AP’s Rachel Zoll provides us with Religious life won’t be the same after downturn, the latest mass media update on how we Christian orgs are all faring amidst this recession:
- Faith Communities Today’s David Roozen is projecting 320,000 to 350,000 congregations in economic distress in 2010. That’s around 1 in every 7.
- The Association for Christian Schools International reports the closure or merger of 200 Christian schools, up 50 from last year.
- 80 seminaries who are members of the Association of Theological Schools have seen their endowments drop by 20%.
My question: Was this something done to us…or something we did to ourselves?
Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of City of Refuge in Los Angeles, in MinistryToday:
We have endured 25 years of health, wealth and prosperity preaching, and the prophets should have told us that we were going to be in this kind of situation and circumstance since they have such ‘prophetic’ words. What happened is the church has capitalized the gospel and we have preached Americanism for gospel, and ultimately we ended up crashing because there is no credulity and authenticity in the whole presentation. The only people who were making any real money were those who were expostulating the theology that left the psychology that debilitated the minds of those who were involved. The debilitation is that everybody expected to bring an offering in church and just get rich though nobody participated and partnered with God. Because at the end of the day nobody receives a check in an envelope postmarked from heaven. It’s your participation that makes it happen. … The ministry and the preachers have taken so much money from the church and lived lavish lifestyles. We need to put something back. We need to equip our people. As James puts it, very explicitly, ‘Faith without works is dead.’ We co-create, we perpetuate God’s creation by functioning responsibly. So what everybody was talking about as God’s blessing was people living on credit. And the Bible says that the borrower is subject to the lender. So Christian America simply joined the capitalistic bandwagon and-in the name of God-articulated a theology that has no credulity.
Ring the bell. School’s now in session.