Why do Christians think that if they compromise their core beliefs, the world will accept them with open arms and a plate of warm cookies? Let’s talk about this question, shall we?
For context, here are some recent polls conducted by PEW Research regarding Christians today:
Only 76% of Christians are “absolutely certain” that God exists.
On the importance of religion in their lives, 68% of Christians say their faith is “very important.”
Less than half of Christians (47%) attend church once a week.
The percentage of Christians who attend a prayer group or a study group is 32%, and an even greater percentage is 47% - the number of Christians who don’t attend any type of outside Christian-affiliated group.
Only 43% of Christians look to their faith for guidance on decisions.
This one is a doozy. While 45% of Christians say they read their Scripture once a week, 33% of Christians admit they have NEVER read their Scripture.
On taking the Word of God literally, 39% of Christians think you should – while 18% of Christians don’t even believe the Word of God is really the Word of God.
Though 85% of Christians believe in heaven, only 70% believe in hell.
Here’s another fun one (fun is used here as a sarcastic ploy!). A whopping 45% of Christians believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. I’m assuming they haven’t read the word, because God wasn’t a huge fan of the Canaanites – who ritually practiced the sacrifices of live, screaming infants. Look it up.
Finally, only 29% of Christians actually believe that humans are the product of God’s design.
Let’s look at some more statistics. Barna’s Research Releases in Faith and Christianity (2016) states the following:
Of the Christian population in the United States, 31% consider themselves “practicing Christians,” and a higher 41% consider themselves “non-practicing Christians.”
75% of Christians pray to God.
35% of Christians attend a church service.
34% of Christians regularly read their Bible (which is lower than PEW’s poll).
Only 23% of Christians are Bible-minded, which Barna characterizes as those “who believe the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches and have read the Scriptures within the past week.”
Many of these statistics are trending towards the negative. Less and less Christians are attending church and standing up for their core biblical beliefs. This is a problem, but I suppose it’s unfortunately not surprising. From my point of view, the modern Christian church (or the industrial complex that calls itself the Christian church) is like an infantile pre-adolescent, seeking acceptance from its peers. In this case, there’s one peer, and that peer is the entirety of the world.
What world are our Christian “leaders” looking at? What world are they living in? The precedence for world acceptance has already been set. Let’s take a look in the Word of God. John 15: 18-25 states, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
PEOPLE, WE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD, SO WHY SHOULD BE FEEL THE NEED TO FIT INTO IT? TO BE ACCEPTED BY IT? IT'S NOT OUR ETERNAL HOME!
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, and their effect is poignant. Preparing His disciples for their future (which will be wrought with persecution), Jesus also makes a point about this world: the world will never accept you. If the world was so “accepting,” why didn’t it accept Jesus Christ? There were mobs shouting for His crucifixion. To drive the point home that the world was against Him, Pilate indulged the Jewish tradition of letting one prisoner go during the festival season. Jesus knew that again the people would choose to put Him to death. And though this was all according to God’s plan, it’s hard not to notice the zeal with which the world sought His persecution.
THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE FOR THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST. And Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John when He's teaching his disciples one last time, to always remember that the world was against Him. The world crucified Him.
His disciples had no idea what they’d be facing in their future. The world didn’t easily accept Jesus’ message. Before Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he single-handedly attempted to destroy Christianity through methodical persecution. After his conversion, Paul himself was the victim of a near-death incident by stoning, constant threats from ruling authorities, and he was ultimately executed by the Romans (although I think you can also credit the Jewish religious leaders too).
John says in his epistles that there was a consistent threat to the church within – not just from the outside world! Individuals were coming into the church and perverting the original and true message and doctrine of Christ. He also urged his children (his followers) that the world was against them.
There was no acceptance coming from the world! EVER! If they didn’t accept Jesus and all the signs and miracles He performed, why would they accept Christianity now? Yet the church continues to seek their acceptance. I don’t get it! I was watching a clip that was emailed to me a few months ago. It featured the Hillsong Church pastor (I’m not sure what his name is) talking with the ladies of The View, and he was grilled (as most religious leaders are) about abortion. The pastor proceeded to voice his support for abortion – describing himself as “pro-choice.”
I’ve never been more irate in my life! This man preaches multiple times a week to a congregation of ten-thousand people. He’s responsible as a “leader” for leading them in the right direction, and I’m fairly positive that the Word of God isn’t a pro-choice read.
He wanted acceptance from the mostly liberal ladies on The View so bad that he was willing to compromise a core biblical belief. Now I doubt if he holds to any core biblical beliefs. There was another clip that went viral featuring a pastor telling his congregation during a sermon that the Word of God isn’t what’s important, it’s how happy we are as Christians. What’s my take on that pastor’s theory? That might be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard in my life. Have fun answering to God on that one.
Don’t try to fit in, because you’ll just be wasting energy that’s better spent educating those who will listen on the foundational purpose that is the Word of God. Rather than transform your church service to fit the visual wants of churchgoers today, work on glorifying God with your decisions.
The Word of God isn’t about acceptance; it’s about obedience and love – the two going hand-in-hand. Christians need to work on loving one another, growing in our relationship with God, and studying His Word. We don’t need to work on gaining acceptance from the world, because it’s never going to happen.
Not now – not ever.