"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11
These words speak of today. They speak of America. And they speak of the American churches.
Consider: Barna studies note that sixty-five percent of Mosaics and Busters in America (ages 18-41) "have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important." Twenty-nine percent of that group is "absolutely committed to the Christian faith." Three-percent of that same group have a Christian worldview.
The odds are that the Christian family sitting next to you at church does not have a Christian worldview.
How can this be?
When Amos speaks of a famine of the Word of God, he is not necessarily speaking of the lack of Bibles. Or pastors. In fact, Israel had many pastors (priests and prophets)...who tickled their ears!
And today we have millions of bibles. Yet millions of spiritual babes.
The famine of the Word of God during Israel's time was a famine of true prophets and faithful priests. And a famine of the truth. Today it is the same: many teachers and preacher yet little truth.
Likewise, famines are usually not the complete lack of food (grass and grub is always around); they can involve the lack of good and nutritious food. And the numbers do not lie: there is either a complete and utter lack of spiritual provision or no one is eating what it offered.
It's probably both.
This idea of famine also directs us to what is important: fear not those that can kill the body but He who can caste both the body and soul into hell. Americans are so materially prosperous that we easily forget what real physical hunger entails. We have also forgotten what real spiritual hunger entails as well. Many Christian feel ok about the junk food they eat--little doctrine, heavy practice--not realizing that they are in a state of malnutrition.
If the numbers do not make Christians reevaluate what they are eating every Sunday, then what will? The very abundance of churches and preachers then becomes a curse. Being mislead by leaders who should offer the unadulterated Word of God and Gospel of Christ, millions are satisfied with false teaching instead: wealth-oriented preaching and self-help teaching.
The Law to convict you of sin and the Gospel to point you to Christ, this is the meat spiritual babes need. Churches that show love through discipline by the Word
Dear reader: are you satisfied with the Barna numbers? What kind of spiritual food are you eating? Do the books and sermons you read reinforce these statistics or do they challenge how you think and act?
Here's a test: read the Shorter Catechism. Is that too much truth? Is it more than you've ever heard in a year's worth of sermons?
If you have a good church feeding you the whole counsel of God, support and endorse her. If you are starving, find a church that teaches the doctrines of our Reformed fathers. A church that will move beyond milk to the sincere meat of the Word.