Did you know that Church attendance in the Western world has been in slow decline for decades? (Well that mostly applies to traditional denominations, the Pentecostal denominations are growing a little.)
Therefore, the question we’re compelled to ask, and ask with urgency is: Why? Let’s take a look at some possible causes of this decline, in search of answers.
External forces – the forces of darkness are waging war against the saints
Sounds like a great answer, don’t you think? Sure does! However, it’s not quite that simple. There’s another crucial factor which we’ll look at later, that I believe is both the problem and holds the solution to our steady demise. But first let’s look at some of those external factors.
From the dawn of the 20th Century, Science gradually became what it is today, the infallible source of all knowledge. When Charlie (Darwin) decreed that all life on the planet evolved from ‘some warm little pond’, the world fell into line (and sadly many Christians and theological colleges as well), embracing and then disseminating the accidental origin of life. And if any dares dispute this irrefutable dogma, then may their genes mutate and their bones rot.
As a consequence, the remnant of Christians, who believe that Yahweh created life by his omnipotent will, are regarded as Luddites, quacks and fundamentalist fanatics. I must remember to wear my dunce cap next time I attend a science lesson.
But even worse millions of school children leave their indoctrination classes, oops I mean the education system, convinced that the world and life have an accidental origin and that there’s no God. Hmmm ……….. this makes it harder to witness to them.
Next, we have Karl Marx
Although dead for over a century, nonetheless his pernicious message is heard in the lecture theatres of our universities, all over the globe. Herbert Marcuse’s transposition of Marxism into ‘Critical Theory’, is responsible for Western society’s slide into the moral abyss.
Everything biblical is repudiated; gender is fluid, anal sex is superior to vaginal, pornography is okay, sex is a recreational activity, not a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, and life is valueless. So, let’s murder the unborn and shoot the elderly, sorry I meant euthanise them.
And if that were not enough, the Church managed to shoot itself in the foot. Priests and Churches entangled in paedophilia scandals, and cover ups. Becoming carrion for the vultures of the mainstream media to pick the flesh off our bones for years to come. And thereby making the Church an object of public scorn and not the beautiful bride of Christ we’re meant to be.
‘No wonder the Churches are emptying’ I hear you say …….Not so fast!
Opposition is nothing new
I’m sorry I’m not going to let you take refuge behind this mountain of excuses. Throughout its history the Church has always faced opposition, sometimes fierce, and yet flourished.
For instance, imagine you’re living anytime during the first three centuries. If you don’t sign on the dotted line (Libellus 250AD) then you’ll be summarily executed on the spot or thrown into the arena where wild beasts will tear you apart. And you thought your life was hard.
And despite this irrational hostility the church continued to grow. So, opposition is no excuse, nor is our irrelevancy.
Are we answering questions no one is asking?
In our day, the assault on the Church is an intellectual/philosophical one, and sadly the future leaders of our churches leave our colleges ill-equipped to face the false philosophies of our age. But take comfort, they’re orthodox (well mostly).
While the focus of the training of our pastors and ministers continues to focus on teaching orthodoxy, supposedly protecting the flock from heresy, then we’ll continue to see the same result; declining Church membership and influence.
Now don’t get me wrong, of course our ministers must preach biblical truth. Do I have an amen?
But here’s the kicker, it’s one thing for the pastor to pat himself on the back, for squeezing the five Sola-s into his sermon (the touchstone of orthodoxy for the Reformers - very relevant in 1550), or retell a quaint bible story, without any 21st Century connection. While the adolescent in the back row is assailed by doubts and about to lose his faith, because his science lessons challenge the origin of life account found in Genesis. There is no theological training for this.
Does the parent of a transgender confused daughter, who’s about to have a double mastectomy, because of the LGBT propaganda taught at her local school really need a sermon on the Trinity? Are we answering questions, nobody’s asking?
Do we ever hear sound biblical teaching in our churches, on these profound 21st Century issues? Issues, which we face daily. Dare I say never? ………Yeah I know, I need to get out more.
It’s time to reinvent ourselves
Have you noticed how many chicken burgers have entered McDonalds’ menu lately? Customers were tired of the limited beef only meals. If it’s routine for secular businesses to reinvent themselves regularly, (to avoid closure), then why shouldn’t the church?
The model is broken, it’s time to stop training ministers to see the flock as objects to be preached to, supposedly to prevent them from falling into archaic heresies, which have become extraneous, in the modern world.
Rather, it’s time to train them to see the flock as a resource, as warriors who have the potential when armed with biblical truth, to breakdown strongholds of satanic falsehood, and lead those held captive to lies, to freedom.
We have the answers, let’s give them to a dying world.
Vic Matthews, has three degrees B.Optom, B.Arts & B. Christian Studies. Is available as a Guest Speaker for your next Church conference or camp. He is a fledgling author, and copywriter.
For more information visit http://www.graphw.co/
Vic Matthews' previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/vic-matthews.html