Friday, January 29, 2016

Christianity Isn't Collapsing---It's Being Clarified

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A Pew Research Center survey last year supposedly showed "the Christian share of the American population declined almost 8% from 2007 to 2014."

Over the following months, atheists and antagonists have become hoarse of voice proclaiming the "Christian sky is falling."

They are as wrong as "Little Chicken" was---Christianity isn't collapsing, it's being clarified.

And just in time for the most significant political decision in the past 150 years.
I will be discussing this topic and last night's Republican debate this morning on our live radio program "Straight Talk" at 9 AM PST. The program is rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PST. You may join me from anywhere in the world on local radio stations, the Internet or your phone app.
Here's how.

When the Pew survey was released, claiming that "Christians have declined sharply" while "unaffiliated and other faiths continue to grow," it launched a crusade of sorts, by atheists, antagonists and others who have a problem with biblical Christianity.

Their humble message was, "I told you so."

I sincerely believe neither the atheists or antagonists read beyond the survey introduction and headline.

Ed Stetzer responded with an article in USA Today saying, "Rather than predict the impending doom of the church in America, the latest study affirms what many researchers have said before---Christianity isn't collapsing---it's being clarified."

The Episcopal Church is an example.

In 2003, they began ordaining openly homosexual clergy, and by 2015, they had created a marriage ceremony to bless same-sex couples.

Earlier this month a majority of bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion at a meeting in Canterbury voted to suspend the Episcopal Church's voting rights over its support for homosexuality.

Instead, they voted to reaffirm marriage as one-man, one woman. While the American church did not restore their biblical beliefs on marriage, they stood rebuked by their brethren.

Millions of people have been leaving the Episcopal church in America because the church no longer reflects the deeply held biblical beliefs of many of the church's members. Other main line denominations are walking down the same destructive path---with the same results.

Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in America recently told Stetzer it was the Anglican churches in Africa and elsewhere that had led the effort to take the vote away from the American churches.

For example, the Archbishop explains, African Anglicans retain the traditional biblical beliefs of the missionaries who planted their churches generations ago.

The shake out is not only about human sexuality.

The United Methodist Church leadership recently rejected an application from the Discovery Institute to exhibit at their upcoming General Conference. When the leadership rejected Discovery, the heart and mind of the Intelligent Design movement, they appealed the decision, insisting that they are not a Creationist front group intent on teaching religion in public schools.

Discovery said Intelligent Design "is a science---not a faith based idea" and although "Design" is compatible with Christianity, it doesn't rely on the Bible or even identify the "intelligent designer."

In response, the Methodist Church leaders reiterated the ban and refused any other comment on the subject.

That would stun John Wesley. It is also stunning current members who still hold traditional biblical beliefs and still embrace the Methodist Church's slogan: "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors," a statement Wesley often made.

Some of the most egregious "backsliding's" were published recently on the Facebook page of the United Church of Christ.

One post declared, "The Bible is like a GPS---A brilliant guide. All-knowing. Occasionally wrong."

Another post announced, "God is transgender."

And a third featured a picture of 2 men kissing with a verse from I John that said, "God is love."

As mainline clergy kick the Bible out of their sanctuaries, call on God to bless abortion clinics and blaspheme the Trinity, it's time we begin to speak with a definitive voice as to what biblical Christianity actually believes.

Christianity and the churches that represent it can no longer use the Gospel as a mere 5 point motivational philosophy talk, nor can it masquerade as a social justice warrior demanding human rights that never were.

Nor can it revise Scripture.

Christianity is being clarified. Biblical believers can indeed hate the sin and love the sinner. The call of the church is not to "relate" to a chaotic culture, but redeem it through the power of God's Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John Stonestreet, with the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, says, "Like the African bishops, orthodox believers everywhere need to be prepared to distance ourselves---not from people, but from a secular agenda masquerading as Christianity."

And, "More importantly," he says, "we've got to show the world what genuine Christian faith really looks like...and how truth and love must never be separated."

To love the sinner and withhold the truth is to affirm the sin.

Christianity is not collapsing, but the chaos of our times requires that it be clarified.

Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Discerning. Be Blessed.