I’m currently reading–and enjoying–the book Why Men Hate going to Church by David Murrow. I think he makes a lot of points that need to be made and he does it in a way that doesn’t reject the importance of women in the Christian community (at least as far as I’ve read). I think some of his thinking about worship services needs to be adapted to liturgical model and it doesn’t really take into account that the Eastern Church with a longer liturgy doesn’t seem to have the same issues keeping men involved as does the Western Church, both Roman Catholic and Protestant.
That being said, I want to comment on something I’ve seen quite a bit in the book. Here’s an example:
Christianity is still growing worldwide, but it is losing ground to two aggressive competitors: secularism and Islam. At the risk of sounding alarmist, I believe the church has at most 250 years before it is totally overrun by this duo–unless we reengage men.
Now this might be something that we can see when looking at the situation pragmatically, which we should always do on one level. But when I read things like this I think they display a profound lack of faith. Jesus himself said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). One of the great strengths of Christianity has always been that we know the ending of the story–we don’t know how it’s all going to play out in the interim, but we know how the plot is going to be tied up. It irks me then, when I hear Christians talking about Christianity dying–conservatives and liberals.
Whether they are ranting about so-called fundamentalism like John Spong or sounding a warning about secularism or Islam like many conservatives, or warning people about the decline in real evangelism like Dan Kimball, whenever a Christian makes a case for something by saying that if the Church doesn’t do X it will die, they are simply lying and being unfaithful and we should call them on it. That doesn’t mean denominations won’t come and go–they are simply the institutional mechanisms to convey the faith–when they stop doing that, they deserve to die and Christians should be willing to kill them and start over when the time comes–our loyalty is to Christ after all. But regardless of what happens to the various human institutions which we have created to aid in the proclamation of the Gospel, the Church itself will never die–that’s a central tenant of our faith and people need to remember that.