ARE CHRISTIANS DRIVING CHURCH NUMBERS DOWN?
April 4, 2009
The reports are everywhere now about the declining numbers of church members and baptisms – especially among Southern Baptists; so much so that church leaders address it at almost every opportunity as if attempting to somehow spark a zeal in remaining members like a coach might do in the locker room of a losing team at halftime.
Everyone is trying to figure out what’s wrong.
This might come as a shock to many, but I would suggest that the answer here might just be nothing is wrong – that those declining numbers that are troubling the pulpits of American churches right now may well be God’s will being carried out by His own being called out of a growing apostasy flourishing within them.
In no way am I condemning all established churches and religious institutions – so don’t misquote me or suggest to anyone that that is what I am doing here. It is not. I am only pointing to another exodus obviously underway and the largely overlooked reasons for it.
Being the recipient of untold numbers of emails over the years from heartbroken readers who have left or been thrown out of their churches for taking a biblical stand on important issues has given me a perspective that many pulpiteers and pew warmers are not privy to. It is, unfortunately, the view of the majority that those who don’t run with the majority are backsliders.
I don’t agree.
You see, the majority functions on a false, yet implied premise, that God must operate within an established and recognized religious institution or it is not God. But, I would challenge that notion by simply pointing to the early church that was largely spurned and hated by the religious establishment of the day.
Were not the temple numbers also down because of The Way? Did it not trouble the religious leaders back then as well? Why do you think Saul was terrorizing Christians prior to his Damascus road encounter with the Lord – because the numbers were up?
If God is in control, as so many of today’s church members are fond of saying – then He must also be in control of the declining numbers.
Does this mass exodus serve the will of men or the will of God?
This is the question that must now be asked.
Consider the declining economy. Is it not our increasing debt that is causing it to falter and fail? If it is the unrestrained borrowing of money that has caused it, how then can borrowing more money in even greater quantities, solve it?
It can’t – in spite of what the experts in charge now claim.
It’s not a “stimulus package” – it’s a suicide pact.
Now, consider the declining church numbers.
Is it not biblical compromise and carnal indulgence that has ultimately caused it – pleasure palaces built with borrowed money to produce sensory circuses that can better compete with the world for your patronage and mine with watered-down gospel messages, coffee shop ministries, rock and roll worship and people-pleasing programs? If it is, then how can more biblical compromise and carnal indulgence solve it?
That’s right – it can’t.
So, while pastors feverishly try to save their ministries (careers) and members try to save their churches (attendance), the exodus is steadily taking it all away – away from the wishful thinking and wayward agendas of misguided men to the promised land of God’s provision where the rot and stench of spiritual death and decay is left behind for the Living Waters of truth, repentance and faith in Christ.
I find nothing in the bible about the importance of saving religious organizations or Christian ministries – only lost souls. And feeding the flesh more of what it craves will simply not accomplish that.
"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." – Matthew 3:2
� 2009 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserve
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.