The Sincerity of the Church
Updated: Oct 18, 2018
People are leaving the church in droves.
That has been the headline found in the news for years. Almost a quarter of Americans do not associate themselves with Christianity. Decades ago, that number was less than 10 percent. This change can’t be explained away with the increase of other religions in America. No, a lot of it has to deal with more people becoming agnostic, atheist, or saying that they will exercise their faith in private.
There are a variety of reasons people will give for leaving the church. As easy as it is for people to have doubts about God, this has nothing to do with God directly. Most of the reasons actually involve the church, which is supposed to be a reflection of God’s love. Chief among the stated reasons are the hypocrisy and insincerity of the church.
When people mention hypocrisy, it is usually along the lines of seeing individuals condemn others while not acknowledging their own faults or even using the Word of God to attempt to justify their own faults. Many churchgoers will put on a display of piety a few days of the week and display the ugliness of their character publicly and or privately for the rest of the week. They may even get to the point of acting as if they never were susceptible to sin in their past.
The person that sees this as hypocritical will then look at an unrepentant sinner who owns up to the fact that they are a sinner. The sincerity of that admission will seem more relevant than the self proclaimed Christian who won’t be honest about their own flaws. Why then, should that person associate their self with people that aren’t honest about their flaws.
Another issue is the identity of the Christian in America. Since Christianity is the major religion in America, it is culturally acceptable to call oneself a Christian, at least for now. The problem is that all churchgoers believe they are Christians. They believe that God exists, they may believe in the concept of Jesus’s death and resurrection, but there is no true change in them. There is no discipline in their discipleship, there is no new creature. There is the public label of being called a Christian, but also the sinful character that harms others, seemingly in the name of Jesus.
The second chapter of the book of James acknowledges that the reader does believe that God exists, but even the demons believe that. Wearing a team jersey doesn’t win a person a championship. Church membership does not guarantee a place in heaven.
All that I’m asking is that you evaluate your relationship with Christ. At some point, there should be SOME tangible evidence of your faith. People shouldn’t have to struggle to justify how your actions line up with the Word.
Be a witness to the solution, not the problem.