Faithwire recently reported on the rise of evangelical churches in the New York City area, many of them are flooded with young people (see Hillsong, C3).
Despite church planting successes, there’s still an alarming number of young evangelicals leaving not only the church – but belief in God altogether. Even kids who grew up in solid church homes and went to Christian universities aren’t immune from this sort of disillusionment. Pew Research released a study of 35,000 Americans last year which revealed the number of Christians had shrunk from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. What gives?
Author and King’s College associate professor Dr. Anthony Bradley recently led a forum in which he shared his personal experiences and thoughts as to why so many are being pushed out of the faith. One of the main reasons, Bradley theorized, is the argumentative and defensive nature of how evangelicals interact with culture.
“They’ve been soured by an evangelical christianity that’s conflated faith with politics. Faith is contentious with culture, instead of leading with grace. They want none of it.”
Of course, some of these evangelicals contending with culture would likely be quick to point out that their not the reason for the contention – they’re just remaining consistent. The danger in trying to ‘lead with grace’ is the inevitable watering down or complete loss of the Gospel message in order to please secular culture. The Gospel of John says even though Jesus performed blatant miracles, the people ‘were divided’ because of him. Why should we expect any different today?
Should faith be harmonious with culture? Or should it expect division and not change?
Bradley’s full remarks are worth the time. Watch them here: