Roger Olson’s despair

Roger Olson has been looking at the American church and is not encouraged by what he sees:

The only way someone can think most of what goes on in American churches is authentically Christian is not to read the Bible, the church fathers, the reformers, and the great thinkers and evangelists of all denominations.

Read his full post here.

If you don’t want to read his full post, here is how he ends the piece:

I suspect what we need in American Christianity is to take a step back and consider as dispassionately and objectively as possible how much like New Testament Christianity ours is. Where is the tension between our faith and cultural fads that arise from materialism and individualism? How much sacrifice is involved in being an American Christian today? Why do we not hear or talk about heaven? Are we too comfortable here and now? Where is conviction for sin? Is H. Richard Niebuhr’s prophetic quip about liberal Protestantism fitting for even many “evangelical” churches today? (“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”)

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6 thoughts on “Roger Olson’s despair

    1. Yes, it’s time for spiritual leaders. We lack leaders in the extraordinary Wesleyan way, not the mandarins that pose as prominente today. We have plenty of those. General Conference 2016 is shaping up to be another bamboozlement…

  1. Or a Martin Luther who taught on the God which is light and the Word that became flesh.

    Now with the recent research the above does not sound so far fetched.
    Light becomes matter may be proven yet.
    What a wrench that will throw in the some of the theories that try to disprove scriptural truth.
    Just think of the impact that would have on con-substitution that Martin Luther upheld and believed.

    http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_16-5-2014-15-32-44

    How can anyone not love that book we call the Holy Word of God?

  2. I love Roger Olson’s writing, but I have to wonder how vast his experience is with “American churches”. I mean, I preach every week at the same location, so I can’t speak against what he is saying about the whole country, but neither can he objectively say he has a grasp on what is going on in the majority of churches across the country. His sampling may truly speak for the majority, but to state this and let everyone jump on board with the accusation is equivalent to what Fox News does on a daily basis.

    1. I’m not acquainted with his exposure to churches across America. His analysis does match up in many ways with other voices and some of sociological research I’ve seen, though.

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