Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Loss of Christian America

Well, its official:

Newsweek Magazine said that Christianity in America is declining (April 13, 2009 edition.)

Even our president said that we are not a Christian nation anymore.

Oh my, what shall we do? Not a Christian nation? What does that even mean?

If it means that churches don’t write the laws, or that preachers don’t run the military or the ministers of music don’t censure the nation’s music -- of course we are not a Christian nation.

Most of the American people are not “born again.” Most of the leaders are not discipled. Most of the cultural products are not favorable to a Christian world view.

But all of this has been true for a long, long time.

On the other hand, what famous speech, what national document, what monument to fallen heroes does not quote from the Bible? Our music, movies, art and everyday speech is peppered with phrases from the scripture. Doesn’t that make us – at least culturally speaking – a Christian nation?

In the very same edition of Newsweek is another article. This one is about Bishop John Rucyahana and his work among Rwanda’s poor. Bishop John is an acquaintance of mine and the subject of Thad Barnum’s new book, Never Silent. What a paradox.

The magazine talks about American Christianity’s decline in one breath and with another gives witness to its furious spread.

In a way, that’s what Thad Barnum does.

He says on one hand, the American denominations are writhing in apostasy, each one trying to outdo the other in a race to debauchery and heresy.

On the other hand, entire nations are coming to Christ. What in the world is going on?

The world is dividing into sheep and goats and our country is taking the wrong direction. The Lord’s church in our country is too often a tool in the hand of the left or the right.

It needs to be a tool in the hand of the Lord.

If by “decline” the writer means that the church is starting to back away from its love affair with political life, then this is a decline that I welcome. Such a “decline” may mean that we join what God is doing in other nations – saving souls, healing the sick, and proclaiming the Word.

But Thad Barnum already said all of this a lot better than I can!

3 comments:

stacy beam said...

Amen Pastor!

Jan said...

Pastor Dan--
I read the same article in
Newsweek. We were talking about that
and your comments today at our family
Easter lunch. Katherine and I were
both saying that we have to agree
on some areas that we are not a
Christian nation anymore. When the
first four Bestsellers listed for
MONTHS now in the USA today and
Times are the Twilight series--
about the young girl who falls in
love with a vampire, it makes one
wonder. When shows continue to
have best ratings and the jokes
on advertisements are all sexual\
inuendos, I am far from impressed!
I am not a prude. Working with
high school kids, where my heart is,is a wonderful experience for
me. In this I run across
different gangs in Nashville, and
kids join to have someone to cling
to and to feel important.Where is
someone to steer them in different
directions before they get to this
point. One of the very dedicated probation
officers said to me last week
that the immigrant kids come over
here and get infected by our
American culture. That is a sad
commentary to me. There are so
many young people that have not
been raised in Christian( or I
might add in religions of other
faiths) and so many of our
youth are floundering and looking
for a purpose.
Katherine is working every
afternoon in the Preston Homes
Ministries working with these
precious young kids in their
after school program. She sees
poverty and parents,or mothers,
struggling to make ends even
meet. Jesus said to help the poor
but I see many different levels
of belief or understanding in
this. Can we help without
judgment? I hope that we as
a nation can-
I think we have a AWESOME
AWESOME church and I think
the youth in our church are so
taught and loved by the church--I know some
of them personally and their values are
incredible. Some of them sit in my
office sometimes and I hear their
soon to be college plans and I
am so impressed with how our
church has nutured them. I also see the
world OUT THERE and I wonder.
A friend of mine wrote the
Tennessean last week and said
she was going to stop taking the
paper if they don't stop running in the Bridal Section the stories
telling how the couples have
lived together for some years
before they married. Of course,
she could do like I do and not
even read that, but what would
this accomplish? At least she
is standing up for what she
believes.
This is longer than a comment-
sorry! Just don't get me started!
Jan Buck

Woodrow said...

I agree with you that christanity is still prominent in culture. I just recently saw a documentary about a pentecostal preacher who believes he received a message from God to create the greatest film ever made. The film is called "An Audience of One" and here is a link to the trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzy4oUIqJDk