Dr. Mohler is wondering if we are at the terminal generation of evangelicalism. It is a very fair thing about which to wonder.
We should be very concerned about certain trends in contemporary evangelicalism that threaten this integrity. The first is an ominous confusion about the Gospel itself. The heart of the Gospel is the objective truth that Christ died for sinners, and that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ–alone. The cardinal doctrine of justification by faith is, as Martin Luther warned, “the article by which the church stands or falls.”
If so, the church is falling in many quarters. Much of what is presented in many pulpits–and marketed by flashy television preachers–bears little resemblance to this simple message. Instead, sinners are told to seek after riches, material blessings, vibrant health, and earthly rewards. Salvation is packaged as a product to be hawked on the airwaves and sold at a discount. The notion of salvation from sin and judgment is entirely missing from this scenario. Instead, salvation is presented as a gift of self-enhancement.
On the theological left, the Gospel had long ago been transformed into a social and political message of liberation from oppression. Now, among some who consider themselves evangelicals, the Gospel of Christ has been reduced to a form of self-expression or therapy. Salvation is promised as the answer to low self-esteem and emptiness. Gone is any notion of a holy God who offers salvation from sin and its eternal penalty.
the foundational issue is the exclusivity of the Gospel and our generation’s general unwillingness to take a stand thereon
Against these various attempts to evade the simple clarity of the Gospel stands the Word of God. Our evangelical integrity stands or falls on this truth–salvation is found through faith in Christ alone. This is the logic of the missionary mandate and the sustaining conviction for all evangelism. Nevertheless, the worldview held by many individuals today–especially those among the educated classes–flatly rejects such claims as imperialistic and arrogant.
Sociologist James Davison Hunter has long warned that younger evangelicals tend to go soft on this doctrine. Educated in a culture of postmodern relativism and ideological pluralism, this generation has been taught to avoid making any exclusive claim to truth. Speak of your truth, if you must–but never claim to know the Truth. Unless this course is reversed, there will be no evangelicals in the next generation.
I think Dr. Mohler is correct to be concerned. do you agree? what can we do about it? anything?