I posted a short comment and a link on the GCA Facebook page and then mentioned those comments in our most recent Wednesday night message. I forget that not everyone who listens to the Salvation by Grace messages is in our Facebook group. I was asked if I would post that information on my blog so that non-FB listeners could see to what I was referring. And I’m happy to oblige.
It went like this —
While I would normally refrain from posting a “news article” in the GCA group, this one is the exception. It’s from Breitbart.com and it states some basic truths that I’ve been saying for a long time. To wit: the church in America has abandoned the distinctives that make it truly Christian.
After citing some facts and figures, Thomas D. Williams PhD. writes:
Though it is impossible to establish a strict causal relationship between the two phenomena of moral liberalism and declining religiosity, the correlation between them is still striking.
What may not seem immediately apparent is why as Americans become increasingly progressive, they are abandoning liberal religious denominations in favor of conservative ones.
One theory, advanced by Arthur E. Farnsley II, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University, is that the more churches resemble society at large in terms of their moral teachings and understanding of the meaning of human existence, the less relevant they are. Why continue to attend church services to hear the same message you get from reigning culture? Religion only makes a difference when it offers an alternative account of reality, distinguishable from secular culture.
It is, in fact, the countercultural religious groups that are holding on to their membership.
Farnsley suggests, therefore, that the more liberal religious groups will continue to lose members and influence “because they are already on the modernist side, meaning many of their core values are expressed in other institutions, including government.”
Much of the decline in membership for mainstream Christianity seems to be the result of a loss of recognizable Christian identity in those churches.
Bingo. You got it. The church that has lost its savor is good for nothing.
Later, Williams writes:
A final trend among mainstream Christian churches has been a progressive lowering of the moral bar, seemingly out of fear of appearing “judgmental” or “hypocritical.” Confusing judgmentalism with the ability to tell right from wrong, many Christians have moved in the direction of withdrawing disapproval from all but the most egregious sins. The lower the bar, the fewer fail to get over it: “I’m okay. You’re okay.” Similarly, some have confused hypocrisy with a simple failure to live up to one’s moral ideals, and have embraced the facile solution of chucking their ideals. Hypocrisy, in fact, becomes impossible when one no longer endorses any moral standards.
That is genuinely insightful. I have long argued that there is a difference between being “judgmental” and practicing proper discernment (what Jesus calls, “proper judgment”). I like William’s differentiation. People confuse judgmentalism with the ability to tell right from wrong. We, as Christians, are expected to know the difference. Too much of modern Christianity has fallen for the world’s very specious argument that practicing biblical discernment is tantamount to being judgmental.
If you’re interested in reading the whole article, here’s the link:
And if you’re interested in hearing the Wednesday night message from 2Kings that includes a reference to these comments, it’s here: