George Barna, the lead researcher at the Cultural Research Center, explained in a statement. “’Christian’ has become somewhat of a generic term rather than a name that reflects a deep commitment to passionately pursuing and being like Jesus Christ.”
Of an estimated 176 million American adults who identify as Christian, just 6% or 15 million of them actually hold a biblical worldview, a new study from Arizona Christian University shows.
The study shows, in general, that while a majority of America’s self-identified Christians, including many who identify as evangelical, believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and is the Creator of the universe, more than half reject a number of biblical teachings and principles, including the existence of the Holy Spirit.
Strong majorities also errantly believe that all religious faiths are of equal value, people are basically good and that people can use acts of goodness to earn their way into Heaven. The study further showed that majorities don’t believe in moral absolutes; consider feelings, experience, or the input of friends and family as their most trusted sources of moral guidance; and say that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue.
One of the most disturbing results was that most adult US Christians don’t believe Holy Spirit is real. Some 62% of self-identified born-again Christians contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity. These people obviously do not believe the Bible is God’s Word because it reveals that unless a person is born again with the Holy Spirit, Jesus will say to them on judgement day “depart from me I do not know you”. Jesus told the disciples the Parable of the Ten Virgins to show us what the church will be like in the last days before His return. All were asleep when He came and half were not born again.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise... the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” Matthew 25:1-12
With most of the denominational churches in the USA accepting gay marriage and transgender priests it is obvious that these Cultural Research Center figures are an accurate depiction of the church and fits with the Bible’s prophesied apostasy in the last days.
Seven years ago Robert and his wife Evelyn decided to take a leap of faith to leave their jobs and careers behind, trusting God to provide for them and lead them further. In this video Robert shares what happened since then and the things they learned. Living eternal now being directed by the Holy Spirit believing God’s Word.
“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:28-30
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34
MORE FROM THE LAST REFORMATION MOVEMENT:
I want to say that this is not only a life Robert and his family are called to live. I believe this is a life many more people are called to live! Not that everyone should do exactly as they did, but everyone CAN do so much more than we are often doing! Start where you are! Use the free resources we have – The Kickstart Package, the online Pioneer School, etc… all the resources which are available for you to use to bear fruit!
But I also want to challenge many of you out there – I think many more people ARE called to do like Robbert and his family! We have just done a new page on TheLastReformation.com called FAMILY ON A MISSION. You can see the link here: youtu.be/lXvMqdLzGyo
On this page, you will find other stories of other people who started to see amazing fruit! What you can see is that every story is different, but every person is the same in the sense that the Holy Spirit is leading, God is providing, and there is amazing fruit!
So I want to challenge you even more, especially in the times we are living in now – don’t get old and look back at your life regretting that you did not take some big steps for Jesus! Don’t stand in front of Jesus one day when He comes back very soon, not having anything to show! Do what He has called you to do! And let us know how we can help you!
This sermon was preached in 2015. It was an important wake up message to the church and it is still relevant for churches today. The message really challenged the congregation to be courageous and to live and share the Gospel, despite the consequences. wherever and with whomsoever they could.
It is now 2021and look what has happened in the world and in the church. We have to ask ourselves, how widely was this message delivered? Sadly, I would have to say very few churches heard this message. The world has got darker at an exponential rate. Much of the church has compromised with the world. We are in the prophesied last days.
You need to know that what is happening in the world is not taking God by surprise. He is still in control and Bible prophecy reveals that His plan for His world is right on track. Jesus said, in the last days before His return there would be a great falling away in the church. The world would become increasingly godless and as a consequence lawless. This we are seeing but I am sure James Robison is still doing his utmost to galvanise the church into action. We need to be doing the same wherever and with whomsoever.
The effects of the pandemic, the growing cultural disdain for “organized religion,” and the socio-politico turn to secularism have reduced church rolls. A Gallup report going all the way back to 1937 shows formal church membership has dropped from a high of 70% to 39% in 2020.
“Continued decline in future decades seems inevitable,” predicted Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey M. Jones.
Is it over for American churches? Are we living in the era of end-times apostasy signaling an inevitable, irreversible slow fade of church life as we know it?
Movements come and go, say some historical observers, and it just may be that the church’s journey in finite time from the launch at Pentecost has sputtered out. Institutional atrophy seems inevitable.
Sadly, the institutional quest causes a church to become introverted, focusing more on its institutional survival than on incarnational mission. The focus on survival and reconstruction on the ruins of a collapsed institution means a church’s own survival becomes more important than the Lord who created it, the truth He gave it, the call to which He summoned it, and the people to whom He sent it.
The biblical view is the kairological outlook: God so often uses catastrophes for His purposes and no doubt this will be a new day for the Church of Jesus Christ. The church Jesus intended as described in the Book of Acts.
The focus must not be on trying to breathe life into dying institutions. In the biblical scheme, death leads to resurrection. Rather than seeing this period with the desperation of hopeless people watching the creep of finite time bringing death to antiquated hulks, the better focus should be that of the infusion of new life. Rather than pre-occupation with sustaining structure, the energy should be spent on building ministry, making disciples of Jesus. Instead of mourning the death that is inevitable in chronos-time, it is better to rejoice at the new kairological day that is rising before us.
adapted from an article in Christian Post: A New Day for the Church Part 1 by Wallace B Henley
Hundreds of clergy, staff and congregants of the Church of Sweden, Europe’s largest Lutheran denomination, have declared in an open letter that it is now a trans-inclusive institution.
“We write to you from a church that is also trans,” reads a line from the letter, titled “Personal Letter to You Who are Trans,” posted on a dioceses website and addressed to trans-identifying people who serve and attend the church, Summit News reported.
Signed by around 1,000 priests, deacons and members and published on the official website of the Västerås diocese, the letter also seeks to explain how the church could be described as trans.
However in 2017, the denomination had already told clergy that they needed to start using gender-neutral language when referring to God, and avoid masculine terms such as “He” and “Lord.” so this letter is not something new. The church had already departed from Biblical values many years ago and are suffering the consequences of that decision. For example, in 2009, the left-leaning Swedish Church voted in favor of blessing same-sex marriages and elected Eva Brunne, the world’s first openly lesbian bishop.
Many of the members have been leaving the religion in record numbers. In 2018, insiders said the denomination was expected to lose over 1 million members over the following 10 years.
Sputnik News at the time translated the official Members in Motion report from the denomination, which found out that 85,848 Swedes left the Church in 2016, followed by 93,093 members in 2017.
The Bible the Lutheran church has rejected prophesies that prior to Jesus return much of the church will fall away and compromise with the world’s values. If only they could see, that by their actions, they are fulfilling this prophecy.
A new peer-reviewed study published last month in the academic journal Sociology of Religion demonstrates that churches grow under persecution.
The study’s findings, outlined in Christianity Today by authors Nilay Saiya and Stuti Manchanda, buck conventional wisdom. In places where Christians enjoy official support from national governments, religious faith tends to decline. Conversely, Christianity spreads most successfully in countries with legal commitments to religious pluralism and in places that actively discriminate against and persecute believers.
These are the countries with the fastest growing Christian populations (the states with low/no official support for the faith are in bold): Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar, Liberia, Kenya, DR Congo, and Angola.
And here are the countries with the fastest declining Christian populations (the states with moderate/high official support for the faith are in bold): Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, Lithuania, and Hungary.
Hungary, for example, is an officially Christian nation. Even still, faith is waning: Although a majority of Hungarians identify as Catholic, only 12% regularly attend church services and just 14% describe religion as “very important” in their lives.
It is worth noting, as author Rod Dreher has, Prime Minister Victor Orban’s governance in Budapest is very much aligned with politically conservative Christian views. As such, the country has passed legislation to that end.
Nevertheless, Saiya and Manchanda argue that, in pluralistic societies, where religious ideologies coexist and must compete, for lack of a better word, Christianity — untethered from politics — often flourishes. Paradoxically, they found, “state favoritism of religion inadvertently suppresses it.”
That is due to the fact that, countries that are “officially Christian,” and even in the U.S., to an extent, Christianity may become less about a convictional relationship with Jesus and instead morph into just one aspect of a citizen’s larger national identity, resulting in faith being less about personal beliefs and more about cultural tradition.
On the other hand, the Christian faith has expanded most in Asian countries, where there’s no “official” faith and pluralism has been embraced: In contrast to Europe, Christianity in Asian countries has not been in a position to receive preferential treatment from the state, and this reality has resulted in stunning Christian growth rates. The Christian faith has actually benefited by not being institutionally attached to the state, feeding its growth and vitality.
Consider the case of South Korea, which in the course of a century has gone from being a country devoid of Christianity to one of its biggest exporters. It currently ranks as the second-largest sender of missionaries, trailing only the United States.
This example illustrates well the paradox of pluralism. Because South Korea is not a Christian country, Christianity enjoys no special relationship to the state. In fact, Christianity in Korea endured the brutal persecution of Japanese colonial rule, during which churches were forcibly closed down and their properties confiscated. Indeed, the church persisted through poverty, war, dictatorship, and national crises throughout Korean history.
Since World War II, Korean Christianity has grown exponentially, with tens of thousands of churches being built and seminaries producing thousands of graduates every year. Today, about a third of the country is Christian.
Christianity also seems to flourish — as it did for the early church leaders in Acts — in places where believers face discrimination and persecution.
The faith of those facing persecution for their convictions is often deeper and more profound, because the stakes are inherently higher when it’s not in one’s cultural best interest to embrace such beliefs.
Open Doors USA, an advocacy organization tracking Christian persecution around the globe, ranks Iran as the eighth-worst place in the world for believers. Despite facing “extreme” persecution — where the government has outlawed conversion from Islam, imprisons those who evangelize, and arrests people for attending secret house churches or sharing Christian literature — it’s believed there could be at least one million Christians in the Islamic country.
A similar phenomenon is believed to be unfolding in Afghanistan, which Open Doors lists as the second-worst place to be a Christian. There is only a small number of believers in the country, where it is illegal to convert from Islam, and those who do face certain imprisonment, violence, and potentially even death. Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan, is a Maronite Christian from Lebanon.
Outside the Middle East, the world’s largest persecuted body of believers is found in China, where the communist government continually discriminates against and harms Christians.
Much to President Xi Jinping’s chagrin, Protestant Christianity has continued to grow exponentially in China, where the government estimates some 200 million of its 1.5 billion citizens are believers.
Fenggang Yang, a sociologist of religion at Purdue University, said in 2019 he believes more Protestant Christians will live in China by 2030 than any other country in the world.
“When Communists took power in 1949, there were one million Protestants living in China, compared with 58 million in 2010 and probably around 100 million in 2019,” he said. “Despite the government’s efforts to suppress, I don’t think it will stop the growth of Christianity in China. All the evidence I have collected shows it’s undeniable; it’s already happening.”
If these numbers reveal anything to Christians, it is that believers should place their trust not in conventional wisdom, but in the often paradoxical work of the Holy Spirit.
Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky once lamented the deeply misguided belief held my many Christians “that Christ cannot reign without an earthly kingdom.”
It would be folly for the Christian to spend his or her life building an impenetrable kingdom on earth. We know from Scripture such an effort would be in vain. Psalm 46 says, “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice and the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” And, in Matthew 24, Jesus told His disciples it is His authority alone that will stand the test of time: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
In Matthew 6, Jesus warned His followers against storing up treasures on earth, “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Instead, He told them to invest in the eternal Kingdom of God.
Our ultimate hope, redemption, and restoration comes not in the protection of the state, which is never certain, but through salvation in Jesus, with whom we are heirs to a Kingdom operating outside the space and time of this temporal world.
This extremely simple presentation on a napkin outlines what church is all about, what it is designed to do and then explains what the institutional church has added which has made it extremely difficult for it to accomplish what Jesus designed for it to do.
I received the following email from Pastor Charles Otieno Owino. He is the leader of the Kenya House Church Movement which God is growing exponentially because it is all about making disciples who make disciples. There are no paid pastors nor church buildings. My followers would know that I have been connected with this group almost two years now. Moreover, my involvement as a Board Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) Australia has enabled me to connect the KHC group with the President of ICCC Kenya, Rene Kiamba who is introducing them to the ICCC training materials in particular the Transformed Working Life Series available for free on http://www.transformedworkinglife.net.
On a recent Zoom Meeting, which I organised when all of the KHC leaders were together with Charles in Migori, I had the opportunity to hear the testimonies of all the leaders. Not all had English so one of the leaders fluent in Swahili and English acted as interpreter. It was a humbling but wonderful occasion for me as I realised what a privilege it is to be able to support my brothers work in this relatively poor country.
The background to the following email was a request from Charles for a small amount of money to bring several of the KHC leaders to Migori for a meeting with a number of Catholics including a priest who are interested in starting a KHC group in their area. I asked Charles for more background information on the reason for the meeting and the priest.
Dear Ron. 22nd April 2021
The Roman Catholic priest is one of the priests under a chief priest in Nyarombo church, Oruba Paris, Migori county.
I connected with him through my aunt, who for many years had been a Roman Catholic sister at Rakwaro seminary, where she lived most of her life. As a sister in the church, she was unable to marry.
God gave me an opportunity, to share with her the word of God, something which did not take me a year, but nearly 3 years, until she came to the truth of God’s Word and came out of the convent. She is now a believer; a disciple of Jesus Christ and she is married.
I understand she knew this priest for many years back in her days as a Catholic sister. I am sure it is no coincidence that they are now neighbours that she is married. The opportunity came up for her to share with the priest her newfound faith. The Holy Spirit has given her favour with him and she has met with the priest regularly to share God’s Word.
She then knew it was time to tell him about me and organised for me to meet him in her home. I have been meeting with him and sharing the word of God over several months now.
As I have shared with you, my time with him has borne fruit and he has invited KHC leaders to meet him and other people, in his home this week.
Requesting your prayers for a positive outcome from our meeting with him and this Catholic group.
If you feel led, please pray for Charles and the KHC leaders. I will let you know the outcome in another KHC post. Also, if you would like to join with me in supporting the KHC group then go to the DONATIONS link on the Home Page.
Many evangelicals in the USA have been anticipating some kind of confrontation with the changing social order. Crawford Griffen writes about it in his new book Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America – Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last five years, he says, ” I’ve been writing about what might be one of the most significant trends among American evangelicals – a migration movement into the Pacific Northwest that has resulted in the formation of some very successful and increasingly influential intentional communities.
From small towns in northern Idaho, and elsewhere in the region, writers, artists and polemicists are publishing books with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Random House, and broadcasting talk-shows on Amazon Prime. While offering different perspectives, they present a similar sense of crisis. The nation is no longer held together by common values, they explain. They argue that the teaching of evolution in public schools, the debates about abortion, gender and marriage, and the guidelines that shut down churches for reasons of public health are different fronts in a long war against Christianity. They recognize that the neutrality of the public square is an impossible ideal. They understand that politics is always about coercion. And so they proposed their solution. While, in the grand scheme of things, the believers who have migrated to the Pacific Northwest are not numerically significant – although they may number in the tens of thousands – they do project considerable soft power. Many of these believers live very visible lives. The community of several thousand members that has been established in Moscow, Idaho, for example, supports a publishing house, a music conservatory and an impressive liberal arts college. Led by Douglas Wilson, whose many publications include a book that he co-authored with Christopher Hitchens, this community sets out to make Moscow a Christian town.
Other migrants into the region prefer more secluded lives. They are attracted by the idea that this region could form an “American Redoubt,” as James Wesley Rawles has argued, a hold-out for those who want to resist the cultural powers that be. Rawles is the author of several novels and preparedness manuals, which are published by Penguin, and his website, survivalblog.com, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. His work sets out a more ambitious agenda for survival and resistance, in which readers are encouraged to adopt evangelical piety while being ready, if necessary, for less spiritual forms of defensive combat. For obvious reasons, those who follow Rawles’ agenda prefer not to attract attention. But for all their differences, Wilson and Rawles agree that believers need to expect an extraordinary cultural crisis in the short to medium term, and prepare for the new world that will follow. While their tactics for dealing with opposition are sharply different, their vision of the future is much the same. Dark skies are on the horizon, but they predict huge numbers of Americans will be converted, the social and political life of the nation will be renewed, and the policy of a renewed republic will be built around the demands of biblical law. Their optimism is appealing but I don’t believe Biblical prophecies such as these two by Jesus supports this optimistic view.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matthew 24:21-22
I believe the Bible reveals that those Christians that adopt a praying church as it was in the Book of Acts intent on making disciples in their own communities, loving their neighbours and honouring Jesus regardless of the cost, will have the most impact for the Kingdom in these last days. The power of the Holy Spirit will be once more evident in this Home Church environment.