Talking about reformation suggests that Christianity will change but will survive. But is that true? It depends, of course, on what one means by Christianity. Keith Michael argues for a faith that is stripped of nearly everything that contemporary Western culture finds objectionable, at least as I understand his writing. This includes use of the Bible as an authoritative source of revelation, Jesus’s divinity and role in restoration as is understood by Christians, the Church’s history and leaders, and most of all, anything the Apostle Paul says. Paul, it turns out, according to Pastor Michael, actually taught worship of a pagan god named Mithras. Oh, and Paul was a killer, too.
Michael knows how to attract readers on Medium and his articles very strongly — I should say, viciously — attacking orthodox Christianity are very popular. He says it is his goal to reform Christianity, but the Christianity that would emerge from the tirades against the Church, the Bible, and the writers of the Bible is nothing that would attract me, nor I think most others. I may be wrong, but if this form of Christianity is what survives, let it die. History has shown that the demythologizing effort of Rudolf Bultmann and other German scholars resulted in a stripped down and insipid form of Christianity, sometimes called mainstream or liberal Christianity, that proved to have little staying power.
Is Christianity dying?
It seems to be a commonplace that Christianity is dying. Certainly, research by groups like Pew strongly indicate there is a significant decline in the US of those claiming affiliation with Christianity, especially among the young. But, research also shows the level of disaffiliation is slowing and may have reached a peak. Other research shows that while church attendance and public affiliation with church or a faith has declined, there hasn’t been a similar decline in basic beliefs such as in heaven and hell, creation of the universe, and the existence of God. While there is strong and documented growth in those who say they are spiritual but not religious, these may be code words for those not wanting to…