Over the years God has allowed me to have many great conversations with people from all different walks of life. I have talked with people that are so Spirit filled that their love for the Kingdom of God simply overflows from them. Everything they do and say points back to and reflects what God is doing. Then their are others that say they are Christians but there seems to be a lack of real joy in their lives, a lack of any greater purpose. They attend church and participate in different activities but their lives don’t really reflect the joy of Christ. Lastly, their are those that simple deny having any faith in a particular God. They believe that their is a kind of “greater” being but say that one can’t really know who or what that is. Sadly, over all, these conversations start with the second group of people (those that say they are Christians) but then the conversation reveals that they are really part of the last group (those that are agnostic).
So why are their so many people that claim to be Christians, but are in truth functionally agnostic? I think its an over churched culture. Allow me to explain that remark before you make assumptions. Remember I am intentionally painting with a broad brush. These are general statement and will vary by who you talk too. The conclusions I draw are a compilation what I have heard and seen.
There is a church on ever corner and has been, in my area, for a very long time. Two to three generations ago it was expected that you would attend church. Even those that didn’t want to go went to church did because they felt like they had to either because of family pressures or social pressures. This forced church attendance paired with the idea that the United States was/is a Christian nation really forged into peoples minds that they were Christian. However this definition of Christian came more from social standing and country affiliation than it did with Christ. This is why many people to this day will point to themselves as being Christian based one where they grew up or where then attended church when their were 10 rather than a time when their knew that they were a sinner in need of a Savior.
Every time I speak with people about what they believe and why they believe it the conversation always leads to one of two ends. Either they are obviously in love with their Lord and Savior Jesus or they classify themselves as spiritual/agnostic but can not or will not point to any named deity. The unfortunate truth is that within the area in which I live many of those that I speak with, at the end of the conversation, will say that they thought they where Christian but are really agnostic. They will point to the knowledge of a deity but deny Jesus despite seating in a pew for years.
Could it be that the Gospel isn’t being preached in a clear enough manner? That their are thousands of people that think they are Christians but are funcutionally agnosic when it comes to how they live? If so shouldn’t this stir up in us a desire to raise up leaders that preach the Gospel? Shouldn’t this stir up a desire to disciple at a deeper level than we currently are?
Thats a blog for another day….