About LOTWM
News and Events
Our Vision and Mission
Pastors
Pastor Ing's Books
Statement Of Faith
What We Do
Fasting and Praying
Partnership
Teaching Manuals
Download
Newsletter List
Newsletters
Contact Us
Meaning of Christmas
Photo Player Flash

Newsletters


Christianity No Longer Reflects Jesus

 

CHRISTIANITY NO LONGER REFLECTS JESUS

 By Dr. Richard Ing

The Barna Group does research into attitudes found in the body of Christ and also among non-believers and from time to time, publishes books containing their findings.  In 1997, they printed the following poll results: 

1)    34% of born-again Christians, 53% of all Christians and 73% of mainline Protestants believe that if a person is good, he will go to heaven.  You don’t need Jesus to go to heaven.

2)    66% of evangelicals don’t believe that the Bible is totally accurate; 74% of Catholics agree and 42% of all Christians agree. 

3)    28% of born-again Christians, 65% of evangelicals, and 40% of all Christians believe that Jesus was a sinner when He walked the earth.

4)    52% of born-again Christians, 72% of Catholics, and 80% of all Christians don’t believe that the devil is real, that he is only a symbol of evil. 

5)    55% of born-again Christians, 61% of all Christians don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a person, that He is only a symbol of God’s presence and power. 

6)    35% of born-again Christians and 39% of all Christians do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead bodily.  (All underlinings are mine)

These results are pre-1997.  Since then, the percentages have increased.

REPORT ON HOW TODAY'S YOUTH VIEW CHRISTIANITY

During the last week of November 2011, Margot Fernandez of the Tucson Liberal Christian released a summary of the Barna Group Report published a few days previous.  The Barna Group reported the following (paraphrasing):

There is a negative perception of Christianity that is contributing to Black Americans converting to Islam.  In addition, Buddhist and Hindu faiths have attracted young whites from the sixties on.  Ten years ago, the majority of Americans felt favorably towards Christianity; today, only 16% of non-Christians between 16 and 29 said they have a good impression of Christianity.  Only 3% of non-Christian youth view evangelical Christianity positively.


Negative perceptions of Christianity include the feeling that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%) and too involved in politics (75%).

Favorable perceptions include the belief that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%).

Twenty-three percent of young non-Christians thought that "Christianity is changed from what it used to be" and "Christianity in today's society no longer looks like Jesus."  Amazingly, even young born-again Christians believe the same (22%).

Many young unbelievers and even Christians do not see Jesus in the church.  It is not the same church or religion that Jesus gave the world.  What they see is a political, social, philosophical and old-fashioned belief system that is out of touch with modern trends.  It is viewed as having essentially the same basic ideas, morals, values and principles as other religions.  Like other religions, it is friendly and deserves respect.  From the perspective of many young people, there is little reason to choose Christianity over other religions today, except perhaps national or family tradition.

THE LACK OF ZEAL IN CHRISTIANITY

When I was in the Philippines a few weeks ago, I went to the airport to pick up a friend arriving from Hawaii.  As we waited in an upper floor overlooking the visitor pickup area, we noticed hundreds of Muslims in the parking lot and waiting areas.  The intercom announced that a certain flight had arrived.  The Muslim crowd began shouting and running to the pickup area and then began climbing walls and sprinting up the ramp to the arrival area.  This area is off-limits to the public and arriving passengers are required to walk across the street from the main building and down a ramp to the street below to be picked up.  The security guards were vastly outnumbered and could do nothing to restrain the surging crowd from entering the main building.  The Muslims were so excited that their fellow Muslims were returning that masses broke through security lines just to greet their members.

My colleagues engaged an older Muslim in conversation and found that the Muslims were greeting their "brothers and sisters in Allah" who were returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca.  Five thousand were arriving on thirty flights.  I was impressed by their enthusiasm and fervor.  It was scary.  I've never heard of Christian crowds flocking to the airport to welcome Christian brothers and sisters in Christ returning from Israel.  By contrast, Christianity in America is laid back, dead and divided.  Why has Christianity fallen to such lows, especially with the younger generation? 

WHAT IS MISSING FROM CHRISTIANITY?

I too was once fervently and diligently looking for God and then fell away from the church.  I was baptized in an Episcopalian church at two years of age.  I later became a Baptist but returned to the Episcopalian church at twelve to be confirmed in the faith.  I diligently attended church every Sunday for over eight years.  I was a member of the choir and the youth ministry, and served as an acolyte.  I once held the record of not missing a single Sunday service for four years as an acolyte.  I was a serious seeker but I could not find the Jesus of the Bible in the church.  I attended Bible classes every Sunday after service.  All I got was Bible stories, pats on the back and kind and reassuring smiles.  I quit the church when I was twenty years of age and never returned for twenty-five years. 

In the interim, I graduated from college, went into the army, worked as a civil engineer, then graduated from law school, got married and had four children.

For the sake of my children, my wife and I began seeking God again when I was thirty-five.  My wife had also been a Christian and we were married in her church.  We decided that we didn't want to return to a Christian church because they had little to offer.  We were bored with the dead, ritualistic and hypocritical services and lifestyle of present day Christianity.  We decided to seek God through other religions.  We joined the New Age Movement, became followers of a Hindu guru, then studied Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism and a smattering of other religions.  We were looking for the Jesus of the Bible - the One that cast out devils, healed the sick and raised the dead.  When others prayed to Shiva, or Buddha or other gods, we substituted the name of Jesus under our breath.

Other religions taught how to fight against devils, tell the future and heal people miraculously.  Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Kahuna and other religions all had “spiritual” power.  Mainstream Christianity did not.  They only had stories and good morals.  They were powerless to heal the sick, cure mental diseases, raise the dead, defend against dark forces, cast out devils, hear from God and predict the future. 

Of course, I didn't realize at the time that the source of power other religions have is actually demonic.  They didn't know it either. 

One day, when I was one month short of forty-six years of age, my wife and I were meditating in a Shinto temple when the priestess tapped me on the shoulder and asked us if we used to go to a church with a cross and worship a god by the name of Jesus.  When we answered in the affirmative, she related that Jesus Christ had just appeared to her and He told her that we belonged to Him.  "Time is short," she said, "Go to your God.  He is waiting for you.  Hurry up and leave and don't come back!"  I was stunned. 

From that day on, the Lord Jesus began to do miracles in my life.  He directed me to a church that believed in speaking in tongues, casting out devils, healing the sick and raising the dead.  I finally found a church that was alive and powerful.  I found what my soul was longing for.  I had found the real Jesus, the Jesus in the Bible; or rather, He found us.  We repented of our sins in getting involved with strange religions and God forgave us.  We were water-baptized, then baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke with new tongues. 

Since then, we have seen the power of God in setting thousands of Christians and non-Christians, alike, free from demons and healing all manner of sicknesses.  We've seen cancers disappear, the dumb speak, the blind see, the deaf hear, the paralyzed walk. diabetes cured, pains disappear and so forth.  Two of my students raised the dead.  We've had visions and dreams from God, heard the audible voice of the Lord, have known his voice and presence, seen angels and demons, seen the Lord on the cross, been to heaven three times in vision, witnessed many marvelous miracles, experienced His supernatural protection, and received revelation and knowledge directly from the throne of God.  The Bible came alive and all the stories became totally believable.  My wife and I know for a certainty that Jesus Christ is the only true God.  He is Lord!

That is what the world is searching for in Christianity, but finds only religiosity, self-promotion, uncertainty, division and powerless platitudes.  To many Christians, the movies Lord of the Rings and Hobbit are far more interesting than the Bible.  They want to be entertained, just like in church.

A CHURCH DECEIVED

Satan has deceived the very elect of God (Mt. 24:24) and convinced Christians everywhere that the miracles in the Bible are not for our modern times and that the Holy Spirit is no longer doing signs and wonders on earth.  Instead of being the most powerful religion on earth, Christianity has become only a shadow of its former self, tricked by the devil and about to fall, weak and with nothing to offer the world except false promises of blessings and prosperity, a good moral code and lots of fellowshipping, family closeness, entertainment, good feelings and worldly love.  There are no more hard sermons on sin, repentance or spiritual power - just a good old religion for the family that will help us stumble through life by relying on religious stories and good feelings. 

What a shame!  The church was birthed in firepower from on high.  Signs and wonders were wrought by the apostles.  Ac. 5:12-16, etc.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit was for everyone and they all spoke in new tongues, cast out devils and healed the sick.  Mk. 16:17-18.  Spiritual power and signs and wonders were not just for the apostles, but for every believer in Jesus Christ. 

Today, most churches no longer believe in miracles, the existence of a demonic kingdom in conflict with the kingdom of light, and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Signs and wonders, speaking in new tongues, casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead and other miracles have been rejected by mainstream Christianity.  Ho. 4:6.  Even most Pentecostal denominations no longer speak in new tongues or do miracles. 

That's why we are losing our youth to false religions and cults.  We have believed the lies of the enemy.  We have been robbed of our spiritual power and relevance in the world.  God is pleading with His people:  “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  Rev. 18:4.


[ First ] [ Prev ] [ Next ] [ Last ]