The one exception to general religious decline in the US in the recent American Religious Identification Survey was evangelicalism. Yet Michael Spencer sees this as illusory. Here's one reason why:

Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society. The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

Christianism has helped weaken and politicize Christianity. It has also helped to gut it of intellectual grit. Evangelicalism does not engage modernity; it simply avoids it. And until Christians respond to a changing world with the kind of intellectual courage of the Second Vatican Council, we will fail to sustain faith in the modern world.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to