“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” -Revelation 3:16
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” -Romans 1:21-23
“In spite of the fact that many of them are currently disconnected from a church, most Americans, including two-thirds of all adult Mosaics and Busters [ages 18-41], tell us that they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ at some point in their life…. Of course, this raises the question of the depth of their faith…. [O]ut of 95 million Americans who are ages 18 to 41, about 60 million say they have already made a commitment to Jesus that is still important; however, only about 3 million of them have a biblical worldview.” -Dave Kinnaman, unChristian, p.74-75
“Recently gathered data on church membership and church attendance show that unless trends are reversed, major British denominations will cease to exist by 2030.” -Steve Bruce, Christianity in Britain, R. I. P.
The most important question to ask ourselves before spending our time trying to deal with lukewarm faith in Christian societies is to first figure out if there is even really a problem. Just because we see a highly secularized media or a pop culture which views religion for its commercial appeal and cool factor instead of its personal importance, does not mean that there is actual an issue with the common everyday Joe on the street. Thus, instead of depending on our own senses and intuition, let’s look at what the statistics have to say:
- Among all Americans 78.4% claim Christianity of some sort, 51.3% being Protestant, and 26.3% Evangelical. Among 18-to-41 year olds, 66% claim Christianity of some sort, yet when given a survey of worldviews only 3% expressed a consistent biblical (Evangelical) worldview
- United Kingdom
- According to recent surveys only 45% of Britons claim to be Christians of some sort, with 8% actually attending church regularly (compared to 41% in America). Moreover, popular opinion is that major denominations, such as Methodism, will be extinct in Britain by 2030
- Western Europe
- In France and Sweden, 60% and 46%, respectively, of population never attend church. Moreover, between a quarter and a third of the populations of France, Sweden, Germany, Estonia, and the Netherlands believe there is no god or any other type of spiritual essence
So, according to the numbers it also appears that there is a problem. The biggest issues I think we see are on two, almost completely opposite fronts. The first front is the problem which seems most pronounced in America and England, that being the high percentage of what is now being termed in the research as “Nominal Christians”; people who claim Christianity but do not exhibit either a biblical worldview or attend church regularly. The other problem is the growth of atheism as a religious worldview, this being seen heavily throughout Western Europe but not yet as much in America. Both of these are substantial problems for the church as it tries to address lukewarmness in these traditionally Christian societies, and as such we will try and deal with each one specifically over the course of the next two posts.