Os Guinness on the modern dumbing down of the Christian Faith


A person only needs to listen to contemporary Christian radio for thirty minutes to realize that the Christian faith has been extremely watered down in our day. Since there is little talk of the law, sin, and God’s wrath, any mention of Jesus reduces him to a divine friend or perfect life coach rather than the sovereign Savior of miserable sinners of whom Scripture speaks.

In his book, Fit Bodies, Fat MindsOs Guinness explains how evangelicalism has nearly lost its mind.

Part one of this book is called “A Ghost Mind.” Guinness lists eight things that have dumbed down modern evangelicalism. The following list is a summary made by Shane Lems from the Reformed Reader blog:

1) Polarization: the focus on feelings at the expense of knowledge and reason.
2) Pietism: the emphasis on subjective experiential individualism at the expense of corporate and covenantal faith.
3) Primitivism: the romantic notion of going back to a simplistic innocent age of the past.
4) Populism: the idea of a religion of the people, for the people, and by the people.
5) Pluralism: the practice of affirming the lowest common doctrinal denominator, which leads to “deeds, not creeds.”
6) Pragmatism: the theory where “does it work?” is more important than “is it biblical?”
7) Philistinism: the blatant dislike of anything intellectual or scholarly.
8) Premillenialism [of the dispensational variety]: a theory of eschatology that nurtures anti-intellectualism by a fixation on the future and a disregard for the present.

The second half of the book (called “An Idiot Culture”) discusses the cultural factors that also led to the dumbing down of modern evangelicalism:

1) Amusement: the modern love of (or lust for?) entertainment.
2) Consumption: the lifestyle which abides by the “gospel” of advertisements.
3) Image: the infatuation with trends, looks, weight, sex, skin, etc.
4) Visual: the ability to watch a three hour movie coupled with the inability to read a serious three-hundred page book.
5) Postmodernity: the loss of overarching truth, meaning, and morality.
6) Media: the twisting or ignoring of truth for the sake of entertainment and cash.
7) Generationalism: the separating of generations with labels and stereotypes.
8) Cybergnosticism: the blending of the virtual (an early form of the internet) and what is real.

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