The famous Crystal Cathedral, a giant glass walled archetechual wonder, went backrupt and was sold. It came down because competing sets the ultimate Christian “truth”.
There were two factions within the family of the founder, Robert Schuler. We learn this from one of the family members who wrote about it recently.
In one camp were the budget hawks who wanted the church’s salaries reduced, including those of the family members, to make the finances work. The other camp wanted to keep their high salaries and believed the budget would be balanced through prayer.
The “prayer” faction believed it was more “annointed by God” than was the fiscal hawk faction. Having a superior understanding of God’s intentions guided them to remove the fiscal hawks from the Board of Directors. It then failed.
Dozens of Christian churches close their doors every month in the U. S. New ones open up. What determines the survivors is their ability to pay their bills, not their skills or intellect in interpreting the Bible.
The faith’s ability to survive over these past 1,000 plus years is a tribute to the fluidity of its tenets. It has changed to accomodate cultural changes.
Its future depends on the ability to change as fast as the culture around it changes. Apparently, in Europe it has lost ground.
The Crystal Cathedral story illustrates that theological certainty and ridgid beliefs can be a fatal flaw. Starting new churches with new denominations more in turn to social change seems to work better than trying to change to old ones.