Six Observations of "Christianity" in America

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

After conducting 5,000 interviews in 2010, the Barna Research Group has identified "Six Megathemes" indicating change in the religious environment of America:

1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
"The theological free-for-all that is encroaching in Protestant churches nationwide suggests the coming decade will be a time of unparalleled theological diversity and inconsistency."

2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
"Despite technological advances that make communications instant and far-reaching, Christians are becoming more spiritually isolated from non-Christians than was true a decade ago.... With atheists becoming more strategic in championing their godless worldview, as well as the increased religious plurality driven by education and immigration, the increasing reticence of Christians to engage in faith-oriented conversations assumes heightened significance."

3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
"The turbo-charged pace of society leaves people with little time for reflection.... Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare. Practical to a fault, Americans consider survival in the present to be much more significant than eternal security and spiritual possibilities."

4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
"Despite the increased emphasis, churches run the risk of watching congregants’ engagement wane unless they embrace a strong spiritual basis for such service. Simply doing good works because it's the socially esteemed choice of the moment will not produce much staying power."

5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
"There are fewer and fewer issues that Christians believe churches should be dogmatic about. The idea of love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for. That may not be surprising in a Church in which a minority believes there are moral absolutes dictated by the scriptures."

6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
"The most influential aspect of Christianity in America is how believers do - or do not - implement their faith in public and private.... With little time or energy available for or devoted to research and reflection, it is people’s observations of the integration of a believer’s faith into how he/she responds to life’s opportunities and challenges that most substantially shape people’s impressions of and interest in Christianity."

Sobering observations.

Sheep tend to reflect their shepherds. Pastors, please heed these inspired words!
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Metro Detroit doesn't need more gospel; Metro Detroit needs the right gospel.

1 comments:

Misti Moffat,  February 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM  

Mike,

Scott had just discovered a website that totally relates to your post. He showed it to me last night. It's unbelievable how far people have strayed. Not just people, but pastors and churches, all in the name of being "relevant". It was truly eye opening. Maybe you've already heard of it, "The Museum of Idolatry". If you google it, it's the first link.

Misti

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