Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Top religious trends of 2005 - and where are we headed?

George Barna, perhaps the leading church researcher in the U. S., has come out with his review of the top trends in the church world in 2005. Among the more alarming things he mentions is the rise of Biblical illiteracy, particularly among youth, which he traces in part to the decline in family devotions.

Let's work and pray to reverse that trend, which could lead our nation to become like Europe, completely secularized and without hope to pass on to the next generations. Seeking purpose and meaning in life, some ethnic Europeans are converting to radical Islam - one Belgian girl, Murielle Degauque, even blowing herself up as a suicide bomber in Iraq recently.

Chuck Colson writes in a recent "Breakpoint" commentary:

This shocking incident reminds us that Islam is no longer confined to oppressed and angry Arabs. It is in our midst and deadly dangerous. But there’s something else going on: that is, the cultural setting in which people like Degauque make their choices....

The effects of European secularism, you see, are not limited to the children of Muslim immigrants. A culture where barely half the people believe in God, and far fewer practice any religion at all, cannot compete with Islam’s vitality. While Europeans have ceased believing in God, they and their children have not stopped needing Him: Their need for meaning and purpose has not gone away. They have just been convinced that these will not be found inside a Christian church.

I don't believe this has to be our future; indeed, there are signs of life for the American Church. Nor does the weakeness of faith in Europe negate what God is doing all over the world, shaking Asia, Africa, and Latin America with powerful revivals. Let's press in together in prayer to see a mighty outpouring of God's grace in our region in 2006 and beyond!

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