September 28, 2020

Year-End Recognition of Important iMonk Articles

Today’s post by guest blogger Chaplain Mike.

Christianity Today ran an article by Collin Hansen today called, “The Top Ten Theological Stories of 2009.”

Honored at #10 was our very own Michael Spencer’s series of articles called, “The Coming Evangelical Collapse.”

Here is what CT had to say:

‘Coming Evangelical Collapse’ Predicted A fixture of evangelical discourse, the jeremiad issues from a prophet who warns of judgment unless true believers repent of their sins and turn to God. Michael Spencer rejected the prophet label and professed doubt that he would be correct. But his posts on “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” nevertheless spawned a new round of soul-searching for a movement that appears to be splintering in several competing directions.

Congratulations to Michael for the recognition of his important thinking and writing on this issue.

I encourage you to read these articles again, think through them once more, and share any updated (or first-time) comments you might have on these important thoughts.

Here is a link to the original posts, with a few notes and clarifications by iMonk.

Read them and return here to comment.


  1. Obviously Michael put a lot of thought into this piece and it was rightly rewarded with recognition by Christianity Today. After reading it I see Michael has nailed many of the issues and sometimes heresy in evangelicalism. Much of if I have to ask is it really evangelicalism or really Christian?
    I think it may be closer to the truth that it has already died and forgotten to fall down.

    Remember Gordon MacDonald when he said of Christianity, it is truly amazing it contains the power to transform lives even after all the junk we have added to it and stuff we have taken away.

    People need a connection to God, to the spiritual, to history and tradition, etc. So, this monstrosity hangs on and will continue to hang on. Consider the corruption, the heresies, the issues in Catholicism. And it continues to hang on. Though I think prophetically it will be destroyed as is foretold in Revelation.

    Great piece of analysis Michael. You were able to raise awareness to the white washed sepulchers where many, many have failed to create any interest in the churches faults at all. Well done.

  2. The December 2009 issue of The Atlantic contains an article entitled, “Did Christianity Cause the Crash?”. It blames last year’s financial collapse in part on faith-prosperity pastors encouraging their followers to make risky, irrational loans and purchases. Investigators uncovered numerous business deals between bankers and these pastors to be invited to their financial seminars to pitch risky loan packages to the church members. It’s another case of Christianity taking the side of oppressors against the oppressed. So, reading that iMonk predicted the coming of unprecedented anti-Christian sentiment seems quite plausible. That is the real sadness that I see in the previous article regarding the message of redemption in Mary’s Magnificat; lifting up the weak and lowly isn’t what the church does very well. Why throughout history has the church been attracted to palaces and gold over and over again, and every time they become death traps?

    I just read

    • …I just read “At Home in the World: the Letters of Thomas Merton and Rosemary Radford Ruether”. Many of the topics are similar to those threatening evangelicalism today.

    • Well said.

    • Why throughout history has the church been attracted to palaces and gold over and over again, and every time they become death traps?

      Ready for GR to flex his prodigious command of the obvious ?? Here goes:

      IT SELLS. always has (in some circles) and always will (seems like the circles dont’ want to go away) . There is, it seems to me, a weird admixture at work here: there is the allure of gold, riches, wealth, status etc. to those in the church (and I mean spiritually born again ones); and then there is the same allure to those who are in churches. There is lots of ‘bleed over’, of course. The church WILL, of course be cleansed, because the LORD WILL have a clean bride, and HE has HIS ways……the churches, insititutions, however, well……..stay tuned.

      For a snapshot of some of this , rewind the Byron Pitts/Joel Osteen interview on 60 minutes, a garish example, I admit, and some version of this is played out in even more ‘orthodox’ ev. churches.

      LORD help us all to embrace the low position and choose servanthood instead of status, people instead of position, eternal things instead of wood, hay , and stubble. ……while there is yet daylight.
      nice post, Mr.Ox

      Greg R

      • Judgement is always scary stuff, but Christ does chastise those whom he loves.

        Someone once said that the church was forever changed and narrowed once it was forced to defend itself. Since then, it has cozied up with kings, rulers, presidents in order to seek worldly protection, validation, and advancement of its agendas. But it doesn’t matter if the church made friends with kings, Czars, Kaisers, dictators, presidents or emperors; the outcome was bad, bad, bad. When the friends in high places fell, they took the church with them. The fact that many countries still view missionaries as an extention of western power and culture is really sad and unfortunate. The fact that evangelicalism is viewed as a wing of the Republican party is even sadder.

  3. Don’t mean to side track again, but is there a place here where we could create a “wall” for well wisher for the Spencer family. I am following the story on Facebook. But I can’t send my regards on Facebook unless I’m a “friend.” I don’t they have the time or emotional energy right now to screen a bunch of strangers’ requests to be friends. Just a thought. But they are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

  4. On the update of the original posts iMonk lists a number of notes primarily for the purpose of qualifiing his postion.

    The last 2 are of intrest to me.

    The first of the two states that megachurch evangelism will continue on but will not remain faithful top the gospel. – Amen. That is correct; itching ears seeking to be scratched is all that is.

    The second of the two contains some remarks on the pentecostal movement. That this particular denomination does not have major problems. That is something I would disagree on.

    The pentecostals, may well not be as ‘dry’ as certain other denominatons yet they do have some serious error. Infact many, not all, of the present day heresy ‘performed’ within the banner of Christendom come from pentecostals. [Especially in the good ol’ US of A.]

    I am open to true fellowship with anybody from any particular facet of labelled Christianity beacuse lets face it – when persecution comes [and it will] it will be those who do not deny that Jesus is the ONLY way to God which we will embrace as brother or sister.

    My fear is that many who speak muich of Jesus now will run for the hills and never speak of Him again. That or say something silly like Joel Osteen.

  5. How do you track down our Michael Spencer among all the billions of Michael Spencer on Facebook?