I recently attended Sunday services at an impressive 19th-century church in London. In a building with seating for 3,000 in ornate pews, a handful of elderly people sat there … in chairs set up in the foyer.
The service, held in a vibrant city full of millions of people, reminded me of a funeral. Not the funeral of a person – the funeral of a once-great institution. In the past 40 years, 1600 churches in England, with hundreds of years of ministry behind them, have shut their doors, according to an architectural preservation group called the Victorian Society.
Today, few Americans are aware of the spiritual epidemic that wiped out the land of our Christian forefathers. Even fewer are aware that the same epidemic has reached our own shores, spreading like a virus.
American Christianity could become extinct in less than two generations, if Christians in this country don’t act quickly and decisively. Respected pollster George Barna was one of the first to put numbers to this epidemic, finding that six out of ten 20-somethings who were involved in a church during their teen years are already gone.
Since that research was published in 2000, survey after survey has confirmed the same basic trend.
The problem, in both the United Kingdom and America, began when the Church basically disconnected the Bible from the real world.
Churches in America are not places where people typically talk about dinosaurs, fossils or the age of the Earth – that is left up to the secular schools and colleges. Effectively, the Church concentrates on the spiritual and moral aspects of Christianity.
But the Bible is not some “pie in the sky” theoretical book. It’s a real book connected to the real world. It has everything to do with history, geography, biology, anthropology, and sociology. It provides the true history of the world, as opposed to evolution over millions of years.
The “disconnect” between faith and fact is an illusion created by an overwhelming misinterpretation of the facts. Observational science confirms the Bible’s history, and thus also the Christian doctrines (like the gospel) that are based on that history.
As I travel around the world teaching how to defend biblical principles and history, I find that whether my audience is secular or Christian, they ask the same questions, such as:
· How do you know the Bible is true?
· Hasn’t science disproved the Bible?
· Isn’t the world millions of years old?
· How did Noah get all the animals on the Ark?
· But don’t we observe evolution because we see animals change – bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?
God’s Word is confirmed by observational science. For example:
A study of genetics confirms the Bible’s teaching on created “kinds” — there is great variation within the different species within each kind — but natural selection and speciation are not mechanisms for molecules-to-man evolution.
And a study of geology confirms that most rock layers and canyon systems are best explained by catastrophic processes (such as those associated with Noah’s Flood a few thousand years ago), rather than gradual processes over millions of years.
The Word of God has never changed, but the Church’s perception of the Word of God changed when it failed to engage the evolutionist scientific community on matters of evidence as well as faith.
Typical churches use resources that are more geared for what could be called the “Jew in Jerusalem” who has developed a religious background and lives in a religiously friendly society.