American Christians are failing in their duty to go out and win souls for the Kingdom of God.
Churches are becoming stagnant. Sunday morning services are becoming routine, when they should be celebrations of the victories of the week.
I don’t have the exact numbers of just how steep the decline is in church attendance, and it appears Christians are “aging out,” and passing on to their glory. There is a void that is being left, with the American youth losing interest in the faith, as the culture floods them with “other” spiritual pursuits.
And that’s what we have to remember. Human beings are, ultimately, spiritual beings.
You can feed and water the physical. You can exercise and get physically strong. You can educate your mind, expand your knowledge, consume art, music, and literature. You can even travel to other lands and soak up the various cultures.
You can do all those things, but the spiritual is as much a part of the human experience as mind and body, and it must be fed. So, if the church fails in its mission, that void will be filled by something else.
Ephesians 6:12 AMP – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.”
A new report is pointing out that as the numbers associated with some denominations are dwindling in the United States, the numbers for those who cling to astrology, witchcraft, and paganism are seeing a dramatic rise.
> While data is sparse, Quartz noted, the practice of witchcraft has grown significantly in recent decades; those who identify as witches has risen concurrently with the rise of the "witch aesthetic."
> "While the U.S. government doesn't regularly collect detailed religious data, because of concerns that it may violate the separation of church and state, several organizations have tried to fill the data gap," Quartz reported.
> "From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans in 2008."
I don’t know if there’s any single blast off point for this rise in the ungodly in the U.S., but we can look at the culture and how the occult has been packaged and marketed to our youth.
No, I’m not going to go off on a rant about the “Harry Potter” book series. That’s been done.
What I will say is that movies and television that is being marketed to our youth has, since the 90s, made witches, vampires, and other occult figures seem sexy, cool, stylish, and increasingly romanticized.
> Pew Research Center studied the issue in 2014, discovering that 0.4 percent of Americans, approximately 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan, meaning their communities continue to experience significant growth.
Carmen LaBerge, a radio host and author, pointed out recently how “witches,” or those who identify as “wiccan” have overtaken some Christian denominations.
> "As mainline Protestantism continues its devolution, the U.S. witch population is rising astronomically. There may now be more Americans who identify as practicing witches, 1.5 mil, than there are members of mainline Presbyterianism (PCUSA) 1.4 mil," she said Tuesday.
This is where I interject to point out that the PCUSA is the liberal branch of the Presbyterian church, openly embracing gay marriage and those things that God has called corrupt and unholy. While I grieve at the thought of any sort of paganism on the rise, I will not mourn the death of a false church.
Good seed will not grow in bad ground, and what the PCUSA is teaching is humanism, not the true, soul-saving Gospel.
The PCUSA is not even the only denomination that is teaching a false Gospel. There are others, and I won’t name them here. I will simply say that if what they’re teaching does not correspond with what that Bible teaches, then it is a false church, and it does more to lose souls than to save them.
> In October 2017, Market Watch reported that the psychic services industry grew 2 percent between the years 2011 and 2016, an industry now worth approximately $2 billion. Also within the last several years, according to Pew, the percentage of people ages 18–29 who "never doubt the existence of God" dropped from 81 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2012.
That’s not a surprise. When faith in God to meet our needs declines, people will begin chasing answers in some other form.
The Word teaches us that we live by faith, not by sight. Faith and adherence to that faith is obedience. It is sacrifice that God honors. I’ve seen it unveiled in my own life. Faith yields results.
There’s an old southern gospel song called “On Time God,” and a verse of the chorus says: “He may not come when you want him, but He’ll be there, right on time.”
In other words, we, as Christians, often fling ourselves on our faces over situations in our lives, desperate for God’s intervention.
I can say, for myself (and others can probably relate), that I’ve prayed in such a way, anguished, thinking I can get God as upset over my situation as I was.
It doesn’t work. You’re not going to cause God to fret with you.
Because He’s already seen the end. He knows the outcome. He has worked it out for your good, and by faith, with boldness and surety, you can walk right into that promise.
It may not even look the way you imagined, but it’s amazing what happens when you persevere, pushing on in prayer and praise. God works it out, but you have to trust Him.
Unfortunately, that is being lost on so many, especially our youth, who are being raised up in a fast food, instant access culture. Why would they wait days, weeks, months, or years to see something amazing, when they don’t know what may be ahead?
There’s a “spiritual reader” at the corner, or an app on their phone that can give them answers, right now!
> "Rather than deeming everything that is supernatural 'demonic,' the Church needs to wake up to the reality of this realm and begin to approach it from a Kingdom perspective which understands its place and purpose," said Wanda Alger, field correspondent with Intercessors for America and a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Winchester, Virginia, in a CP interview at the time.
> "The sad thing is that these millennials who are exploring the dark side of the supernatural have more faith and belief than most Christians. Because they are open and spiritually hungry, the spirit realm responds. The biggest hindrance to understanding the realities of the Spirit realm is unbelief," she emphasized.
To be clear, none of this is catching Father God off guard. It shouldn’t be catching Bible-believing Christians off guard, either. We were told, ahead of time, to prepare for this.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 AMP – “But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.”
Does this sound like anything you’re seeing in the world today? Does it sound like anyone you know in your church?
Knowing that this end is coming doesn’t mean we cling to our own salvation, like a secret treasure. Rather, we should work all the more to be good witnesses for Christ, influencing and grabbing those souls we can save, right up until the moment we’re called home.
That is our Father’s will and our purpose, above all else.