Affluence = Spiritual apostasy, apathy?

3/13/08 Affluence = spiritual apostasy and apathy

I have observed that the more affluent a congregation is that the more works related and less Biblical living/teaching is preached or practiced. It becomes more important to live well and do good rather than know Jesus and live as He taught. They are concerned about their place in the world and perceptions. Jesus is a savior in a vague way but not a teacher. As more generations are raised this way, very little is left of Biblical understanding. Soon young people wonder what the point of church is and quit going because it doesn’t apply to their life. They find excuses to avoid church and soon don’t bother even with excuses but have been won over by the world. The link is broken. Their children likely won’t go to church.

Also, there seems to be a necessary for a need in order for people to want God in their lives. The more affluent a nation, person or church are, the less is truly needed. This often can be a gradual decline as wealth increases so by the time the church or person has reached apostasy, they do not necessarily realize it for what it is but rather give justifications as to why their beliefs have changed and the original beliefs and practices are no longer “relevant”.

This was seen in Old Testament writings as well as throughout history and more recent events. When things were going well for Israelites they fell away from God until things got tough. Then they remembered God and begged forgiveness. I guess its just human nature to take God for granted until trouble comes. After the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, church attendance is the US spiked. It has now fallen back off. We need to fight against this by keeping church relevant to everyday life.

I also find it interesting that the most popular churches today seem to have the most apostasy. Americans are comfortable with their worldly, consumer lifestyles and want a church which justifies this. They don’t want to change or sacrifice. They want immediate rewards, not some vague thing which maybe will occur when they die. They want to be entertained. Thus, the message becomes less important than the package (fancy buildings, nice clothes, popular music, etc). The message itself has become watered down in order to appeal to “the masses”. Forget creation if you want, but know some about Moses and the 10 Commandments, Jesus birth, simplified savior message with His death and resurrection. Not much said about daily living other than the Golden Rule. While this may bring people in the door every week, does it really bring people to know and understand Jesus mission and God’s word? I don’t think so. It makes hollow Christians with only a vague idea of the meaning of what Christianity is about. Most say they are Christian but don’t act any differently than non-Christians.

A good example of this is in observing the ordinance of headcovering for women. This is a very contentious issue to some. There are many rationalizations as to why not to cover. The Reformed Presbytery in North America issued a position against covering in 2001. (Read their report) The conclusion states that it is an alteration and change concerning headcovering. Meaning at one time they did endorse covering. They now use the fact that women generally don’t wear headcoverings in modern culture to show that 1 Corinthians 11 was only cultural to ancient times.

They don’t want to offend or drive anyone away be telling the truth, “In this way, we, as Christians, may use our liberty to promote unity and peace within the body of Christ and to drive away unnecessary contention from the Church.” In other words, women don’t want to do it so we won’t make them so they will still come to our churches. Thus, they have rationalized away and countermanded this Biblical ordinance.

A group in North Ireland split from the main Presbyterian church to form the Free Persbyterian Church due to apostasy. This group supports women’s headcovering and a return to Biblical principles. This is just one example of apostasy in modern churches.

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