As you might expect I largely agree with Eric, mainly for the top two reasons. There is always reason to be hopeful, optimistic and reassured as it pertains to the church because the church is the very Body of Christ and He simply will not, in fact by His nature cannot, allow it to fail. I also am a bit cautious.
I am encouraged by those who are leaving the worst excesses of institutional Christianity behind but I have to admit I am not as encouraged by what is replacing it. All too often it seems to be that nothing is replacing it. Perhaps that is just my experience but it seems that a lot of us, myself included, have walked away from the institutional church but continue to have a void in our spiritual lives due to the difficulty in finding Christian community of any tangible sort outside of the institutional system. I don't sense any sort of smug superiority over being right but being alone.
One of the reasons I liked the collaborative project Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity is that it was not designed as a polemic against institutionalism and an apologetic for "house church" but rather as an exploration of shared beliefs that ought to unite the church and should help direct our community of lives lived together as the church. I am coming to a place of being more concerned with how a particular group functions rather than with the form that it takes. A participatory house church that has a faulty understanding of the Gospel is not an improvement over a modest institutional church with solid orthodoxy. A plurality of elders that are Biblically unqualified to be elders is not an improvement over paid clergy. You get my point. I have more to say on this topic in the days to come but like Eric I remain ever confident in the promises of Christ as it pertains to His Body. Our best days, not our wealthiest or most powerful or influential days, are yet to come.