Dr David Tacey is Associate Professor and Reader in Arts and Critical Enquiry, at La Trobe University, Melbourne.
THE mainstream churches face an uncertain future as Australians turn away from religion in droves.
Religious scholars have warned that Christian churches have become so out of touch with modern life that their end could come within two decades.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a quarter of all Australians see themselves as having no religion.
Dr David Tacey, of Melbourne's La Trobe University, said interest in New Age religions and Eastern beliefs such as Buddhism -- Australia's fastest-growing religion -- would increase to the detriment of mainstream religions.
Well, it might be that people are falling away from the "church", or more than likely that they never were part of it to start with. We all tend to use the word "Christian" too lightly, I think if you asked 100 folks off the street what a christian was, without a doubt the majority would say something that boils down to..a nice guy...Well I am sorry until the Law and the gospel are both presented, and men are brought to a real knowledge of sin, theirs...and see that they have infinitely offended their creator, and are hopeless to redeem themselves, they have ne grounds for seeing Jesus as "a nice guy" Not until they surrender to Him as Lord, and Righteous Judge can they even hope to experience Him. I think we as the church have done our Father a grave disservice by not preaching the same gospel that the apostles preached, let's remember the warningin Gal 1:9ff. We are to preach the Law to show men their sin, God's hatred of sin, and their hopeless state...We are to preach Jesus as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and redemption in his blood alone, and we are to preach salvation by grace, by faith, free, nothing added. We so often leave out the unpopular part about HELL. And then we wonder why the seed dies, it never had roots to start with. Look at history, the church flourished under persecution, and died when it got easy to be saved...decisions, accepting Jesus as our personal savior, or steps to salvation are cute, but they are not the message given through the apostles and prophets, we have climbed into bed with the world, and compromised our message as to not offend, and have made it, and the "converts" that come from it impotent, worse...lost, and what is worse, they think they are "born again" and never having died to begin with...We need to pray for mercy, and ask for wisdom, and courage to stand up for the truth, it will cost, dearly but oh the reward when we have endured till the end....
The 'Titanic' was hardly 'Antiquated', and it had a better chance of surviving the Atlantic crossing than any ship then afloat, which is why its scarecly-credible loss is still remembered today. Let us hope that the Christian church can survive the million-to-one chance that sank the Titanic!
May be in Australia Christianity is waning. This is not true in other parts of the world. The problem with his statement is that "fundamentalism" can be attributed to someone who takes his/her Christianity seriously. The term "fundamentalism" is being broadened to include classical evangelical Christianity.
At anyrate, God will always have a witness as in the days of Elijah.
13 and it cometh to pass, at Elijah's hearing it, that he wrappeth his face in his robe, and goeth out, and standeth at the opening of the cave, and lo, unto him is a voice, and it saith, `What--to thee, here, Elijah?'
14 And he saith, `I have been very zealous for Jehovah, God of Hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, Thine altars they have thrown down, and Thy prophets they have slain by the sword, and I am left, I, by myself, and they seek my life--to take it.'
15 And Jehovah saith unto him, `Go turn back on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus, and thou hast gone in, and anointed Hazael for king over Aram,
16 and Jehu son of Nimshi thou dost anoint for king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel-Meholah, thou dost anoint for prophet in thy stead.
17 `And it hath been, him who is escaped from the sword of Hazael, put to death doth Jehu, and him who is escaped from the sword of Jehu put to death doth Elisha;
18 and I have left in Israel seven thousand, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him.'
Not all have forgotten the Lord, not all believe God and His word is antiquated and "fundamentally", not many churches are adhering to the word of God but instead try to be modern to entice people, to bolster numbers, to do anything to look as a, and be perceived as a successful church according to the worldly measure.
Mark 12:30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God out of all thy heart, and out of thy soul, and out of all thine understanding, and out of all thy strength--this is the first command;
The following words are borrowed from a brother in the Lord: A congregation is either faithful because those in control trust in the grace of God alone for salvation, as described in His Word, or it is not faithful because those in control do not believe that. The actual performance of the congregation is the product of Godâ€™s work in the lives of its members (Phil. 2:13). If it is a faithful congregation it still is imperfect in doctrine and practice. It is growing in grace over time. But it is never judged, because true believers are not judged. If it is not a faithful congregation, it is sin dominated and not blessed by Godâ€™s spiritual care. Then it will be judged, because the members are not saved.
1Pe 5:1 Â¶ The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Since believers by God's grace will be added to the body of Christ up until his return, unity and perfect knowledge will not be achieved by His body until that time. For that reason, the aforementioned offices will clearly exist up unto His appearing.
2Th 2:13 Â¶ But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
The idea that the coporate church is dead is nothing new. It is refuted more in depth from the Word of God at this site as well: http://www.scionofzion.com/loc.htm
The end of the institutional church should be of no suprise for true Biblically literate Christians; God has expressly spoken on the destruction and overthrow of the institutional church just as the Jewish institution set up in Israel was overthrown and controlled by "the children of the devil" when Jesus came to redeem His sheep whom the Father had given unto Him before the foundation of the earth.
Jesus tells us that "when we see the abomination which makes desolate as spoken by the prophet Daniel (LET HIM THAT readeth UNDERSTAND) 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 BEHOLD, I HAVE TOLD YOU BEFORE [T HAPPENS]. Matt. 24. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY shall not come, except THERE COME A FALLING AWAY FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that HE AS GOD SITTETH IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, SHOWING HIMSELF THAT HE IS GOD. [II Thess.2:3-4) What does God define as "the Temple of God" in His Word? A religion and religious building that is based and built upon blaspheming and denying the Son of God? NO! Does not Christianity make the solitary claim only through Jesus Christ ( via the manifest ministry of Christ through His body, the church) is any man recognized before the God of Israel? LOOK INSIDE THE TEMPLE (THE CHURCH) AND YOU WILL FIND ANTI-CHRIST ALREADY EXALTING HIMSELF AS GOD AND MAKING THE TEMPLE OF GOD DESOLATE. (For those of you who are already made "spiritual outcasts" from apostate churches you once attended, you know well that of which I speak). Yes, there has already come a great falling away (apostasy) from the true Faith, but the "temple"/institution shall remain until Christ comes to destroy this world and the devil. For God has laid a snare for the son of perdition and the wicked in the temple to utterly destroy them. [Ezekiel 9:4-10] and all who do not bare the mark of God upon their forehead (God's own sheep who bare within themselves the Holy Spirit), shall go into perdition and be slain of the Lord in That day. What we are seeing is God's Word being fulfilled beofre our eyes: "when you see these things, look up, for you redemption draweth near." [Luke 21:28].
Voltaire was making these same predictions in his lifetime. He was saying basically that the Church is so irrelevant that noone will even remember it in 100 yrs. Here we are several hundred years later, hardly anyone knows Voltaire, and the Church is alive. On a side note, Voltaire's house is now the home of a Bible distribution society. God has a sense of humor.
It would be interesting to see what the media would write if they truly knew what fundamental Christians really were instead of lumping all "fundamentalists" (of whatever "religion") into the same category.
Encyclopedia.com tells us where fundamental Christians came from: "(a) religious movement that arose ... early in the 20th cent., with the object of maintaining traditional interpretations of the Bible and of the doctrines of the Christian faith .... The Fundamentals (1909-12), in which five points of doctrine were set forth as fundamental: the Virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Christ, the infallibility of the Scriptures, the substitutional atonement, and the physical second coming of Christ."
The term "fundamental", up until that time, did not even exist! It is interesting to note that in order to hold to these doctrines you are labelled a fundamentalist. Shouldn't ALL professing Christains believe these truths taught in the word of God? We live in a sad day and age where true Bible-believing Christians are considered outcasts even among so-called "Christians".
I must also add that right before the churches began to split over these fundamental doctrines, the American Standard Version (1901) was published followed by the rest of the new "versions". (Maybe the creation of the new "version" had to do with why these fundamentals had to be established?)
Another interesting tidbit: just after these fundamentals of the faith were established, "tongues" began to be used in "Christian" circles.
It would be interesting for you to do a study on all of this for yourselves....
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).