BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANITY, THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST & THE DEATH OF THE WEST
Two recent articles reveal how young people who have been "born again" in the protestant fashion are nevertheless falling away.
"As Pentecostalism advances across the world, winning converts faster than any other Christian denomination and siphoning believers from more established faiths, it is also suffering its own slow leak: young people who are falling away from the faith."
One teenager stated “[t]he pastor is cool...He doesn’t lie to us. He is a little kid, like us.”
"One of [the pastor's] biggest dreams is an after-school center where they could study, play — and convert.
“Imagine if we had a place where they could play basketball,” he said. “We could play some Christian music in the background, too. I promise you, after a week like that, you will see changes. ”
Yet the conversions do not stick. "Some others had visited but never returned. And one mainstay was drifting away: a 16-year-old who had stopped attending regularly, just before she was to preach her first sermon — and around the time her father went back to prison.
"National Youth Director Jay Mooney for the Assemblies of God, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States, does not hide research findings about the some 60 percent fallout in church attendance. "We wish that we were doing better than we are," Mooney told The Christian Post.
"After high school graduation, especially, students are dropping out of the Pentecostal pews "immensely," according to Mooney."
What happens to these youths who undergo a "born again" experience and end up leaving faith behind? Are these the future atheists and agnostics of the West?
The book of Hebrews states: "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." Hebrews 6:4-6
Some may say that religion has evolved. Some churches possess every comfort to attract adherents from upholstered stadium seating, to skateboard parks and coffee shops. The music sounds no different than pop radio fare. The pastor is the star of the show and must be proficient at bringing forth emotions so that the congregants can feel their faith. Church leaders speak in terms of the numbers of congregants in the same way Wall Street speaks of earnings reports. However the souls of human beings is a serious matter and the "retention" and "fallout" rates are something that these spiritual leaders are going to have to answer for.
The formulaic type of preaching that presses for a decision and highlights the reality of heaven and hell does indeed produce conversions. A soul that has never heard these truths and longs for meaning and something solid is eager to make a "decision for Christ". These churches can attract but ultimately produce a stunted Christianity that is incapable of real sustained growth in the human soul.
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment....But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:21-22
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
How are the youths of today supposed to follow these words of Christ with the world's temptations all about them?
Great fellowship, basketball courts, Christian rock music and even the coolest pastor will not fortify, nor will it enable one to follow the hard teachings of Christ. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
To do battle and to actually heroically prevail, there is no earthly replacement for the Body and Blood of Jesus. Conversion without the Eucharist is a call to battle without ammunition. It is grievously unfair to expect a person to fight against the dark powers of this world without being fortified by the Body and Blood of Jesus. Without Him we cannot withstand temptations and confront the enemies of Christ--to think that we can is no less than presumption. A very holy book and a "personal relationship with Jesus" does not make the Christian soldiers that the West is in dire need of.
"To understand how indispensable the Eucharist is to the practice of Christian chastity is to understand the meaning of Christianity. When Christ told us, "Without me, you can do nothing," He meant this to be taken literally. Without the constant help of His grace to enlighten our darkened minds and strengthen our weak wills, all the moral precepts of the New Testament are so much pious rhetoric or religious jargon." Fr John Hardon
Religion that rejects the Eucharist has run its course--it took 500+ years but we are finally at the end of the line. Christianity without the Eucharist is a half truth that fails to feed and fortify souls. Protestantism has failed us and we are now seeing the devastated fruit of its spread throughout the West. Protestantism does not and cannot condemn the sins that threaten to wipe out Western Civilization i.e., contraception. Protestantism does not and cannot with a unified voice confront Islam. Only with the Eucharist can the West again produce true counter-cultural soldiers for Christ. The sword of our enemy is at our backs and non-denominational, do whatever you feel Christianity does not have the divine fortification to resist the world and the onslaught of Islam. If we won't kneel at the true physical presence of Jesus then we will be made to kneel before the god of Islam.
The above referenced articles appeared in the New York Times and The Christian Post.