His Word ... a prophetic perspective


“Trendy Christianity”

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.:
        Excerpts from “The future of religion in the Third Millennium” by Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary.
        “I am not a prophet, nor do I claim to read the signs of the times with apocalyptic precision. Nevertheless, I will offer a few suggestions about the prospects for religion in the next millennium. But first to the past, which is a key to the future. Although religion’s overall cultural authority has declined in Western nations in this century, religion has refused to go away.
        “Common to all religions are social practices, institutions, and world views that lay claim to objective truths concerning the sacred, which is viewed as somehow transcendent. Religions prescribe how people ought to be oriented toward the sacred, personally and socially. ...
        “As the plurality of religious options continues to expand in the next century, many will yield to the temptation to create their own religions by mixing and matching elements from several religions according to their own preferences, however logically inconsistent the result may be. When religion is deemed more of a personal, individualized lifestyle than an adherence to sacred tradition, it becomes something of a spiritual commodity, a consumer item. ... I expect that this trend toward “designer religion”–already well under way–will continue into the next century, resulting in some odd (and sometimes dangerous) amalgamations.
        “Traditional religions will continue to be challenged by neopaganism and various New Age spiritualities, which reject an authoritative Scripture and a personal, moral, and transcendent Creator. These pantheistic worldviews claim ecological wholeness, personal empowerment (by tapping into the divine within), and freedom from restrictive dogma. As alternatives to both secularism and doctrinally oriented religion, they are attractive to those who recoil from theological authority yet remain attracted to “spirituality.” However, their rather ad hoc ... and general lack of intellectual substance works against their staying power as long-term guides to life, death, and beyond.”

Dr. Karla Poewe, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary
From: Karla Poewe's Publications:
Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture, edited by Karla Poewe, ISBN 0-87249-996-0, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 1994.
Quoted from the Introduction:
        “What Enlightenment thinkers opposed were traditions which held that we can also know through revelation and religious experiences. Perhaps because this generation tends to be illiterate in Christianity, these ways of knowing have once again gained currency. More curiously still, they have gained currency simultaneously among social scientists as well as Pentecostals and charismatics.”

George Barna, Barna Research Online:
        In an interview discussing his latest book, The State of the Church: 2002, researcher George Barna also explained some of the religious trends that he has seen unfold during the two decades that he has been engaged in religious research.
        “Twenty five years ago, Baby Boomers wanted nothing to do with institutional religion and generally felt that Christians were hypocrites. Today, Boomers are half of the born again population. You have to wonder what caused such a massive turnaround. It was not simply because they had children and wanted their offspring to have religious training.
        “After pouring over numerous national studies we have conducted since the early Eighties, I believe that the issue is the way in which we have proposed Christianity to the Boomer generation. At heart, Boomers are consumers. The way we presented Christ to most Boomers struck a resonant chord with them from that mindset. We told them all they had to do was say a prayer admitting they made some mistakes, they’re sorry and they want to be forgiven. Boomers weighed the downside–which really amounted to nothing more than a one-time admission of imperfection and weakness in return for permanent peace with God–and figured it was a no-brainer, a can’t-lose transaction. The consequence has been millions of Boomers who said the prayer, asked for forgiveness and went on with their life, with virtually nothing changed.
        “Sadly,” the researcher continued, “they misunderstand the heart of the matter. They saw it as a deal in which they could exploit God and get what they wanted without giving up anything of consequence. But very few American Christians have experienced a sense of spiritual brokenness that compelled them to beg God for His mercy and acceptance through the love of Christ. We have a nation of ‘Christians’ who took the best offer, but relatively few who were so humiliated and hopeless before a holy and omnipotent God that they cried out for undeserved compassion. That helps to explain why in practical terms it’s hard to tell the difference between those who have beliefs that characterize them as born again and those who don’t; the difference between the two groups is based on semantics more than a desperate plea for grace that triggered an intentional effort to live a transformed life. In his book, Barna encourages church leaders to reconsider how we present the gospel to America and to examine the impact that current spiritual approaches are having upon self-satisfied, spiritually complacent people.”
        “The Christian body in America is immersed in a crisis of biblical illiteracy. How else can you describe matters when most church-going adults reject the accuracy of the Bible, reject the existence of Satan, claim that Jesus sinned, see no need to evangelize, believe that good works are one of the keys to persuading God to forgive their sins, and describe their commitment to Christianity as moderate or even less firm? ...”
        In two national surveys conducted by Barna Research, one among adults and one among teenagers, people were asked if they believe that there are moral absolutes that are unchanging or that moral truth is relative to the circumstances. By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. The perspective was even more lopsided among teenagers, 83% of whom said moral truth depends on the circumstances, and only 6% of whom said moral truth is absolute.
        “... Barna noted that substantial numbers of Christians believe that activities such as abortion, gay sex, sexual fantasies, cohabitation, drunkenness and viewing pornography are morally acceptable. “Without some firm and compelling basis for suggesting that such acts are inappropriate, people are left with philosophies such as ‘if it feels good, do it,’ ‘everyone else is doing it’ or ‘as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s permissible.’ In fact, the alarmingly fast decline of moral foundations among our young people has culminated in a one-word worldview: ‘whatever.’ The result is a mentality that esteems pluralism, relativism, tolerance, and diversity without critical reflection of the implications of particular views and actions.”
        “More than 80% of the current growth registered by Protestant churches is biological or transfer growth–very little of the growth comes from penetrating the ranks of the unchurched.”

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance:
        “Christianity has been largely abandoned in Britain and the rest of Europe. It has partly faded in Canada, where only 10% of adults attend church regularly. In about the year 1990, it started to fail in the U.S. The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Christians is dropping by about 10 percentage points per decade. If these trends hold, then sometime during the 2020's, Christianity will become a minority religion in the U.S. North America is rapidly becoming more religiously diverse...”
Copyright © by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

The Future of the Church:
        Go ahead, church, continue to create your own religion according to your own preference and forget about logical consistency. Continue to make Christianity your own personal, individualized lifestyle. Enjoy your “designer religion.”
        Continue to reject an authoritative Scripture and a personal, moral, and transcendent Creator. Continue to recoil from theological authority and continue to remain attracted to “spirituality.” Continue your general lack of intellectual substance.
        Continue in your illiteracy of Christianity and continue to rely upon revelation and religious experiences.
        Continue to urge others to say a “Sinner’s Prayer” devoid of any theological meaning so that your “converts” can continue on with their life, with virtually nothing changed. Continue to avoid spiritual brokenness that compels them to beg God for His mercy and acceptance through the love of Christ. Continue to make “cookie cutter” “Christians” who are self-satisfied, spiritually complacent people.
        Continue to ignore the crisis of biblical illiteracy, and continue to reject the accuracy of the Bible, and the existence of Satan. Continue to claim that Jesus sinned. Continue to avoid evangelizing the lost. Continue to believe in good works for forgiveness of your sins, and avoid commitment to Christianity.
        Continue to proclaim that “if it feels good, do it,” “everyone else is doing it” or “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s permissible” and “whatever.”
        Continue to esteem pluralism, relativism, tolerance, and diversity without critical reflection of the implications of particular views and actions.
        Continue to transmigrate from church to church to sustain some type of “church growth” criteria which is really simply “transfer growth.”
        Continue to do what you do best and continue to make Christianity a minority religion.

For what saith the scripture?
        “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4.)
        “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)

This article has been compiled to advise you of the consequences of going beyond the written word of God in doctrine and in practice. Untold multiplied millions will spend eternity without God because of a counterfeit witness with the decline of true Christianity. This is rank disobedience to the scriptural command to love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. You will be responsible only to God and His judgement for disobedience to His written word.

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