Friday, August 27, 2010

Is Christianity in Jeopardy?

Recently Christianity has taken a number of hits in the news. Author Anne Rice, best-known for her vampire novels, declared she is renouncing Christianity, although asserting she remains committed to Jesus Christ. A broad-based survey also reported that countless thousands of young people are turning their backs on the institutional church, despite the insistence of many they still find spirituality intriguing.

Does this mean Christianity is on its last legs? And what does it mean for the cause of Christ? Do you think God’s worried?

I’m hardly an expert, but having been a lifelong churchgoer that at one time or another has been affiliated with at least eight different denominations, I feel certain Jesus is alive and well, although His Church may be suffering from acute indigestion.

In America it’s easy to compartmentalize our faith, going through the motions and acting like devout believers on Sundays (and maybe Wednesdays or at small group meetings), then behave like virtual atheists the rest of the week. This counters the Colossians 3:17 exhortation which says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” I think this means we should be living our faith 24/7.

Seems to me, whether it’s Anne Rice or millions of young people who have tried “church” and found it lacking, what they’re looking for is reality, something genuine they can trust in and live for. Sometimes, with their rituals, traditions, structure – even politics – churches fail to deliver what’s most important: the how’s and why’s of a vibrant, growing relationship with God through Christ.

That’s why, I believe, the apostle Paul wrote, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). If we get our relationship with Jesus right, everything else will follow. But if we surround Jesus with a bunch of add-ons, or attempt to repackage Him to seem more palatable to the secular culture, people seeking Truth will see through that and look elsewhere for answers.

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