Just over 25 years ago, the pews of the church were filled every Sunday. Recently, church attendance has taken a downward spiral. The so-called mega churches are filled to capacity, but community grassroots church services average approximately 20-30 people per Sunday. This excludes popular holidays such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter, when church attendance seems to peak then fall again. The Bible labels this falling away from the church as “the great apostasy” in which the people or the believers “shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” also “they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:4, 2 Timothy 4:3). It appears that a new type of follower has emerged, the skeptic, the mistrust of religious doctrine. The skeptic, who once faithfully attended church services, now offers all kinds of excuses why being present is not a necessity. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common excuses heard.
1.) The Bible is a collection of religious mythology, allegories, fables, and the ignorance or prejudices of the men who wrote it.
This person believes that the writings contained in the Bible are just stories. It was written by men wanting to control the actions of others…forcing their religious views of morality on members of society. And, they doubt the validity of Biblical miracles. Scientific proof is not available to verify such phenomena. These are the evolutionary believers seeking confirmation through nature…overlooking the obvious. Other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism use allegories, fables, or old wives tales to teach the same lessons found in the Word. In which some seek wisdom from these sources. There is no other book in history has been around as long as the Bible, nor still holds such relevance. But, the book of Timothy offers this explanation regarding Biblical writings, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
2.) Disagreements between Christians and the hypocrisy of the followers.
Some Non-Christians love to cast doubt on the unity of the Church… disagreements on the interpretations of scripture and foundational doctrines are an excuse to avoid church attendance. For example, every denomination believing that they are the true “Church.” They ask, “How can you believe those preachers?” Fallen Evangelical preachers have tarnished the reputation of all pastors. Church members are accused of being unloving and unkind to others. There are claims of church hurt, as well as, abuse of members…all in the name of religion. Also, the church is looking more like the world. It is hard to tell the real Christians from the fake. Weekly church attendance produces no change in lifestyle…emotional and lacking power. New believers have questions, but receive unclear or no answers. At the top of the list is the complaint of members gossiping under the pretense of prayer. The Apostle Paul exhorts us to “continue in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of who thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14).
3.) I am a good person. I have no need for religious services. All good people go to Heaven.
Many religions teach that there are several paths to Heaven. While feeding the flock that salvation is obtained through living good. Unfortunately, in today’s world, what is bad is now good and what is good is now bad…confusing! There is no absolute truth. It is made up as we go along. We have all heard this one “A God that is good would never send a good person to Hell.” The Bible can be read at home. Contradictory material found on television and the internet produce resistance to learning. Labeling of the faithful as brainwashed, restricted, void of critical thinking skills, and living in bondage is a common theme. Others report that the preacher’s message made them feel uncomfortable. The message condemned. Many are satisfied with their present lifestyle…so why change it? The Bible warns of those who “resist the truth” it calls them “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8).
Satan’s job is to keep the people blinded. As the world continues to operate in this spiritual blindness, the list of excuses will continue to grow. (I have only scratched the surface) Although, the debate of the doubters can make witnessing a challenge, the gospel must be preached to all nations. There is still room at the cross for more! Continue to move forward. Remember, “He who wins souls is wise” our reward will come from God, not man (Proverbs 11:30). Amen!
Written by Laura Alexander