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Dec. 30, 2009 - George Barna and his associates published an insightful but discouraging year-end review about the current directions of Christianity. Americans appear to be more interested in spirituality, but less committed to Christianity.
Barna mentions the book unChristian, by his colleague, David Kinnaman. Kinnaman says that being a Christian or associating with the Christian faith is not as attractive to Americans as it used to be because "the mass media have unfavorably caricatured the Christian faith,"
and "it is relatively rare to find someone who is an exemplar of the Christian faith.”
We recommend reading the whole report. Here is a sample of the alarming findings from this year's surveys:
71% say they will develop their own slate of religious beliefs rather than accept a package of beliefs promoted by a church or denomination.
Only one-third (34%) believe in absolute moral truth.
Dec. 22, 2009 - As debate on the healthcare bill comes to a head, most Americans are appalled at the corruption we observe in the process. Some of our congressmen are acting like barbarians. A couple of weeks ago Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, compared people who oppose health care reform to those who supported slavery in the 19th century. Last week Senator Al Franken denied the normal privilege of a couple more minutes for Senator Joe Lieberman to finish his remarks. Senator John McCain said he had never seen such behavior in the Senate. And this weekend Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn said, "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight." -- More--
Dec. 12,2009 - A new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that modern Christians pick and choose what they want to believe and where they want to worship at any given time. According to the survey, elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been widely adopted by 65% of U.S. adults, including many who call themselves Protestants and Catholics. The survey reveals other interesting facts.
59% of less frequent church attendees say they attend worship at multiple places.
23% believe in astrology
22% believe in reincarnation
Another survey, taken this year, the American Religious Identification Survey, revealed that the percentage of people who call themselves Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. 15% of Americans claimed that their denomination was "None."
Dec. 3, 2009 - Because the Episcopal Church has decided to ordain a homosexual bishop and bless same-sex unions, conservative Episcopalians have formed a separate branch of the church, which they have named the Anglican Church in North America.
The archbishop and primate for the new branch will be Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh. For the first time, a province would be defined not by geography, but by theological orientation. Bishop Duncan said,
“We’re going through Reformation times, and in Reformation times things aren’t neat and clean... In Reformation times, new structures are emerging.”
The North American church will have 100,000 members, compared with 2.3 million in the Episcopal Church.
Nov. 19, 2009 - Large numbers of conservative Lutherans are leaving Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the issue of homosexuality and related matters of biblical authority. A "Coalition for Renewal" is in the process of establishing a new denomination which has not yet been named.
"We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us," said Ryan Schwarz, a steering committee member from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean, Va.
Aug. 22, 2009 - A general conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted Friday to allow sexually active gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. The denomination has 4.7 million members and about 10,000 congregations.
Aug. 20, 2009 - Delegates of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Minneapolis, approved a statement that acknowledges differing views on homosexuality among congregations.
The vote on the statement is a prelude to a bigger vote Friday. That's when delegates will debate a proposal to allow individual ELCA congregations to hire people in committed same-sex relationships as clergy.
July 18, 2009 - At its triennial national convention, the Episcopal Church gave its clergy permission to bless some same-sex unions, such as civil partnerships in states that legally recognize them. In addition, a resolution was passed to direct church leaders to develop official rites, or liturgies, for the blessing of same-sex unions.
For now, the church's official definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The same-sex rites called for on Friday will be discussed and voted on at the next general church conference in three years.
July 13, 2009 - Joseph Farah agrees with Rick Warren that we don't want interfaith dialogue with Muslims, but we are interested in interfaith projects with them. He doesn't think cooperation on public works is the answer. Instead, he suggests:
Let's get Muslims to stop killing and oppressing Christians and Jews around the world.
Let's Hope Pastor Rick Warren Can End This Confusion
Apr. 23, 2009 - Miss California has the courage to stand for her convictions about marriage. In the past, Pastor Rick Warren has helped us take a stand on the same topic, but his recent interview on the Larry King show was very confusing. We should pray that this apparent contradiction can be explained in an honorable way.
Easter, 2009 - The secular media made its annual attack on Christianity last week, led by Newsweek' Cover story: The Decline and Fall of Christianity in America. Fox News joined Christian commentators on the issue all week, and publicized a new book called "God is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World." The book was written by Economist editor John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, who leads the newspaper’s Washington bureau. The debate brought out these facts:
- The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent.
- The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent.
- The number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold from 1990 to 2009, from 1 million to about 3.6 million.
- Fewer people now think of the United States as a "Christian nation" than did so when George W. Bush was president (62 percent in 2009 versus 69 percent in 2008).
- However, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated.
- Formal, liturgical Christianity is in decline but charismatic Christianity is growing.
- Early American Freedom of Religion produced competition among denominations, resulting in a succession of waves of evangelization.
- The American religious model is spreading around the world.
- A third of Americans say they are born again.
- There is a movement towards a more conservative and 'evangelical' outlook among Christians.
- Growing churches are using all the tools of modernity, from megachurches to radio and television to spread the word.
- World-wide Christianity is growing rapidly.
- In Communist China, the underground church has grown from 3 million when the missionaries were expelled, to more than 100 million today!
- A 2006 poll in once-atheist Russia discovered that 84% of Russians believed in God while only 16% considered themselves atheists.
- Five of the world’s ten biggest megachurches are in South Korea.
- There is even an upsurge of Evangelical Christianity in Europe.
July 7, 2009 - Jan Markel warns that William P. Young's #1 bestseller, "The Shack," has serious problems. They include the "New Age" teaching that God is "in" everything and ignoring (or redefining) sin and guilt.
Jan. 16, 2009 - What will come of the materialistic "Prosperity Gospel" during these hard economic times? Many of the leaders of this movement are in financial trouble themselves. This could be the time for correction of this teaching.
Craig Blomberg, author of a 2001 study of prosperity theology, said he expects the movement to "take a small hit among those who recognize that it can't deliver on what it promises."