Interviewer: Do you think the American church is heading down the wrong path with its concert-style worship and feel-good lectures that are part of many services?
Os Guinness: I think that evangelicalism in America at the moment has lost its way. It is profoundly worldly. It is almost as deep in what Martin Luther called a Babylonian captivity as the pre-Reformation church was. And much what we have here is more American than it is really Christian. And there are different examples. If you look at the religious right, that has become an ideology that practices things that are anti-Christian. They do demonize their enemies, they do stereotype their enemies. I've been horrified this year as you do and Stuart does and Ravi does, we love apologetics, the defense of the faith. But it's to win people. Whereas the current tendency in the American church is to turn apologetics into culture warring. Us/them, we/they, those dreadful liberals or those atheists or those liberal leftists or whatever it is. That's not apologetics. We should be winning them to our Lord because we love Him and we want them to know Him too.
And so there are so many examples. You look at say how the prosperity doctrines are coming to Africa. Tragically. I mean the Africans have no money at all and pastors driving Cadillacs based on these things which they get from the United States. There's so much of the American church. We've got to call our fellow believers to renewal and revival and reformation. Evangelicals used to be the reviving, renewing force. Now we're second only to the Protestant mainline as worldly and thoroughly captive to the culture. It's time to wake up.
Interviewer: Os, you wrote in that book [The Last Christian on Earth] that the Christian church is becoming its own gravedigger. Explain what you mean by that.
Os Guinness: Well, it's a very simple idea in the social sciences. The Christian faith, not so much the church by itself, but the Christian faith and its ideas is the single strongest idea that has made the modern world. Think of its links to democracy, to the rise of science, and all sorts of things. The Christian faith is the single strongest idea that has made the modern world. But we've fallen captive to the modern world we've helped to create. So the more captive we are, the more the church becomes its own gravedigger.
Os Guinness: I personally don't think there are more secularists in America. I think people are more open about acknowledging they are or identifying themselves with secularism because they're fed up with what they see of Christians.
There's no question that just like a house eaten by white ants, looks terrific, until suddenly it starts to crumble and fall. Much of evangelicalism is a house eaten by white ants, and the rot is there.
Evil and Modernity, part 2. [Transcribed by H. Kriz, 11/2011]