Church of the Last Days
by S. M. Hutchens
Liberal churches are dominated and defined by religiously inclined unbelievers, often perplexed at why their numbers are declining despite all their joyful noises, friendly smiles, inclusivity, and welcoming. Some have thought that imitating what they can only perceive as the Jesus-method of more successful churches will help revive their numbers. The cluelessness would be amusing if it weren't so pitiful. They remind one of the R & D Department of Screwtape's hell, which could only regard heaven's successes as some sort of trick, the secret to which it did not yet possess but was working on.
I surmise that the liberal churches, if managed so as to exploit their various religious market niches, need not decline to extinction. In the Congregationalist pastorate, for example, I came to the conclusion that there will always be a taste for the Pilgrim Faith of True Congregationalism, which can be nicely practiced quite apart from Christianity. The Episcopalians, liberal Catholics, and Orthodox have Pride of Place, Ceremony, and plenty of art to sell. The Evangelicals and Charismatics have lots of noise and enthusiasm about "Jesus." None of these, however, in their corrupted manifestations, is obedient to the Real One. They will carry on to merge happily and productively with the Church of Antichrist, that great, happy, inclusive, welcoming, and for once competently led ecumenical project of the Last Days.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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