By this point, you might have heard about the recent Pew Research Center study entitled “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” which reported some startling finds in regards to our nation’s spirituality: that the “Christian” share of the U.S. population is declining, and the number of adults who don’t identify with any organized religion is growing. Claiming that this data is consistent across all major demographics (white, black, latino, college graduates, high school diploma, women, men, etc), America has averaged a little more than one-percentage-point per year drop (78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014) of citizens who claim to be “non-denominational.” In response, those same denominations then jumped into pulpits to announce the unGodliness of the nation and decry some kind of pathetic modern-day persecution. But honestly, realistically…what did they expect to happen?
It’s not hard to discern the nature of modern-day worship services and religious thought in general, which panders to the individual and implores one to seek the truth within themselves, as opposed to being utterly subservient to a Higher Power. We live in a world that undervalues foundational Biblical teaching and overvalues spiritual emotionalism. When churches become more focused on setting record numbers and growing expansion churches, and the drive to create a spiritual empire becomes greater than the desire to save souls, then a generation will rise up that believes God caters to them, rather than the other way around.
What’s the logical conclusion of such a position? If God lives to cater to us, and we don’t really need Him, then why would we be associated with a denomination? Why should I wake up early on a Sunday morning to attend what amounts to a pep rally, when I’m already pepped up myself? Why would I go to a Methodist fellowship hall for free food when the Luby’s down the street has an all-you-can-eat buffet for $5.99 (before 2PM)? It would seem that in the world’s frantic desire to please man, they’ve ended up positioning themselves as the lower-cost, higher-guilt alternative to an already crowded capitalist society.
Ironically, this is exactly what Paul “prophesied” about in 1 Corinthians 11:17-33, when he lambasted the church at Corinth for turning the Lord’s Supper into nothing more than drunken feast. His rhetorical question, “Don’t you have homes to eat or drink in?” should have been met by every single person in that room with a resounding, “Yes.” If so, then why did they turn the church of God into another place to grab a burger? Did they really need two kitchens? Do people today? Name me one service/good that a modern-day denominational church provides that isn’t provided by a secular organization (spoiler: you/I can’t). So then, what has to be the motivation to add those to the worship of God besides a blatant and carnal desire to get people in my building rather than yours (James 4:3)? Reason for (capitalist) panic indeed!
It really is remarkable – in a scary way – what Satan has been able to accomplish in our society. Rather than continue trying to convince the masses that God is either not there or disinterested, He has turned his attention to turning God’s church, which was designed to save souls, into a place to fill man’s bellies. The only problem with that? We can fill our bellies elsewhere, and I don’t need to get up at 9:30 and listen to a guy with a fake-tan for an hour just to get it. So, to reiterate our question at the beginning in response to the Pew study: what did they expect to happen? Numbers don’t lie, especially Numbers 32:23: “Be sure your sin will find you out.”Last modified: January 22, 2019