The Making of Watered Down Churches

we are looking into why our mainline churches have become so watered down. In order for us to answer this question, it will be helpful to go back in time to get a historical context. If we go back to the 1800’s, the movement that swept across Europe is commonly called the Enlightenment. Enlightenment dominated the world of ideas in Europe. During the enlightenment, a major shift began to take place, reason rather than religious dogma became the primary source of authority and inquiry. The enlightenment began to undermine the authority of the church and the Bible. The Bible became subjected to this new way of thinking, human reasoning apart from revelation could lead people to God. Many Christian denominations and churches were left with some hard choices. They could ignore the changes that were sweeping the continent or try to reshape Christian belief in terms of new ideas and thinking. Many church leaders began revising the belief of the church to fit the mood of the time. The common consensus among these churches was the idea that Christianity needs to get rid of its mythology. Mythology was defined as ideas that were not “reasonable”, like virgin birth or miracles. Most of these churches began to drift away from an orthodox Christianity to a natural religion. A religion for all of mankind, where things are not only reasonable but beneficial to society. Living right became more important than right doctrine or belief. These trends continued well into 19th and 20th century all the way to our times. Today we call these fellowships “liberal churches”. These churches still follow the same trends as the churches of the past, they put a high emphasis on social welfare, helping the under privileged and other social issues. They don’t have a high view of biblical inspiration and usually explain away the super natural. Their position on cultural issues resembles more of a secular view than a biblical view.As we reflect on how these churches became this way, we could see it was all due to conformity to the cultural trends of their day. Today we are in a similar situation, the same cultural trends force us to conform to its mold. We constantly hear how we need to be relevant, otherwise we would not be able to reach people. But the question is how far should we go in order to accommodate people? Should we change our message? Or lower our standards so people would feel more comfortable with us? Unfortunately most of our churches have decided to follow the culture rather than be an example to the culture. As evident by the history every time we try to conform to the world to save the world we lose who we are. In my judgement this is why our mainline churches have become so watered down. We have compromised the message of Christianity in order to win people and in the process we lost who we are. But what about our conservative churches, have they fallen into the same trap? In their case, they compromised theologically in order to win people. In our next post, we are going to examine what has happened to the belief of our conservative churches.

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