Summary: Christianity has an image problem. What can we learn from how those outside the church see the church today. I use Jesus criticism of religious leaders to cause us to think.

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I have used sermoncentral along with other resources in this message. James White’s Critical Times email was a starting point. I also referred to Kinnaman’s book.


October 28, 2007 Jay Davis Robison MATTHEW 15:1-12

The Church in America HAS AN IMAGE PROBLEM

Probably not really a news flash to you

Generation Age(in 2007) Percent of generation

who are outsiders

to Christianity size of this

segment in the US

adult Mosaics and Busters 18-41 37% 34million

older Mosaics and younger Busters

Christians 16-29 20 24

Boomers 42-60 27 21

Elders 61+ 23 12

I felt “spiritual vertigo” sense of dizziness, disorientation, confusion, & even panic you feel when someone challenges core of your faith in a way that you cannot answer. Have you ever felt spiritual vertigo? If you haven’t, you probably will – and soon.

Why say that? Because Christianity is currently under a widespread & vociferous attack by militant atheists, radical scholars, popular authors, and others in bestselling books, TV documentaries, & on the Internet. Or if you don’t come down with a case of spiritual vertigo, chances are that your kids will when they go off to college, where the percentage of atheists among professors is three times greater than in the population as a whole.

Remember size & scope of Christianity in America. Yes, there are many "flavors" of the Christian faith, & it may not dominate society, as some secularists declare. Yet everyone has to deal w\massive numbers of people who are part of Christian tradition: vast majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians; most adults in this country say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life; & nearly 1/2 are relatively active churchgoers. Of course, depth of most Christians’ faith leaves much to be desired, but fact is Xianity leaves an enormous footprint in America.

When it comes to unchurched in the Bluegrass, we can either try to gain an understanding of who they are, or we can continue to dismiss them. We know what we should do we too should lift up our eyes unto our field Lexington, & see God’s harvest awaiting workers.

Who are the unchurched? And what are they like? It’s important to realize that before we can ever hope to have the opportunity to change their lives, we must first change our attitudes and beliefs about who they are.

The Scribes and Pharisees are MOST LIKE US

Perhaps most frightening thing about Pharisees they are group of people in gospels which most closely resembles us. So far as fundamentals are concerned the Pharisees believed in nearly everything we do. They believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible (in their case the OT). They believed in the supernatural, in Satan, angels, heaven and hell, and the resurrection of the dead.

Just what exactly do people think about Christians and Christianity? Why do these perceptions exist? Obviously, people believe their views are accurate (otherwise they would disavow them), but do their perceptions reflect reality? And why do people’s perceptions matter - should they matter - to Christ followers?

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