The Point: Change and Die

Like Yogi Berra said, predictions are hard, especially about the future. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

In the famous last words department: Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev famously told Western diplomats at the peak of the Cold War, “History is on our side. We will bury you.”

Well, how’d that work out?

I was reminded of these words by an article about the decline of liberal churches, in which was noted that it was nearly 20 years ago Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong released his much-heralded book “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.”

Spong urged Christians to ditch the ancient creeds, not worry about the resurrection of Christ, and embrace the sexual revolution. Otherwise, the church would die.

How’s that working out? A year after he wrote his book, the Episcopal Church claimed just shy of 2.5 million members. Today it’s 1.7 and falling. That trend holds for other theologically liberal denominations, too.

Meanwhile, growth in churches that hold to creeds and the Truths of the faith is solid—and in some parts of the globe, explosive.

Change? No. Repent? Yes. Always.

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  • Just One Voice

    Amen, thank you John!

    I imagine you can count our church in the growing part of the statistic. I’ve been there almost 10 years and it’s still growing! Our pastors faithfully walk us through the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter; never looking to extract anything magical that will win popularity contests.

    The last couple Sundays we’ve been in Mark 8 where Jesus foretells his death, burial & resurrection. Our senior pastor has offered an old-fashioned alter call at the end of both messages; a call to repent & accept Jesus. The response has been overwhelming!

    If my family ever has to move somewhere else, the hardest part will be leaving the church we currently attend.

    • JPZ

      Have faith my brother! My career prompted eight family moves both across the country and internationally. In every case we were able to find a body of believers who upheld the truth of God’s word and tought it faithfully. God will provide.

  • Zarm

    It’s true; and it’s logical. A religion that changes has no point or purpose. If it is from God, then His ways are true, and only a fool would try to change them. If it isn’t from God (and thus fair game to be changed), then no one should be following it in the first place.

  • Roodog

    Actually churches that forsake God will die.

  • Joel Stucki

    I certainly don’t think Christianity needs to change (at least not fundamentally, or else it wouldn’t be Christianity anymore), but I do think we need to recognize that certain concepts are no longer so universally accepted as they once were, and that means we have to change the nature of our dialogue about certain things. Natural law, for example–a lot of people no longer believe there is any such thing, so we can’t speak as if they do. It’s not a different message that’s needed, but the discussion has to start in a different place.