The people I hang out with often talk about when they “LEFT” the church. It was the result of an awakening and a return to scripture, to let IT and only IT be our guide in life. But more and more often church leaders and pastors are talking about the diminishing numbers of people coming into their Sunday morning services and participating in church activities.
What is driving people away? No matter what kind of fancy programs or modern music specials you put on, the decline is happening. The churches that are seeing growth have and are deploying top notch marketing campaigns basically worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to keep people interested in coming and sending that tithe check.
So lets take a look today at what “Barna Group”, the nations top Christian polling firm, says are the reasons for the current exodus from American churches.
Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
Think about this for a second. The MAIN reason 53% of all young people are leaving the church never to return (says Barna Group) is because they think the church is overprotective. In fact, one of Barna Group’s main responses was, “my church is too concerned that movies, music, and video games are harmful” (18%).
What happens when you properly teach Torah to your children the way it SAYS to teach it, is to show that Torah (law) is a protection FOR us. The modern Christian church teaches Torah whether they like it or not. They know its wrong to let children listen to music with sexual themes and curse words in the lyrics. That is their conscience speaking. Any church pastor will tell you that incest is wrong but that commandment is only found in the Torah and not in the New Testament. We should be teaching our children that the instructions of the Father is not a burdensome prison fence designed to keep us locked up, but rather an electrified fence designed to keep the wolf from getting to the sheep.
The modern church hasn’t taught the destruction of sinful behavior found in the Torah in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27 and 28. All you have to do is point to failed marriages because of adultery or failed businesses because of lying to customers, etc. Then you show them the blessings in those same chapters for those who KEEP the commandments.
All it takes is for a kid to test the wire 1 or 2 times to find out that the curses of disobeying are real and they will come back to what they were taught in the beginning. But today sadly, we don’t have children who have been taught the blessings and the curses of following the instructions of the Father. The Church today says we have Grace and that is all we need. But that doesn’t cut it in the real world full of wolves trying to slay the sheep.
Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
Of course its shallow! Go to a church Bible study and pay attention to what people actually talk about. The latest movie, the weather, last weekends church car show, a guy talking about a new gun he just got and one of the ladies going on to her friends about the last red hat meeting.
There is no real talk about scripture, no intense discussions about Paul and some of his writings. No talk about the prophecies in Jeremiah and Isaiah. Someone stands up, gives a lesson and after its over we go right back to talking about the church jewelry making class or our kids latest soccer game. The kids today don’t see us actually out in the streets witnessing to those around us teaching Messiah. There is a harvest out there and none of the local church is out there preaching against sin or handing out gospel tracts. They aren’t visiting prison ministries or stopping by the local homeless shelter to drop off a turkey and hand out some soup.
Instead our kids see daddy standing around talking about his gun collection and mommie standing around talking about her red hat group. Shallow indeed, and disgusting if I may add as well.
Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
This is a direct result of church leaders unwilling to touch a subject that is by most polling results the 2nd most hotly debated topic in the church aside from abortion. Creation vs. Evolution. We haven’t trained our pastors and church goers how to stand up for a 6 day creation. We have allowed the compromise of long periods of time and day-age theories, gap theories and such to creep in and side-track what scripture actually says.
For in SIX DAYS the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Our high schools and colleges are pummeling the young kids with “the Bible is wrong and I can prove it” scenarios that are most believable if a young person hasn’t been trained to refute them. Not to mention there is all kinds of great science that never is shown that proves a young earth. Instead churches today take the position and attitude that evolution is WRONG and we don’t need to debate it or prove to you why. THAT turns young believers off. Not to mention the mixed message being sent when the church takes a position of Evolution being wrong but compromising on the creation timeline with modern day science. That sends a mixed message that doesn’t need to be mixed…and it fails to pass the smell test, and thus the exodus continues out of the church. The lesson here again is don’t compromise the Torah.
Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
Barna Group’s research says that young Christians are as sexually active and their non-Christian peers. With a world full of easy access porn and TV and Movies filled with messages of acceptable one night hook-ups, teaching our young people the harms of whoredom are very important. But the modern church can’t do this without going back to the Old Testament, something they have spent so much time saying is irrelevant because we are now under Grace.
Listen, you won’t find a Pastor in any evangelical church that will tell you incest is okay. But where in scripture does it say incest is wrong? You won’t find that in the NT. The Torah is where you will find the blessings and curses of taking a wife in a correct or incorrect manner. I go into detail about this in a recent video.
The modern church can preach all they want about abstinence and being sexually pure. But if they don’t use the TORAH to teach these principles and keep ignoring the TORAH instructions associated with sexuality, the young people in the church are going to push the modern idea of “NOT BEING UNDER THE LAW” to its logical conclusion and think they are free to live their sexual lives anyway they please. The church also today promotes this whole worldly idea that a woman has to have a career and a college degree and so does the man. Thus they convince these young people to hold off on marriage and to sideline their natural urges as long as possible in order to conform to the worlds definition of success. Wrong answer and the results can be devastating.
Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
Part of Satan’s strategy is to confuse you with options. The ice cream truck of religion. Pick one! They’re all sweet and yummy! And even in Evangelical Christianity you have tens of thousands of different denominations Yet, for the most part, Evangelical Christianity has maintained still that Jesus is the way, truth and the life and no one can come to the Father but through Him. Forget the FACT for a second that WAY, TRUTH and LIFE is defined in other scripture as the TORAH. The worldly system is selling the idea and quite successfully that there are no absolutes. “What is good for you may not be good for me and so lets learn to live with one another.”
The failure in the church again comes back to not teaching the blessings and the curses of keeping the commandments of the Father. We don’t turn from all other strange gods, we don’t test the spirits and ways of the heathen to the Torah to see if it passes the Deuteronomy 13 test.
In short, churches don’t teach their members how to defend exclusivity. The Torah is clear that the Father’s ways are the only ways that lead to blessings and all other ways lead to curses. Is this not what Yeshua/Jesus taught?
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for DOCTRINES the commandments of MEN. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of MEN,
The churches today are full of man made traditions that are not found anywhere in scripture. Thus making it a whole lot easier for the worldly system under Satan’s control to pick apart your “flavor” of Christianity and convince you of the lie of there not being any absolutes. By not understanding the PERFECTION of Torah, that lie is an easy one to sell to the modern audience.
The TORAH of the LORD is PERFECT, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
This last one is probably the one I feel the most strongly about. When I taught Creation Science in the baptist church, I had an entire segment on Contradictions in the Bible. NOBODY is taught in today’s modern churches how to defend the scriptures. Yet when you get into college, a variety of professors are going to pelt your children over and over again with examples of how the scriptures supposedly contradict each other and are unreliable. I can show example after example of what look like impossible contradictions in scripture that would stump even the most knowledgeable Christian Pastor in today’s churches.
When I taught my “Contradictions” class in church, I never had one person raise their hand and have the answer to why my presented “contradiction” wasn’t in fact a contradiction at all. The reason for this is we again don’t educate people on how to defend the Bible. Instead the church simply tells their youth and adults that the Bible is absolute truth and to never question that fact. That tactic doesn’t work when a college professor makes a Bible believer feel like a complete moron in from of an entire lecture hall of students because the professor shows what looks like an absolute contradiction in scripture.
The modern church does not train you to defend what you believe. Here is an example. Walk up to any Christian and ask, “Prove to me there is a God”. Now stand back and watch that deer in the headlights look gloss over their eyes for the next moment. A second or so later they will regroup and say something about how they don’t need proof and they have Faith. May I submit to you that answer is not good enough? Please see my blog post on how to Prove God in 30 seconds for the answer.
It all comes back to always be ready to have an answer. And the modern church is leaving in droves because they can’t defend the Bible against well articulated attacks.
1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify(SET APART) the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an ANSWER to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
So what is the conclusion here? The message of Torah will NEVER be a popular one. There will never be mega churches that are Torah based. The majority of the world is going to seek after the pleasures of the heathen. But scripture clearly calls us to be set apart and if we choose to follow after the Fathers ways, we are to teach our children those ways and why those ways are important.
Otherwise they will be easily turned away from and unable to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.