Theologian David Wells made an intelligent statement when he said, “The stream of historic orthodoxy that once watered the evangelical soul is now dammed by a worldliness that many fail to recognize as worldliness because of the cultural innocence with which it presents itself. It may be that Christian faith, which has made many easy alliances with modern culture in the past few decades, is also living in a fool’s paradise, comforting itself about all the things God is doing while it is losing its character, if not its soul.” (Wells)
The churches daunting task is not only to instill a set of principles or beliefs in people that are more Christ-like, but to teach them not to bring their own set of principles, beliefs, and worldliness set in cement into the church. Those that do this are all too common and often think their principles and beliefs are true, when in fact, they are deceived.
C.S. Lewis, from his book “Hindrances to Discipleship: The World”, said it this way, “You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.” (p. 66). A vital step for the American church would be to give careful consideration to what the apostle Paul urged upon the believers in Rome.
Paul told them: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV, Romans 12.1, 2).
To instill Paul’s Word of God into churches that already think they are righteous, but are in error, requires a substantial movement of the Holy Spirit. I think that pastors must strive to examine their own paradigms of righteousness (1 Peter 2.28, 29), and then assist those who are in error by helping them realize they need to repent. Jesus Christ emphatically states what needs to be done, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13.3) The greatest prohibitive to learning the truth, is the conclusion you already have it.
Realistically, every born-again pastor would prefer that those who are new to the church would enter the building by emptying their minds. This will allow them to develop a true Biblical world-view that includes sound Biblical principles and beliefs. One of the Biblical principles that should be preached as part of every sermon from the pulpits all over America is the Gospel of Jesus Christ; as defined by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. 1-4:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all, that which I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
To state the obvious, the “Barna End of the Year Study”, should be taken seriously by church leadership in America. The study indicates a poison has entered into and infected the both the ministries and those who attend churches. That poison persists in Pharisaical actions and attitudes that can only be extricated by the preaching of the pure Word of God in every sermon. Those that attend church must be implored to become immersed in the often ignored Word of God, guided by those that have already become proficient in the Word.
There has been such a profound lack of the Gospel in the churches of America that it should be discussed and worked into every sermon preached. If, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will once again become an essential part of the sermons in America, then maybe God will honor the change by allowing a revolutionary new wine harvest of lost sinners.
Thank you for reading the articles. I hope you have learned something new or the article has challenged you to allow the Holy Spirit to assist you in reading and studying the subject and come to your own conclusions. I always list my sources, mainly because these are papers presented at BU to support my Biblical Sciences degree. Drop me a note, and let me know what subjects you would like to see discussed here. God's blessings to each of you.
Lewis, C.S. Hindrances to Discipleship: The World. New York: Touchstone Publishing, P. 66.
Scofield, C. I., D.D. The Scofield Study Bible. The New King James Version. New York:
Oxford University. 2002. Print.
Wells, David. No Place for Truth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1994. P. 11, 68. Print.