Customizing the wide road

The ‘religion’ articles in USA Today are a steady chronicle of the decline of the Church in America.  Last Tuesday’s entry was no exception:

“We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs — our clothing, our food, our education,” (Religion statistics expert George Barna) says. Now it’s our religion.

Barna laments, “People say, ‘I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then I believe whatever I want.'”

More people claim they have accepted Jesus as their savior and expect to go to heaven.
And more say they haven’t been to church in the past six months except for special occasions such as weddings or funerals. In 1991, 24% were “unchurched.” Today, it’s 37% .
Barna is right to lay a chunk of the blame for this on today’s church leaders (and by that, I mean laymen as well as clergy).  The “seeker friendly” movement has reduced much of evangelism to a rote recitation of a formulated ‘prayer,’ with the assurance this somehow conveys fire insurance.  Few churches are actually making disciples, as opposed to entries on the membership rolls.   To make the former requires a community, committed to the sovereignty of God and the authority of scripture… both conditions being in serious shortage today.
I realize this is considered a narrow-minded and exclusive view.  To which I can only reply: I didn’t come up with it… I’m only a messenger of the One who did.  As for the charge “who died and left you king?” the proper perspective is that Jesus died… and He IS the King.  Only those who acknowledge both parts of that confession can resist the temptation to “customize” a relationship with the God who has clearly spelled out what that relationship means.  That relationship has the power to change us.  Anything less — any attempt at a “custom faith” — is merely trying to make God in our own image.

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