I must be honest and say that, unless I am in an airport and have no other choice, I never watch CNN. I must go even further and say, unless someone sends me a link or I see something on another website I never go to CNN’s webpage. Personally, I am more of a Fox News type of guy and I have much better things to watch…after all a lot of College Football shows are on! However, I must confess that I don’t know if I have ever read anything by a secular news organization that articulates the problem of the American Church in such a succinct manner! I would highly encourage you to look at this link http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/27/almost.christian/
and read it in its entirety. Most of the “experts” in this article “lean liberal” at best, but sadly it seems that they have a better understanding of what is lacking in the American church than most people today, including the Pastors. I am going to use some of the quotes over the next week or so and comment on this article. I am doing this because I want you to read and think through the CNN article and this post…and I know you have better things to do than read 10 pages of commentary on this article in one sitting. So, in the next few posts I will just put some quotes - going in sequential order - and think through them with you. This should cause us to evaluate church, sermons, parenting and an array of other issues. So, if you would be so kind…read the article then let’s walk through some statements. I promise I will try to keep this first post short...I know it is too much for one blog - but the information was too good to pass up!!
Okay, now what could possibly be the reason for seemingly good moral kids who go to church and obey rules, to be at best, weak, immature believers and at worse (and most likely) lost? Just look at the quote below:
The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith.
Okay, let’s think biblically….
Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
This certainly doesn’t sound like an “indifferent” attitude. It certainly doesn’t help that those who are in our churches, regardless of whether they are a teenager or adult, are hardly articulate when it comes to any doctrine whatsoever. Could it be that this culture is “indifferent and inarticulate” because it understands so little about the Gospel and shies away from doctrine? Why is it that so many churches assume that students and adults would not be concerned with deep biblical truth! Why should we not want to know about the God who calls us to lay down everything to come to Him? The problem overall in our churches today is not that our students can’t articulate truths, but that virtually no one can articulate truths. When we boil down salvation to a “simple prayer” and never use the Word of God - never measure one’s life against it to see what a real believer looks like – how is that truth? Or when someone begins to study the Word to see the high call of salvation, then he examines himself and realizes he falls short Biblically…the first thing that happens is some well meaning Baptist (who walked down an isle when they were 12 but never lived it out) tells them if they “prayed a prayer and really meant it, then Jesus must be in your heart.” Pray tell, find that assurance in Scripture! And, by the way, don’t use Rm. 10:9 until you take the time to read verses 10-21. If you sense frustration - it is there, but so is grief, and heart ache, and burden that we have lost generations…people that fill our churches, who know nothing of the Gospel but cling to eternity by their own power of a prayer.
I want to conclude by focusing on one more quote:
No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.
I know that this article is speaking to students of different beliefs, but I found this quote very interesting. How does one interpret these four traits? I think we can place these four traits in three categories: (1) A personal conversion (2) A committed life in a Church (3) Faith in God’s power. Certainly one can’t say if every “committed” was from an orthodox church, but we can say that when these three elements are a reality it leads to a meaningful commitment. Hmmm, who would have ever guessed this? (sarcasm intended).
More to come….