This essay has been slightly edited and was originally published in the C.S. Lewis Institute’s online quarterly, “Knowing and Doing.” You may find the original article at this link.
If you were asked to articulate the contemporary church’s greatest weakness, what would you say? Would you point to the tendency among so many Christians to continually conform to the surrounding culture on issues like marriage and sexuality? Would you argue that evangelicals and mainline Christians have both become too captive to political ideologies and failed to remain faithful to the King of kings and Lord of lords? Perhaps you would mention the prosperity gospel or the multi-billion-dollar Christian entertainment industry rendering so many churches chronically shallow. Others have made those arguments, and I am in many ways sympathetic. However, it seems to me that there is a deeper, more foundational problem that is too often overlooked. I suggest that the eclipse of catechetical discipleship ministry is among the greatest threats facing the church today.