Christians see a plethora of problems in the culture, and rightly so. But a more urgent problem demands our attention right where we live–the problem of biblical illiteracy.
Muslims in Europe are converting to Christianity in soaring numbers, say experts in Islam and faith leaders.
A new study has been released showing that a majority of Americans are in favor of female pastors and priests. Of course, this isn’t at all surprising. It’s been a while since Scripture has enjoyed popular support in this country. There are probably more Americans studying “50 Shades of Grey” every night than the Bible, so you can’t really expect the mass of people to have a biblically literate view of things.
Still, the topic is worth a little attention because, breaking the numbers down, it’s revealed that over 70 percent of mainline Protestants support female pastors, while 80 percent of Catholics feel the same way. A full 62 percent of those who identify themselves as “practicing Christians” are on board with ignoring clear Biblical teaching on this topic (and many other topics). Only Evangelicals are, as a majority, in favor of sticking with the precedent set by Jesus and Paul and Adam and the prophets and the Church Fathers. But even in their case, it’s not a very large majority.
And why have all of these “practicing Christians” come down on this side of the question? They certainly didn’t arrive at it from consulting the Bible or thousands of years of Christian tradition, both of which are unmistakably clear.
A new study conducted by Barna Group, in conjunction with Pepperdine University, has revealed current trends among America’s pastors.
A recent Gallup poll on religion, and particularly Christianity, in America has revealed five specific noteworthy trends.
Gallup.com reports on the findings of the poll, which overall revealed that, at least for the short-term, Americans are becoming less religious.
1. The poll found that while America remains a predominantly Christian nation overall, it is becoming less so than in years past.
While seventy-four percent of Americans identify as Christians, this is down six points from 2008. Also, those who who do not identify with any religion–so-called “nones–have increased by six points since 2008.
Back in the 1940s and ‘50s, when Gallup began collecting data about religious affiliation, nine in 10 Americans identified as Christians, with the only other significant group identifying as Jewish.
2. Although Christianity is still the predominant religion in America, formal religious identification is decreasing.
About one in five Americans say they do not have a formal religious identity and are not members of a church, synagogue, or mosque. In the 1940s and ‘50s, only two to three percent of Americans said they did not have a formal religious identity.
3. Over half of Americans still say that religion plays an important role in their lives.
Fifty-three percent said that religion is a “very important” part of their lives. While this is still a majority, the number was as high as 70 percent in 1965. The number has fluctuated through the years, however, and the current numbers are about equal to those of the years 1978 and 1987.
4. A majority of Americans believe that religion is losing influence in society.
Seventy-two percent believe that religion is declining in American life. This number has gone consistently up over the years, except for specific periods of time such as in 1957, as well as shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
5. Religion tends to correlate to political affiliation.
On the whole, Republicans tend to identify as religious more often than Democrats. Just over half of Republicans are “highly religious” and regularly attend religious services, while only a third of Democrats identify as the same.
TRUTH BOMBS: But what happened to the separation of Church and State? Shouldn’t the State be minding their own business?
ARTICLE: DUNDALK, Md. – Patapsco United Methodist Church is in Dundalk, Maryland, not far from Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes, at night, homeless people with nowhere else to go will sleep on church grounds, taking advantage of the promise of safety that a church often represents.
But in the future, those people may have to find another place to sleep, because the church may be fined out of existence by local government.
According to Yahoo News, Rev. Katie Grover found a $12,000 citation attached to a church door when she went to the church one morning recently.
The citation said that the church had violated a county regulation that prohibits “non-permitted rooming and boarding” and that the church failed to “cease exterior use of property as housing units.” An inspector’s comments noted that “People (were) still living in (the) rear of (the) property under tarped area.”
“We feel, we here as a church, that it’s scriptural mandate, that it’s an imperative to care for the least, the last, the lost, the poor, the hungry,” Grover told WMAR.
Failure to evict the homeless people from the area would require the church to pay the $12,000 county fine, straining the small congregation’s budget, Yahoo reported. The fine grows by $200 each day the church doesn’t comply.
“I’m not trying to be adversarial with anyone. We’re just trying to do what a church is called to do, and that’s to love people,” Grover told Yahoo. “In Scripture, it talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick. Whatever we’ve done to the least of these, it’s as if we’ve done it to Christ himself.”
Authorities were made aware of the homeless people using the area to sleep after a neighbor who owns a fruit stand business next door complained to the county. The neighbor, Chester Bartko, is unhappy because he said some of the homeless people have urinated on his apple tree, causing it to stop producing the fruit. Bartko said his business has been affected in other ways, too.
“We have a greenhouse, and we sell flowers and shrubbery, and the homeless started camping right next to our retail sales area,” Bartko told WMAR.
Representatives of Patapsco were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to fight the county’s order.
If the congregation puts up a “no trespassing” sign, it can escape the fine.
“Who, then, is welcome to the church?” Grover said. “Mary and Joseph gave birth to the Messiah in a stable because there wasn’t any room for them anywhere else. Here we are in this Christmas season where we celebrate the coming of Christ, and we’re battling whether a person can sleep outside on a bench.”
TRUTH BOMBS: A Victory! But it is not over yet. Christians must continue to be the example and guidance in our culture.
ARTICLE: A strategy that has surfaced in several states to require churches to accommodate transgendered people by calling their buildings “places of public accommodation” has been reversed in Massachusetts after state officials were sued over the alleged constitutional violations. The Alliance Defending Freedom says four Massachusetts churches and their pastors are voluntarily dismissing their lawsuit after the […]
Truth Bombs: Ok. Please brothers and sisters in Christ. Please, please please… Out of love for you I say this: Stop believing the garbage articles out there written by so called “christians” who can’t even define the word faith properly. The Church is not loosing people because we need to show more arbitrary emotions that the world calls “love”. The church is losing people because we are not holding ourselves accountable to each other for holiness.
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV)
The people who are writing these articles never write one comment about sin, holiness, doctrine or accountability. The articles are deliberately designed to be superficial and generalized. They are the product of a generation driven by social media influence not the gospel.
Well… I may get some flack for this but if your house is burning down while you were sleeping, wouldn’t you want me to warn you?
Now, yes people are leaving the church! This is a big issue! But if we compromise with the world, we are only closing the church and opening a social club!
For most Christmas season means parties, gifts and some quality time with friends and family. The season is most important for Christians, who believe Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day. Christianity is the largest religion in the world and according to the Pew Research Center, is likely to remain so for the next four decades.
As of 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, there are an estimated 2.2 billion Christians around the world. They represent a third of the world’s population and are geographically widespread with the Americas boasting of the largest number and the highest proportion of Christians. The number of Christians worldwide has risen in the last century from an estimated 600 million in 1910 to over 2 million in 2010.
Between 2010 and 2050, the world’s total population is expected to rise by about 35 percent. While the number of Christians worldwide is expected to rise by 35 percent, the number of Muslims around the world is expected to shoot up by 73 percent. As a result, by 2050, the number of Muslims will nearly equal to the number of Christians in the world for the first time.
In 2010, Christians made up over three-quarters of the total U.S. population. However, by 2050, their numbers are likely to dwindle to about two-thirds. Islam is also set to beat Judaism as the largest non-Christian religion in the country. The number of Christians in the U.S. is projected to decline from 78 percent in 2010 to 66 percent in 2050 while the number of people following other religions is expected to nearly double.
Meanwhile, the number of people who identify themselves as atheists, agnostics and who do not affiliate with any religion is expected to decline worldwide. However, their numbers are expected to rise in the U.S. and France.
In the U.S., the number of people who are not unaffiliated to any religion is projected to grow from an estimated 16 percent of the total population in 2010 to 26 percent in 2050.
TRUTH BOMBS: There is so much garbage in this article, I almost don’t know where to start! Let’s start with a definitional analysis: The author’s use of the word Christian seem to denote a definitional retreat. A Christian by definition is not a racist: Colossians 3:11 (KJV) – “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
The author quotes the pope who also seems to have an issue with the proper definition of a Christian: “A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” This statement is so far removed from reality that that can be arbitrarily applied some of the holiest people in history.
Next the author writes “Christians are called to welcome the stranger, to lift up the poor (both individually and through public policy), to be seekers of justice and reconciliation” WOW, someone please explain to this guy that the nature of truth is that it is natural exclusive and not inclusive. Even Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:33-36 (KJV) : “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (emphasis added)
I could go on. This is more double think from a liberal nonthinker. I just thought I would point out some of the flaws. How many other fallacies can you find?
ARTICLE: As Donald Trump waged a white nationalist campaign, Christian voters were left questioning how to vote. Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, lean toward the Republican Party. On Election Day, preliminary data available from Pew Research shows that 81% of evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump. Now Christians have to struggle with the question of what it means to have entrusted the country to a misogynist businessman who courted the altright with racist rhetoric aimed at Latinos and African-Americans (not to mention bigoted words directed to people of faith outside the Christian tradition). Is it a fair question to ask if Christians are racist based on the election results?
The question is complicated even if the answer is easy (yes, there is a deeply racist strain within American Christianity). Evangelical voters in the Deep South and the Midwest often come from economically depressed areas where demagogues from Huey P. Long to Donald Trump have stoked economic fears by blaming people of color and immigrants for the problems of the nation. The fears of these voters – will our family be able to keep our house? – are real. It does not take a lot to transform fear into bigotry. President Obama did remarkable work to bring America out of the Great Recession, but Congress blocked further progress like the American Jobs Act that could have improved the lives of Americans across the board for purely partisan reasons while Mr. Trump stalked the county questioning Mr. Obama’s citizenship.
On issues like abortion and gay marriage, there is a big divide among Christians. Other issues are more likely to draw Christians together. Evangelical leaders like Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention called out Trump’s views on women and immigrants as disqualifying stances for someone seeking the presidency. Leadership from people like Moore was not enough to stop the Trump train, however. Are we surprised? After all, the Southern Baptist Church has a long history of racism. It was created to be a religious voice for slavery and up until the 1970s would not ordain African-Americans to ministry. Moore’s church no longer ordains women to ministry. It is difficult to envision Southern Baptists ever seeing an African-American or women as qualified to lead the country.
Pope Francis had harsh words for Mr. Trump. “A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” replied the pontiff back in February when asked directly about Mr. Trump’s promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. 60% of white Roman Catholics voted for Mr. Trump in the end. 67% of Hispanic Roman Catholics voted for Hillary Clinton, according to Pew, but Mr. Obama won Hispanic Roman Catholics with 75% of the vote in 2012. It is worth asking if sexism played a role in Clinton’s dip with Hispanic voters when compared with Mr. Obama along with the close nature of this race overall. The answer is self-evident.
Christians are called to welcome the stranger, to lift up the poor (both individually and through public policy), to be seekers of justice and reconciliation. Most Christians did not vote that way last week. African-American Christians did. So did many mainline Christians (a dwindling force in American life). Jewish and Muslim voters resoundingly rejected racism and bigotry by rejecting Trump and embracing Secretary Clinton’s message of inclusion.
Plenty of decent GOP leaders denounced Mr. Trump. So this is not a question about partisanship. We are talking about morality, faith and where racism intersects with Christianity. Christians will need to pray and reflect on this because whatever occurs next will be partly our responsibility. My hope lies with those pockets of Christianity, from African-Americans congregations to progressive mainline Christians, who already are pledging to oppose the policies of the Trump Administration.
We have to repent of our sins. It is time for all good people of faith, regardless of our tradition, to repair the sin-sick soul of the nation. That requires acknowledging that racism infects the church universal, rejecting outright any policy from the Trump Administration that harms God’s creation – the earth itself – while welcoming the stranger and helping to lift those in poverty into a better life.