( by Craig Branch)
Our Worldviews publication is designed to be a “seminar in your mailbox” in making you aware of current apologetics issues inside and outside the Church. Our goal is to help motivate and equip you to become engaged in the redemptive process God has called all of us to, both individually and collectively.
In Acts 17, when Paul came to Athens, a cultural center of Greece, he “beheld a city full of idols and his spirit/ soul was deeply grieved.” So what was his reaction? He immediately went out, inside and outside the temple (everywhere) and engaged.
Are you aware of the enormous growth of idols in the West and U.S.? If so, you are deeply grieved. So let’s go about God’s way and engage people, ideas, and institutions as Paul did in Acts 17. The result? Read it. Some scoffed, some were more interested and wanted to hear more, and some believed.
Utilize us as a reservoir to help equip you, coach you, and intervene for you as necessary. Call us to discuss coming to your church and equipping your fellow brethren in this great apologetics task.
The evidence for this dire situation is all around us. Check the number of new converts that have joined your church over the past 1, 2, 3, 4 or more years. Now compare that number with how many new converts you would have if every member was instrumental in seeing just one person come to Christ in a year.
And what would happen to our culture if we all engaged people winsomely in conversation regarding cultural issues and ethics. And especially think of the influence if our families and members put our time and resources to helping the homeless, people with AIDS, prisoners in rehab, widows and orphans, and the disenfranchised.
But, what is actually happening?
Two-thirds of Our Population Deny Absolute Truth Exists
“The End of Christian America” was the title of a recent feature story in Newsweek (4/13/09) by religion editor Jon Meacham. He quoted evangelical leader, Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mohler prophetically stated, “The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a postmodern, post-Christian, post-western cultural crisis.” I say “prophetic” because Dr. Mohler made this statement verbatim back in 2001. It is here and growing.
The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey showed that the number of Americans identifying themselves as Christians shrunk from 86% in 1990 to 76% in 2008. Two-thirds of our population are now relativists, denying that absolute truth exists. This is the context for the downhill slide of our cultural moral values.
For example, six states and the District of Columbia now recognize same-sex marriages. One-half of the U.S. population believes abortion should remain legal
Because of our lack of teaching sound doctrine and missional living, we are losing the younger generation. One-half of one percent of the “Mosaic” generation (18-23) possess a Biblical worldview. One-third of them say the church is “old-fashioned” and “out of touch with humanity.” The low view of the Church has been steadily increasing over the past few decades.
Predictably, the population’s view of ethics and morals began to deteriorate, especially prevalent in the younger generations. For example, on issues such as premarital sex, living together before marriage, and pornography—a double digit gap exists between those ages 18-38 (75% acceptable), and those 39-57. 55% of 18-19 year olds and 48% of those 20-38 believe abortion is morally acceptable, and 40-41% believe homosexuality is acceptable.
Barna’s research also found “a significant divide between the nations young (21-38) and the Boomers (39-57) in the acceptability of extramarital sex, pornography, homosexuality, public profanity, lying, stealing, gambling, and downloading music illegally (2/3 of ½).” Two-thirds of those over 40 said we should determine what is right or wrong based on God’s principles, while less than one-half of Busters and just one-third of those in their 20s believe this way.
On top of that, there have been “correctives” such as the “Emerging Church” and house church movements which emphasize authentic relationships and missional activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those emphases. They are important and too often neglected. The problem is that there is a conscious neglect and demeaning of sound doctrine which has measurably opened the door for congruency with postmodern relativism and the elevation of feeling over truth. (Order our journal, “Troublesome Movements in the 21st Century Church.”)
Originally published in May/June 2009 Worldviews Newsletter
Image courtesy of Artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net