We live in a diverse society. The diversity in this context extends beyond ethnicity, racism, and language, but also integrates political and religious beliefs. Such diversity influence how we think, live, shop, vote, and also eat. The church is no different since cultural changes also affect us as churches, or individually.
Hemorrhaging of Mainline Protestantism
Cronshaw, Lewis, and Wilson (2016) explained that mainline churches represent the trend. These churches include Episcopal church, United Methodist Church, American Baptist Churches, among others; The trend consists of a theological continuum that accepts religious diversity (Cronshaw et al., 2016). Ojo (2018) observed that the mainline Protestantism is in resilient decline despite attempts to reverse it.
Growth of the Charismatic Movement and Pentecostalism
Hunt, Walter, and Hamilton (2016) observed that the Pentecostals and Charismatics seem to have won the worship war since the majority of the churches are comfortable with Calvary Chapel. The churches are in a competitive process of winning spiritual gifts debate concerning cessations, which seems to decline in the coming generation. Moreover, De la Torre and Martin (2016) elucidated that growth rates have been slowed down, and charismatic processes have been tamed. According to Hunt et al. (2016), charismatics and Pentecostals are continuing to grow and influence. Evangelicals tend to move towards the theology of spirit led, and spirit filled ministries (De la Torre & Martin, 2016).
Networks Will Explode in Influence and Numbers
Morgan (2016) explained that denominations are crucial and impact modern splitter groups. Networks are becoming denominations, i.e., Calvary Chapel and Vineyard. These are the early forerunners of networks which fundamentally functions as modern denominations. Morgan (2016) also explained that networks consist of non-denominational evangelical churches. On the other hand, Cleary (2018) observed that the future is likely to consist of evangelical and mainline denominations and more of non-evangelical denominational networks.
In conclusion, the above trends have good or bad implications for the church. As a result, there is a need for hope and discernment on the theological deeds to the modern and future society through the function of the churches.
Cleary, E. L., (2018). Power, Politics, and Pentecostals in Latin America. Routledge.Cronshaw, D., Lewis, R., & Wilson, S. (2016). Hemorrhaging Faith: An Australian Response in Exile. Australian e-Journal of Theology, 23(1).
De la Torre, R., & Martin, E. (2016). Religious studies in Latin America. Annual Review of Sociology, 42, 473-492.
Hunt, S. J., Walter, T., & Hamilton, M. (Eds.). (2016). Charismatic Christianity: Sociological Perspectives. Springer.
Morgan, J. R. (2016). Global Trends and the North American Church in Mission: Discovering the Church's Role in the Twenty-First Century. International Bulletin of Mission Research, 40(4), 325-338.
Ojo, M. A. (2018). Pentecostalism and Charismatic Movements in Nigeria: Factors of Growth and Inherent Challenges. The WATS Journal: An Online Journal from West Africa Theological Seminary, 3(1), 5.
Williams, P. J. (2018). The sound of tambourines: The politics of Pentecostal growth in El Salvador. In Power, Politics, and Pentecostals in Latin America (pp. 179-200). Routledge.
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