According to a November 2017 article in The Lutheran Witness, a publication of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Christianity is on the decline in America and almost every major denomination in the United States is feeling the effects.
The LCMS reports an approximate 10 percent decline in members per decade.
The article cites an attack on Christianity and Biblical values on every side as the cause. As an example, the attacks on family and family values have caused a reduction in family size and contributed to divorce and split homes, which in turn contributes to fewer children being baptized and instructed in the Christian Faith.
One paragraph summarizes the problem this way: In short: From a young age, Americans are indoctrinated by their televisions and their schools to have an anti-biblical worldview on the origins of life, the meaning of the human condition, sexuality and a hundred other topics. This puts up barriers to the Word in evangelism that must be torn down. And even more insidiously, this is an attack on the hearts and minds of Lutheran youth, alienating them from the faith.
What can be done to change the course in America? The Biblical answer is to preach the Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to use the Word to reach the lost and change hearts. Christians, both young and old, need to be studying the Word and be able to answer the objections of the world and point out the errors of the modern worldview taught in our public schools and advanced by almost every form of the media.
Apologetics is important, and Christians should be reading and studying so they might defend the faith against the attacks of the secular world. Peter writes (1 Peter 3:15-16): “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”
As this passage of Scripture makes clear, Christians need to know how to defend their faith against those who would speak against and defame the truth revealed in the Scriptures, including pointing out the fallacy of modern-day views which contradict the Bible’s teaching. And, Christians need to live in such a way that the world may not discredit them as hypocrites and evildoers.
It is most certainly a time to heed the words of the apostle Paul to the Christians in Colosse and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16); and to do as Paul directed Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2ff.: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
The full “Lutheran Witness” article may be read here.
Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.