A while ago I was made aware that #exvangelical is trending in social media. On TikTok, there are more than 730 million views of videos with that hashtag. One of the most profiled among those posting with that hashtag is Abraham Piper, son of the well-known evangelical pastor John Piper. He feeds his more than 1,7 million followers with videos in which he criticizes and even mocks the evangelical faith. Sometimes he touches on things we need to think through, but most of the time he simply laughs at evangelicals.
In the March issue of Christianity Today, one can read that ‘The Church is Losing Its Gray Heads’. People of all generations are leaving the church. Deconstructing their faith has become a thing many do.
There can be many reasons why we are seeing this trend. When listening to the video posts with the hashtag exvangelical, it becomes pretty clear that the woke culture is a driving force. We live in a time and age when so many of the Christian and biblical values are challenged. In addition, there have been horrible revelations about pastors and Christian leaders who have sinned greatly against those whom they were set to spiritually nourish and protect. Many of those who are leaving the church do so because they are hurt and wounded.
As all trends, this one comes from the US. The evangelical movement struggles there, and families and churches split over both political and theological questions. The problems in Europe are not quite the same, but sooner or later I think we will face similar problems here, if not already.
I think evangelical and theologically conservative Christians are up to a great challenge in the years to come. We need to help one another and the next generations of evangelical Christians, and in particular leaders and theologians, to stand firm, both in doctrine and ethics. The only antidote to the #exvangelical is the gospel, the good news, the ev-angellion of Christ. We need to teach the gospel and remind ourselves of what it means to be an evangelical Christian.
Knut Kåre Kirkholm, Executive Committee member of FEET