I've been going through my stuff lately and have found many Christian magazine articles from as long ago as 20-25 years. So about once or twice a week, I thought I would comment on some fo them to see what the evangelical comunity was thinking 20, 15, 10, 5 and even 2 or 3 years ago. And yes, I haven't forgotten about the podcasting. I am still reading up on it in my Podcasting For Dummies book.
Here are snippets from an article by Philip Yancey from the Sept. 2004 issue of Christianity Todday magazine.
Yancey tells about Gordon Cosby, founding pastor of the Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C., who found that "high-commitment communities begin with a strong sense of devotion, which expresses itself in a life of discipline. Groups organized around devotion and discipline tend to produce abundance, but ultimately that very success breaks down discipline and leads to decadence."
John Wesley (18th century) said,
"I do not see how it is possible , in the nature of things, for any revival of religion to continue long. For religion (here he means evangelical Christianity) must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger and love of the world in all its branches."
Two summers ago I did a series on the history of revivals in America. Here are the revival series links to that series if you wish to read them. I found the same to be true. Here is what I saw as a pattern:
First Generation Revivals break out with devotion, theological purity and care for others
Second generation (their children) The revival now is handed down more and more as laws and processes.
Third generation (grandchildren) The revival has faded and this generation has trouble with the dead laws and rules. Some try to follow the religion as much as possible and others rebel. Still others water it down to fit the world's mold.
Fourth Generation Churches are empty except those who water down the gospel and preach to felt needs. A remnant begins to rise similar to the first generation.
Fifth Generation Hopefully another revival comes. If not, the society is in deep doo-doo. Rampant crime and chaos ensue and then the people want a dictator. For example, you can follow this same trend throughout 19th and early 20th century Germany int he Protestant churches and the society in general there.
Where do you think America is now? In the first, second, third, fourth or fifth generation?
Steve Went Looking for Grace
12 hours ago