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Culture and Religion

Is American Christianity at an all time low?

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There are a lot of doomsday articles on the state of Christianity in the present day. Why not? So many professed Christians don’t know where their Bibles are, don’t attend church, and don’t believe in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity(ie. existence of Hell and Satan). There are disturbing public opinion polls on religion, in that, people identifying in the Christian faith holding views that are clearly opposed to Biblical teachings. The amount of professed Christians viewing abortion and homosexual marriage favorably are alarming. The amount of Christians watching porn and fornicating is alarming. The moral state of our nation is in decline. However, when was there ever a point in human history where the Church did not feel this way? The Church needs perspective and not just self proclaimed doomsday prophets in sackcloth.

A deeper look into Church numbers

Church attendance has been declining. Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend a church. This number comes after factoring for Halo Effect and better data gathering. But aggregate church attendance is highly misleading. We need to break it down. There are several denominations. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican/Episcopalian, and the most interesting distinction is between Mainline Protestant and Evangelical. Mainline refers to older denominations that have adopted liberal or, more accurately, progressive theology, not necessarily liberal politics, but social leftism is a plague in these churches. Evangelicals refers to more traditional and conservative theology. So if the numbers are broken down by denomination, a much different picture emerges. Keep in mind that the technically-not-Protestant Church of England rooted Episcopal Church is considered Mainline.

Decline Is A Choice

millennials-affiliation

Image from MillennialEvangelical.com

Broken down, these aren’t the worst numbers the Church could be seeing. And this is merely younger people. As a whole Church decline is a lot more broken down than oft preached on Sunday.

Not all denominations are in decline. A more The Church in America isn’t parachuting with churches falling at different rates. In fact the denominations impacted by social leftism are the ones facing the most membership loss. For churches, social leftism is a deliberate stray from the teachings of God’s Word. Consider Paige Roger’s words on the Episcopal Church’s attempt to strip God of masculinity.

To claim God is not masculine is to claim he is not The Father, and it is to claim Christ a liar.

We have a name for that.

It is called blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, apostasy, irreverence, desecration, impiety, profanation, imbecility, deception, evil, false teaching, vituperation.

To let this blasphemy stand unaddressed, unrebuked like so many other heretic controversies before, inevitably signals the future acceptance and inclusion of this sacrilege into Episcopal “doctrine.”

And this is precisely why good people – like myself – are fleeing the Episcopalian “church.”

Aggregate church attendance fails to tell the whole story of what’s going on in Christianity in the United State and around the world for that matter. If Christianity is “smaller” in America today, it’s likely stronger. So when Gallup asked Americans why they do go to church, it wasn’t for the music.

How did we get here?

While things may seem bad, we need to look at the current situation bearing in mind historical contexts. Every generation of Christians tends to think that the people are falling away from God. And the truth is, people usually are. So the question remains, is now worse than any other time in our nation’s history? The decline of Western Civilization is certainly a new presence that did not exist, say a hundred years ago. But many churches today refuse to embrace cultural decline. Above I used the term Evangelical to classify Protestant denominations that hold a more literal and contextual theology. However, the history of Evangelism is more recent than you might realize.

As you know, America was founded by people who wanted religious liberty. Soon after our country’s birth, we found ourselves in a drought of faith. In response, we had the 2nd Great Awakening. At the start of the 1800s our country saw many revivals and at the peak, anti-slavery became abolition. Yes the two are related because Americans largely stopped viewing salvation as exclusive. But not long after the Civil War we saw the rise of liberal theology. In the modernist era, humans thought they could solve all of the world’s problems. The modernist sought to replace Christianity with science and reason. So modernist theology became prevalent in the Church. They started preaching the historical Jesus. They denied the Resurrection and the virgin birth. In this liberal theology, the Bible became metaphorical and not literal. As we know, humans learned that modernism didn’t perfect us. In fact, it created terrible working conditions, evil ideologies, and could prevent no avoidable wars.

Fundamentalism

This is a term often thrown around by opponents of Christianity. But it has a real meaning rather than it’s modern day misuse. Fundamentalism is consolidated Christianity. It was a response to modernist liberal theology. Christians saw what was happening in the church. People preached on the “historical” Jesus rather than the actual Jesus. People believed that they could create utopia and that science and reason were substitutes for God. They were high up didn’t stop outside of the church walls either. Liberal theology was well-funded with even JD Rockefeller backing heretical churches. Liberal theology was so pervasive that many Christians consolidated their theology and viewpoints. The fundamentalist shut out anything to do with or associated with liberal theology.

The fruits of the fundamentalism weren’t desirable. The liberal theologians had a great emphasis on social issues while fundamentalism rejects things of the world. For this reason both the liberals and the fundamentalist participated in the temperance movement leading to the 18th Amendment. We also had embarrassments such as the Scopes Trial. Internationally, the church was too weak to deter nations from unnecessary war. Majority of World War 1’s belligerents had no business declaring war. Throughout the 1930’s, the church in Germany was weak enough to allow Nazism to thrive. If ever there was a low point for Christianity, it had to have been in the earlier twentieth century.

Rise of Evangelism

Where fundamentalist sought separation from the world, evangelicals sought to win the world. Not all Christians back then were fundamentalist. CS Lewis certainly wasn’t. A famous Christian who comes to mind is Dwight L. Moody who sought to reach the masses. Following in his footsteps was Billy Graham. Chrsitanity Today notes:

As Graham’s prestige and influence grew, particularly among “mainline” (non-evangelical) Christians, he drew criticism from fundamentalists who felt his cooperation with churches affiliated with the National and World Council of Churches signaled a compromise with the corrupting forces of modernism.

Billy Graham helped pave the way for the church in America and globally, to switch from defense to offense. World War 2 taught the capitalist side of the world that modernism failed to deliver on all of its promises. Billy Graham united Christians across denominations on the key doctrines of Christian faith and with that the goal of baptizing peoples of all nations. Billy Graham was also a key religious figure during the Civil Rights Movement. We lost a great man earlier this year. It’s a shame, but he left the church better than when he found it.

Much of what fundamentalist had considered sinful, evangelicals utilized to reach people. Believe it or not, the most overtly Christ-glorifying sport I’ve ever seen is mixed martial arts. Christian music is commercially viable, and faith based movies have made a quality comeback, most recently with I Can Only Imagine outperforming box office expectations. Fundamentalism is still alive today, but is laughable and largely irrelevant to the advancement of the church.

Current Flaws

While things aren’t as bad as they were 100 years ago, the present day church is not without flaws. Hot topic issues, like abortion and homosexuality, help weed out the liberal and progressive churches, but not all apostate churches are separated so easily like sheep from goats. One of the country’s largest “churches” is helmed by Joel Osteen, the prosperity gospel preacher. From the fall of modernism came forth post-modernism. Post-modernism contains an emphasis on feelings and experiences with rejection of absolute truths. In the current age people like talking about grinding and hustling to achieve what you want in life. There are endless motivational speakers and cliches. False churches are preying on this. Too many pastors are motivational speakers first and bible teachers second. Many churches focus more on entertainment and metrics.

The church is also struggling to stay the course in the midst of the Trump wave. An alarming amount of church-goers put their faith in Trump over God. While there is a larger Christian presence in the Whitehouse than in the previous administrations, Trump is by no means a devout man of faith. To much extent, Trumps rise is a blow to the church’s credibility, even without him being a follower. Still, God allowed Trump to be President. And since Jesus hasn’t returned we still have work to do.

Billy Graham managed to help bridge the divide between protestants and Catholics for a time, but that largely went away with the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI. The Catholics are now in the hands of Pope Francis, who denied the existence of Hell, committing the heresy of annihilationism.

Wrap Up

Christianity to today is not without faults and challenges. However the Church is gaining ground in China and Iran even as Western Civilization spirals downward. As our culture reaches a tipping point I find there to be no question that the Church in America today is better equipped to do what God calls them to do than 100 years ago. Christianity is not at an all time low; however, the Church’s trajectory in the United States is hard to predict. The outcome will largely depend on our trust and steadfast stewardship

God bless! And Happy Easter!

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Conspiracy Theory

Why we need to believe Ephesians 6:12 today, perhaps more than ever before

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Ephesians 6:12

The idea of doing a podcast has been weighing on me lately. It’s not really even a long-term itch; after it reached my mind just a few days ago, that turned into a very stout and concentrated calling that hit my heart like a ton of bricks. It went from not being a consideration to being something I absolutely had to do in less than a week.

The first episode is done and we’re ready for people to hear it and give feedback.

This podcast’s primary topic is going to be Ephesians 6:12. If you’re not familiar with the verse, you may wonder how we intend to do an enire sustained series of podcasts surrounding a single verse. Upon reading it, you should realize that what it suggests and the topics it encompasses could easily be turned into a daily show if necessary.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

At some point, we will be moving this and other episodes we do to a true podcast hosting site. We’ll also distribute it to multiple places for download and direct listening, but to get things rolling we’ll be using YouTube and Facebook to publish the podcasts.

This one is general in its focus. Future episodes will be more specific. We want to get feedback as soon and often as possible.

When we realize we’re not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, our perspectives on how to wage this battle become more clear. Hopefully, this show will be a blessing to you as much as it has been to us.

 


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Culture and Religion

Shouldn’t the Left be held accountable for the racism of gun control?

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Shouldnt the Left be held accountable for the racism of gun control

Liberty control has its roots in racism. Why isn’t advocating for it considered to be racist?

We find ourselves at a very interesting conflux of issues these days. On the one hand, Democrats in Virginia are fighting off charges of racism while the rest of the nation’s Socialist-Left is openly talking about subjects such as ‘white privilege’ and judging people based on skin color instead of the content of their character as in the Covington Catholic high school case.

Contrast this with their incessant efforts in tearing down basic human rights, in particular the right of self-defense. Meanwhile, we have the 1-year mark of the Parkland mass murder, the fuse that set off the Left’s crusade against Liberty. The Left’s efforts in controlling the right of self-defense have their roots in racism, not to mention that their crusade against this basic human Liberty adversely impact the minority community, so shouldn’t they be condemned for their racism in this regard?

Shouldn’t the Left have to answer for this?

The issue of Liberty [gun] control is one of the Left empowering themselves at the expense of the innocent. What began as a way of depriving certain people of their civil rights has continued on with expansion to those opposed to the Left’s socialist national agenda while still fostering policies that keep minorities vulnerable.

It’s one of those pieces of history the Liberty grabber left would like to keep hidden away like pictures in a yearbook. In what hearkens back to the infamous Dred Scott decision with the right to keep and carry arms a factor, from the text of the decision:

It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

[Our Emphasis]

We and others have touched on this subject before with the point that that the original purpose of many Liberty control laws was to render certain minorities helpless in the face of KKK terror. This is exemplified in a recent article by David Kopel on The Racist Influence on Gun Control Laws:

How do you stop a lynch mob? With a Winchester repeating rifle. That was the advice of Ida B. Wells, the great journalist who led the fight against lynching. To frustrate her work, a new form of gun control was introduced.

On June 25, 1892, Wells penned an iconic article for the New York Age, which was reprinted as a nationally circulated pamphlet, “Southern Horrors.” After noting cases in which lynch mobs had been defeated by armed blacks, Wells continued: “The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for the protection which the law refuses to give.

While the laws are no longer overly racist, the incremental assaults on our Liberty adversely impact minorities as pointed out in article on The Racist Roots of Gun Control:

Any kind of licensing scheme on gun ownership represents a costly barrier to entry. Minorities of humble means are effectively priced out of their right to self-defense. Researcher John Lott explained last year in an article for The Hill how expensive licenses and fees for carrying weapons burden minorities and other vulnerable groups.

No matter how much progressives claim to defend minorities, supporting gun control does them a massive disservice. The fear and danger many inner-city dwellers in places like Baltimore and Chicago must contend with on a daily basis is only aggravated by the cities’ gun control policies.

Even the new rage of Gun Confiscation SWATing adversely impacts the most vulnerable. Since they may not have the resources to get back their property and their good name after it has been taken from them without due process. With these so-called ‘Red flag’ laws reported as reported on the site Bearing arms on The spike in gun confiscations thanks to so-called ‘Red Flag Laws’:

Right now, everyone seems to be crowing over the number of seizures, but how many actual tragedies have been avoided? More importantly, how many “false positives” have we seen. By that, I mean how many innocent, law-abiding people with no intention of harming another found themselves disarmed by force of law despite having done nothing wrong because someone else said they did?

While these seizures can be fought, not everyone can afford to do so, making them especially burdensome for the poor who often live in high-crime areas and often rely on their firearms for personal protection.

The Takeaway.

While Leftists have a distinct predilection in projecting their faults on others, the charge of racism is particularly galling. Since as Bill Whittle pointed out they have no real effect except on those who aren’t truly racist.

It is equally galling that Leftists incessantly push for gun confiscation and it’s precursor steps, a socialist agenda item that is steeped in racism. Meanwhile, they take on the air of being the champions of the downtrodden, the people most adversely affected by their quest for power in disarming the people.

 


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Conspiracy Theory

Launching the ‘Principalities and Powers Podcast’ shortly

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Launching the Principalities and Powers Podcast shortly

For the past few weeks, I’ve been wanting to do something around the idea that the teachings of Paul to the Ephesians, particularly in chapter 6, are not only relevant today but may be more relevant than any time in the past. Specifically, I believe we’re facing the threats Paul warned us about in Ephesians 6:12.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

My first thought was to write an article, but on various websites I’ve probably written five or six articles on the topic over the years. Then, I thought it deserved the article series treatment; one core article with several attached articles that go into specifics about what we are facing.

Again, this would have been too small. For a very brief time I considered writing a book on the matter, but anything I were to write today would be at least partially obsolete by the time it was printed and distributed. That’s the nature of today’s world in respects to Ephesians 6:12. The rulers of the darkness are working overtime and making changes to everything around us.

That’s when the podcast idea came to mind. It’s been years since I’ve participated in a weekly podcast. I’ve been on several in the past two or three years but as far as doing my own, those days are far behind me. Now, it’s time to get back to it.

For now, I’m going to do a handful of podcasts and upload them first to YouTube. It’s important to find the proper distribution, hosting, and marketing for the podcast, so rather than put the first episodes in a temporary home as I search for partners, it makes more sense to house them where I know they’ll continue indefinitely. Since I’ll be putting them on YouTube regardless of where they’re hosted for the sake of iTunes and other platforms, it’s best to start there until we’re ready for full launch.

I’d ask that those of you interested in helping push this project forward faster either donate directly to this site, which will be funding it now and likely into the foreseeable future, or at least use our Amazon link to get us some commission while you shop.

There are plenty of Christian podcasts. There are likely even more political podcasts. There’s a handful of reputable conspiracy theory podcasts that aren’t trying to convince us chemicals in the water are turning the frogs gay. But I have yet to find one that approaches this particular topic the way I intend to.

If we examine the world through a Biblical lens and report on all the things that are happening that don’t make any sense to our rational and thoughtful worldview, we’ll find the sources of many of our problems are more supernatural than many realize.

We’ll be recording episodes soon. Stay tuned!

 


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