As I write this I’m about halfway through Called to Controversy, Ruth Rosen’s biography of her father, Moishe, founder of Jews for Jesus. I’m enjoying the insights it gives into the man, the organisation and a significant time in recent history: the time of the “Jesus Movement”.
When I now read about that period of Christian history it reminds me how much things have changed. Attitudes have changed, priorities have changed, and the perceived nature of the gospel has changed. None of this change seems to be for the better.
A lot of it seems to have taken place in the 1990s at the same time I was going through a “spiritual crisis” that kept me away from Christian contact for almost 15 years. That crisis also seems to have kept me away from the causes of the change.
Prior to my crisis the believers I knew had a much different attitude to what I see today. Churches then held beach missions, sent people out onto the streets preaching the gospel and were devoted to evangelism. People were excited to share the gospel no matter how daunting it could seem at times. With the company and support of others it was easier to overcome any fears.
Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places but that kind of evangelism and commitment to the gospel, seems to be a thing of the distant past. There’s no longer a sense of urgency. There’s no noticeable desire to risk reputation for the sake of others and their eternal future.
Overall the purpose of those formerly evangelising churches seems to have changed. They have either slipped into a similar cultural rut to the historical, traditional churches or they have become self-absorbed centres of “blessing”, primarily desiring personal encounters with dubious signs, wonders and “prophetic” claims.
The whole focus of the gospel has been removed from any idea of repentance and the need for reconciliation with a Holy and Righteous God. The focus now seems to be on a desperate god so sentimentally attached to humanity that he will go to any lengths to win mankind over.
The “Churches” have by and large abandoned any sense of the genuine gospel. In most cases now, the gospel of Jesus seems to be entrusted to a scattering of individuals.