From a Current E-Newsletter from ATM in the USA
THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IN AMERICA
There is widespread talk in media houses, Christian institutions, and the general public about the deterioration of Christianity in America. America, many lament, has ceased to be a Judeo-Christian nation and Americans become less and less a Church going people. There is also a lot of ongoing criticism, especially among Third World Christians, against the Church in America, as having departed from God and the faith and compromised the faith by, for example, accepting and ordaining gay ministers, condoning the practice of abortion, and taking marriage and divorce as a light matter, etc. Many surveys have been taken, most of which have given shocking indications that American Christianity is on the decline. One recent survey, the American Religious Identification Survey published last year, showed that all was not well in America’s religious life.
In a report entitled, “Survey Shows Americans Are Losing Their Religion,” the Religion Correspondent of the TIMES, Ruth Gledhill, wrote on February 28, 2008, “The days of America’s Protestant ‘moral majority’ could be drawing to a close, according to a new survey into the religious beliefs of the US public. More than a quarter of US adults have left the faith in which they were brought up, with some choosing another religion but many embracing secularism, the survey found. Barely half of all Americans, 51 per cent, describe themselves as members of Protestant denominations while more than 16 per cent say they are atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular.’” Times Online (Comment).
On April 6, 2009, the President of the United States, visiting the nation of Turkey, said that the United States was not a Judeo-Christian nation. In protest, as shown in a May 6, 2009 You Tube video clip, entitled, “Our Judeo-Christian Nation,” Republican Congressman Randy Forbes asked on the floor of the US House the questions, “Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?” and “If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?”
On the same day as Congressman Forbes was protesting in the House, Dan Harris of ABC NEWS, reporting on, “Young Americans Losing Their Religion,” published, “New research shows young Americans are dramatically less likely to go to church - or to participate in any form of organized religion - than their parents and grandparents. ‘It’s a huge change,’ says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam, who conducted the research. Historically, the percentage of Americans who said they had no religious affiliation (pollsters refer to this group as the ‘nones’) has been very small - hovering between 5 percent and 10 percent. However, Putnam says the percentage of ‘nones’ has now skyrocketed to between 30 percent and 40 percent among younger Americans.”
But one of the most shocking publications, and one that struck the nerves of Christian leaders, ministers, and ordinary believers of late was a recent Newsweek magazine cover story, entitled, “The Decline And Fall of Christian America.” The Newsweek editor, Jon Meacham, published the story on April 4, 2009, from the magazine’s edition dated April 13, 2009. Meacham asserted, “The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now-and what, as a nation, we are about to become.” (”The End of Christian America.” Newsweek. Blogs: Religion.
Following the story, a shocked President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, commented, “To the surprise of liberals who fear the advent of an evangelical theocracy and to the dismay of religious conservatives who long to see their faith more fully expressed in public life, Christians are now making up a declining percentage of the American population…The cover story is a serious consideration of the issue Newsweek set as its priority for the week of Easter, and the seriousness of the magazine’s approach is evident in the fact that its editor, Mr. Meacham, wrote the cover story himself. The essay, elegant in form and serious in tone, demands attention.” (Crosswalk. Commentary.
If those who are so talking are referring to American Church denominations, American religious life, or even American Christianity, then they are very right because there are, indeed, very clear and indisputable signs that this is the case. America as a nation has, admittedly, been experiencing successive periods of spiritual turmoil. However, if the utterances and reports narrated above are talking about the “catholic” Church of Jesus Christ, which is His Body, then they are misinformed, inaccurate, and irrelevant. None of the surveys, reports, or utterances applies to the Body of Christ in America. Instead, the Church, the Body of Christ in America, is God-fearing, full of faith, prayerful, missionary minded, zealously working hard to fulfill the Great Commission, and increasing in grace as she awaits the return of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Christ’s Church may not be called American religion, Christianity, or Churches. The Body of Christ consists of and is the community of the saints, who are the redeemed of the Lord, purchased and born again through His own blood. We are God’s children through faith in the Name of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. God our Father has give us eternal life, His own life, and our names are written in the book of life. As His true witnesses, we carry His Name, Love, and Glory in the world and make Him known to the nations through the Gospel. Those who believe are incorporated into His Body and baptized in water as a testimony.
Children of God in America, this question is to you: Whose report will you believe? Will you believe the truth of the Lord your God or the lies of the enemy? The truth about the Church is clearly taught in the Scriptures.
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ has built His Church, universally, including the American Church, upon His Rock, and the gates of hell shall never be able to overcome it (Matthew 16:18). The Body of Christ is a conqueror, because the conquering Lord is in her midst.
2. The Holy Spirit indwells, guides, comforts, counsels, teaches, and empowers the Church. God’s children individually and the Christ’s Body corporately are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:17; 6:19). The Church is a section of God’s eternal Kingdom!
3. God’s Church has got the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy (read demons, evil, wickedness, unbelief, false “churches” and other groups or cults, Satanists, malicious reports, etc) and nothing shall by any means hurt her (Luke 10:19).
4. We are more than conquerors through Christ who died for us. No amount of trial can bring the Church down. We overcome the world and Satan through our faith, testimony, and the blood of Jesus Christ. Greater is He that is in us than He that is the world (1 John 4:4; 5:4; Rev. 12:11).
5. The Church is the apple of God’s eye; He protects us the way one protects his or her eye. He loves us with an everlasting love. We are the Lord’s anointed; no one touches us and gets away with it. The Church is God’s bride whom He is preparing for marriage to His Son, the Lamb who was slain.
6. The Church, the Body of Christ, is the seed that falls on good soil and yields (Matthew 13). It is the grain of mustard seed that becomes a tree that overshadows the world. It is the salt and light of the world. The Church is the good wheat that is growing among the tares but still producing, and the light that shines in the darkness and overcomes it.
7. Church of God in America! Fear not nor be dismayed; only believe. Rekindle your zeal. Restore your first love. Shun apathy and complacency. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Pass your faith onto the next generation. Prevent the loss of the waiting generation of the Church in America. Ensure the Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ in your lives.
Times of change require risk takers. But those with vision rather than fear will adapt to the new things of God and be the Joshuas’ and Calebs’ of our day (editor of the e-newsletter)
Worth a second abd third read and worth reminding ourselves daily who we really are!