The Disappearance of the ‘Mushy Middle’
“In what ways is the current cultural climate forcing the ‘mushy middle’ out of the church?”
Yeah, that’s a great question. And it kind of goes back to the seeker sensitive question. We all wanted in on that one because that’s where we live. But one of the interesting things to note is that there aren’t that many new seeker-sensitive churches because that fit a certain cultural moment when people were saying to unbelievers, “You can gain a bit of social capital by coming to join with us. There’s some value added to your life if you come and join with us. If you just come and be with us, we’ll add meaning and spirituality to your life in a non-threatening way.”
But in the hardening secularization that we are now experiencing people are going to pay social capital to hang around with anyone believes the gospel of Jesus Christ. They’re going to forfeit social capital. They’re going to run a risk for being member of our churches. There once was a time when, especially someone—let’s say a Southern town—he wanted to come, and he had his family. And he wanted to be able to raise his children, he wanted to be able to sell life insurance, he had to have credibility. He can add credibility by joining the First Baptist Church, the First Presbyterian Church, that was just what people did in an age of cultural Christianity. Well now, you may fail to become a partner in your law firm because you’re a member of a Bible-believing, gospel-teaching church. The ‘mushy middle’ is disappearing because in a time of hardening—I’m not going to use the word persecution—but in a time of hardening opposition, could well turn into persecution, people are running a risk to hang around with likes of us. And the ‘mushy middle’ is going to disappear in a hurry because the pressures on both sides are coming real hard.