Reading about the church in the press from the eastern edge of Europe is both depressing and prophetic. On the one hand, there are stories similar to ours, but more pronounced; on the other hand, as the world turns, we have a few more hours to reflect on what it means.
For instance, take Scotland, one of my favorite hearths in the whole world, they write on spiritual topics more commonly than do our papers. What is their take on the state of the church? Attendance is down, competing voices are more numerous, and secularism is rising; different place, same story.
Scotland, the birthplace of John Knox (founder of Presbyterianism), along with all of Europe for that matter, suffered under the yoke of "higher criticism" (the source of revisionist thinking among church leaders) longer than North America. We had to settle a few things first; such as slavery, the Civil War, and manifest destiny.
Then our "enlightened" spiritual leaders got on board and educated a whole bunch of mush-heads to take over our main-line churches and schools. Take a close look at the past 150 years of those same main-line denominations and you'll quickly see that something went wrong.
Scotland is now in the throes of evaluating what has happened to their "religious" heritage, while at the same time fighting a cultural war with Islam and secularism.
Six thousand years of recorded history has told me one thing ... in tough times, it's time to get tough not soft! Europe's 150 year dance with a watered down gospel has resulted in a cushy pulpit and delivered nothing but the report at hand.
When church and civic leaders discuss their spiritual problems from the perspective of a "religion," we can know immediately and with certainty that there is no "relationship" in their understanding of their "religion."
Why are their lay people disinterested in what their pulpiteers are proclaiming? It's because they don't proclaim with conviction from the authority of the word out of a living relationship with the Risen Lamb of God ... that's why!
Prophetically speaking, God's messengers have been warning North Americans for 100 years to beware the religion of men. The United States has been blessed beyond reason with men and women who've heard the voices of warning and have maintained a fingertip grasp on the faith of our fathers ... pray that God continues to provide us with such saints for our descendents' sake.
Look to Canada to see what is ahead if He doesn't ... the sins of the fathers are visited to the third and fourth generations. God have mercy on us all.