Summary: Sometime change in our, and our churches, Christian perspective is so slow that we fail to recognize what is happening. It is like the drip-by-drip change, which Nazi ideology brought to Germany.
Countering Drip-by-Drip Change...
We need to take the time to question how the German people could have allowed Nazi fanatics to turn their country into a Satanic tool that killed Jews by the millions? While it is true that early on some Germans openly adopted pagan and irreligious heathen beliefs most Germans considered themselves a Christian or at least maintained a Christian facade. In May 1939 a census showed that 54% of Germans considered themselves Protestant, 40% Catholic, and 3.5% believed in some deity (Ref. Valdis O. Lumans; Himmler's Auxiliaries; 1993; p. 48). We must admit, however, that the Nazi party was vehemently anti-Christian. In fact, many high ranking Nazi party member were enraptured by occult and pagan beliefs; and, the Nazi party considered Hitler to have a divine destiny that would replace all other religious, cultural or social allegiance. Yet, as radically anti-Christian as the Nazi party was the people never really saw this until it was too late.
After their power was assured the Nazi party really began to openly challenge religion and by late 1940 a significant portion of the German people began to distance themselves from classical Christianity. Many Germans simply identify themselves as "gottgläubig," which means a believer in God … they did not profess a belief in Christ but they did acknowledge the existence of a supreme being. As the Satan inspired Nazi propaganda machine continued to drive a wedge between the German people and Christ it also began to slowly convince the German people that Hitler was given a divine destiny. The point we want to take from this religious transformation of pre-World War II Germany is the fact that almost an entire nation was led to abandon the Christian faith. As one German lady put it, during a post war interview, the change came slowly … drip by drip … so slow that it was easy to ignore it. The feel good rhetoric of Hitler and the positive things being done by the Nazi machine blinded people to reality. As the power of the Nazi party slowly grew so to grew the realization that what had been easily ignored was now becoming the very thing people had to publically embraced. As hard as it is to believe, an entire nation allowed one Satan inspired man to lead them down a beautiful appearing path, which eventually separated their nation from God and our savior Jesus Christ.
The Painted Pig
According to research conducted by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in 2013 the United States ranked 9th in terms of missionaries sent per million church members. Yet, at one time we sent out more missionaries per million church members than any other nation. Now think about this, a missionary is the result of the Spirit of God moving a person to tell others about Christ. And, it is the spirit moving in a church that causes that church to produce missionaries. Thus, we might postulate that the number of missionaries sent out by a nation is an indicator of the power of the Holy Spirit in a nation’s Christian faith. If this is true … America had a great Christian past but it has a dismal Christian future.
An old athlete has his trophies on the mantel so people will know that at one time he was a winner. An honest athlete, however, does not fool himself by claiming his present status is determined by past performance. The Christian church in America, however, has a first place trophy on the mantel but they are foolish enough to think they are still running in first place. This is absolute ignorance. After all, you can paint an old barn and tell everyone it is new; but, it is still an old barn. You can put lipstick on a pig and call it beautiful; but, it is still a pig. You can fill a building with people who have a lukewarm faith and call them Christians; but, they are still not a part of the Body of Christ. You can call a country a Christian nation because over 80% of the people call themselves a Christian; but, calling yourself a Christian does not make you a Christian and a nation filled with so-called Christians does not constitute a Christian nation. The Christian church in America has a first place trophy on the mantel, but the odds of it adding other Christian trophies is highly unlikely.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a very powerful 19th century preacher. He once said: “The gospel is preached in the ears of all men; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consist of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.” Spurgeon captured the very essence of what makes a church a church … it is the movement of the Holy Spirit in that church. The number of people, the wealth of the people, its social programs, the size of the building, and the amount of marketing are all irrelevant if that church is not filled by and moved by the Holy Spirit. And, that is exactly the problem in America. American Christianity is but a shallow reflection of Christ; for we have become nothing more than a nation filled with decaying Christian monuments, which sadly tell of a once vibrant church in America.