Friday, September 28, 2007

Read what Barna.org says introducing the new frontline article:

As the nation’s culture changes in diverse ways, one of the most significant shifts is the declining reputation of Christianity, especially among young Americans. A new study by The Barna Group conducted among 16- to 29-year-olds shows that a new generation is more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago.

The article continues by noting:

The study shows that 16- to 29-year-olds exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life. In fact, in just a decade, many of the Barna measures of the Christian image have shifted substantially downward, fueled in part by a growing sense of disengagement and disillusionment among young people. For instance, a decade ago the vast majority of Americans outside the Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward Christianity’s role in society. Currently, however, just 16% of non-Christians in their late teens and twenties said they have a "good impression" of Christianity.

This is very telling:

Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

And finally,

When young people were asked to identify their impressions of Christianity, one of the common themes was "Christianity is changed from what it used to be" and "Christianity in today’s society no longer looks like Jesus." These comments were the most frequent unprompted images that young people called to mind, mentioned by one-quarter of both young non-Christians (23%) and born again Christians (22%).
These are not only staggering statistics but also discouraging statistics as we consider the future of America's Evangelical church. In all, these statistics do not shock me, but what does shock me is that when America's church is trying with all its might to be more relevant to culture (e.g. the Emerging Church) and to be more "acceptable" to society, yet society itself recognizes that this is not true and authentic Christianity. It means alot when the secular world says of us, "Christianity in today's society no longer looks like Jesus." So we see that we are no longer living in such a way as to be radical witnesses for Jesus.

Granted, the article has some good and helpful notes, but let us take this to heart. Shame on us for making the church fit right in with culture. It deeply grieves me when I hear nonbelievers say that Christians today live no different than pagans do, and, if you look at statistics on divorce rates, abortions, acceptance of a homosexual lifestyle, it is no wonder why people say these things.

May we take Paul's exhortation to the church in Ephesus to heart when he writes:

Ephesians 5:1-5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

3 comments:

Dave said...

Thanks for the Post Geoff...all the more reason to live the light. Have a good time with Lawson and MacArthur.

noneuclidean said...

I've definitely noticed this tread in the personal interactions I've had with non-believers in the last few years.

I believe a lot of this has to do with Bush's aligning himself so closely with Christianity. Irregardless of what you think of him as a president (I'm not sure what to think myself, except the respect, honor, and obedience we're called to show our governing authorities as believers), the fact is that most of the world views him as "evil" and a Christian. People hate the war, Bush started the war, Bush is a Christian, therefore Christians are "judgmental, hypocritical, and too political."

It's a very lamentable state of affairs, but I firmly believe that if Bush had a higher approval rating, Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett would not get publishing deals to sell books denouncing all religion as myth and nonsense.

I'm not sure where this leaves us as a nation, but I do agree that we need to teach believers how to be in the world but not of it, and non-believers how Christ's work on the cross is just as powerful, costly, and wonderful today as 2000 years ago, without sacrificing doctrine and Truth.

Thanks for taking the time to write. See you Saturday.

geoffrey kirkland said...

Thanks Alan for your thoughtful insights.

See you Saturday. I'm pumped for the concert at church!

Blessings,

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