When Charisma magazine (May) recently asked 20 charismatic Christian leaders about their “vision” of life for the church for the next 10 years, there was a marked lack of optimism about the position of evangelical Christianity in America, although there was less negativity about the future of non-Western societies.
No one ruled out revival breaking out, but about half of the leaders surveyed foresee secularization and a shrinking public role for evangelicals and charismatics in the U.S. by 2020. For instance, Larry Stockstill of the Bethany World Prayer Center said that the “darkened minds of people will see the church as their enemy and focus on eliminating us as their primary threat to their new morality and Christ-less religion,” at least until a new season of “spiritual healing” is restored to the country. Jack Hayford of the Foursquare Church said that the “next 10 years will bring increasing persecution upon believers in the Western world …. The spirit of the anti-Christ is increasing its intensity. The heat will not only increase against institutional Christianity, but any believer who lives ‘out of the closet’….”
George McKinney of the Church of God in Christ predicts that by 2020, “persecution and the secularization of society will have separated the true believers from shallow lukewarm church members.” C. Peter Wagner was alone in predicting “significant progress” in the reformation of society. But those from ethnic churches and organizations and from nonWestern countries also had a more self-confident take on the near future. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference forecast that Latino Christians both in the U.S. and abroad “stand both prophetically and culturally poised to lead a righteousness and justice movement while simultaneously serving as a firewall against spiritual apathy, moral relativism and cultural decay.”
Joseph D’Souza of the Dalit Freedom Network predicted that the “Christian mission will be more proactive rather than reactive as the church flourishes in the nations of the south.” The church in India in particular “will throw off its minority complex and be a key part of the population working for the nation’s good.” Even as Pat Robertson saw Christians as struggling against secularism, multiculturalism and militant Islam in Europe and America, he envisioned revival as more likely appearing in the Middle East.
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