I shared a news article with PRCow about how faith and church is in serious decline in America. Two viewpoints were shared, out of many more I’m sure, but they have good points. Here are my reasons for why I think faith is declining:
- Spiritual teaching of Biblical truth has been so watered down, made politically correct and as inoffensive as possible that it offers nothing, not even conviction, for people to be transformed. And you don’t need organized religion remain as you were…so why believe?
- Other teaching falsely promises that everything will get easier/better with Jesus but when life gets harder instead Jesus seems like a liar.
- “Christianity” has become a culture rather than a relationship with Christ. It’s like how some identify themselves as Jewish but do not actually practice or believe in their faith.
- “Christian” also seems to be an indicator of what political bent you are rather than to mean Jesus is your only Lord and Savior.
- “Christian” is also most strongly associated with negative sounding terms like “anti-homosexual” or “anti-abortion”…and not much else. It’s hard to say what Christians stand FOR because you only ever hear of what they stand against. (Another post for another time.)
- “Christians” also get a lot of negative press…usually related to crazies who carry out heinous activities “in the name of Christ”…or related to hateful, mean-spirited, unloving, ungracious, miserly people who call themselves “Christians”. And so all Christians get painted with the same broad brush.
- And then there’s the “because the Bible says so” types who really haven’t even read/studied the Bible or given their faith any critical thought. Their speech and actions reveal their faith is not much more than mere superstition. Or worse, they use faith in their own self-serving agendas.
- God or religion is seen as a crutch. In a nation of incredible wealth (compared to the developing world), we have no need for God when we’ve got our bank accounts, university degrees and social assistance.
The “Christian” brand is pretty unattractive isn’t it?
Though at the same time, it’s supposed to be unattractive. C.S. Lewis said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” The hollow “health and wealth” promises of some preachers do not line up with Jesus calling His disciples to “take up their cross daily”. He never tried to make His message appealing to His listeners…which is why they opted to crucify Him in the end.
(I know nothing is sounding appealing about the Christian faith at all…but this is just one side of the story. There’s more for another post at another time.)
I’ve always known this in my head…that in the end, more reject than accept Him. It’s just sad to see it happen. Sad to know in my heart this is the reality of things. But Jesus knew.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” said Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ―Revelations 3:16
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” ―Matthew 7:21-23
What’s scary is that these verses aren’t necessarily about the separation between believers and nonbelievers…rather, there will be a great sorting of those who have a transformational relationship with Christ and those who just brandished His name like a good luck charm or prestigious social club card. My responsibility is to draw near to Him in relationship and live in a way that will draw others to Him as well. I pray I do Him proud.