No saltiness, no influence

A Pew Forum poll reveals attitudes of evangelical leaders in the two great divisions of the world. Their attitudes are quite the contrast.

In addition, most leaders in the Global South (58%) say that evangelical Christians are gaining influence on life in their countries. By contrast, most leaders in the Global North (66%) say that, in the societies in which they live, evangelicals are losing influence. U.S. evangelical leaders are especially downbeat about the prospects for evangelical Christianity in their society; 82% say evangelicals are losing influence in the United States today, while only 17% think evangelicals are gaining influence. via National Post.

What might be the percentages among Christians in the Lord’s church in those two areas? That would be a fascinating study.

One American evangelical leader says they don’t have greater influence in society because they worried more with making converts than with making disciples. I’ve heard brethren say the same thing of us.

American churches of Christ are full of baptized people who have yet to follow Jesus. Discipline is nigh to non-existent. Immorality is rampant. Adultery is tolerated. Church baseball gets more time than evangelism. The old criticism about shepherds being the board of directors is still true in many places. Preachers are pastors, and evangelism mostly consists of dragging people to hear Sunday sermons. Preachers “preach for” churches; that’s the very language they use, and no one thinks it strange. Nobody has much idea any more of what the mission of the church is, so just about anything gets pitched under that umbrella, from orphanages to disaster relief. Church attendance is the gauge for membership in good standing. If you don’t have a building, you’re not a viable church.

Is this a caricature? Yes. But accurate enough, in enough places, that it sticks. You can consider it a missionary rant, but hold it up against your congregation and do the comparison.

Why doesn’t the Lord’s church have more influence in society?

Because the salt has lost its saltiness.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.” –Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:13 NET

6 Replies to “No saltiness, no influence”

  1. One sister replied and said that she really liked it. As always, you do a good job. Time to mow (cut or eat) the lawn)!

  2. Call it what you will, but it was a great article. I read it to George and he thought so, as well. It’s not just a topic for missionaries, but perhaps missionaries are reminded more frequently of some of these concerns. Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Randal,

    I’m usually there with you 99.9% brother. So, the 0.1% factor? The longer I am in the Lord’s Church and the occasional visits to His other congregations (primarily when traveling out of the home area) the more encouraged I am becoming that there are those who realize change must begin now. Those ten congregations visited annually show me that they are getting IT, that it, what Christianity is all about. And as I read about the happenings via their bulletin, I am encouraged even more. But then again, who am I to say, since we have no hierarchical national organization to confirm what’s happening congruently, so I must rely on visits and postings of friends like you all to know if IT is being accomplished. Maybe there is still time for your eraser to modify your Picasso of the Church view? Hmmm, must be getting late

  4. The assessment is accurate “enough,” as you say, to prompt honest Christian reflection. It’s easy to do “membership” without much “discipleship.” Constant fight. Glad for other remarks as well.

What do you think?