Christians don’t need formal structures

Michael Spencer, in 2009, writes:

We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Gracy Olmstead considers Spencer’s reflection in the light of “saving the millennial faith,” which is a good and important thing to consider.

What Spencer’s reflection impresses upon me, meanwhile, is the incredible risk to Christians of attempting to recreate the institutions and structures of Christendom—the structures of a sort of Christian-run culture.

Those things of the past can’t be recreated at this particular historical moment, and the greatest risk to Christians today and tomorrow is the temptation of owning and controlling sprawling properties and structures that sap the strength and energy of the Church, which is always at heart a personal, cultural, and social faith whose vitality comes from its relationships, rather than its structures.