For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thousands of So-Called Christians Believe This

When you are interacting with individuals about their spiritual condition or sharing the Gospel privately or publicly, remember this: Just because someone tells you they are a Christian does not mean they are a Christian. 

Hundreds of thousands of people tell researchers during phone surveys they identify with the ‘Christian faith.’ When they are asked: Are you a Muslim, Hindu, Christian, atheist or other?” they answer: ‘Christian’.

What is a Christian? American researchers estimate there are millions of people in the USA who say they are Christians but when pressed for more details about their core spiritual beliefs their responses veer away from the core teachings of the Bible. There are a growing number of people who identify themselves as Christians but really, if you probe a fraction of a centimeter below their surface, what they believe goes like this:

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about one’s self.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

These people go to churches where sermons are preached from a Bible and where hymns about God and Christ are sung. They identify with a ‘Christian’ church – not a mosque or a synagogue or a temple. Because of association, they call themselves Christians. But are they? 

Researchers have classified the five set of beliefs above as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – not Christianity. Deism – they believe in a higher power beyond the human being. Therapeutic – the therapy in life they value is what makes them feel good about themselves. They want God or Jesus to be their 'therapist' to make them feel good. Moralistic – be a decent person with good morals such as integrity, honesty and fairness.

Thousands of teenagers in America who say they were raised in Christian homes, attend Christian churches and who identify themselves as ‘Christian’ – are marked by those five core beliefs. When asked about fundamental Bible doctrines regarding sin, eternal life, eternal judgment, God’s holiness, Christ as the exclusive way to Heaven, the forgiveness of sins via Jesus Christ alone, etc. they shrug their shoulders and say: “whatever.”

If you have a burden to see lost sheep found, you need to be aware of 'how' and 'what' they think in order for you to communicate effectively with them. If you are involved with Kid's Bible Clubs, Children's Meetings or DVBS this summer, be sure you are teaching the young people the fundamentals of the Gospel. Time is short. They can learn the Beatitudes after they trust Christ. Teaching them good morals of honesty, integrity and fairness is okay but ensure the priority is the fundamentals of the Gospel. The absolute authority of the Bible; the reality of their sin; the requirements of a Holy God; the exclusive way to Heaven through Christ and the need to prepare to meet God.

Christian living principles are not the priority until after they know Christ as their Saviour. Be sure the songs you teach them communicate the fundamentals of the Gospel. They can learn the worship songs  and choruses for Christians to sing, after they are saved. The salvation of their precious souls must be the over-arching priority. Sadly, many of the packaged, off-the-shelf programs for Children found in Christian stores are extremely soft and pathetically weak on Gospel truths.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. wrote an excellent article about Moralistic Therapeutic Deism - the belief system that is sweeping across North America under the guise of Christianity. The article, written in 2005, is even more relevant in  2010. Click here to read it: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Read the article from start to finish and you will get a fresh sense of the urgency of spreading the true Gospel and keeping it pure - without watering it down in anyway.

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