I found this article while reviewing my daily diet of news. The author’s points are valid although I believe there is more to the decline of Christian worship than these. In addition to the authors opinions I contend that many people do not understand the true meaning of Christ’s teaching and do not live out their faith for others to witness. The article does point out that the division between doctrinal belief is undermining the credibility of Christian church. I contend that the core teachings of Jesus are often lost in the dogma of cultural application. Thus, many live their faith by traditional views rather than by scriptures born from real world concerns.
New Testament text, underpinned by Old Testament wisdoms, were meant to address the human problems that existed in biblical times and still exist today. The influx of cultural and societal traditions has “fixed” many beliefs into the nomenclature of modern religion. These beliefs often obscure the true meaning of the New Testament’s teaching and contribute to the confusion of what our Christian faith truly is meant to be.
I am not sure I agree that re-establishing conventional practices will reverse the decline of the Christian faith. For those of us who grew up with these traditions there is a reassuring familiarity which brings a sense of comfort. Perhaps we are too comfortable with tradition and fail to understand that the “nones” see little value in the customs of the past. For two generations, Americans have been forged by the Great Depression, the Second World War and the prosperity of the emerging middle class. These traditions defined our American identity. The core values of forgiveness, salvation, grace and love are often shrouded in the practice of Christian customs which are lived out mechanically and routinely. Many have fallen away from Christian worship because they no longer see the sincerity of people living out their faith authentically. And they may not see Christian faith as a driving force in changing the world for the better.
The current generation is tested by different conflicts which are not resolved by morality grounded values of the past. Yet, re-examining what Jesus and the Apostle were teaching in the first century and applying those principle to the 21st can help todays “nones” understand that Christian values have relevance in the modern-day.
Please read the article and ask yourself what we need to do to change the decline of Christianity in our times.