July 10, 2007

Confidence in "Church" is Eroding and I Can't Imagine Why

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans' confidence in organized religion and other institutions is down. Only 46 percent said they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in church or organized religion. That's one point from being the lowest in Gallup's history since 1973.

Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't alarm me or offend me. I am surprised frankly that confidence in organized religion is as high as it is.

Understand that we are talking about the "Church" which includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Certain "Christian" denominations of the "Church" like American Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and United Churches of Christ, have all been in a decades long battle vying for some semblance of fidelity to the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" and have been losing ground.

When you consider that the Roman Catholic Church has paid out millions of dollars for legal fees and fines for its ages-long, homosexual/pedophilia scandals among it's priesthood, and when you consider that even Bible believing churches have had their share of the Ted Haggards, the Jim and Tammies, Robert Tilton, Jim Swaggart, Truman Dollar and on and on, one has to wonder why there is any confidence in the "Church" at all.

So I am not surprised, but what I am is challenged as a Christian to lead a life that is readily identifiable as a follower of Jesus. As a leader, I am diligent not to rest my guard allowing a foot hold of the devil to snare me and thus bring shame on the "Church."

The "Church" is messed up; that seems to be a given seeing as it is made up of messed up people and that is certainly nothing new. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth revealing how messed up that infant church was and not much has changed over the centuries.

What has changed however, is the presence of an authoritative voice--like Paul's--which was loud and clear explaining that faith is not whatever anyone is pleased to imagine. Today the Bible is so poorly understood or prostituted to justify personal agendas that the so-called Christian faith has little if any consistency from church to church. No wonder people lack confidence. I don't blame them, do you?


Blogger inthepew said...

I strongly suggest, Pastor, that when you finish reading the Koran you take the time to read this most informative book, ''THE COMING EVANGELICAL CRISIS''. Perhaps even have your Elders and Church leaders read this as well? With contributing authors such as, Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul, R. Kent Hughes, Michael S. Horton, John MacArthur and other solid fundamental Pastors of today it would be well worth your time.

(From the back cover)
''What will evangelism look like if it continues on the course it has followed in the past twenty-five years? Will the term 'evangelical' even have significance?
The authors of ''The Coming Evangelical Crises'' assert that the practices and beliefs that have guided the Church since the Reformation are in jeopardy. The past few decades have seen a drift away from the doctrines that were the driving force of the Church for nearly four centuries.
Perhaps this is why, despite the Church's widespread evangelism programs, million-dollar crusades, and aggressive strategies for Church growth, our culture continues on its course of disbelief and moral decline.
In the ''Coming Evangelical Crises'', fourteen respected Christian leaders and thinkers come together to sound the alarm about the growing trend toward a tentative and diluted gospel message. Unless a concerted effort is made to correct the drift away from fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, the Church will become even less effective in the years ahead.
A compelling and challenging book, this is a valuable resource for PASTORS, teachers, LEADERS, and anyone who is concerned about the effectiveness of the Church in this generation.''

10:14 AM  
Blogger PB said...

Thanks for the tip--the list of contributors to the book are certainly unquestionable. I share the sentiment that teaching is being watered down or perhaps better--its just not being taught very well because it (the Word) isn't being understood very well. I was recently at a conference in a forum for expository preaching. I was not impressed. Commentaries seem to be the golden tool in exegesis rather than digging into the Word which we maintain interprets itself. If interested--you can see what kind of preacher I am by visiting our website. www.fefchurch.org Sermons are on the right hand side audio-streamed.

3:14 PM  

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