An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid.
Among the adults surveyed in the U.S., pewforum.org came up with these results:
– 28% of Adults have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all.
– 16.1% of people say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today. That’s more than double the number who said they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.
– 37% of all married adults are married to a spouse with a different religious affiliation. (including such us Baptist + Methodist)
It’s pretty clear that this is not biblical Christianity we’re talking about here….it’s Christendom.
Christendom is defined by dictionary.com as
1. Christians considered as a group.
2. The Christian world.
In other words, the “church” universal. This is what many in America actually are affiliated with when they say they are a “Christian.” Delve deeper with basic and foundational questions such as, “Do you know for SURE you will go to heaven when you die,” “Can you lose your salvation,” “do you have to be ‘born again’ to be saved?” and “what sin is unforgivable,” and suddenly answers will come about that are only common with the unregenerate.
Christ said, there are four types of “hearers” or so-called followers in the world and He defined them by using a Parable
1. The one who hears but, does not understand and therefore, the enemy snatches the seed.
2. One who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, but there is no true heart conversion and therefore, he/she endures for a while, but when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
3. The one who hears the word, but the cares of the world (power, glory, fame, money…etc.) choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
4. Lastly, the one who hears the word and understands it (the true believer). He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
This is why we have so many churches filled to overflowing every Easter and Christmas eve. This is also why we have so many “believers” who cling to the justification (for their lack of obedience:) “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.”
The truth of the matter is, you do NOT have to go to church to be a Christian. If one were to just stop going to work though, how much longer would that person hold the title, “Employee?” Good thing we cannot be fired from the body. Even better, thank God He won’t give us the boot
for skipping a sunday here and there.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37
As our Pastor put it recently, “If you can’t be good enough to get in, you can’t be bad enough to get out.”
However, for a person to only go to church 4 times a year (if that) it definitely doesn’t say Church is something that person loves and calls into question whether or not that person ever made a true decision to follow Christ in the first place.
Paul also wrote, in Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together
, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
We are not to neglect meeting together. Some translations say, “do not forsake the assembly!” It would seem to me, if you love Christ, you would also love His church. How do we love? By serving…by outdoing one another (romans 12) in honor. You cannot say you love Christ and not love and serve His blood bought Bride The Church.
Here’s the key – “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” (2 thessalonians 3:6
Take a look at the Parable of Talents
and any doubts about the necessity for belonging to and serving a church body should leave your mind. It’s time the church call for some commitment.
It’s time the true believers refuse to just come, sit, listen, be entertained, and go home. Part of Living Love is DOING – GOING…it’s ACTION.
The average “church” has become far too comfortable with a lax, apathetic, comatose Sunday service and it’s time for a change.
I don’t mean adding fog machines on either side of the stage or hanging laser lights from the ceiling.
When did church start needing all this to be "successful?"
What ever happened to folks just showing up for worship?
Instead of adding all this physical finesse in the name of aesthetics, lets take away the comfy, Theater style seating, do away with heating and Central A/C, lose the Mackie Sound System, and I wonder how many, even faithful members, would continue to show up on Sunday?
Are we currently on a path to hear,
“Well done, good and faithful servant?”
or “You wicked and slothful servant?”
Let’s get back to BEING the church rather than just DOING church.