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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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Culture and Religion

Louis Farrakhan refers to Ilhan Omar as ‘sweetheart,’ prompting zero outrage

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Louis Farrakhan refers to Ilhan Omar as sweetheart prompting zero outrage

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as “Sweetheart” as he addressed her during a speaking engagement on Sunday. He apparently caught his faux pas and immediately justified the remark, but at that point the moniker which many consider to be sexist or misogynistic had already been noted.

Nevertheless, it didn’t cause the stir one might expect. As a far-left progressive, Omar is known for being a feminist icon on Capitol Hill even though she hasn’t been in office for a full two months yet. As our EIC noted, the lack of a rebuke was because of the source, not because she now feels it’s okay to refer to her as “sweetheart.”

The statement came as Farrakhan was telling Omar she shouldn’t be sorry for the statements she made last week about Israel, AIPAC, and Jewish influence in Washington DC, particularly over Republicans.

In a world where consistency was still considered a virtue, followers of Omar would be wondering why she’s not expressing outrage over the belittling reference from a powerful man. But the world isn’t consistent and Farrakhan always gets a pass.

 


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Culture and Religion

Man fined £1,000 for outdated sense of humor

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Man fined £1000 for outdated sense of humor

Jonathon Van Maren, a contributor for LifeSiteNews, recently stumbled across an article in the UK’s Edinburgh News about a construction worker who was arrested for “pointing and laughing” at a biological male who was dressed as a female (transgender woman).

[Author’s Note: It is impolite and unkind to point and laugh at others. This article is not an endorsement of such behavior.]

As Van Maren explained, a construction worker named Graham Spiers was walking with a group of friends. The group pointed and laughed while passing a transgender individual who, suspecting that his appearance had become the subject of ridicule, telephoned the police.

Spiers was arrested five day later.

Sherriff Robert Fife scolded Mr. Spiers’s sense of humor and actions:

Transgender insanity: Police now jailing people for laughing at men in women’s clothes

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/transgender-insanity-police-now-jailing-people-for-laughing-at-men-in-womenSheriff Robert Fife also piled on, informing Spiers that, “Your offensive comments were not funny at the time and are not funny now. Your children should grow up understanding gender differences and would be ashamed at your behavior that comes from a different era has no place in today’s society.” Fife then told Spiers that in addition to the cash he had to pay to the biological man for laughing at him, he also had to pay an additional fine of another five hundred pounds.

Graham Spiers was ordered to pay a total of £1,000 for his actions “from a different era,” 500 of which was paid to the complainant.

Of the actions by police and the court in this instance, Van Maren opined:

It is disgusting enough that law enforcement would arrest and charge someone for this triviality. That alone indicates that freedom in Scotland is truly dead. But the fact that law enforcement then lectured Spiers on being a throwback from a different age (that different era being about a decade ago, for the record) and telling him his children should be ashamed of him? And that Spiers was expected to cower and listen to this tongue-lashing from his betters so he could get re-educated and realize that men could now become women and that laughing at their attempts was forbidden by law? That should absolutely repulse any liberty-loving person and terrify everyone who values freedom.

My Take

Pointing and laughing at others is unquestionably unkind. I am repulsed at the thought of such outward meanness. However, that this behavior so would be considered illegal and result in one’s arrest is punitive at best, and is undoubtedly a waste a valuable time and resources. Furthermore, the punishment in this case is brazenly excessive.

This is yet another instance of big government run amok. The Founders knew the dangers of big government. It would be prudent of us to heed the Founders’ advice, lest we find ourselves in the position of Mr. Spiers: subjugated beneath the arbitrary boot of “benevolent” governmental authority.

 


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The anti-MAGA hoax epidemic

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The anti-MAGA hoax epidemic

There’s a trend that’s been quietly, consistently rearing its ugly head against the President of the United States and his supporters since before the 2016 election. We’ve seen it among unhinged journalists, virtue-signaling celebrities, and Democratic politicians. We’ve seen it manifest in the ugliest form of hatred – the common hate-hoax – and it’s doing more to divide America than the source of the perpetrators’ anger.

They hate President Trump. They hate the people who got him elected. The hate the idea of making America great again because as much of the MAGA agenda comes to pass, they’re learning they’ve been wrong the whole time. I know first hand. I’ve been proven wrong myself.

No, I’m not a hate-hoaxer, but I’ve been against the President to varying degrees for over three years now. Before he officially won the GOP nomination in 2016, I opposed him because I felt he would do too much damage while delivering only a moderate amount of good policies. He wasn’t as bad as John Kasich or Jeb Bush, but we had Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul as better candidates. Nevertheless, he won the nomination, prompting me to spend the final leg of the 2016 election without a horse in the race. I didn’t like the idea of Trump being President, but under no circumstances did I want Hillary Clinton to be President, either.

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After he won, I became a cautious but hopeful watcher. While we worked on alternatives to bring limited-government federalism to the forefront of local, state, and national politics, I took a case-by-case stance on the President himself. When he did well, I praised him. When he did poorly, I criticized him. This stance has remained until this day, though there have been times when I was more supportive or more critical, depending on the policy discussion of the day. Tax and bureaucratic cuts – good. Tariffs and bump stock bans – bad. The recent cave on the border omnibus – very bad. Most foreign policy moves (leaving Iran deal, leaving Paris accords, moving embassy to Jerusalem) – very good.

Unfortunately, it seems many on the left have been unwilling to recognize even the remotest possibility anything the President is doing is good. What’s worse is that some have been so aggressive in their desire to prove their point that they’ve pretended to be victims for the sake of getting their “victims’ perks” of love and affection from their peers while painting anyone wearing a MAGA hat as bigoted and hateful.

Thus, the anti-MAGA hate hoax was born and it’s been so prominent over the last two-and-a-half years, one must wonder how mainstream media and Democrats became so gullible that they fall for it every single time.

Andy Ngo at Quillette put together a comprehensive list of hate hoaxes that leftists have perpetrated to paint the President and his supporters as racists. It’s absolutely stunning when you see the magnitude of the hatred – THEIR hatred – that makes them willing to tell bald-faced lies just to prove the movement they oppose is as bad as they think it is.

I’ve had ideological disagreements with nearly every presidential candidate (let alone every President) since I became an adult. There’s nothing wrong with disagreement as long as one is willing to not be blinded in one direction or the other. There are plenty who blindly follow President Trump to approximately the same degree that supporters blindly followed President Obama. The herd mentality seems to have become the way of the political world in America for our last two presidents. But that blind devotion is simply an annoyance. The blind hatred that drives people to commit these hoaxes is far more dangerous.

It’s likely when the details are fully revealed regarding Jussie Smollett’s hate-hoax, it was driven more by a narcissistic desire to advance his career rather than pure hatred for the MAGA crowd or the President, but obviously the latter hatred played a role in his decision-making process. This type of action is never acceptable. We have enough outrage in America. There’s no need to manufacture even more for false reasons.

It’s time for the unhinged left to stop assuming every MAGA supporter is racist and start asking how the actions of those on their side of the political aisle drove massive amounts of people to support President Trump. Perhaps then, they’ll realize the hatred is coming mostly from them.

 


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