Take a look at this post below…WOW! This will really make you think! Enjoy! -anita
A Battle Within the Church: Siren-song of the World
I read a sobering fact recently concerning the state of the church in America. Mainline U.S. churches, such as Presbyterian USA, Lutheran, United Methodist, etc., counted among its membership 28% of all Americans in 1972. By 2014, that number had dwindled to 12.2%. According to Collin Hansen of The Gospel Coalition, a reformed, Bible-based network of evangelical churches, there is a clear reason for this massive defection. “Many mainline Protestant churches have long since forsaken preaching [the gospel of Christ] in favor of promoting the latest social causes. And their churches have emptied.”
Hansen’s point is that, since these churches are simply espousing the same message being proffered by the liberal, secular elements of our society, those churches no longer have anything unique to offer and are being abandoned.
As I struggle with the obvious fact that America is becoming less churched, I take some of Hansen’s message to heart and am encouraged. As our country becomes more secular, Hansen notes a fact that I’ve read elsewhere: an America reliant more on self and less on God is not that different from the way of the world in Jesus’ time. “[America now] is not too different from the multicultural Mediterranean world of the New Testament, where Roman Jurisprudence, Greek philosophy, and various Jewish schools of thought vied for influence.”
Hansen gives us a directive as he quotes the apostle Peter. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers (in the world) to abstain from fleshly lusts…. Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles, so that … they may on account of your good deeds…glorify God….” [1 Peter 2:11-12] Hansen translates this passage to observe that Peter “commends purity inside the church and dignity outside the church.”
And following Peter’s admonitions to what end, you might ask, if our society is in fact turning its back on the gospel. Hansen says this: “The world has indeed moved away from the church, but it hasn’t yet discovered any better alternatives or lasting answers.” I would add that, without God, I don’t expect the world to ever find better alternatives. If sinful mankind is left to provide the answers to life, we can easily predict the results. Whether it’s Hitler (poisoned ideology) or Jim Jones (poisoned kool-aid), all we will get is self-aggrandizement. Our young people can look at secular leadership and ideals, with all of their bankrupt promises, and reach their own conclusions as to whether that lifestyle meets their needs. I strongly suspect that many young people will test those waters, find that path wanting, and will turn to the God who provides truthful answers to the question “why are we here.”
Hansen provides a truly uplifting and hopeful end to this dilemma of church abandonment: if the world can offer no meaningful answer to life, “what an amazing opportunity, then, for the evangelical church to make itself a refuge for the orphans of modernity.” In short, we need to keep on keeping on. Don’t change our message to one in synch with the siren-song of the world. Our message is what it has always been: the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! As in everything in this life, it’s simply a matter of faith; that God will do what He says He will.