People are fed up with traditions … things from the past that no longer speak to today. In fact, these things from the past often prevent the church from speaking the truth to those alive today. So many things that pass as Christian and biblical are really simply people’s preferences and not even biblical.
Here is a truth to note: If a practice or issue isn’t outlined in the Bible, then It is a preference, or merely a habit based on tradition.
Jesus said, “You set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:8). The minute that happens, the church becomes petrified, the preferences of people replaced the principles in God’s Word, and the people who need the church the most grace it with their absence. As a result, in most nations the church is in decline.
What do the following things have in common: VCRs, Flip phones, Answering machines, folding maps, floppy discs, drafting tables, movie rental stores, analog TV, phone books, landlines?
What do all of these have in common? Great start – lousy finish. Unfortunately, we can add one more to the list … most local churches today.
The sad truth is that the church is in trouble because it is holding to man’s traditions and preferences and not to the Word of God, the Bible. In North America (but true in other nations as well in principle but maybe not statistics)….
The percentage of people unaffiliated with faith doubled from 1990 to 2008. The percentage of people willing to describe themselves as atheists or agnostic grew fourfold during those same years. American Christians today have the least amount of influence they have ever had, are plummeting in likability, are burning out pastors, are seeing their teenagers walk away from the faith. and have all but lost their impact on culture.
Between 4,000 and 7,000 churches close their doors every year and it’s getting worse. Thom Rainer predicts the annual rate of church closings will continue to soar to 10,000 churches a year.
The percentage of self-professed Christians is down 13 percent over two decades.
Less than 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church. And, American church attendance is steadily declining.
Established churches, 40 to 190 years old, are in rapid decline.
In 2050, the percentage of the US population attending churches will be almost half of what it was in 1990.
Newsweek magazine concluded that the Christian God “is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory.”
The Bible tells about a rich church in the wealthy city of Laodicea, a community with many of the conveniences we have today, including. the equivalent of indoor plumbing, shopping malls, and hugh sports stadiums. Perhaps the church also had beautiful grounds, gifted preachers, and the applause of the people. The only thing this church was missing was the one thing it needed – the blessing of God. Ultimately, the reason that was missing, in the words of Jesus, was that they were “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16).
Holding to traditions and not God’s Word…