The sub-christian pietism, social pacifism and cultural docetism that pervade the American church might be the primary reason for her waning influence.
People can’t believe a gospel of no consequence. Jesus’ gospel carried an immediate effect upon all of life. Without that, it becomes a merely theoretical gospel accurate in sentences but devoid of power. A lively faith is reduced to the singing of songs and a series of rituals. A reading of dusty books and dead theologians.
Some set James and Paul at odds and war against Luther’s gospel “with hands and feet”; Calvin’s gospel productive of a “Christian life”. We can’t have Paul without James or James without Paul if we demand the full counsel of God.
James wrote, “…If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
Our Justification is by grace alone through faith alone – but faith is never alone in the truly regenerate soul; neither in a true Christian church, where there are duties to attend in the temple of God and we share in the sufferings of Christ.
And this makes us happy…