is losing the reached.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Reaching the Lost, Losing the Reached
A great symposium on Evangelicalism today over at Touchstone. Michael Horton had the most memorable lines so far: