By Jonathan David Faulkner
Christianity is falling apart, the Church in America is in dire straits, what are we going to do? Or is it…Well…if you listen to the doomsayers. I know, I know, we’ve said some things that lean that way, given our support of the Babylon Bee you’d wonder if we believed the media, that the state of American Christendom is so dire that we should just give up and start over.
Which, to an extent, that’s what has been happening, Christians like myself who have decided it was time to give up the idols of American Christianity and start to follow the faith as it was meant to be lived out. Not in the way that the media portrays us as something like Westboro or unintelligent Trump voters. Granted, both stereotypes are true in some cases, but not when you really start to evaluate the majority of Christians in the U.S. God is on the move, but you’re not hearing about it.
This of course is because the media’s knowledge of religion is minimal at best. As a post on the Religious Dispatch pointed out this week in an article of Trump and Hilary: “”The boys and girls on the bus are well versed in the talking points, image strategies, the horse race – all the conventions of modern presidential campaign journalism…their understand of religion is a mixture of broad bromides about the nature of religion in American life, imbed perhaps with entirely subjective notions of religion born of their own personal experience with it.” The media does not know enough about religion to even understand the life of a religious person.
And I’m not referring to revivals in West Virginia or AzuzaNow, both events our website has covered as well as many other organizations. I am talking about the average Christian that you meet in the corner deli or the coffee house. The Christian not reaching for power, but simply trying to live a life that is transformed by the Gospel. That’s the Christian you do not hear about, they are the everyday believers, leaving out and speaking the Gospel. Reaching their neighborhoods and communities with the message of grace and peace…and doing so without any recognition.
Unless you listen to Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. While Dobson and Falwell Jr. have worked to make a power play, struggling to achieve a false view of the churches role in politics. And while people like Feuerstien have torn down the body for not subscribing to their version of Christianity. Those who would rather continue driving a stake through the heart of the already bleeding American Church instead of seeking to actually be the Church.
Yes, the church has issues, there’s a lot of negative ideologies that need to be addressed, there are problems that need to be resolved. We have to talk about those things and we have to be discerning in dealing with them and how to solve those issues. We have to continue to address those things and figure out a way to do it in such a way that stays further division among the genuine believers while separating us from those who have twisted the gospel and refuse to be transformed.
But, we also must be aware of what is happening within the Christian Faith. Little hint, it is not what the media is telling you.
If you don’t believe me, take a trip to New England, one of the most densely populated areas in the country and one of the oldest regions in the country. A place where the term; “Post-Christian Society” is about the only way to describe it. A place where it is genuinely unpopular to be a Christian. From Maine to New York City the term “God Bless You” will get you a death glare. Just down the road in Salem the head of the Wicka Cult worships, down in Boston there is Harvard and MIT and a number of other schools with teachers that are openly hostile towards Christianity.
Yet, come and meet the Christians, not the ones in the various Liberal churches who cling to Leftist doctrines more than they stick to the Gospel, but to the actual, Bible-Believing Christians. The ones who know how unpopular their viewpoints are among the common people and higher ups. The ones who genuinely want to build people up and spread the good news of the Gospel.
But here’s the thing, this is not just happening here in New England, this is happening all across the country. Keller actually believes this to be the norm, not the exception, and that is encouraging news. These are not Cultural Christians, or Cultural Evangelicals, they are genuine, bible-believing, Gospel living believers who genuinely love each other and who genuinely love their enemies because they understand that love comes from God and because they love Him and know His love for them they are able to live out joyfully the life that we are all called to.
So we apologize if the impression we have given you of the American Church is a bleak one. That is not entirely the case. There are a lot of good things happening in the church, especially here on the North Shore, one of which we will be highlighting in the month of July. Seeking to celebrate those things which God is doing in the church and encouraging those who might be disillusioned as we are to know that there is hope.
God is moving amongst his people, the Gospel is stronger than ever, and maybe our current predicament has a lot to do with that. God can do amazing things when His people find themselves weak and without power. That’s how this whole thing started in the first place. In the weakness and powerlessness of the Manger, with a baby and his mother and father, a baby who would one day take on the sins of the world on the cross.
At God’s Heart for Those we choose to build up and encourage the Church, hoping to be a unifying voice among the chaos. And if that makes us #GospelDrivenSissyPreachers then so be it.
Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry