Christ religion

Churches as the biggest threat to religion?

We generally assume that the threats to Christianity come from outside – the forces of secularism, postmodernism, sexual revolution, etc., etc. – but what about threats to Christianity from within?

He reacts to the report of sexual abuse and cover-ups among Southern Baptists, also in reference to the Roman Catholic Church scandal, the politicization of Christianity and revelations of other types of corruption.

Archibald is not against Christianity. He is a Methodist and comes from a long line of Methodist ministers. He recognizes the great good that churches and church members do. But he concludes that “those who exploit religion for personal gain, political power or sexual gratification, God forbid, do more to drive people away from the church than any avowed atheist.”

He cites the decline of religious belief and church membership. Today, he says, “nones” — those with no religious affiliation — make up 30% of the American population. While Christians still outnumber them two to one, until 2007 Christians outnumbered nonbelievers five times. More than half of Americans now say they rarely or never go to church.

“It’s a remarkable turn,” says Archibald, “made possible by scandal, hypocrisy and the politicization of religion, among other things.”

Now we would need more research to see if these religious scandals directly caused the declines, but I remember seeing evidence that a large number of “nones” used to go to church and were raised in a church.

And considering external threats to Christianity such as secularism, it is legitimate to wonder whether the church could be a major factor. raison for secularism.

Yes, churches are for sinners. We shouldn’t be surprised to see sin in the church. But these particular sinners in the church seem to be oblivious to the Law, perpetuating their wickedness with impunity, refusing to repent. This suggests that it is not just a moral issue but a faith issue. If they believed in God, they wouldn’t dare to do the things they do.

And it’s not the poor miserable sinners in the pews but the ministers who are supposed to take care of their souls and the church leaders who are supposed to discipline wandering pastors who are the transgressors. So this suggests a problem that is not just about individual wrongdoers, but a larger ecclesiastical problem.

After briefly going through the list of Southern Baptist offenders, I would like to note that many of the offenses involve the sexual abuse of children – rape, assault, child pornography. (The list, by the way, is of men who have been convicted of sex crimes and have gone to jail and are registered sex offenders, or whose crimes have been proven otherwise.) This is in addition to charges # MeToo that plagues across denominations and in mega-churches and cases of adultery and fornication, which may not be criminal offenses but offenses against the Word of God.

Yes, the world will hate Christians just as they hated Christ (John 15:18). But in this case, it’s not that non-believers hate Christians for their faith or for being like Christ. They hate Christians because they are not following Christian teachings and because they are so contrary to Christ.

Non-believers who are themselves permissive about sex are shocked by the sexual immorality of Christians. And it’s not just liberal theologians who want to conform to the world who do these things. It’s the Conservatives! The scandals concern the sexual revolution among ostensibly orthodox, Bible-believing Christians! Those who oppose homosexuality, adultery and fornication practice such things themselves! And sometimes by exploiting children!

Amid such scandals, however, there are two rays of hope for the church. First, these evils are exposed. For there is nothing hidden that must not be revealed, nor nothing secret that must not be known and revealed” (Luke 8:17).

Second, if the threats to Christianity come from within the church, they are within the reach of Christians and something churches can address. The main task is not just to convince non-believers to be religious, but to convince Christians to be religious. The first is still important, of course, but reaching those already in the church can be a less daunting task.

If the infidelity of the churches is the root of secularism, bringing order to the house of God could have an impact beyond its walls, restoring credibility to Christianity and influencing society at large.

And a movement of the Holy Spirit within the church – call it revival, revival, reformation – could bring religion back.

Photo: “Famous toppled bell tower” [Christ Church, Boston] Going through Get archivePublic domain