We’re Falling Fast
I. The Church in America is in Dire Straits
It is common knowledge that the Christian church in America has been under heavy attack for over a century. However, we don’t talk much about the fact that she has voluntarily surrendered her once leading influence in this greatest (and only) Christian nation in history. The Church in the 21st Century has almost no influence. She has been demeaned, insulted, mocked, bullied, censored, intimidated and litigated, into - not just silence – but submission. Whereas the eastern European church was silenced by imprisonment or torture during World War II, the American church has silenced herself by turning her back on the intelligent, rational Christian Worldview that dominated the marketplace of ideas from the Reformation until the middle of the 19th century. She has replaced intelligent faith (based upon objective truth as presented in the Bible), with an emotionally-based, self-centered, relationship-focused “salvation”. The problem is that - do to the absence of proper instruction on Biblical doctrine - most “Born-again” believers do not know what they are being saved from.
II. There is a HUGE difference between the mindset of the early Christians in America and most Christians today
When the Pilgrims, Puritans, and other Protestant movements came to America in the early 1600’s, they were among the first generations in all of history who could actually own – and read – their own copy of the Bible. They viewed the Holy Scriptures as worth more than all the treasures and pleasures in the world. The proof of this is that they left everything – homes, relatives, friends, occupations, comforts, security - to have the opportunity to live under the authority of the Word of God alone – to be self-governed by the principles and precepts of the Bible, and not lorded-over by kings or tyrants as had been the continual experience of man for over 5,000 years.
Following the Bible in obedience became their very highest priority in all of life. Knowing and living by Scripture was of such paramount importance to these Christians that they quickly established 96 of the first 98 universities in America (do we see this happening today?). They knew the church could not afford to skip even one generation in passing the treasury of Scripture along to their children, so they made it their mission to ensure that the saints were equipped through solid Biblical education in all areas.
As a result of this emphasis upon equipping the saints to apply the wisdom of the Bible in every area of life (and impressing this upon their children from the very earliest of ages), Christians grew to dominate all of American culture. They led in the fields of science, education, philosophy, law, medicine, industry, politics, the arts, etc. It is a phenomenon of history that within less than 300 years after the colonies were first settled, this new nation became the richest, most powerful, most generous nation on earth, as well as the leading exporter of the Gospel of Christ to the nations!
III. “My people perish from lack of knowledge” - Hosea 4:6
But today, it appears that our light has become enveloped by clouds. Most contemporary churches have divided Life into two separate realities: The Secular and the Sacred. The Sacred is all that counts. The Secular is tolerated until the rapture. We are called to be Salt and Light, but as Revelations warns, when we lose our flavor we will be discarded and trampled upon.
A recent survey reported in U.S. News and World Report shows that the fastest “religious” segment in the country today is those who claim to have “no religion at all”, while every Christian denomination in the country has declined significantly in the last 10 years. Most Christians in America – even those in the most Biblically-literate congregations – have apparently pigeonholed their faith. We are no longer incorporating our faith into a worldview that applies Biblical principles to every area of our lives. For the most part, we are disassociated from the world we live in, and we are paying the price.
In the 2nd part of this essay, we will examine the reasons for the rapid fall from grace the Christian church has experienced in the last half-century.
Remember, …those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it!