A past research article published by the organisation of George Barna submitted a survey and statistical report for review, endeavouring to gauge the present attitude and perception of contemporary pastors to what we call Biblical doctrine or historical Christian viewpoints. To put it bluntly it was actually attempting to identify those who adhere to a Biblical way of doing things and hold to a conservative Christian approach. Particularly regarding historical fundamental doctrines and a lifestyle formulated around those same conservative and Biblical views. The purpose of this survey was to investigate the present pastoral views of those guiding and directed the contemporary church and its secondary influence resulting in effecting the community. The desire was to also gain an insight as to how the community views the church and its effectiveness if any to ascertain its relevance.
Are we as a modern body of believers actually relevant and necessary in this society, if not then why and what do we need to do in order to correct that issue, and also where did we go wrong. The title of this article is from a quotation in the Book of Jude in the Bible where it emphatically instructs each generation of believers to earnestly contend for and defend the doctrine and faith with the same intensity they demonstrated when it was historically delivered unto the fathers or founders of that very same faith. Can we today state without contradiction that we have done this, definitely not, we put our own personal spin on what we consider important and most of todays preaching is very much self centred and self exalting.
We seldom refer to the bible as the foundation of our belief and in stead refer to the books of motivational minded men many of which are not even godly or biblically based, some even occultic and new age focused. We wonder why we are ineffective in our endeavours and powerless in a sin sickened world. We have still not learned that the only way to change human nature is to reach out beyond ourselves to a power that is not influenced or controlled by human nature. That is to a divine perfect being not dictated to by sin or selfishness the Lord Jesus Christ himself and by his help and power we are given the ability to change. That power is beyond us, not within us until we accept him as our savior and request his power and help to change. We are blind, ignorant and deaf and still bound by our sin until we as Jesus taught, we must acknowledge “Without Him we can do nothing”
If you were to ask most modern leaders and ministers of today's Christian churches how do they relate to the traditional and historic view of Christianity, they would reiterate a position or opinion of belief something like the following; “well we must embrace the fundamentals but we also need to change our methodology and our language to be able to communicate with today's generation” Herein lies the problem, we have traded our position and accepted theirs we negotiated away our views and standards and embraced theirs, so much so that today many preachers and leaders now utilize the worst profanities and ask the question in self-justification, why should the devil have all the most influential words.
To illustrate the ridiculous extremes to which we have sunk in this regard let me quote an actual scenario that I was once a witness to. A group of young people with which we were linked began utilising the very slang of the young group to which they were attempting to influence. Several of those modern slang words had become so distorted as to entirely change the original meaning to some total opposite. One such word was the adjective sick, it was originally used as a symbol of what was either very poor health or something very degrading or even something of immensely poor quality, that is how the older generation among us would refer to the word. But not so this younger generation had entirely changed the word to refer to something great, something fabulous and very exciting.
The word sick began to become part of the very conversation of the youth and young Christians who were trying to demonstrate Gods love to these non churched with whom they were mixing. The young Christians, in their desire to relate to the group whose conversations and slang they had now embraced, became so much a part of them that they could no longer dissassociate their slang in their every day conversations with other people. It became an embarrassment . To such a degree that it had to be corrected very regiment ally and forcefully. Many of those rebuked could not understand why and what all the fuss was about until it was explained to them by way or repeating the very words of their conversations. Those conversations went something like this, God is sick or we had this encounter the other night at church when we met together in the Lords presence and it was real sick.
You can imagine the reaction of people who do not understand that modern perception of the meaning of the word sick, especially to the elderly, they were utterly aghast thinking their young people had abandoned God. So this demonstrates the stupidity and senselessness of trying to integrate so completely with a fringe part of society that we are no longer any different from them. When that happens we have lost any influence we once had to impact and affect them and further the ability to even relate to our own peers to whom we are supposed to be related becomes so questionable and strained we find it difficult to relate to them also.
What a joke, probably more disgrace than a joke, in order to change people we are not to become like them but remain different in order to reach down to them and lift them up from what they are to what we are, yet without alienating them. Today's position regarding what they say they believe and their position regarding what they in practice do, are very different things. Barna's criteria for defining the bibles worldview was believing absolute moral truth exists based on the Bible, and having a biblical view on six core beliefs:
- The accuracy of biblical teaching,
- The sinless nature of Jesus,
- The literal existence of Satan,
- The omnipotence and omniscience of God,
- Salvation by grace alone,
- The personal responsibility to evangelize.” Barna argued, “you can’t give people what you don’t have yourself.
The results of Barnas survey absolutely confirmed the state of what we can categorically term as the apostate state of the modern church; He unequivocally showed only 9% of all born again adults and only 7% of all protestants believers with only half of all pastors hold to a historic biblical view of faith. These alarming factors demonstrate two things beyond challenge making them absolutely crystal clear. Firstly most modern church leaders run their churches on commercial and worldly ethics teaching humanistic beliefs totally opposite from those the Bible teaches but secondly and more importantly, most Pastors and leaders of todays contemporary church congregations do not even know what the Bible teaches on many given subjects.
The sad culmination is as we now see a church devoid of power with its congregants counseled and influenced by ungodly unscriptural teachers and ungodly doctrines. That should send shock waves through the ranks of the conservative church. Because the disgraceful reality is, what we are presenting to the unchurched and non Christian world is a belief system that the Bible does not even espouse. No wonder adultery and divorce now have a higher rate of incidence inside the western Church than outside amongst the so called unbelievers.
I talk with many pastors on a weekly basis who have absolutely no idea what the Bible teaches on the many subjects such as the following. Dealing with fraud in a congregation, allowing accusations to be laid against alleged defaulters, and I mean alleged as most accusations have an element of truth to them but that is all. I am appalled at the folly of pastors that violate the sanctity of hearing both sides of a story before passing judgment or offering advice, a thing the Bible considers reprobate. Most importantly many do not know how to deal with serious character faults in members and leaders and therefore do not follow scriptural precedent in these issues when trying to correct them. The Bible lays down clear distinct guidelines for all of these areas and gives instructions on dealing with them.
This is to name just a few examples of controversy, tearing the church apart at present, but what of homosexuality, lesbianism, heresy, lying, covetousness, anger, rage, immodesty, uncouth language, lust etc. etc.. Barna stated more than six out of every seven congregants in the typical church do not share the biblical view of pastor who hold to a historic scriptural view of faith. Incredibly, pastors least likely to hold to a historical biblical view of faith are seminary graduates (45%). In contrast, three out of five pastors who have not attended seminary operate with a historic biblical view (59%).The largest gap related to gender 53% of male pastors have a scriptural historic based belief, but alarmingly only 15% of female leaders and pastors. What does this tell you simply that emotion right brain influenced thinking is not what is to motivate the church but logic left brain thinking is, logic comes from the word LOGOS “THE WORD”
What a serious and concerning indictment against the church that those who are its conscience (namely its leaders) do not even know themselves what the position requires nor the responsibility demands, when confronting these issues of sin. I myself upon reading these facts, question, how can we as representatives of Christ and God upon earth expect God to adjudicate and vindicate our efforts when we do not even align ourselves with what He as God decrees. Would you as a Boss endorse what one of your workers did, if they acted contrary to your instructions and in the process were summarily caught and prosecuted in the process. I guarantee you would not take responsibility for their ignorance or disobedience to your instructions nor would you condone or sanction it.
We live in a world where not only the world itself is in great confusion but the church more so, it is enveloped in greater confusion and no wonder the Muslim believers look at us and laugh calling us the great satan because we no longer have a chaste cohesive standard that we live by today anything is acceptable. And to think we believe we have the truth. This is almost blasphemous, Isaiah 52 States as a result of this mockery THE NAME OF THE LORD IS CONTINUALLY BLASPHEMED EVERY DAY AND HELD IN DERISION.
We need to get back to the biblical foundational issues of our faith and reject once and for all this philosophical stupidity of making the Christian faith more acceptable, in athletics, whoever heard of lowering the bar in order to grant the laziest unqualified achiever the same reward or prize as the most practiced and qualified high jumper. That is simply madness, socialism in Russia proved that idiocy, community cooperatives of paying every man the same wage irrespective of ability rejecting reward for effort well done, reduced the initiative of those who were gifted to the level of those who were not. The athletic bar should be constantly lifted so that for those specifically gifted in their area of ability will not just attain the mark but exceed it. So it is with the level of our educational attainment both secular and spiritual, whether people like it or not is not the issue, the standard must be raised constantly not lowered as we do now. Generations to come will suffer with ignorance degenerating into humiliation if we keep on this path of political correctness and seeker friendly insanity.
Pro 1:20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street; She utters her voice in the broad places; She cries in the chief place of concourse; At the entrance of the gates, In the city, she utters her words: How long, you who are simple ones, will you love simplicity? And scoffers delight in their scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? Turn aound at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you; I will make known my words to you. Because I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man has heeded You have rejected all my counsel, And would have none of my reproof: I also will laugh in the day of your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes on you;
When your fear comes as a storm, And your calamity comes on as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish come upon you. Then will they call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me: For they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of Jehovah: They would not recieve my counsel; They despised all my reproof. Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices. For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them and the careless ease of fools shall destroy them. But whoever hearkens to me shall dwell securely and shall be quiet without fear of evil.
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