When we look at what is going on in the country today, how can anyone not be concerned. Of course, part of the concern is what is happening in the political arena. But that is only one symptom of a much deeper problem. Other symptoms include the massive number of babies that are being legally murdered every year, the normalization of all forms of sexual immorality, the demonization of the police and other institutions charged with maintaining order in society, the attacks on freedom of conscience, and so much more.
So if these are only symptoms, what is the root cause, you might ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. The root cause is the decline of Christian beliefs and the rise of naturalistic beliefs in the population at large.
As you read my assessment, you may think that I have oversimplified the problem. I have not! And there are two distinct ways this is becoming evident in society.
The first has to do with the increase in the number of people, in general, who self-identify as “no religion.” Of course, that is a misnomer. Everyone has a religion, even the ones who say they have no religion. In truth, the “no religion” crowd hold to some form of Naturalism – which is a faith (religious) point of view. But regardless of what they call themselves, there has been (and continues to be) a dramatic rise in the number of people who deny God and follow some form of Naturalism.
The second way this is becoming evident in society is in the increasing ignorance of self-identified Christians. I don’t want to come across too harsh here, but sometimes we just have to face the blunt truth. In a recent Barna survey, it was determined that only about 4% of Americans in general, and only 9% of born again believers have a biblical worldview. That is absolutely shocking, and should make even faithful believers stop and wonder about their own belief foundation.
In another survey, this one conducted by Lifeway Research, evangelical Christians were asked about specific biblical beliefs, and the responses showed a massive amount of ignorance, heretical beliefs, and internally contradictory notions. In this survey, 70% of Christians believe Jesus was a created being, 56% said the Holy Spirit is not equal with God the Father or Jesus, and 66% believe that “everyone eventually goes to heaven.” These are self-identified evangelical Christians, mind you, but their responses are anything but biblical.
So yes, I’m concerned. There is no way for a person to stand up to those who are actively working to destroy the Christian faith without knowing why the Christian faith is true and other beliefs are not. Is it any wonder at all that non-Christian beliefs are rapidly coming to dominate society to the detriment of Christians?
The solution to this problem is one of those things that is simple, but not easy. The simple solution is for Christians to get up to speed in their understanding of their own beliefs, and become active in sharing their faith in Christ.
So, then, why is it not easy? It is not easy because, seemingly, such a large percentage of Christians don’t know there is a problem, don’t know where to go to get up to speed, and/or are not willing to put out the effort to do it.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Churches develop programming according to what the membership will support. If you find a church that puts no emphasis on discipleship training, the reason is that the membership of the church does not demand it and will not participate, even if the leadership provides it. Sadly, that is the vast majority of churches. And, as I said, it is not the fault of the leadership – it is the fault of the members.
I assure you, fantastic discipleship resources are readily available. MarketFaith Ministries, along with many other organizations, produce some great resources in this arena. In addition to that, there are abundant training possibilities. Again, MarketFaith Ministries offers this kind of training, but most pastors also have the ability to equip their members in this area.
I know I am not the only one concerned about what is happening in our nation. There are millions of believers who share this concern. But being concerned is not the solution to the problem. Christians, in mass, are going to have to add intentional training and outreach efforts to the concern. Until that happens, we will continue going down this same road. It is my deepest hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities available to you, or even be instrumental in creating new opportunities, then take that out into the world to be an instrument in God’s hand to change hearts and minds.