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16 July 2009

I Give Christianity About 20 Years...?

I had a great time getting to talk with a friend last night. This guy is sharp, and everyone should have someone like this in his life -- someone who has wisdom, a Biblical worldview, and speaks bluntly but very graciously.

One of the things he commented to me about was that he was surprised I hadn't blogged about one particular statement our senior pastor made a few weeks ago.

This is the essence of the statement: "Unless we change, within 20 years Christianity will be an underground movement."

The comment is founded upon verifiable statistics that church membership in America is definitely on the decline in spite of the loads of money we're spending on what we'd call "outreach". "Change" may be defined differently by different people, so that's not the focus of what I'm asking here, though you're certainly free to chime in about that.

Do you agree with the above statement?


Ana's Mama said...

Very thought provoking Dean! Here are my thoughts:

As long as we have freedom of religion, I do not think that Christianity will be an undergroud movement. The fact that membership in churches is dropping does not necessarily mean that the number of people that claim Christianity as a faith is dropping at the same rate. Personally I have been a Christian for most of my life, but did not join a church until I was 36 years old when I felt grounded with my family. We live in such a transient society these days, and many people don't join a church, because they simply don't know which one they fit in. We have so many faiths in the united states, and everyone has the freedom to worship as they choose. Unless they make it illegal to be a christian, (which I sincerely doubt) then I think we are safe. There may be less of us or some of the philosophies may change, but I feel like it will always be around, even if it is only in our hearts.

Jodi C.

Eileen said...

Do I agree with the statement about Christianity being underground within 20 years? YES - If it takes that long! The Bible says in Ecclesiastes there is nothing new under the sun. We, as Americans, have been so fortunate to been under God's grace and to be able to freely worship. I am surprised our current adminstration has set up a Religion Czar... I am sure it is not unrealistic to think that is you don't believe all roads lead to God - you will be ostracized and limited for being narrow-minded.

Leroy said...

As our democracy declines, so too will our freedom. We will still have freedom to worship for a while, but I don't think it will be unusual to have "protesters" standing in the parking lot.

"Funny" thing is, the greatest gift of all will always be free no matter what.

Dean Lusk said...

Boyoboyoboy, do I have some thoughts! I'll wait until a couple of more people have put in their comments to throw in my $0.02, though.

My immediate reaction to that statement has stuck with me, and I wouldn't doubt if someone else has the same reaction and thoughts that I did.

sarah chia said...

I don't think that would be so bad.

I think we should definitely appreciate our freedom while we have it, but if it becomes illegal, so what? Fakers might be more inclined to stop faking. Real Christians might be more inclined to stop faking, for that matter!

Personally, I think the money spent on the outreach doesn't work because people are tired of events, and they want real life. I believe it's relationships more than anything, and that stems from Christians who are serious about loving God and the world that He came to save. People need to see the gospel lived out, and that doesn't happen at a church event.

(We should also keep in mind, though, that Christ says "Narrow is the gate that leads to life, and few will find it." Matt. 7:14 We can't base the value of our ministry or faith on numbers.)

Anonymous said...

Hasn't it always been "underground"?
Christianity is not a building (or visiting one regularly), or a simple theology or a set of rules. It is a mixture of having to accept some things by sheer faith in the Word and Jesus Christ, and other things by experience and to live, as closely as we are able, walking in the path of Jesus.

Christianity is about a real relationship with Jesus Christ, the living resurrected Christ who died on the cross and rose again from the dead.

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Preston N said...

I am more with Anonymous on this one. For the most part, the more I research, read and live, the more I realize that "mainstream" Christinity has not been what I would consider "real Christianity"*. History has always shown that there has always been a remnant of beleivers who are radical in their love for God and holiness. Disintrested in the issue or matters of religion, but engaged in a deep passionate relationship with Christ. These folks can not be identified as some some large mainstream group or denomination, but a sect unto themselves.

What is beginning to occur in our civilization/nation is a process of purification. Those who simply pose as Christians, or are Christians because they personally benefit from it for themselves, will soon realize the cost is too great to be a "Christian" and fade back into the masses. For those who have counted the cost and realize that their relationship with God is greater than anything that this world can offer will perservere and finish the race.

*Note: A great book on this remnant is a book by Leonard Verudin, "The Reformers and their Stepchildren". This book provides historical accounts that their has always existed within church history a remnant of true beleivers outside the mainstream church".

Eileen said...

One last thing... what is out in the open here... is underground elsewhere... so at this point in time for Americans...

We have had the ability, overall, for public assembly and worship. For Americans... this is changing... for other cultures... definitely not the case. Many of their churches are UNDERGROUND and will remain so...

Unfortunately most of us have not had the exposure to Christianity overseas... all we know is from what we read or happen to see via some other media outlet.

America is changing... Other countries... underground is the norm...

Ana's Mama said...

Hey Dean, hope you don't mind I shared your post with a few people from my life group. We were looking for a book to study, and Preston's recommendation seemed awsome.
- Jodi

Christy said...

I must be reading the quote wrong or just misunderstanding it because my initial thought was "isn't Christianity already underground?" meaning that we aren't living it out in the open these days.

Beth said...

I'm not sure I agree with the statement that Christianity will be 'underground' in 20 years - but I believe with all my heart that the way people live out their Christianity and "church", as we know it today, will be radically different. And I believe it will be a good thing for the church, although I'm not sure if it will be a good thing for society.

keo said...

I would like for the church to go underground - because God can then show us what it means to depend on Him.

Do I want to give up my comfort of "freedom of religion"? Of course not - but if it is a choice between comfort and eternity with Jesus - I choose Jesus.


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