I think one of the great failings of the American Church is the assumption that our country is full of people who have heard and rejected the Gospel. How can you live in this country and have not heard the message of the Cross?
It is a great assumption that the proliferation of churches and the culture of Christianity in our society that this message has somehow filtered out to every ear.
However, then I sit down with my wife and watch one of her many reality shows and hear some unbeliever's unabridged definition of Christianity and it's not even close. It shows bias and bitterness -- sadly, probably from some bad experience.
What do Americans think of Christianity? Here are some misunderstandings:
- It's about being good.
- It's about going to church.
- It's about acting holy.
- It's about voting Republican.
- It's about acting crazy and getting "blown over" by some preacher.
- It's about being sexually uptight or "repressed."
- It's about being moralistic and self-righteous.
Of course, a Christian will be compelled to do good, maintain fellowship with other believers, seek God's holiness, and respond to the call to obedience to God's Word. But the American culture of Christianity tends to relay these things in a fleshly way, sometimes with the extra burden of judgement, that reveals nothing of the power of the Christ -- the very source of saving faith and grace. Obviously, we are not relating God's revelation. Obviously, we are relating our own wicked revelation.
If you want to really get me breathing fire, go ahead and put the blame of all this unregenerate thinking on the unregenerate. People, the blame goes squarely on my shoulders, your shoulders, our shoulders as supposed participants in the Body of Christ.
If the above misconceptions reveal the message the American Church is sending about the Gospel, we have become like the Galation Judaizers, distorting or adding to the message of the Gospel so as to destroy it.
People who are calling for a new reformation aren't using the right language, in my opinion. We should be asking God for nationwide revival! We do not need more churches with the right theology. God can correct that by the influence of the Holy Spirit redirecting the hearts of preachers who have deviated from the MESSAGE. What we need is a move of another move of the Holy Spirit putting the words of salvation, redemption, regeneration on the hearts and mouths of all of his believers.