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A Glimpse into the Future?

A report in the August 7th issue of The Economist offers what could well be a glimpse into the future of the American Church.

"The void within" chronicles the sad state of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. In desperate decline and plagued by sex scandals, the Church is losing ground faster than ever throughout all of Europe, including Poland.

Governments have become impatient with what they regard as Rome's stonewalling investigations into parishioner abuse by Catholic priests. Some have already taken over investigations and others are threatening to, thus eliminating Rome's centuries-old tradition of managing its own affairs, thank you very much.

Public confidence in the Church has plummeted, as have attendance numbers and vocations. The Church is drying up even as the rapid pace of secularization proceeds unchecked all over the continent. While there will always be a handful of faithful, the Church, The Economist opines, "is not so much shrinking as dying."

Scandals among leaders, moral compromise among members, wide tolerance of doctrinal differences, and a tone of arrogance with respect to the rest of the population are all making the Catholic Church an institution to be avoided. Could the same happen to the evangelical Church in America?

After all, many evangelical leaders have yielded to the temptations of the flesh. The morality of Church members doesn't much rise above that of the unchurched - if at all. And a "holier-than-thou" attitude surfaces in the face of social and moral issues which just about everyone finds offensive if not disgusting. What can keep the American Church from shrinking or dying as well?

Revival. Only revival - a work of God's Spirit which He brings in response to tears of repentance and much pleading for His help on the part of God's people. Only revival can keep the Church in America from going the way of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe.

And revival, if it is to begin, must begin with each one of us.

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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