Will the financial meltdown have a serious effect on conservative Calvinism?
Rumor has it that Westminster Theological Seminary’s budget is taking a huge hit. The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary is considering changing its policies with regard to tuition. These are significant changes.
But what about congregational life? The small conservative Reformed denominations, Scottish, German, and Dutch were once rooted in deeply rooted “ethnic” communities. From Dutch ghettos to Covenanter farming communities our churches were strong because they reflected the spiritual side of real life communities. The Great Depression- the first one- was nothing in comparison to such powerful bonds.
But is this still true? Do our churches reflect any kind of identifiable, physical, rooted community? Or are we now a collection of strangers connected by theology and a creepy sense of “church family” (which, unless we are cousins, I do not want to hear about).
We do not live in the same towns, we do not shop in the same stores, and our kids do not go to the same schools. We meet on the Lord’s Day. Feign intimacy covered by make believe evangelical cliches, and go back to to our impenetrable suburban strongholds, often 30 minutes to an hour from the church.
The drop in gas prices may have granted a reprieve… but those are dark clouds in the sky.