Wednesday, March 11, 2009 Posted by Shattered Paradigm
The survey defined having a Biblical worldview as holding the following beliefs:
*Believing that absolute moral truth exists
*Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches
*Believing that Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic
*Believing that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works
*Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
*Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
So what do these numbers mean?
They show that we have failed and have almost totally lost an entire generation of American young people.
They also show that truth is in a lot more trouble in America than we may have wanted to think.
Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor is writing about the "coming evangelical collapse" that they believe is coming. They predict that "within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants."
That is frightening.
So is the church failing in America?
Is it changing into something else?
A reader named "John" posted a very insightful comment on this blog about this topic recently.....
I'd consider whether or not church attendance decline represents a decrease in Christianity or just a decrease in church involvement. From what I am hearing all around the country, solid Christians are discouraged about what the churches are doing and the lack of effectiveness in training, equipping and outreach in their emphasis.
Years ago, the typical church schedule included Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday nights for the average Christian family. This allowed for several times each week emphasizing the different aspects of the Christian life.
Today, most families' schedules are so hectic, they primarily only go on Sunday mornings. Many churches emphasize reaching out to those who are lost or guests and lack the biblical training and equipping of Christians in the Sunday morning service. Some have Sunday small groups but these too are often lacking in equipping Christians for maturity and outreach - if the families attend anyway.
All of this to say, many mature believers are standing back from their church involvement asking themselves why they are there. Some are leaving for smaller groups that are more focused on issues important to them and authentic connection with others for edification and challenging support.
I have personally seen more church "splits" than I can remember. These are often quarrels about the church structure or leadership vs. members. When the split occurs, there is a remnant that moves on to more powerful service, ministry, and personal growth. Typically 1/3 stays with the church organization, 1/3 moves on to a new work together and 1/3 wander around for a season not motivated to do anything. I wonder if God is allowing us to divide to get us out of our comfy places, the familiar daze of the moderate Christian life.
I heard a Christian leader say recently, "If we don't change the way we do church, we will lose an entire generation". I take this a little further and say we have already lost many and it is very important that we consider how we must change in order to be the powerful life changing entity that God intended us to be.
I pray that Christians will be more equipped each week for the ministry of the streets! We may find ourselves forced into smaller groups so we'd better get used to closer quarters and relationships.
But as bad as all of this sounds, the truth is that God always has a remnant.
We will probably start to see more house churches and more underground movements.
We will probably see quite a few of the high profile "megachurches" fail.
As society increasingly rejects Biblical principles, we will see more persecution of Bible believing Christians.
But persecution always invigorates the true church.
The reality is that the church has been a mess for a long time, and now the decay is starting to show.
But sometimes when things look the darkest God does His most amazing work.