August 14 – Our Churches: Faithlessness

Roots of the Faithless Church Today 

Vital Sign Religious Freedom

Rene Descartes was a 17th-century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and lay Catholic who invented analytic geometry. He is credited with being one of the founders of modern philosophy, known for his statement, “I think therefore I am.” He was also a great doubter and skeptic looking for something certain, indubitable, irrefutable knowledge. His statement is comfortable for modern-day humanists, where God and His Law have been essentially eliminated. 

The Reverend Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, said in a recent article: “Without God’s Word, humanity finds morality in temporary constructs that may be adjusted to current circumstances. If there is no God, human life has no necessary, inherent, or eternal value. A billion human lives have been sacrificed by abortion, a human ‘right’ promoted by policies and governments. Some have killed babies as part of an international effort to ‘save the planet’ from overpopulation, while animal suffering, death, and extinction is opposed as great evil. Without God, humans decide the value, or lack thereof, of life. When mankind is not viewed as made in the image of God, human life has no more value than that of an animal. “ 

Across the last few decades, Christianity in the United States has undergone dramatic changes. Just as it is declining in culture, Americans’ relationship with churches is changing. 

At the end of August 2021, the chaplains of Harvard (there are more than 30 of them, of diverse faiths) elected an avowed atheist and “humanist rabbi” to serve as their president. On his election, when asked about the culture at Harvard and in America at large, he said, “We don’t look to a god for answers. We are each other’s answers.”   

In 2020, the Barna Group of Christian researchers found that just one in four Americans is a practicing Christian, dropping by half since 2000. Fewer people attend church, though Bible reading has remained steady for nearly a decade. While a majority of Americans say they still pray weekly, across the past 10 years there has been a slow but steady decline with just under 7 in 10 Americans affirming they pray weekly. 

In his book, The Supremacy of Christ In a Postmodern World, New Testament scholar, theologian, pastor, and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, John Piper, writes: “If these two worldviews-postmodern secular humanism and Christian theism-are juxtaposed, something very interesting happens. With the former you are left empty and hopeless; man is left worthless, and you are left to pursue your own satisfaction and never find it. But with the latter, you are precious; you have purpose, and you are powerless-but it’s okay because you were purchased. This is the supremacy of Christ in truth in a postmodern world. Ultimately, this is what Christian theism tells us: Who am I? I am the crown and glory of the creation of God. Why am I here? I am here to bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. What is wrong with the world? What is wrong is me, and everyone like me who refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Christ and instead chose to live in pursuit of the supremacy of self. How can what is wrong be made right? What is wrong can be made right through the penal, substitutionary, atoning death of the Son of God, and through repentance and faith on the part of sinners.” 

The apostle Jude wrote, “But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and in praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 17-23). 

How then should we pray? 

  • For churches that have gone adrift from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
  • That the Spirit of God would lead you into a deeper relationship with the Lord Jesus as the Source of your faith and a stronger connection with His truths.
  • That churches faithful to the Gospel would teach their congregations how to recognize and avoid error and deception.
  • For humanistic friends or relatives who do not have the hope or sense of value that is derived from faith in the Creator God. 

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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