If you are an authentic Christ follower from the west, you are a rare person. Claiming to be Christian does not make you one. Being a Christian actually means something; it means a Christ follower. Today, the United States of America (further referred to as America) is considered more Christian than Europe, but when we look at the number of self-identifying Christians with a Christian worldview in America, I’m not sure how it can get much worse. How do we live in a world that is getting less and less Christian? How do we as individuals, families, congregations, and communities reverse this?
The Non-Christian Church
Research indicates that 20 percent or less of Americans regularly attend church (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/how-many-americans-attend-church-each/). Research from the Barna Group shows that “only 17 percent of Christians who consider their faith important and attend church regularly actually have a biblical worldview.” (https://www.barna.com/research/competing-worldviews-influence-todays-christians/). One-fifth of 20 percent is less than four percent of the total. This is concerning, real concerning.
While this number may sound low, most “Christians” I meet seem to be nominal. In other words, I’m not that surprised that it is four percent. From my experience, today’s nominal Christian knows less about the Bible than 18th century deists, like Thomas Jefferson. He actually read, understood, and defended the Bible and Jesus’ moral teachings, even though he clearly didn’t claim to be a Christian.
Today, the average “Christian” seems embarrassed by Jesus’ teachings in general and moral teachings in particular. Leaders and laity alike apologize to society about its contents. God’s Word sounds “unscientific,” discriminatory, bigoted, sexist, and judgmental. God claims to have created the universe; that’s embarrassing. Since we obviously know that God is “love,” the Bible must be outdated because God seems to be judgmental. God’s Word doesn’t sound nice. The things God calls sin are things that society says we need to affirm and promote. Thus, people tip-toe around God’s Word, especially when it condemns today’s “sanctified sins.” God condemns adultery, fornication, theft, gossip, lying, drunkenness, blasphemy, vulgarity, and pride. That’s embarrassing. Now that society promotes LGBTQ behavior and postmodern feminism, it’s embarrassing to read the parts of how God created bifurcation of the sexes, gave each specific roles, and called homosexuality sin.
Of course behavior follows belief. If you don’t actually believe God’s Word, why would you follow God’s Word? “Christian” couples ubiquitously shack up, divorce, and remarry. “Christians” now affirm LGBTQ behavior within the “church.” Secular movies, secular music, and secular media are better known than Bible stories. Pop media personalities and sport figures are better known than ancient Christians. Sporting practice and watching the Saints play take precedence over practicing one’s faith and assembling with the saints of God. More time is spent on gaming technology than learning about and living out biblical ideas. Alcohol and drugs are consumed while vulgarity and blasphemy spew from the mouth. Scripture is clear that those actively living in sin, without remorse, regret, and repentance, are not Christ followers.
Will the Real Christians Please Stand Up?
Being an authentic Christian today is a novelty and maybe a little embarrassing. The authentic Christian is often lectured to be “nicer” and pressured to apologize for speaking and living truth. The history of Christendom, however, has been bold and confident. History is littered with those quick to go to the grave for the cross, facing the Romans, Jewish hierarchy, Islam, lions, torturers, and the stake. The most we will likely face today is ridicule and hate. Now is the time to make a difference while we have freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and thought.
How do we turn the tide? Well, each one of us will have to impact our own little domain of influence. Each one of us will have to start at home, in our fellowships, and at social gatherings. Even if each of us individually just ignited ten people in our lives, what a change we would see! Here are some basic steps we can take:
- Stop apologizing. God’s truth isn’t the type of “offensiveness” that needs an apology. There is no reason to be embarrassed when Scriptures speak about gender roles, divorce and remarriage, and LGBTQ behavior.
- Stop being nice. Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles often were not nice in what they preached. They didn’t accept and affirm immoral things. Accepting and affirming things that God calls immoral isn’t a virtue. We are called to kindness and gentleness, but we are not called to the American niceness that society expects of us.
- Know what you believe and why. The more you know, and the more you know why you believe it, the more confident you will be. The more confident you become, the less embarrassed you will be. People are ignited by confidence and passion, not timidity and uncertainty.
- Be a truth speaker. If you are known for jumping to conclusions, sharing unsubstantiated conspiracies, prejudging people, and sharing false ideas, why would anyone take you seriously? If you are illogical and irrational, how can you be a proper witness? Joyfully speak truth.
- True belief always brings action. Christian faith isn’t just mental assent; it always produces obedience. Belief always leads to a matching behavior. Trust brings action, not just mental affirmation.
- Stop sending your children to godless government schools. The mass exodus from Christianity isn’t a mystery. Why would we expect anything else when our children go to godless and Darwinistic institutions that are becoming woke and Marxist? No, your young child is not equipped as a “missionary.” That’s your job.
- Make home great again. The constant attack on the home is leading to the degradation of culture and civilization. We need strong, life-long marriages, and strong, educated parents. We need solid families that know and understand the biblical worldview and are able to defend it.
- Passion is contagious. If you are not passionate, committed, and dedicated to Christ, why would your children want what you have? Why would anyone want Christ if they see your passion for sports, movies, and gaming but not for Christ?
- Harness the Amish principle. Why do we try to keep up with secular culture? Why do we try to conform to secular culture in our dress, media, behavior, and attitude? Why do we capitulate instead of making culture? Who are we trying to impress? What impact could we have if we would just live our lives as authentic Christians and create a parallel culture?
- Hypocrites drive people away. Hypocrites are snakes, at least according to Jesus. Hypocrites within the church drive away the weak, the unbeliever, the young, and the seeker. Instead of making excuses for hypocrisy, start living an authentic Christian life.
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