Part 3 of 6…
The Barna Group has done a new study and published what it says are the six biggest trends in American churches today:
- The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
- Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
- Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
- Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
- The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
- The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
At first glance these results might seem pessimistic. Barna’s polls are often thought of casting a long shadow over the contemporary church culture. To dismiss it as negative or simply to cry in our soup are wrong responses. This information, like so many seemingly dire Old Testament prophecies, is only bad if we choose to ignore it. Like any medicine, it may be the best thing for us if we can just get past the taste of it. Due to the importance of this subject I’ll be addressing each item in its own post. Today we address Item 3:
Item 3: Growing numbers of people are becoming less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life. This item follows closely in the footsteps of Item 1. We live in a society that seeks rationality. Intellect is valued more than mysticism. The supernatural is dismissed as the unusual or worse, the unreal. The church retains the appearance of godliness, but lacks power. People don’t want to confront sin and be changed into servants of the Most High God. People want to be served, to have their sin ignored, and to be comfortable in their prosperity. Spiritual truth requires of us what we least want to surrender. Until the truth is preached from the pulpit and taught in the Sunday School classes and pursued in the rest of our group and personal religious activities we will miss this mark.