Statistics show that there is a departure happening from Christian denominations. Many people do not find it practical anymore to keep living a religious tradition that they were brought up under. It is hard for people today to accept authority over what they feel should be a more personal experience. It may thus be that people no longer want to think of themselves as religious in the traditional sense, but as more of a person that believes in God and desires a spiritual connection to Him. In her book titled “Christianity after religion”, Diana Bass explains this trend and what it means. Starting on page 76, Diana outlines five events of what she calls the “Horrible Decade” that led many to turn away from religion.
- The September 11 terrorist attacks.
- The Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal.
- The Protestant conflict over homosexuality.
- The religious Right political involvement.
- The great religious recession of 2007.
“All three of America’s great Christian traditions – Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical have bungled the faith pretty badly in the last decade…” – Diana Bass
What will it take to cause a great awakening to happen that Diana Bass is calling for in her book? The answer is that there needs to be real individual conversion.
It takes more than knowledge and tradition to go forward and live a Christian life. It takes a real conversion and a spirit lead life. Otherwise you’re just practicing a “religious tradition” instead of knowing a “spiritual experience”. Napoleon knew what true conversion could do to a man. The following quote is attributed to him.
“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.”
A converted person has Christ first in their life and is not distracted by the things of the world. A gospel conversion is a transformation. Being “Born Again” from a fallen state to become a “Saint”. The Greek word for “Converted” is similar to the word for repentance. Both mean to “turn to” God. You turn from worldly cares to those spiritual.
The apostle Peter is an example to us in the scriptures of someone who heard the word but was not initially converted. Peter denied knowing Christ three times. Later, the Holy Ghost would teach him and he would be converted. In Acts 4 we read the words he spoke that would endanger his life and eventually because of such preaching, he would be put to death as a martyr.
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole…Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Spirit filled people are needed today to testify to a lost world. To get there is the challenge. It means not sitting on the fence, but instead, taking a stand and placing your trust in God. Most people intend on getting there, but have been postponing doing the work for one reason or another. Do not procrastinate any longer! First read and feel the power of the word of God as contained in the scriptures including words of modern prophets and apostles. Pray and worship God and ask in faith for His forgiveness and guidance in your life. Power will be felt because of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that will testify of the truth. Go and act in faith and you will be living a spiritual life like the one Peter arrived at.
I hope I am not taken wrong here. I am just saying that we read in the New Testament how the Jews let their religious traditions get in the way of them recognizing Christ. Imaging that! They needed to ditch their religion and find Christ. So it is in our day where people can get so caught up in their religious tradition that they neglect the most important thing – that of faith in Christ. Read the parable of the sower and I think you will find portrayed all types of people that come into Christianity. I will say that there is authority on earth and the true Church of Christ, but there are foolish and wise virgins. I make a distinction between “true religion” as the book of James describes and a false religions tradition.