Bob, sent me this article along with his thoughts. I’m going to attempt to understand what he means, as well as what the article is stating, and reply to both.
The article says: People are less attracted to church membership today. Less than half in the US now claim church membership. The lowest in the history of this polling. That means for the Muslims for the Jews for the cults and for the church that none of them have a message that tends to draw more but fewer members today. In fact these non members who outnumber the members of all of these groups are called the NONE’s.
The gospel is as the Bible says the good news, it has been preached or made available more in this country and to the people of our time than to any other nation possibly in all of history. The same is true for the world.
In answer to what Bob concludes, the gospel message itself when understood should imply that the men bringing it have been, and in some ways still are a flawed bunch of disagreeables, and in some cases hypocrites even as Paul once accused Peter of being. These are transforming sinners who have been offered and who received and are walking in God’s grace just as you and I are.
The main problem today is that people don’t believe the message presented in the Bible, or by its ministers. Most people saying that they believe in God don’t even know if they believe the Bible version of God. And that goes for many in the liberal churches. Probably even many in the conservative churches. Certainly this statement is true of most all of those who are not churched, but who are among those still saying that there may be a God.
God has given all of us faith to believe, but He then holds us accountable for where we place that belief.
Also, to Bob I would say that I did not come to Christ because of observing others, but because God either honored or caused my searching for Him when I was yet lost, even though I was raised in church. The Holy Spirit’s draw in my life was to the scriptures and to Christian literature. I read David Wilkerson’s book the cross and the switchblade, and it was during the reading of that book that God spoke to me, and it was then that I surrendered my life to Him. But I had heard the gospel many times and for many long years before that reading and that meeting with our Lord.
After that, I read other of Wilkersons books, and those of other Christians since then; and in his as well as those others, there were messages to the church which were much more convicting stating how we should live, what Bob might call judgmental of the church body for being hypocritical as we often are.
It was my experience that in my case at least I had to come to hunger after our Lord before I could meet Him as savior. Jesus possibly only showed His anger or judgment against two groups during His earthly ministry. One group was the religious leadership, who were those over His fathers house — the teachers of His flock. The other group was those (anyone) who would offend the children.
In Matt 24:45-51, He tells us who the faithful servant is and what he is doing. He is feeding the proper food at the proper time, and he is not carousing with the worldly. In other words the Gospel is the proper milk for the lost, and the way of righteousness is the proper meat for the flock, and the prophetic word is proper meat when its season arrives.
In fact Bob, as these times that we are in advance Jesus and Paul had stated that men would depart from the faith. And yes people will be deceived, so much so, that if the days were not cut short not even the elect would be saved.
We are living in very dangerous and deceptive times.
In my original response to Bob, I did not address the political comment that he makes. I will do that in my next article as this is getting quite long.
This is a prayer that we all should pray. Thanks Roy for sending this to me. Below is a link to the article Bob refers to, and below is Bobs’s concern as well as his comments to me concerning this article.
Interesting statistics in the following article. The rate at which the decline in religious affiliation is accelerating tells me there are some serious problems with American Christianity today. We used to have a compelling, attractive message of God’s love and grace—the message David Wilkerson took to gang members and addicts in New York City. I think many religious leaders, especially evangelicals, have become far more judgmental and peddlers of fear and hate, driving young people away from the church. Many Christians seem to be distorting the gospel. It’s no longer “good news” but worldly, especially when used to “demonize” people who don’t share their narrow political agenda. It also seems that many Christians have embraced bizarre conspiracy theories (e.g. QAnon) which makes them appear to be kooks to rational unbelievers.
Of course, all this is conjecture on my part but if I were an unbeliever today, I would find very few Christians whose lives would inspire me to pursue their faith. They wouldn’t see Christians living out their beliefs in a way that makes them say “I want to have what they have. Those Christians have something in their lives that I don’t have and I want to find out what it is so I can experience the same thing in my own life.”
I think we have a great opportunity today because so many people are experiencing crises in their lives, be it medical, financial, or social (e.g. racial injustice). I hope we don’t squander the chance to offer hope to those who are struggling and desperately need help.
I’ll get off my soapbox now.