Thursday’s Podcast: What’s Wrong?

“What’s wrong with Christianity in 2016?”

Yikes. As I wrote here last week, I’ve been dreading this question since we decided that our book on “Pietism and the Future of Christianity” would mirror the structure of Philipp Spener’s Pia Desideria, whose first major section is a “Conspectus of Corrupt Conditions in the Church.”

Abandoned church in Nova Scotia
Creative Commons (bambe1964)

As I mused in our first episode in this series, and then again in last Tuesday’s blog post, it’s awfully easy to criticize Christianity right now. And to do it in a way that seems self-righteous, overly generalized, and worse. So we started with some advice that Mark had for me back in that opening episode:

I think when I preach, when I prepare my sermons, I’m always asking God, “What’s your word for me? And then, okay, what’s your word through me? What can I share with others that may be helpful, by the grace of your Spirit…?

…So even as I think about the judgment of God on the church, or as I think about what critiques we may need to speak about the church, they’ll come from that place… I’m a part of the church, I’m a part of this thing. I have that tendency, too. What is the word of judgment for me, for us?

Where that took us was everything from partisan politics (thanks to one of our Christian Humanist bosses for supplying some discussion fodder here!) to the nature of work in this economy to the prevalence of fear, the desire for certainty, and the temptation to disengage. (Perhaps, I suggested near the end of the conversation, the biggest problem is that Christians struggle even to agree what the problems are…)

So download our “What’s Wrong?” episode at iTunes and let us know what you think of our diagnosis — then come back next week to see what we do with Spener’s prevailing “hope for better times.”

Some quick footnotes to the conversation:

3 thoughts on “Thursday’s Podcast: What’s Wrong?

  1. Hi Dr. Gehrz,

    I’ve been listening along but haven’t made time to comment yet. You asked about what others think is “wrong” with Christianity right now, and as a teacher in small town SW MN, I’d have to say that what stands out to me is the fractured witness of the church. In basically any community (but perhaps more-so in small settings), I’d say unity between churches in their witness is fundamental to building the kingdom together. I believe in the value of denominations, but when the Church’s internal squabbles weakens our ability to reach the community at large, I think we lose out on a lot of opportunities for good. Thus, I’m all on board for Pietism’s focus on bringing people together. In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity! Love this quote.


    1. Thanks for weighing in, Stephen. This is exactly where I’m at… We’ll talk more about unity in a few episodes, but like you, I increasingly think about its connection to our witness and mission.

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