Thursday, July 28, 2016

THIS ARTICLE ISN'T ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OR IS IT? CHICKEN LITTLE IS RIGHT!

When the Sky Is Really Falling on Christianity: It’s Time to Repent and Be the Church

By Eric Metaxas | July 27, 2016 | 2:03 PM EDT



When Chicken Little said the sky is falling, we all laughed. Well, maybe it’s time we stopped laughing.

It seems Chicken Little may be on to something.

My friend Rod Dreher is as sane and stable as anyone I know, and he’s saying, in essence, that the sky is falling. I reference his new article in The American Conservative, called “The Coming Christian Collapse.”

He begins by saying that the two-thirds of millennials who were raised religiously unaffiliated still have no denominational identity today. Unlike previous generations, they’re not joining churches as they get older and raise kids.

Second, Rod says, “Millennials, even those who identify as Christians, are shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches.” This growing biblical illiteracy has led to a moral decline of our young people into consumerism, drug abuse, sexual liberation, and civic and political disengagement.

Third, Rod says that the working class has largely abandoned the church, and that if the middle class follows suit, as appears likely, the church will be in a world of hurt. He quotes the late Michael Spencer, who warned of a coming evangelical collapse: “We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught.”

These are chilling words. We talk a lot on BreakPoint about external threats to our souls, and rightly so. But as Abraham Lincoln once said in another context, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

Yet I am hopeful, as every Christian must be. As my colleague John Stonestreet says so often, we are part of the grand story of the universe. And God is the author of that story. Yes, as Peter reminds us, we will have to suffer “various trials.” But why? “So that the authenticity of [our] faith ... may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7)”.

This is not new. Back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, German Christians had to take a clear stand or be absorbed or compromised by evil—and some, like Bonhoeffer, chose the cross. Look at our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Now, I’m not ready to say we American Christians may soon have to apostasize or die, but I can’t help but think of the words of the late Cardinal George, who said he would die in his bed, his successor would die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.

So, what do we do? We repent—repent of our sins, the sins of the church, and, yes, the sins of our nation: the sins of pride, racism, sexual libertinism, greed, lust for power, and a callous disregard for human life among them.

Second, we must recommit ourselves to Jesus. We need to seek the mind of Christ, to think and to act as Christians, to know our Bible and to live by it in the power of the Spirit, “making the most of your time, for the days are evil.” We must commit anew to forming a biblical worldview and evaluating everything in our lives in light of it.

We must recommit our time and our treasure to evangelism, missions, and Christ’s command in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit the prisoner. Christian faith is not a nice add-on to our agendas, it’s the very marrow of our lives.

The question is this: Will we love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves?

But don’t be intimidated by the internal and external challenges we face. Remember that God can do very much with very little, and that success doesn’t depend on political or cultural power. While the Church may face trials, the gates of hell will not prevail, and Christ’s victory is assured.

Eric Metaxas is the bestselling author of “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy.” He is the radio host of “The Eric Metaxas Show” and the co-host of “BreakPoint.”

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by BreakPoint.



9 comments:

Jusadbellum said...

War is coming gentlemen.

I've been posting here for how long? 2 years? More?

The warning signs are everywhere - demographics, the sexual revolution, the rise of the "nones", the banal evil we tolerate everywhere. The good lack all conviction while the evil are filled with an intensity and drive to paraphrase Yeats' poem.

There are no leaders for us lay Catholics to turn to in times of tumult and chaos. Our bishops won't even recognize the real and present (and growing) danger of Islam. We rejoice at the influx of Hispanics...but don't even mourn the loss of 60% of our white and black fellow Catholics who don't come to weekly Mass.

We quibble about altar girls and the Latin Mass but in any given parish only a minority of 5-15% can be considered the "non-negotiable core".

We're scrambling around looking for a safe refuge to the gathering storm...but there will be none but what we make through our relationships. The Parish could be that hub, that community, that bastion and beacon. In every dark time souls need the graces found only through the sacraments! Ultimately we're dealing with principalities and powers! Only Baptism, the Eucharist, confession, Confirmation, Marriage and anointing will protect us from such malevolent intelligences that instigate and tempt men to preternatural evil.

I write of guns, but ultimately the evil we're faced with can only be conquered by holiness and that is not pixie dust. Holiness is the very interpersonal "discipling" relationship with God Almighty. "grace" is not a thing as much as a state of being-in-relation with God.

We need a new "great awakening". We need much more healing and liberation Masses, many more spiritual retreats....many more Holy Hours and a lot more spiritual direction.

If I were to organize something along these lines in the Macon-Dublin area...who would be interested?

Billy the Kid said...

And, while we are making holy, we need to buy guns and stock up on ammo. Yes, Jusad, I'd attend.

rcg said...

Check out books of martyology and you don't find many tales of picnics. It's just our turn.

Billy the Kid said...

Metaxas is no scholar and certainly no theologian. He attends an "Evangelical Episcopal Church" and claims he is still Greek Orthodox, as well. Anybody who idolizes Bonhoeffer is more into so-called "Christian ethics" than NT theology and the issue of unbelief. His article is more about social action than repentance. If you must cite protestants, start with Karl Barth, a real theologian.

Dialogue said...

Gene,

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Watching the awful Clinton speech last night, repenting for sexual libertinism is not on her list of the country's sins. She says women must have the right to make their own health care decisions---I agree, BUT....abortion is not health care and pregnancy is not a disease. You would have better odds seeing snow in Richmond Hill in July than finding a pro-life Democrat at the national level...just a sign of the continued moral decay of this country....

Jenny said...

Now THIS Anonymous makes sense...

Jusadbellum said...

Metaxas is a well received author and has some very well attended lectures he's helped put together and a pretty well liked group of elite thinkers in his orbit so he's not just "some guy".

I think there's an incredible link between social action and repentance - if only because that's what we begin in Mass: publicly acknowledging our sins and then asking God's grace (forgiveness and then Real Presence) precisely for the point of "going out" into the non-sacred world so as to MAKE IT sacred space through our collective actions.

The importance of collective action (i.e. "social") is that we need friends, we need support groups to help us in our own walk of faith and fidelity with the Lord. We are social, communal critters - it's how we're hard wired, it's how we accomplish anything of note in this life (and in the next, else why is the New Jerusalem the 'end goal'?).

We may all be orphans and widows, yeoman farmers or minutemen in our own right, but until/unless we gather in mutual support communities, we won't be able to EFFECTIVELY defend ourselves against other organized groups of men...or go on the offense to bring the fight from our doorstep to theirs and thus turn back the tide of secularism, neo-paganism, and satanic narcissism that is threatening the globe.


I encourage every able bodied man to gather regularly with some peers for prayer, for fellowship and for study..... reach out for spiritual direction with men whom you trust and whom you find exemplary in their own lives of Catholic discipleship.

Socialize with them, get the wives together, have the kids become friends, and so craft or weave the natural bonds of fellowship and friendship that makes up the very fabric of civil society and Catholic communities.

We're not going to get detailed marching orders from our pastors or bishops. That's not what they've been trained to do. It's not even their vocation. Their role is to provide us the Sacraments. It's OUR JOB to convert the entire world which is 99.999% lay-run.

Here's two excellent templates for local men's groups:

http://www.menofstjoseph.com/
http://www.paradisusdei.org/

Both provide materials and guidance to help men grow together as CATHOLIC men in prayer and formation and basic hospitality support. Eventually teams of peers will come up with their own solutions to the 4th element of Catholic life which is the summary of the other 3: evangelization.





rcg said...

Jusad, this is excellent advice. I have struggled a bit in my parish to get the men together in this way because of our geographical separation. Also, many of the older fellows can be headstrong. I have struck a vein of young and energetic men that seem prepared to step up. Thanks for this.