Archive for June, 2009

The Decline Of Christianity In America


Are we witnessing the decline of Christianity in America?  When you examine all of the most recent poll numbers, the answer is inescapable.  Christian churches in America are losing members rapidly, and this trend is especially dramatic among young Americans. 

According to a stunning new survey by America’s Research Group, 95 percent of 20 to 29 year old evangelicals attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years. However, only 55 percent of them attended church regularly during high school, and only 11 percent of them were still regularly attending church when in college.

Those numbers have got to be incredibly sobering to the evangelical Christian leadership in the United States.

The reality is that young Americans are deserting the Church in America in droves. 

The other day we came across an article in Advertising Age that blew us away. The article was discussing marketing and religion, but what impacted us so profoundly were some figures from the American Religious Identification Survey by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture at Trinity College.

According to that survey, 15% of Americans now say they have “no religion” which is up from 8% in 1990.

That would be bad enough news for evangelical Christianity.

But there is some more news from that survey that is much worse.

In that same survey, 46% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 indicated that they had no religion.

Forty. Six. Percent.

It is important to realize that not all of those 46 percent are unbelievers. According to a survey by Bohan Advertising/Marketing, the Barna Group and the United Methodist Church, 62 percent of Americans in that age group consider themselves to be “spiritual”, and 43 percent of them have prayed to some higher power in the last 2 months.

But what it does mean is that almost half of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 do not identify themselves with any particular religion.

And when you look at more recent poll numbers for Christianity in particular, the numbers become even more staggering.

Another new survey by the Barna group reveals that less than 1 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 hold a Biblical worldview. This new poll data clearly demonstrates that the youngest adults in America are clearly rejecting traditional evangelical Christian teaching.

The Barna survey defined “a Biblical worldview” as holding all of the following six key beliefs:

1) Believing that absolute moral truth exists.
2) Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
3) Believing that Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic.
4) Believing that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works.
5) Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
6) Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

So what do all of these poll numbers mean?

They mean that evangelical Christianity has totally lost almost an entire generation of American young people.

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor recently published an article about the “coming evangelical collapse” that they believe is coming. They openly predict that “within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants.”


The reality is that nearly all Christian denominations are rapidly losing members at this point.

The most recent American Religious Identification Survey demonstrates this fact very clearly. According to that survey, the percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians has dropped more than 11% since 1990. The survey also reports that Catholics, Baptists and other mainline Protestant churches have seen very large drops in numbers.

However, Islam, Wicca and eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism showed large gains in the survey.

The long-term trends look even more frightening for the churches in America.  According to LifeWay Research, membership in Southern Baptist churches will fall nearly 50 percent to around 8.7 million Americans by the year 2050 if current trends continue.

But even more bad news for evangelical Christianity in America is that those who still call themselves Christians do not necessarily hold to traditional Christian beliefs any longer. Two other recent surveys reveal that the majority of American Christians believe that accepting Jesus Christ as savior is NOT the only way to eternal life.

USAToday recently reported on an almost unbelievable new survey that found that 52 percent of American Christians believe that eternal life is not exclusively for those who accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

A different survey that was taken last year by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 57 percent of evangelical Christians in America believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”.

That shocking study revealed what many evangelical leaders have known for a long time – large number of “Christians” in the United States are throwing traditional Christian doctrines into the dumpster.

Evangelical Christians have traditionally been those who follow the teachings of the Bible most literally. But these new surveys indicate that even a majority of them do not believe in the most fundamental precepts of the Christians faith any longer.

For example, in John 14:6 Jesus says the following:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If there was another way for our sins to be forgiven, then why did Jesus need to die on the cross? If there were other ways to salvation, then Jesus could have come down to earth, pointed out a bunch of other ways to get to heaven, and then could have gone back up to heaven without having to deal with the cross.

But the reality is that there was no other way for our sins to be paid for.

And yet these new surveys reveal that a majority of American Christians now believe that there are plenty of other ways to get to heaven.

The Pew survey referenced above also revealed that 45% of Americans say that they seldom or never read their religion’s holy books.

Perhaps if more American Christians were actually reading the Bible they would know what is truth and what is error. Instead, American Christians have surrounded themselves with preachers and self-help coaches and “feel-good” ministers who tell them what they want to hear, who always make them feel comfortable and who never, ever tell them about sin, holiness or the judgment of God.

The current situation in the churches of America reminds us of 2 Timothy 4:3…..

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

The reality is that past generations of America faithfully filled up churches across the nation that were preaching the Word of God, but today the vast majority of Americans stay home from church each week, and many of the churches that are still drawing crowds are watering down their messages as much as they can in a desperate attempt to hold on to the people who are still there.

Dave Olson, the director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, has done some really interesting research into the church attendance patterns of Americans.

Olson’s research found that the percentage of Americans that regularly attend church is only 18.7%.

In addition, his research shows that if current trends continue, the percentage of the U.S. population that attends church each week in 2050 will be about half of what it is today.

All of these polls and surveys tell us the same thing:

Christianity in America is in a serious state of decline – especially among young people.

Many Christian leaders who read this article will try to deny it or will try to make excuses.

But all of these polls are not lying.

The truth is that we need to examine ourselves. 

Is God moving where you worship?  Do our churches look like the authentic Christian movement that we read about in the book of Acts?  Are our lives significantly different from what we see in the world?  Are our services lifeless, joyless exercises in futility?  Do we truly have great love for one another and a passion to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

If we want any chance to win back the next generation, then we are going to have to get back to the real thing.  If you do not have “the real thing” in your church, then it is time to start asking yourself some really hard questions.

A Plan For Jews And Muslims To Share The Temple Mount?


There is a new push to make the Temple Mount in Jerusalem a site that is shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians, and where a rebuilt Jewish Temple can stand side by side with the Islamic Dome of the Rock that stands there now.

Does that sound absolutely crazy and unrealistic?


But there are scholars and organizations that are actually promoting this idea and working on plans to bring it to fruition.

A recent article that was published in the leading journal of religious law in Israel has sparked a great deal of debate in the Jewish community about the possibility of sharing the Temple Mount.  The article in “Tehumin” discussed the potential for making the Temple Mount into “God’s Holy Mountain” – a “house of prayer” for all people (Isaiah 56:7).

Of course, to many Jews and Christians such a concept would be a blatant abomination, but there are religious authorities in Israel that are taking this idea very seriously.

The article in Tehumin envisioned a scenario where a “holy revelation” is given to an “authentic prophet” that would authorize that the Temple be rebuilt in peaceful proximity to the Dome of the Rock and nearby Christian shrines.

The article also seems to think that such a scenario would be in keeping with the words of the famous 12th Century Jewish sage Maimonides that Christianity and Islam are part of God’s ultimate plan “to direct the entire world to worship God together.”

As unlikely a scenario as this may seem right now, the truth is that this sets the stage for the Antichrist to come on the scene as “an authentic prophet” in the future with a peace plan that would propose just such a thing.

Yoav Frankel, the director of the project promoting a vision of “God’s Holy Mountain” acknowledges the skepticism that many have regarding the project but at the same time expresses a great deal of long-term optimism:

“We offer this vision for a long and deep discussion, and of course want to continue with a parallel research from other religions.”

There is even a website for the project promoting a vision of “God’s Holy Mountain”:

The website depicts a harmonious future for the Temple Mount where Muslims, Christians and Jews mingle between the Dome of the Rock and a rebuilt Jewish Temple.

The project is headed by Jewish members of the Interfaith Encounter Association, and they are actively encouraging all three faiths to consider a new theological outlook which would allow for all three religions to worship there.

However, with tensions increasing seemingly with each new day in the Middle East right now, such a scenario for the Temple Mount is not likely to come to fruition any time soon.

But many Bible prophecy teachers have believed for a long time that just such a scenario some day will come to pass.  After the next great war involving Israel, many on both sides will be crying out for peace.

In such an environment, the Antichrist may just be able to convince both the Muslims and the Jews that a shared Temple Mount would be a great symbol of peace.

But as students of Bible prophecy we know how that would turn out.


For the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly endorsed an independent Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-Ilan University on June 14th in Ramat Gan, Israel was billed as a major foreign policy event, but most analysts did not anticipate how stunning this speech would turn out to be.

For many Jews, to hear Benjamin Netanyahu publicly call for a Palestinian state is absolutely shocking. This is how Netanyahu described how he sees the peace process playing out: “In my vision, there are two free peoples living side by side each with each other, each with its own flag and national anthem.”

Netanyahu did place conditions on a future Palestinian state, however.  He said that any future Palestinian state would have to be unarmed and would have to officially recognize Israel.

Netanyahu’s speech was widely seen around the world as his response to the intense pressure that the Obama administration has been putting on him.  His speech struck a defiant tone in that regard, as he refused to heed Obama’s call for an immediate freeze of construction on lands Palestinians claim for their future state.

In addition, Netanyahu also clearly said that Jerusalem must remain under Israeli sovereignty.

This goes directly against what Barack Obama has been promising to the Palestinians.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been promising the Palestinians a capital inside the city of Jerusalem and has expressed his desire that the holy sites be taken away from Israel and be put directly under international jurisdiction.

WorldNetDaily recently reported that President Obama told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a recent meeting that he foresees the creation of a strong Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas’ top political adviser, Nimer Hamad, reportedly told this to WorldNetDaily: “Abu Mazen (Abbas) heard from Obama and his administration in a very categorical way that a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is in the American national and security interest.”

It is in America’s national interest for the Palestinians to have a capital in the city of Jerusalem?

Are we all suddenly in an episode of the Twilight Zone?

Talk about a really, really, really, really bad idea.

How does anyone come up with an idea that bad?

But giving the Palestinians a capital in Jerusalem is not the end of Obama’s plans for the holy land.

There are also reports that Obama desires for the holy sites in Jerusalem to come under international jurisdiction.

And what is Israel supposed to get for all of this?

Peace guarantees that the Islamic terrorists will break within 6 months?

Both Netanyahu and Obama are quite foolish to try to give away the land of Israel.

The truth is that God gets really, really, really angry when people start trying to give away parts of Israel, and He seems to get even angrier when people mess around with the city of Jerusalem.

On a sister blog, we recently put together a comprehensive article that documents many of the natural disasters that have hit the United States when the U.S. has tried to give away pieces of the land of Israel over the past couple of decades.

But has the government learned anything from these warnings?

Not at all.

The U.S. government seems more determined than ever to carve up the land of Israel and to take the holy sites away from the jurisdiction of Israel.

The truth is that God will not bless the U.S. if it continues these kinds of policies.

It has been said that if the U.S. ends up being successful in dividing the land of Israel that God will divide the United States.

After so many thousands of years of seeing what happens when you mess with Israel, you would think that we all would have learned something.

But the reality is that politicians will continue to mock and ignore God and will try to do what they think is best.  Unfortunately their foolishness will only bring disaster on all of us.


The preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem are heating up! The Temple Institute has announced the creation of two golden censors known as the Bezichin which will be used in the service of the Temple by the priests once the Temple has been rebuilt.

This is very exciting for those of us who are looking forward to the return of Yahshua the Messiah. The fact that the preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple are taking place is yet another sign that we are living in the last days.

The Scriptures tell us that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt and that the anti-Messiah will desecrate it in the last days. The anti-Messiah will do something so evil in this rebuilt Temple that the Scriptures refer to it as “the abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15).

For hundreds of years, scholars mocked and said that the Temple would never be rebuilt in Jerusalem. But the truth is that the Word of God is true and nothing man can do can stop it from being fulfilled.

The following is a little bit of background on the bezichin from the Temple Institute website…..

The two golden bezichin – frankincense vessels, referred to in the above passage from Exodus, as “spoons,” are an essential element of the golden show bread table and the service of the showbread. These two bezichin were used to contain the two handfuls of frankincense that the priests were instructed to place upon the showbread table beneath the twelves loaves of lechem hapanim – showbread. The twelve loaves were replaced every Shabbat and the loaves that were removed were eaten by the outgoing shift of priests in the Chamber of the Hearth, located along the Temple Courtyard. New loaves were set in their place simultaneously, and with them the two bezichin of fresh frankincense. Our sages tell us that the showbread never grew stale, that it remained hot and fresh, and that even a morsel of the bread was filling and satisfying the priests that ate it.

The Temple Institute has also produced a short little YouTube video on these vessels that we have embedded below for you…..

The reality is that we are living in the last days and the signs are all around us.

Praise God that we get the privilege of living in such extraordinary times!