I Blame the Church!
One of the top news items, currently, is the subject of abortion. First, New York passed a law allowing abortion to be legal up to birth. Last week there was an abortion debate on the campus of UNCW sponsored in part by Ratio Christi. Our students at Marshall watched the live stream. Recently, I have written a blog providing common objections to abortion, with answers, or how to at least have a conversation on the subject. And this week, the United States senate blocked a bill that would allow medical care to a baby born alive after an attempted abortion, or in other words, failed abortions.
In my opinion, it is the fault of the church, if not wholly, at least in part! And here is why!
You have heard me state many times 50-75% of 18-30 years olds are leaving faith. Another recent poll stated almost 50 %, of the same age group, do not believe Christians should share our faith. And my students at Marshall appeared less than interested in learning ow to answer common objections to the abortion debate.
I am confident most do not believe the statistics or do not care. However, the following statistics, though dated, are the core of my concern.
My observations for blaming the church were obtained from an older book, Growing True Disciples, written by George Barna, founder of the Barna Research Group. The copyright of the book is 2001. So, two things to consider, the data is dated, and the problem is nothing new. In fact, it is obvious, if anything, the church has fallen further behind. Not only concerning the abortion debate but, as you can read, in many areas of society.
So, as I continue to preach, scream, yell and kick my feet, statistical reason is why I believe the church, is at fault.
The survey provides percentages of “born again” adults except where noted. I have chosen a sample of answers, not the entire survey.
“What is the single most important thing you would like to accomplish in your life?
29% - to be a good parent, raising good kids, having happy kids
20% - spiritual condition: having faith, going to heaven, doing God’s will, evangelizing others, raising my kids to be Christians”
The first question indicates our priorities are wrong!
“What would make you spiritually successful?”
Only 15% answered “following Jesus, patterning my life after His, living as He leads me” while 11% answered “being blessed by God.” The largest percentage, 20%, was “other (general comments).” Do you see a pattern beginning to form? 15% of “born again” believers answered Jesus first. Priorities?
“What spiritual growth activities in which believers would definitely participate?”
34% said “using a monthly devotional booklet to guide you through morning devotions” Seriously! I would question how many do “morning devotions”! 12% stated participating in a class, meeting weekly, for one year, on Bible principles.” Which does not surprise me. I have tried to conduct weekly classes with a similar result.
“What Christians believe about God, Scripture, and power
Beliefs about the Bible
60% believe it is totally accurate in all its teaching while 20% believe it teaches that God helps those who help themselves”. The larger percentage is not too concerning as it is based on the inerrancy of scripture. Some may argue otherwise but, 20% believing that the Bible teaches God helps those who help themselves! One should not be surprised so many believe something that is not Biblical. “Feel good” theology is part of the problem.
On a positive note:
Beliefs about spiritual power
95% and 81% believe the universe was created by God and all the miracles actually took place” The only problem here is do they know why?
What Christians believe about sin, evil, and salvation
The whole idea of sin is outdated came in at 86% strongly disagreeing. Yet 69% believe in reincarnation. 46% support one of our initial results indicating we have a personal responsibility to share our religious beliefs.” Some things never change…
What Christians believe about life
“All religious faiths teach the same basic principles”. I am not sure if this would be considered a positive or negative answer. 53% disagree meaning 47% agree, approximately. Either way, this again provides an insight into why the church is at fault.
The next section deals with the comparison of Christians and non – Christians. Here in lies, possibly the strongest indicator, the church and her relevance on society.
“Christians and non – Christians possess many identical or very similar attitudes, opinions, and values
No matter how you feel about money, it is still the main symbol of success in life – 51% Christian, 54% non.
You favor the idea of doctors who perform abortions being sentenced to prison for murder - 27% Christian, 20% non.
Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know – 26% Christian, 35% non.” This one is scary. And this is a major problem. All truth is God’s truth while truth is true for all people, in all places, at all times.
“On some items Christians and non – Christians are statistically different – but practically speaking, the gap is invisible
People are basically good – Christians 79%, non-89%.
When it comes to morals and ethics, or what is right and wrong, there are no absolute standards that apply to everybody in all situations – 70% Christians, 81% non.” We are afraid to confront right and wrong! This should be 100% Christian!
“The main purpose of life is enjoyment and personal fulfillment – 53% Christian, 66% non.” Again, feel good theology and fear of confrontation!
I blame the church. We must do a better job of discipling. We must have a voice in the secular world. Yet, if we ask, the church will tell you everything is fine. It does not matter what the statistics show. It is not hard to teach the basic answers that “we may be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have.” 1 Peter 3:15
Barna, George, Growing True Disciples, Waterbrook Press, 2001
John Mays is the Regional Director for the states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. He is the Chapter Director at Marshall University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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