Hope in China, Discouragement at Home
Two recent media outlets have produced interesting items on Christianity. The first is an episode of PBS’ Frontline which shows the church in China. Amazingly, it appears to be growing stronger and stronger among the rich and poor with public and underground churches making up an estimated 300 million believers! [You can watch the show online here].
But then TIME Magazine recently published an article about evangelical Christians in the United States. Apparently, things may be going better in China. According to their poll we are now more tolerant. That may not be a bad thing, so what do they mean? According to the article:
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year surveyed 35,000 American, and found that 70% of respondents agreed with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life.” Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” [read more here]
That is not good, friends. While Christianity is growing like we see in Acts over in China, we are getting weak, flabby, and helpless in our faith here in the States. Is it any wonder that most churches are not looked down upon for their stance on the person and work of Christ but because they seem irrelevant to our culture?
So what do we do? First we give thanks to God for the spread of the gospel in places like China! We pray that God would keep those churches health and strong and Christ-centered.
Secondly, we should pray for God to renew churches that are not where they should be. Pray that God would strengthen pulpits to preach His word and nothing else. Pray for Christians to take their walk with God seriously and not just as some optional add-on to their life, like a sun-roof on their car. Pray for God to pour out his grace and call us to a radical, counter-cultural faith in him that is fueled by a deep, joyful satisfaction in His Son, Jesus Christ.