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The Problem is the Church, Not the Culture

Posted on May 25, 2021

A recent study by The American Worldview Inventory 2021 discovered that millennials (among three other generations) have gone farther in cutting ties with traditional Christian values and normative biblical teaching. The scariest statistic found in this study is that 43% of millennials say that they either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists. And yet the same study found that 57% of millennials call themselves Christian. There’s a big problem here, and the blame cannot be placed on the culture, but rather, on the church. 


In a tweet, Todd Starnes gave his two cents on the issue: “43% of millennials stated they either don’t know, don’t care or don’t believe God exists. And this is a surprise? We turned our churches into glorified nightclubs starring preachers who deliver self-help sermons and worship leaders who want to be the next American idol.” He hit the nail on the head. So many churches in America have conformed to the world that they have produced Christians who are neither salt nor light to a dark world. Messages are heavy on love and compassion but light on sin and repentance. This kind of Christian dresses, acts, and talks just like the culture and NEVER shares the gospel lest he offend someone. 


In his book We Will Not Be Silenced, Dr. Erwin Lutzer gives us this insight concerning the faith of millennials today: “Many of today’s Millennials, feeling as though they don’t fit with evangelicalism’s romance with conservative politics, have chosen to devote themselves to social justice. And sadly, many of them have abandoned the doctrine of personal repentance, opting instead for what they see as a more practical gospel: helping the poor and needy. In other words, the gospel of social justice. Some of these Millennials talk about justice but not judgment.”


Do you see the problem? These millennial “Christians” are more concerned with social reform than spiritual transformation. Helping the poor and needy is more important to them than giving the gospel. Don’t get me wrong, helping the poor and needy is good, but it is secondary to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). The number one priority of any church (and any Christian) should be to preach the gospel. Sadly, that is not the agenda of many churches today. 


I’m a millennial (born 1990), and I’ve seen many of my friends and peers turn away from the faith and become worldly, or agnostic, or liberal. I used to think that it was all their fault, but I can see now that the church is to blame. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15), and it MUST preach the truth and ground Christians in the faith. It MUST preach against the sins that are prevalent in our culture today. It MUST preach the importance of separation in regards to dress, actions, music, purity, and lifestyle. It MUST preach that Christians need to be on the front lines, standing up against the world’s attacks and sharing the gospel with others. And the fact is, the church has failed to do this, and resembles a crumbled stump more than a strong pillar. 


It’s easy to blame the culture, but the only reason the culture is as bad as it is right now is because the church has allowed it to gain ground. If the culture succeeds in destroying traditional values (such as marriage, gender identity, hard work, and personal responsibility), it will be because the church let it happen. 


But that doesn’t have to be the case. We still have a fighting chance. In Revelation 3, Jesus speaks directly to the church in Sardis. Notice what He says: “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Rev. 3:1b). This was a spiritually dead church. It had a name (it was well-known, the place to be), but that didn’t matter to Jesus. There’s a lot of dead churches in our nation today. They look lively and vibrant, but they are bearing no fruit. 


Now notice what Jesus says this church needs to do: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (v. 2-3a). This is exactly what our churches must do. We need to wake up and strengthen what remains. We have the gospel—let’s preach it! We have the truth of God’s Word—let’s live it! We also need to repent of our sinfulness and complacency—the culture is gaining ground because of worldly Christians who are afraid to live for Christ. Finally, “hold fast.” We must hold the line. We must not give up—don’t quit fighting. 


It’s time we stop blaming the culture and start taking responsibility for our own actions. I plead with you to get involved. Be an active Christian who shares their faith, stands up for Christ, opposes the culture, and lives a holy life. Christians, wake up! 

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