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Half of Americans who have left their church say they no longer believe in God. These stats from a recent survey from Pew Research demonstrate a growing trend.
Hebrews - Falling Away from the Faith - Questions & Answers - Orthodox Church in America
More and more kids are walking away from church when they grow up and many are giving up on God completely. Why is this happening? Almost half of kids who grew up to walk away from their faith indicate a lack of belief. To begin with, many of them never had a true conversion experience because no one took the time to explain to them what it really means to follow Jesus. This leaves kids facing the hard questions with no Biblical answers. And then secular humanism fills the void with the wrong answers. With no foundation, kids are pulled in. If we are going to reverse this trend, the church must help kids have a thorough understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
No more large group, quick, repeat after me, salvation prayers. We must take the time to help kids have a clear understanding of the Gospel and the commitment they are making. Secondly, the church must teach kids why we believe what we believe. Simply put…we must teach them apologetics and help them grapple through the hard questions. Instead of waiting for them to face the hard questions in a college classroom where they will get the wrong answers, we must bring the hard questions now and help them discover the right answers.
They say the church has become focused on power, politics and money. They see organized religious groups as more divisive than uniting. Dead churches produce dead fruit. Churches that have an inward focus, churches that are more concerned about arguing about the color of the carpet than reaching the lost around them, churches that are bent on preserving the past rather than reaching the next generation, produce kids who want nothing to do with it. And can you blame them?
If the church wants to see the next generation on fire for God, then the church must give the next generation something worth giving their lives to. Churches that are passionate about the Gospel will produce kids who are passionate about the Gospel. The church must be united behind the vision of reaching the world for Christ. A significant percentage of kids who walked away said it was because they are too busy. Somewhere in our conversations, we may get the opportunity to ask what, precisely, these folks were rejecting when they turned from Christianity.
Whether we like their answers or not, nothing is gained from avoiding this information.
We would do well to listen carefully at this point. Then we may need to do some further reading ourselves. Christian culture should be a culture of thinking and questioning. As graciously as we can, it is often worth pointing out that rejecting Christianity, or any other set of ideas, because one finds its teachings restrictive or unappealing, is to play a dangerous game since it entirely ignores the question of truth. Let us also strive to create an environment in our churches, small groups and retreats where people are free to think and question what they are taught, just as the Berean Christians were commended for doing when the apostle Paul came to town Acts This is especially critical because a large number of those who reject Christianity claim they are leaving to find exactly this freedom, the freedom to honestly think and reason.
Christianity, they say, inhibited this liberty by prescribing their beliefs. While much can be said on this, let us remember that as a worldview, Christianity does include certain beliefs and, thus, rules out others. But this is true of all worldviews, including atheism.
In the case of Christianity, we are urged to ask good questions, search for the truth and embrace it when we find it. Amazingly, Christianity even goes so far as to invite the world to test its own foundational truth claims, particularly the claim that Jesus rose from the dead, and accept it only if it is found to be true 1 Corinthians I find this both refreshing and gutsy at the same time.
When this happened in Berea, the result was many coming to faith.
Finally, let us not accept the myth that atheism is the final intellectual stop for any serious, educated person who wants to assess the world objectively. As church historian John Woodbridge points out in a recent article , there are many Christian scholars and thinkers who have moved from disbelief to faith, not in spite of their intellectual study, but as a result of it.
What are the top reasons you’ve seen turn people away from faith in Jesus?
Such people include C. Kantzer, theologian and editor of Christianity Today ; Carl F. Henry, another theologian and editor of Christianity Today ; and Alister McGrath, scientist and theologian. Their work can provide valuable insights into some of the difficult questions they were forced to navigate and we would be wise to examine their responses before assuming that no good answers exist. We may find opportunities to befriend and even engage them. Who knows what God will choose to do with our efforts?
Paul Chamberlain is director of the Institute for Christian Apologetics at Trinity Western University, where he is also professor of apologetics, ethics and leadership. His newest book, Why People Stop Believing , is a response to the growing wave of Christians, including leaders, who are turning from Christianity and, in some cases, becoming some of its most ardent and well-informed critics.
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reasons why millennials are walking away from their faith
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