What is killing Christianity? pt 1

Posted on March 4, 2013 by

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What’s killing Christianity in America?

Let me explain that a little bit.

Is Christianity really under attack? Fox News seems to think so, some radio hosts think so, some writers and bloggers definitely think so. They site legislation that “limit’s our rights”, they see it as a form of legal persecution. They talk about how the media depicts Christianity as inane, ignorant, bigoted, and out of touch.

I would agree that Christianity is under attack, but I take a very different view as to who is slowly killing our faith.

The conservative media (weird to say huh?) and those fighting for Christendom, a Christian nation, say that we need to fight for our rights and defend the forefather’s vision of a Christian America.

But the true attack on the christian faith isn’t from legislatures or the media it is from the inside. From those very people, those who claim to be fighting for Christianity.

To get to where I am you have to start at the beginning.

What is the point of Christianity?

Is it moralism? Are we supposed to create a society that follows all of God’s laws and precepts?

Is it social Justice? Are we creating the kingdom of God right here, right now? Making a society that follows the ‘true religion’ of caring for the widow and the orphan?

Is it evangelism? Are we seeking to have a society of people that all confess the name of Jesus?

Is it discipleship? Are we supposed to be teaching people to love Jesus and obey Him?

Not that easy to pick is it?

I’ll give you a hint, Jesus laid it out pretty clearly himself at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Our goal, historically and biblically, is discipleship. That’s not converting people, that’s not social justice, and that’s not a moral society. It’s the transformation of the heart, by the Holy Spirit, to love and obey Jesus.

Now since that is our goal we should want to see the church grow in this, to see more and more people being discipled.

Yes… we should.

But we have seen nominal, at best, growth in the church of America today. Some churches are getting huge, and some churches are dying. (just a guess but I’m willing to bet that those leaving dying churches are joining the ones growing the fastest). So for all of the crying and whining to protect our rights the Church in America is mostly just shifting around, not really growing.

And the reason for that is precisely because people are fighting and whining for our rights.

The countries with the most growth generally have a higher rate of persecution.

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We can even look back to the beginning of the church and see that when the Jewish leaders persecuted the church it grew in the Jewish community. When the Romans tried to squash the church it exploded, growth-wise. And when the church became a state institution corruption and apathy came creeping in.

The founders of America left Europe to escape institutionalized Christianity so that they could practice it in the way they felt convicted to.

Based on all of this, if we are serious about church growth and seeing lives transformed for Jesus we should let persecution happen, and respond the way Christ told us to.

There is some ancient saying about turning the other cheek. (This has a cultural image of causing the person abusing you to shame themself because of your response).

One of the underlying points that Jesus was making in this was one he made at different times to different degrees of clarity. When you are abused for being righteous others will see and will count it in your favor, and it will increase your witness.

Jesus repeatedly told us that “you will have trouble”, “you will be persecuted because of me”, “turn the other cheek”, etc…

So why are we fighting it.

It’s because of idolatry. Three forms mainly; Greed for power, greed for money, and comfort.

How are these idols causing the american church to kill it’s witness for the cause of Christ? Well that’s part 2.

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Posted in: Theology