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Author Topic: The Decline of Christianity  (Read 11879 times)

Tony Warren

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Re: The Decline of Christianity
« Reply #105 on: March 29, 2019, 04:15:26 PM »
The question shouldn't be if Christianity is declining, but why is Christianity declining?
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https://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why-is-christianity-declining/

What do you think?
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I think apart from these "symptoms" of the decline, the main reason for the decline of Christianity was sorely neglected in this article. I see the culprit as the growing unfaithfulness of the church members and lack of correction of the Ministers, Overseers, and Pastors. This caused the falling away from traditional mainstays, safeguards and ultimately obedience. Unfaithfulness comes from a disintegration of morality by Christians who were getting too close to the world. The effect of the love of God growing cold, thus allowing for even more degeneration. A vicious cycle that was the beginning of the end. The faithful building of the church was once paramount, it was a demonstration of our agape love or charity toward the world where evangelism was actually believed to be the great commission. It was the work most important in the church. Where now you have neglect of this most important task, there is "consequentially" a selfishness and decline of those who were tasked. To make an analogy, it is akin to maintaining a building. Where there is a lack of upkeep, there is inevitably decay and declension of the building. In spiritual terms, that is what has happened to Christianity. A neglect of maintaining rules and laws in the house of God, which is the Christian steward's job to do.

2nd Kings 22:5
  • "And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house,"

Likewise, if the Christian does not maintain or repair the breaches of God's house, the enemy will slip in and the end will result is the desolation of the house of God. The old adage applies, give an inch and they will take a yard. Christianity declined because its stewards compromised God's word in giving an inch, and consequently that became a foot, that became a yard, that became a mile and so on and so forth. That's how decline works. I believe "this" was the true start of the decline of Christianity.  Christians were so enamored with the world's ways they were not being vigilant.


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So let’s count both of those as reasons why some are disaffiliating. Here is my very tentative proposal for eight other reasons:

–Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
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It is true prosperity and affluence can distract people from regular church attendance as well as Christian duty, but that doesn't explain the total abandoning of traditional Christian love, virtiue, ethos, principles, morality, honesty, faith and practice. I'm not saying more money is not a factor, rather I'm saying the truth is much deeper than mere prosperity. Many faithful Christians of old were prosperous and they remained faithful. It is when Prosperity is mixed with lusts, envy, discontent, greed and decadence that people forget from whence they are fallen because they are blinded by the sparkle of the world. The Love of money is the root of all evil, not money.


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–The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
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I don't agree with this at all. Traditional Christian faith as always appeared incredible to Americans, and every other nation. Are we to think 40 days of rain and world-wide flooding, walking on water, turning water to wine, multiplying loaves, rivers of blood, etc., etc., wasn't too incredible to believe by past generations? People aren't any smarter today than they were 1000 years ago, they simply have more knowledge. Not more wisdom or intelligence, just more knowledge. I do not believe that it is a modern-day inability to believe in miracles and such that is why Christianity went into decline. Rather, I believe it was a modern-day lack of Christian training in the faith of the next generation that is the reason for the decline. A failure to communicate the faith of the fathers and mothers to the sons and daughters. Christians feeling that the old Biblical ways were too harsh, and therefore they were summarily rejected in favor of modern-day child rearing.


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–Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
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Likwise as with riches, hypocrisy has always been in the visible church, and always will be. It is true that it is a bad witness to the church, but it has always been. If it drives anyone out of Christianity altogether, then they knew nothing about Christianity anyway and were already on their (1st Jon 2:19) way out. There is nothing today in hypocrisy that would lead anyone away from Christianity any more than it would have years ago. There is nothing new under the sun saith the preacher, and that includes hypocrisy. I believe growing hypocrisy is a "symptom" of decline, not a reason for it.


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–The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
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That's true, but it is because parents today don't instill in their children the cultural importance of being a Christian, the divine call for spiritual separation from unbelievers, and the "duty" to be part of the family of God, which the church represented. Instead, in the modern-day change of parenting, they told their children that they didn't have to go to church if you don't want to. This new type of parenting was nothing short of a neglect of Godly parenting. And I believe that it was the main reason for the decline of the Christian family and instilling in them the cultural importance, responsibility and duty of being part of a Christian family and community.


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–American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
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Not only is Christianity not producing many compelling leaders, it's hardly producing any leaders at all. A lot of blind followers, and men and women who learn from other men and women, but very few leaders who preach the Bible alone. Ministers playing it safe is an understatement in this article. They most often preach "smooth things" or by what is popular or entertaining to most, not what is needful and justified and Holy.


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–The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
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And it's a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Did we succumb to prosperity and leave the church, or did we leave the church so we could be more prosperous? Was it that the lust for economic gain, prosperity and recreation come because of the disregard for God's word and the Sunday Sabbath? Yeah, I believe the chicken came first. In other words, there came a disregard for the Holiness of the Sunday sabbath and that produced the will to change times and laws that "held back" these ideas, thoughts and lusts. There were laws that restricted certain work and businesses on Sunsday. Moreover, what judicial laws didn't cover, morality did so that people (by moral law) didn't work or open stores on Sunday. The collapse of protections started within man with his falling away to disregard God's law of respecting the Sabbath. The church started looking at it as what they called legalism. Many people began working or otherwise engaged on Sunday, but was because of their own failing standards as they longed to be just like the world, rather than separate from it. No laws were made to circumvent the sabbath until enough people were OK with it. To put it another way, until the church didn't put up a big stink about it.  Like an old house that isn't kept in repair, it deteriorates because of the lack of maintenace for its continuing health and welfare.


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–It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
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Again, a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Is it that parents can't pass the faith on to their children because of a wired world in which parental influence is in decline, or is it that parents forsook their responsibility to train up their children with disciple, and "as a result" their influence on them has declined because the doctrines of faith were not sufficiently passed on to them? Today's children have been so undisciplined, spoiled and pampered that this outcome was inevitable. In general, their work ethic is pitiful and they are handed everything on a silver platter so that they naturally feel entitled. It is harder for parents to pass the faith on to their children "Specifically Because" they changed from the way their parents raised them to child rearing by the social workers and by secular humanism. God's instructions were "apparently" too harsh, and the results are what is to be expected when we think we are smarter than God.


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–Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
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Evangelism is not dead, it's simply the rarest of occupations. I don't think this is because no one has time, or because of TV, or social media, I believe there is little evangelization because of fear (of losing worldly friends) or because of the growing selfishness in the world today--and both are related. What is on TV and social media is a direct "result" of the decline of the church, not a reason for it. The lack of evangelism is because the charity or agape love where faithful Chrisrtians actually "cared" about the salvation of others, is missing. Sure, they still pay lip service to caring and evangelism, but in practice, they are too busy with the cares of this world to care about evangelism. I believe the world problem of a lack of morality stems from a church problem. For example, I'm old enough to remember when Television once had built in restraints, a moral code. Why? Because the churches who carried great weight demanded and received it. But as the church became more unfaithful by an influx of more liberal thinking ministers, and those of the church grew closer to those of the world. They began to take on their same hopes, dreams, and decadence so that they failed to stand fast and keep the traditional values, laws and moral compass. They let a little of this go, and a little of that, and soon there was declension. The church "failed" to be the Watchmen who were tasked of God to stand guard at the gates. They fell asleep at their posts and allowed enemies within the gates. The same as the declension in Israel produced the same results:

Isaiah 56:10-11
  • "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
  • Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."

When those in God's lighthouse look not to being watchmen, but for their own pleasures and gain, then it is inevitable that darkness will result, and the light of the world declines. Thus evangelism is the last thing on their minds. Today evangelism comes after food, clothing, home, college, new car, vacations, savings, and about 50 other things. "Then and only then," maybe, they'll consider mentioning they are Christians or suggest that there is a Godly alternative lifestyle. But only if it doesn't embarrass them, or only if someone specifically asks.

As for Christians who have stopped trying, God has something to say about those who take what God has given them and hide it away that there is no gain from it.

Matthew 25:24-27
  • "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
  • And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
  • His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
  • Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury."

So I don't believe that "No one really knows how to share the Christian faith in a way that connects with people," I believe it is not expedient for them to do so because they fear rejection more than they fear God. Sure, many Christians have stopped trying, but it is because it's a "sacrifice" that many are not willing to make for Christ in this world. This cozy relationship of Christians with the world God equates to spiritual fornication or adultery.

James 4:4
  • "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

It is this adulterous relationship of Christians with the world that stands in opposition with and makes Christians indisposed to doing of God's will.


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So that’s ten proposed reasons why Christianity is declining in the United States. I invite you to add your own reasons for this significant trend. In a later post I will reflect on what might be done to redress the problems the churches now face.
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I think that some of these are legitimate reasons, but the main reason that is not addressed here (and seldom is) is because of the growing unfaithfulness that occurred in the church. This unfaithfulness led to a corruption of doctrines, which leads to the corruption of the church, which inevitably leads to abominations, which leads to desolation or destruction. The "main" reason that Christianity is declining is because of those inside the church which have apostatized so that God is "giving them up" that they might be judged.

"nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"i acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"

 


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