4. Emergent Christians support the LGBT community and believe the gay community should be granted equal rights under the law. In other words, they have given up the church's longstanding war with the gay community. They have chosen instead to accept what science and psychology tell us about the universe, as well as the complexities of the human mind, human development and human sexuality.

5. This new Christianity is open to what other religions can teach us about spirituality, too. They would regard, for example, Desmond Tutu's statement "God is not a Christian," as factually accurate. While affirming that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19), they would still be open to the spiritual insights that may come from Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other spiritual tradition. They believe the current Church is dying because it mistakenly believes "We're right! Everyone else is wrong!"

6. Finally, emergent Christians no longer regard “heaven” as some "pie-in-the-sky" future paradise that they alone will enjoy. No, these Christians would view "hope" the way they believe Jesus viewed it; the way the prophets of old viewed it; and, the way the entire biblical narrative views it: as a vision of eternity wherein all are “saved” and a vision of the world where all people are treated equally, cared for, respected, fed and nurtured, as beloved creations of God.

Again, as I have crisscrossed this country over the last two decades, I have observed the decline and the dying of churches within all denominations. The conclusion to which I have come is that if Christianity is to survive, and the church that is its primary proponent, it must reverse its rapid march toward death.

How? I would suggest paying close attention to the calls for change coming from those who were once its “insiders” – those who now call themselves the “spiritual but not religious” or the Christian “Nones.” It is these who are thinking outside the box, crafting a new theology of salvation, and seeking to renew their understanding of Jesus, as well as their devotion to him.

Who knows what the new Christianity will become?

Dr. Steve McSwain, is the founder of the Foundation for Excellence in Giving. He has provided coaching and consultation to more than two hundred churches and parishes nationwide…representing all Christian traditions. As a founding partner with the Maxwell Team of Professional Speakers, Coaches, and Trainers, Dr. McSwain coaches leaders and congregations within Catholic, Evangelical, and Protestant traditions. He also speaks across the country, serves as an adjunct professor of Communication at the University of Kentucky, and maintains a private coaching relationship with a select group of religious leaders and professional people across America. Learn more at www.stevemcswain.com.

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