What will fundamentalist and conservative evangelical church services look like in 25 years (typically)?

A bit more Romish: formal/historical (reciting creeds, connecting to church history)
6% (1 vote)
About the same as now
12% (2 votes)
More Charismatic: more emotionally expressive and music driven
29% (5 votes)
Simpler: less orchestrated and less of an event
0% (0 votes)
More evangelistic (more outreach in the services themselves)
0% (0 votes)
More good works/charitable/helping society orientation
6% (1 vote)
More doctrinal, more emphasis on the Word
12% (2 votes)
More worldwide in scope (missions minded)
6% (1 vote)
More introverted and "about us"
6% (1 vote)
More structured, more perfectionistic
0% (0 votes)
More relational and supportive
6% (1 vote)
More separatistic (a sort of "new Amish" approach)
0% (0 votes)
Other
18% (3 votes)
Total votes: 17
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There are 14 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

This is a tough poll to answer, but an important one. Where are we heading? This is a bit different from asking "Where SHOULD we head?"

Of course this is difficult because we don't know exactly where "we" are, as a whole. In the 70's and 80's, we did know where we are. But things have changed and are changing rapidly.

So what do you think? Bleah

"The Midrash Detective"

Ken Woodard's picture

In 25 year the same pathetic things will be done and called "worship" or we will finally be doing it right in heaven.

Ron Bean's picture

I thought of a number of fundamentalist churches that have been doing the exact same thing for more than 25 years (same order of service, same hymnbooks, same welcome song, same birthday song, same choir repertoire, same service times...) and I don't see "change" in their future.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jim's picture

Not sure if I have answers.

Suggestions / speculations:

  • KJVO movement will die
  • Churches will generally be larger ... woe to the small church in urban / suburban areas.
  • An even greater emphasis on "professional" staff. Greater division between clergy / laity
  • ESV will be the prevalent translation
  • There will be be a split between extreme fundamentalism and Bauder-style fundamentalism. Use of the term "fundamentalist" will decline. Not sure if a new term will emerge but in 25 years when the general populace thinks about the term "fundamentalist" it will mean to them "wacho / backward" (like Westwood Baptist)
  • The Christian day school movement will largely be dead (like the bus ministry today is gone)
  • Bible colleges (offering limited degrees) will decline ... Christian colleges that are real universities will grow
  • In society the gay agenda will have largely succeeded. There will be widespread compromise in the evangelical community re gays
  • The government will no longer be friendly towards churches
    • Housing allowance ... thing of the past
    • Limited property taxes on church
    • Taking a stand on homosexuality may be regarded as a hate crime
  • There may be a rise of an underground church movement ... like a house church movement that is
    • Under the government radar
    • Non-professional / small group
Jim's picture

  • Accreditation will be even more important (because of competition for jobs)
  • BJU will seek regional accreditation for this very reason
  • Re BJU .... after the death of Bob J III, the U will move more rapidly to move more towards what some would call C/E position
  • More BJU: Steve Jones will be the last of the "Jones" line to be in the Presidency
  • There will be more consolidation in bible colleges. For example one might see mergers into super-Bible-colleges with multiple campuses (think Faith-MBBC-Northland-Clearwater .... now a university with multiple locations .... broader majors (like engineering ... etc) ... centralized administration
Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Voted "other" because I really think we're at a kind of turning point where trends could go either way.
But it's also hard to answer the question because "conservative evangelicals" (and really "fundamentalists" too) is a pretty vague term. The case could be made that how they do worship is part of that definition... or will increasingly be part of that definition.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Let me react to my friend Jim Peet's comments, because they are pretty comprehensive:

Quote:
KJVO movement will die

Quote:

Agreed. Some will go to the grave with it, but they won't be replaced.

Quote:
Churches will generally be larger ... woe to the small church in urban / suburban areas.

This one I think could go either way. It could easily be the reverse. We may end up with many smaller "specialized" churches. I personally think that RELATIONSHIP (particularly intergenerational) will be the draw. I base this on hurting fragmented families and individuals from these families looking for a true church family.

Quote:
An even greater emphasis on "professional" staff. Greater division between clergy / laity

This is certainly the way it is heading. Since people no longer want to think, they want professional clergy to do the thinking for them. Still, this is unpredictable; sometimes people view highly trained professionals as all head and no heart.

Quote:
ESV will be the prevalent translation

Very likely indeed. I am personally changing over next week Sunday from NIV to ESV. I think that in itself will become a line of demarcation.

Quote:
There will be be a split between extreme fundamentalism and Bauder-style fundamentalism.
Use of the term "fundamentalist" will decline. Not sure if a new term will emerge but in 25 years when the general populace thinks about the term "fundamentalist" it will mean to them "wacho / backward" (like Westwood Baptist)
The Christian day school movement will largely be dead (like the bus ministry today is gone)
Bible colleges (offering limited degrees) will decline ...

Probably so, although I don't know how united the various Fundamentalist schools of thought are to begin with.

Quote:
Christian colleges that are real universities will grow

I think you are right here

Quote:
In society the gay agenda will have largely succeeded. There will be widespread compromise in the evangelical community re gays

I think this will be another line of demarcation. We will be labelled homophobic or, worse yet, gay haters.

Quote:
The government will no longer be friendly towards churches
Housing allowance ... thing of the past
Limited property taxes on church
Taking a stand on homosexuality may be regarded as a hate crime

I agree with you on all these points.

Quote:
There may be a rise of an underground church movement ... like a house church movement that is: Under the government radar Non-professional / small group

Yes, and this is why I think that perhaps smaller churches could prosper. They could meet in rented facilities if necessary with trained pastors, in many instances. Smaller churches are better postured for this. Many of them occupy older buildings that are not desirable real estate for non-religious use, and thus less tempting to tax. I think governments will tax the large facilities and continue to exempt the smaller. Of the larger facilities, the public will think, "they can afford it."

My friend Aaron Blumer said:

Quote:
Voted "other" because I really think we're at a kind of turning point where trends could go either way.
But it's also hard to answer the question because "conservative evangelicals" (and really "fundamentalists" too) is a pretty vague term. The case could be made that how they do worship is part of that definition... or will increasingly be part of that definition.

Trends could go in a variety of directions, so all we can do is take our best guesses and try to strategize accordingly. The terms "fundamentalist" and "conservative evangelicals" are vague; they rule out people way over the line, but they do not tell you where the line is.

As far as how they do worship (church), I disagree that this will be a dividing line between them. It may be a sub-dividing line among these groups. The issues that will separate Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals from mainstream evangelicalism and liberalism will be these, IMO: The gay agenda, gender roles, The New Perspective, (relating both to subjective and objective soteriology) Inerrancy, Creationism (not necessarily the young earth version, but as opposed to evolution or theistic evolution), the lost condition of those not born-again by faith in Jesus, and a literal, eternal hell. These, I believe, will be the major dividing lines. I would add I think we all need to shore up our churches particularly in these areas.

The division between CE and Fundamentalism will probably be over relationships with Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Liberal Protestants, and possibly Mormons. The whole secondary separation viewpoint will vanish, IMO.

"The Midrash Detective"

Charlie's picture

Oh, why not.

The internet destroys separatist fundamentalism as we know it. Advocacy groups made up of disaffected ex-members discredit the movement. Reaction is twofold. Some fundamentalists go into extreme fortress mode, literally moving out into separated communities like those of the FLDS. The majority, however, either realize that there are problems or out of self-preservation shed themselves of their most distinctive separatist practices. They then realign with various CE groups that will take them in.

Also, dispensationalism dies out, except in the most attenuated forms. In general, Christian communities become more aware of the historic Christiam mainstream and seek to adopt various practices, insofar as their consciences allow them.

Kevin Bauder realizes fundamentalism is not worth saving.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Ron Bean's picture

My friend Jim's "predictions" made me think.

Christian schools, if they still exist, will be primarily private schools that pay a bit of lip service to Christianity.
Christian colleges will become liberal arts institutions and seminaries will become the training grounds for preachers.
Small churches will be led my bi-vocational pastors.
Many churches will see that having their own building is not a necessity. (Someone asked me if I'd spend $500,000 on a house that I used 10 hours a week.)
Hyper fundamentalism (KJVO, HAC, etc.) will become insignificant. (Scofieldian dispensationalism will become insignificant.)
Fundamentalism, if it survives, will learn what the important issues really are.
And someone will still have to have a nursing home ministry to come visit me and celebrate my 90th birthday by singing "In Christ Alone".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

JVDM's picture

Charlie wrote:
Kevin Bauder realizes fundamentalism is not worth saving.

 

Haha!

DavidO's picture

Jim, moderation in all things, bullet points included.  Bleah

And where's the option to vote for the liklihood of Brave New World style fusion-worship?

How are creeds and concern for church history "Romish"?

 

 

JVDM's picture

DavidO- I didn't vote for this very reason. I think the framing of each potential direction reveals why we are in the middle of this wasteland.