I found a four-page ad in the center of my latest issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. The first page of the ad said in bold headlines:
WAKE UP CALL
CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA WON’T
SURVIVE ANOTHER DECADE
UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING NOW
That got my attention! The second page, however, was slightly more assuring. It only threatened a drop from 34% to 4%, and that only among evangelicals, others not being counted.
This was an ad for a campaign (series of seminars) aimed at reaching evangelical youth. It is endorsed by many evangelical leaders, many of whom I respect. I’m sure that it will be effective and that God will use it.
But do we have to manipulate statistics, history and what’s worse, theology to promote our programs? I won’t say much about the statistics given, except to quote an old proverb (source unknown): “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”
From a purely historical perspective, I find it hard, even impossible to believe that Christianity only has ten more years left in this country. Christianity has survived under the most ruthless regimes throughout history. It is even surviving in totalitarian states today.
But what I find most offensive about this ad is its totally human-centered (should I say humanistic?) views of the fate of Christianity. I’d say it borders on blasphemy.
God is sovereign in history. He is the absolute and sole Ruler of the universe. He does what He desires.
“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
“Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth and in all the deeps” (Psalm 135:6).
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God uses us because He chooses to, not because He needs us. It is our privilege to serve Him. The apostle Paul refers to our abilities to serve as “gifts” – God’s gifts to us, not ours to Him. He referred to his own “office” of apostleship as a “grace” – a favor that God had done to him. (Romans 1:5; 12:3; 15:15, 16; etc.)
I believe that what this ad shows is that we, the church, have bought almost totally into the world system. We base our thinking on statistics, pop psychology, sociology, and politics, rather than on the biblical revelation. The threat in this country may not be against Christianity as much as against our particular style of doing Christianity.
Perhaps the ad could be revised:
CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA,
(AS WE KNOW IT),
MAY NOT SURVIVE ANOTHER DECADE
That might not be so bad!