David French on the Collapse of the Evangelicals’ Cultural Influence

David French is the author of multiple books and Senior Counsel for the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) . A Kentucky native, David is a 1994 graduate (cum laude) of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a 1991 graduate (summa cum laude, valedictorian) of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. David is a regular contributor to National Review Online, a columnist for Patheos, and he has written numerous op-eds and articles, including pieces in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Human Events, Townhall, New York Post, New York Daily News, Boston Herald, and Philadelphia Daily News. (source)

The following is an excerpt from an article in the National Review Online, consisting of 3 points that David French makes in support of this claim:

During my years in the pews, I’ve witnessed a moral collapse — and a corresponding collapse in positive influence over the real lives not just of our fellow congregants but also of our fellow citizens in need. Of course it’s difficult to present a compelling witness when our own practices and lifestyle are often indistinguishable from the larger culture, but the problems get more specific. Here are three:

1. We are more focused on meeting the material needs of the poor than their spiritual needs. Spend much time in the evangelical community, and you’ll soon learn that the old-fashioned Gospel-focused mission trip is largely a thing of the past… Service must be accompanied by intentional, vocal evangelism and discipling.

2. We go on sinning so that grace may abound. The secular stereotype of the modern evangelical — as a judgmental moralizer — is so wrong as to be laughable. Everywhere you go, preachers reject this model entirely, emphasizing, for example, “divorce recovery,” therapy, and treatment for the consequences of sin. Again, these are worthy things, but Christ and the Apostle Paul also emphasized holiness and discipline. How often has your church actually disciplined adulterers? How often have you intervened in the life of a friend before they made devastating mistakes? Our desire to be liked trumps all, and suffering is the result.

3. We church-shop, seeking to meet our needs rather than serving the church. This echoes Douthat’s point above. Church-switching is pernicious. Not only does the church “market” breed selfishness, it also makes pastors market-oriented. As you survey church after church, each doing things their own way, ask yourself, which of these church institutions will still be present and viable in 50 years? Or 100 years? Or 1,000? Evangelicals often look askance at Catholics, but which of our churches has even lasted since the Reformation? We cannot build institutions when our focus is on building the self.

He concludes: I once heard it said that following the social and political disruptions of the 1960s and early 1970s, religious conservatives decided that they had to win elections, while secular leftists decided to win the culture — and both groups succeeded. So now here we are, enjoying unprecedented influence on presidential outcomes even as our cultural foundation rots away beneath our feet. Click here to read the entire article at the National Review Online.

Something to think about; each and every one of us (especially the laypeople) has contributed to this decline with our (perceived) individualistic daily decisions in how we live our life whether we obey God’s word or simply choose to disregard it. How then shall we influence unbelievers? Grace Bible Church of Tulsa, OK  has an excellent article elaborating on the fact that we can only influence by what we are:

It is the difference in our character that distinguishes us from unbelievers. The believer influences the unbeliever by what he is, not by what he has. Turning our attention to verse 13 we see that Christ did not say, „You have salt and light to dispense,” but rather „You are the salt. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). The believer’s very presence in the world acts as salt and light, preventing corruption and exposing error. The only question, as Jesus goes on to say, is whether or not we are tasteful salt and effective light

2 Cor 2:14-16

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Returning back to Matt 5:13, the „you” in both verses is plural. It is His whole body, the church, which is called to be the world’s salt and light. Each person has ones own limited influence, but the church collectively is to have an influence throughout the world.

Christ is the source of our savor and of our light. (HT)

May the Lord help us to search our own hearts and live according to His word!

The State of Evangelicalism Report – What on Earth is Happening with the Kingdom? (JP Moreland)

Mark 16:17-18  (ESV)

17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Some very encouraging statistics from Biola University Professor J.P.Moreland. He cites the growth of Christians in churches with evangelical missions has jumped from 71million in 1970 to 707 million in 2000 and 750 million in 2010. And whereas the ratio of practicing christians in the 1960’s was 2 caucasians for every 1 non caucasian, in 2010 the ratio  is 1 caucasian and 7 non caucasians.

Moreland believes this explosion in places such as Africa and China is based on3 things: 1) The sovereign move of God  2)The desperation of some of the world’s countries and 3)An outbreak of supernatural miracles (healings).
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