“Church attendance in America continues to drop, going from 60 percent after WW II, to 49 percent in 1991, to just more than 18 percent on any given Sunday today.- Everyday Evangelism”
The question we must ask is, why?
The answer is obvious to everyone outside of the church.
Inside the church, we want and believe it to be; “Because, people don’t like the message of Jesus“.
But, here’s a cold dose of reality. It’s not. It is not at all because of Jesus.
Rather, it’s because of Christians, (the outspoken followers of Jesus) and our interpretation/presentation of Jesus and his message of good news.
Like it or not, the modern-day gospel, as generally presented, is not really all that good.
Obsessed with political control, moral oversight, and a blood-thirsty God enraged with humanity’s debauchery and decline…most churchgoers are an apocalyptic yearning herd of bible worshipers whose idea of good news is not burning forever in the torments and tortures of eternal hell.
Does that sound like good news to you?
And… all you have to do is say a magic prayer, ask for forgiveness, give 10% of your income, don’t sin too-too much after that, and wal-lah! Your name is written in a heavenly book which spares you from such horrific fate… Maybe?
Heaven forbid we might question and challenge such a myopic interpretation of the Living Word made flesh.
If we question what the majority believes, what has been twisted and reformed for generations, we are likely be called heretical or blasphemous for contending that such a narrow perspective is not one of hope, but one of obligation, condition, and divisive exclusion.
Jesus lived this way… questioning and speaking against the widely accepted theologies of his day and heritage.
And, well… it got him executed.
But, we can only come to such against-the-grain, eye-opening conclusions if we choose to challenge the religious authorities and systems of our day and heritage… Testing and questioning everything we believe to be true about God.
As a Church, we must look into the mirror of our own reflection and ask the hard question, seek the challenging truth of who Jesus REALLY is… Is it reflected in our body of believers? Is it?
Jesus alone is the embodiment of the REAL gospel, He alone is the REAL good news.
Jesus is salvation… The One who has reconciled the world to Himself… The One who is everlasting hope… inclusive, unconditional, and free grace poured out upon all of creation.
This is just as Biblical as any other Christian conviction… no matter what others, (respected or credentialed), might say.
This gospel is the FULL revelation of God, … and, it is not found in a book, but in a man who looks exactly like the crucified Jesus! Arms wide open with mercy, and love… forgiving all sin forever, and never once condemning the world, but saving it fully, without our permission.
If we desire to “save” our churches, perhaps it’s time to look introspectively and see that Jesus is not the problem or at war with this world, he is the solution that has already saved it.
God has done everything required to redeem it to himself… all we have to do is share THAT as the REAL good news!
Sorry to tell you this, but you can’t save your dying church or the people in it, because Jesus already has!
You are reconciled. You are redeemed. You are loved. You are sinless, blameless, and holy. You are raptured by the faith of Christ. You are included in his worldwide flood of salvation and invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
There is a better, good news available to you… to the world.
All we have to do is believe it… and share it.