The state of Christianity in America, we have debates on the issue, we have congenial discourse about the matter, and we divide over the outcome. Is this wrong? Should we divide over such conclusions? What is in fact the state of Christianity in America? And why, in my opinion, are people within Christianity so divided on the conclusion of the subject?
The United States of America is the most “Christian” Populated Country in the world. Yet I see this country as one the most spiritually bankrupt countries. There are literally about two churches per block in most urban neighborhoods, and in the suburbs there’s a church about every half mile. Yet in the same communities in which these churches serve, or teach in, there is hopelessness, tragedy, and crime reigning supreme.
Whose fault is it? Is it the pastor’s fault, or is it the congregation’s fault? It might be the states fault, or the city’s fault. We can play the infamous blame game all day, and for generations, but one thing stands, Jesus Christ is not being preached. We have reduced the life giving gospel of Jesus Christ into a plethora of church programs aimed at attracting people to the church building, instead of following Jesus’ mandate of going out and making disciples.
The pastors of these churches mean well, and are probably very loving and caring, but they miss the mark given in scripture. They want to seem pleasant, and compassionate, which are good qualities. Yet they lose out on the benefits of biblical outreach. They lose out for two reasons. One reason is because they bear the weight of conversion. Second they rely on in-house programs to do outside work.
The Bible is clear that no one comes to Christ unless the Father draws them to Him (John 6:44). The Bible is also clear in the fact that God does the saving by His sovereign will, and not by the will of man (John 1:13). So is it really a surprise that when the preacher is putting the saving ability on himself, and what he looks like, and what he sounds like, he fails at making God loving disciples that are excited about serving? We are all a work in progress, and that’s a lot of pressure on one man and his leadership team.
In the bible no one was ever saved by a program, or a strategic plan of action apart from preaching the Gospel of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:2), which is the power of God to save sinners (Romans 1:16). In the bible foolish sounding disciples empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit went OUT of their respected congregations and preached to the nations, just as Jesus commanded them (Acts 1:8). What are we doing wrong in the US? It isn’t what we’re doing wrong. The Better question is what are we not doing at all? Are we preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or are we relying on our own power to get people to believe in Jesus (dangerous)? Are we preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or are we relying on programs that attract people?
Here’s the dividing line. Some men of God, who love God, and serve God in their own ability miss the mark. Should we divide over such things…I say yes. In the gospel God is the point of contact, not the outreach program. This is a healthy debate to correct an unhealthy cancer like disease in our church. Teaching is paramount, and a lot of our churches aren’t doing their part in teaching!