Christmas Day Christian Church Services are once again expected to be packed as the order of the day throughout Australia this Friday morning.
But this comes in spite of Victorian's government bans on any Christian hymn or Christmas carol that refers to Christian beliefs to be sung at any state school. It comes in spite of politically correct bans on Christmas themes and pageants with a Christian belief in some public areas and even some shopping centres.
Moreover, all this where for the first time in history, there are more followers of Jesus not attending a Christian church than there are Christians who do.
Reverend Dr Rowland Croucher the Pastor's Pastor of John Mark Ministries defines the problem as 'how to get followers of Christ back into a local church community' yet people still turn up in their droves for Christmas Day church services.
He suggests that previously loyal Christian people have been disillusioned by one or many factors, including:
local parish politics;
wider denominational politics;
the constant asking of parishioners for money;
bickering or bad-mouthing in the congregation;
perceived lack of integrity by either Church elders
- or others within the congregation
Dr Croucher's interview by the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed on You Tube:
Proverbs 26 verse 2
Only recently, in one week, it was learnt of several former Church-attending families who had been so frustrated or hurt by the "goings-on" within their respective congregations, that they simply walked away. This is now common place.
On a recent Country Town Tour ministry by a Well-Being Australia team, a situation regarding an alleged 'false accusation' was confided by a fellow minister (who was not involved). The Counsel offered was Proverbs 26:2 (KJV): "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."
They felt that in this case, the New Living Translation was clearer: "Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an unfair curse will not land on its intended victim".
So many Christian leaders come under such attack – and to find the courage and loyalty to remain in their congregations is something other!
Yet in spite of all this within congregations, and all the Government politically correct rulings, and all those agencies and market place decisions that follow such politically correct 'nonsense' about Christian things, somehow it's all put aside for Christmas Day.
Christmas Day church services have had a resurgence in recent years and this year it is expected to be a bumper year (as it were).
Increasingly, Australians from across the divides are recognising there is a great truth in this message of a Saviour
- born in a manager,
- refugee parents,
- bureaucracy nearly kills the child
- escapes to Egypt (into the frying pan)
- stuns the academics when of age
- does the unexpected in baptism
- brings a fresh understanding to long held scriptures
- has an authority that mesmerisers
- becomes too much of a threat
- ends up on a Cross - turns out to be a victory
- the resurrected Jesus seen by hundreds and hundreds
- sin, repentance, forgiveness, salvation are the buzz
- his followers take His Salvation to the 4 quarters
- this turns the world upside down
- we are the beneficiaries
Christmas Day services are on Friday .... be early !!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html