Summary: When people come to the realization that God's divine plan requires self-sacrifice and service to Christ they rebel, and the true Christian becomes a serious minority.
Manifold Wisdom of God
Statistics would have you believe that over 80% of Americans are Christians, and historians would have you believe that American colonial patriotic zeal was shared with over 80% of the colonist. Sometime what is shouted the loudest and the longest is assumed to be the truth, even if it is not. While it is truthful that the initial colonial rally to arms was impressive it is not the whole story. On April 9, 1775 literally thousands of militiamen from 23 towns in Massachusetts arrived in Concord and confronted the British. Right after this event, American colonists were fast to answer the call of duty, and before very long Massachusetts had fielded 12 regiments; Connecticut fielded a force of 6,000; and 16,000 men from the four New England colonies besieged British-occupied Boston. The flame of patriotic zeal had been lit and the American upper middle class initially rallied to the cause, but this enthusiasm did not last. This is not unlike what you see with the birth of a new congregation or the arrival of a new charismatic leader.
The initial colonial enthusiasm did not last long once they discovered just how difficult and dangerous military service could be. Of course this did not come as a surprise to Washington who had fought and led men in the French and Indian war. In fact, Washington predicted that “after the first emotions are over,” those who were willing to serve from a belief in the “goodness of the cause” would amount to little more than “a drop in the Ocean.” Washington was correct, before 1776 came to an end the flood of new recruits had shrunk to a trickle. As the war drew on the states were forced to make offers of cash and land bounties and use slick-tongued recruiters to lure men into the Army. It was not long, however, until most states were forced to resort to conscription to fill enlistment quotas. What is very interesting is the fact that the combined effect of cash, land, and the draft resulted in a Continental army primarily made up of young, single, property-less, and poor men. Surprise … surprise! As a result, the eventual colonial soldier was very much different from the nature of the initial soldiers at Concord. Again, it is kind of like what you see happen to the nature of people as a new church ages.
It is foolish to contradict historical facts and it is a fact that most colonists were not patriots and that it was not the overall colonial aristocracy who fought the British. In much the same way, most people who call themselves a Christian are not a Christian. In the beginning, when euphoria fuels people’s enthusiasm, it seems like the majority are loyal to the cause and dedicate to serving. When time and circumstances demand our dedication, our labor and our sacrifice the initial emotional fervor wanes and the number of people loyal to the cause begins to dwindle. As a result, patriots in colonial America became a minority … less than 30-percent of the population. When people come to the realization that they have a responsibility to God, and that this responsible requires self-sacrifice and service to Christ, the true Christian becomes a minority … less than 20-percent.
An overwhelming majority of American colonist liked the idea of some form of independence or autonomy from Briton but very few were willing to fight. In the same way, people like to call themselves a Christian and they like it when the preacher feed them instant salvation garnished with health, wealth, and happiness sermons. Things change when a preacher starts telling the people we have the responsibility to learn and obey everything Jesus taught; we have received the ministry of reconciliation and now are to be ambassadors; as we serve we are to produce spiritual fruit; we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; and as a collective we are to manifest the manifold wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in heavenly places. People do not want to hear that they are to be a source of mutual edification and evangelism in the spirit and character of Christ. People reject any message about functioning as a beacon of God’s purpose, which is to cut through the darkness of evil by obey everything Jesus taught and lead people to the one true and living God. People reject any message that implies we all must labor to know God’s will and to serve Christ; that we need to be a constant spiritual sacrifice; and that we must discipline ourselves to generate a spirit of unity and love within and among our congregations. While it may be true that over 80% of Americans call themselves a Christian, it is also true that less than 20% of Americans will accept the fact we are to be an earthly manifestation of God’s wisdom.