Recently I have been overwhelmingly discouraged by the amount of postmodernism acceptance within the Christian church. I see a brand of Christianity filled with homosexuality not being a sin, evolution acceptable, hell doesn’t exist, etc. Just seems like most people are in bed with “the world”. Turns out that estimate is fairly accurate!
George Barna interviewed over 15,000 people who called themselves Christians over several years and compiled the following 10-stop list of the Christian life and corresponding percentages of how many people reach a certain stop. Keep in mind these do not have to be linear, people can jump all over the spectrum, but the average turns out in this order:
1.Ignorance of sin: Non-believing people don’t even realize that sin exists in their lives.
2.Indifference to sin: Non-believing people grow to understand the concept of sin but are indifferent to it. They don’t know they should be concerned about it and do something about it.
3.Concern for sin: Non-believing people become concerned that sin exists in their lives. They begin to search for the answer to the question, “What should I do about this sin?”
—– 50% of all people die within the above 3 steps —–
4.Understand a Need for Forgiveness: Their concern for sin becomes a need to be forgiven by Someone capable of forgiving sin. They find Jesus to be the only One capable of this forgiveness.
5.Embrace Grace & A Need to Grow in Faith: This is the point of salvation. They recieve grace and begin to grow as a follower of Jesus Christ.
—– 35% of people die in the above 2 steps —–
6.Spiritual Discontent: After salvation and an understanding of God’s grace, the nice, comfortable, safe Christianity that is typically taught no longer satisfies. They long for more and are discontent with a faith that doesn’t challenge and change them or other people.
—– 10% of people die in the above step —–
—– Only 5% of the population make it to the next 4 steps —–
7.Brokenness: They begin to realize that they cannot change the world on their own. They need God, His power and the rest of His people to do it and are broken by their limitations and inadequacies.
8.Surrender & Submission: As their brokenness takes it’s toll on them they throw their hands in the air and cry out “I surrender”! In the Church of God, this is the point which we used to call being “sanctified”. Surrendering all of who we are, our will, our desires, our lives to God and His purposes.
9.Profound Love for God: Having surrendered and submitted to God’s will, love and grace, a deep, intimate and profound love for Him develops.
10.Profound Love for Other People: It is only after understanding and receiving God’s amazing grace and love that we can extend that love to others! This is God’s mission in the world! For all people to know, receive and share the love of God through Jesus Christ!
These dynamics help me understand why I feel so alone often times in my faith. Sometimes it just feels like I’m alone in standing up for Christian principles and reading the Bible as actual history. Again, I don’t think this is intended to make anyone proud or discouraged, just as a tool to show where the dynamics fall and why Christianity is such a broad religion.