"Bill" Easum is the "Senior Managing Partner of Easum,
Bandy and Associates (formerly 21st Century Strategies). Bill is one of
the most highly respected church consultants and Christian futurists in
North America." 1 He describes some of the
trends that he expects in the Christian church during the 21st century:
Worship will focus on experiences of God rather than learning about
The unchurched, who he describes as "biblically illiterate
and ethically void" is a growing segment of society. They
need to "experience the presence (immanence) of God."
Churches will become a safe place where the parishioners can seek
protection from the increasing hostility of the world which will be
directed against Christians.
Programs will be aimed at converting the unchurched rather than
pulling in life-long Christians.
Churches will make disciples rather than encouraging the laity to
hold offices in the church.
David Gibson is a religious newswriter from The Bergen (Hackensack, N.J.)
Record. In an article written for PioneerPlanet, he predicted trends in Christianity
during the next millennium:
"Cafeteria Christianity" (where believers pick and choose
"what appeals to them in various denominations, even in other
faiths") will increase.
Gibson quoted George Gallup Jr., the pollster from Princeton, N.J.: "Religion has
become a bit of a dirty word. It sounds dead, old-fashioned, archaic. Spirituality is a safer
word. If you can say you are spiritual, you don't have to make a commitment. For a lot of people
it's a way out."
Gibson wrote: "Lately, religion has become so psychologized
that its aim is often purely one of inner peace. The ancient commandment
to help one's neighbor can become an afterthought. Combine that with
faddism and good old American individualism, and we see a 'religion' so
privatized that it has little impact on society at large."
Religious attendance and belief in God or some higher power remains very
high in the U.S. "About
one-third of Americans say they have had a profound religious experience,
and the rest seem to be looking for one."
Christianity remains highly fragmented. He quotes a book by Phyllis Tickle,
the religion editor of Publishers Weekly, titled:
"Re-Discovering the Sacred" She referred to some 2,500
distinct forms of Christianity in the U.S. 3
Denominational loyalty is decreasing. By the late 1980's, over a third of
the Christians in the U.S. have switched denominations during their lifetime. At
least 60% of Americans are married to a person from another denomination.
The percentage of Americans who have no religious preference doubled from 7%
in 1972 to 14% now.
Richard Cimino and Don Lattin in "Shopping for Faith: American Religion
in the New Millennium:" 4"One way to understand American religion and chart its
future is to see the world of faith
like any other product or service in the U.S. economy.''
Religious experience will be increasingly divorced from church
congregations. "... 8 in 10 Americans already say the Internet
plays a role in their spiritual lives," and in another close to 20%
say they will rely "primarily or exclusively on the Internet for
religious input" by 2010."
Douglas Hall is Professor of Christian Theology at McGill University,
in Montreal, Quebec. In his book "The end of Christendom and the future of
Christianity," he writes: 5
Under the Roman emperors Constantine and Theodosius in the fourth
century CE, Christianity underwent a great shift. Christianity, the
faith, evolved into the imperial church. A shift in the reverse
direction is occurring today. "Christianity has arrived at the end of its sojourn as the
official, or established, religion of the Western world."
Christian churches are gradually being pushed to the edges of
society; they are being disestablished. The process cannot be
"The decline and humiliation of Christendom in the West
is...a process. It is not a matter of sudden death."
Most denominations are living in a delusion: that we are still
living in a basically Christian civilization, as if Christianity is
the "official religion of the official culture."
Christianity may return to its original, first century form, "the disciple community
described by the Scriptures."
Ms. Hampson is a Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the University of St.
Andrews in the UK. In her book, Theology and Feminism,she
asserts that Christianity and feminism are incompatible. 6 She
"...feminism represents the death-knell of Christianity as a
viable religious option...the feminist challenge strikes at the heart
The religious myths of the Israelites and, later, of Christian
theology represent simply two of many groups in the world who
interpreted the world from their own perspective.
The Christian myth is no longer either either tenable or ethical.
The path of the future is towards post-Christianity: to find a
method of viewing God independently of the Christian myth, and in today's
language. In doing so, we "shall be doing no more than did
others in their time, drawing on the cultural milieu in which they
The implication in her writing is that feminism is the stronger force.
It will cause the eventual abandonment of the Christian religion because
of the latter's ties to male supremacy.