In a recent commentary, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church predicted that one positive result to come from the "string of calamities" that occurred in 2020, is the coming demise of frivolous religion in America.
Specifically, MacArthur referenced the "irreverent brand of entertainment-as-religion" that is now finding it difficult to sustain itself in an era where cultural talking points discourage in-person gatherings. Because such churches have for so long followed the whims of pop culture, these congregations aren't likely to resist the societal counsel to avoid meeting together until all fears of COVID-19 have passed. This reality subjects these "megachurches" to very real dangers regarding sustainability.
But it's not just this "seeker-driven Christianity" model that is in peril post-COVID. "A long list of famous charismatic televangelists and self-styled ‘prophets'" have obliterated their own credibility, MacArthur pointed out.
"A year ago they were assuring their viewers that they had already declared and decreed the end of COVID-19" MacArthur reminded. "And then, even as the virus continued to dominate the news, they boldly announced that the Lord had told them Donald Trump would be re-elected. After the votes were counted and certified, most of the best-known charismatic soothsayers still insisted Trump would be inaugurated for a second term in January."
Maintaining credibility and finding compliant donors after a year of such public failure is likely to be a tall order. Along those lines, MacArthur also took aim at well-known mega-minister Joel Osteen and the so-called prosperity gospel.
"It's also frankly not going to be easy to keep selling the lie of ‘Your Best Life Now' to people who for the past year have endured various degrees of isolation, deprivation, persecution, job loss, and political strife — with wars and rumors of war in the streets of American cities," the minister wrote.
MacArthur didn't deny that these realities may result in a diminishment of the percentage of Americans affiliated with Christianity. But, he argued, the elements of the faith that such Americans were aligned with weren't truly biblical in the first place. Thus, Christianity will be refined in America as a result of the last year, not crippled.
The entire MacArthur essay may be found here.