Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A tale of two pictures. . .

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From the MailOnline comes an article about what is going on with the demographics of religion in the UK.
One country, two religions and three very telling pictures: The empty pews at churches just yards from an overcrowded mosque
Two photos show Sunday morning services in churches in East London
The third shows worshippers gathered for Friday midday prayers outside a nearby mosque
The difference in numbers could hardly be more dramatic
Read the article there, but the photos on the left say it all...

What I find incredible is that the emptying of the churches has come as the result of dedicated and deliberate efforts on the part of Christians to reduce what Christians believe and relax the piety that accompanies such belief.

Clearly, Islam is not effective because it is religion lite.  It has high and demanding requirements of those who adhere to the faith.  Perhaps we Christians could learn a bit from them.  The world is neither impressed with nor attracted to a faith that is so casual about what is believed and so relaxed about how that faith is practiced.  Let me be clear here.  I am not holding up Islam as any example for Christians to follow but pointing out from their practice the fallacy that has become so popular among Christians:  a God who cares little about doctrine and piety but who wants us to be, in the words of the Army ad, "all that we can be (or want to be)." 

The hollow shell of liberal Christianity has left the Church wounded but not defeated.  Our future lies not with faith lite or piety lite but with the reverent and serious minded pursuit of the Scriptures which uniquely speak life and hope to a world captive to death and despair.  Repentance is still the preaching of the Church, a repentance encouraged not by fear of the consequences but by the pervasive and powerful allure of forgiveness in the shape of a cross, stained by the blood of the incarnate Son of God.

The pictures say nothing of the power of the one true God versus the gods of the nations.  The pictures do speak powerfully of the difference between those who take this God seriously and those who think Him of little consequence or relevance to their life and desires.  As with every age and time, reformation and renewal need to come not from the Church and her dogma but from the people and their repentance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great summary of the state of western Christianity. Thank you Pastor Peters.