Casual Christianity

In a wide-ranging discussion about the state of faith in America, veteran researcher George Barna recently addressed questions raised by his new book, The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter. In that book, Barna outlines seven diverse faith segments, profiling their lifestyles, religious beliefs and practices, values and life goals. The seven tribes include Casual Christians, Captive Christians, Mormons, Jews, Pantheists, Muslims and Skeptics. During the course of the conversation, Barna answered a series of questions about the largest – and potentially most powerful – tribe, the Casual Christians. Barna’s studies indicate that Casual Christians represent 66% of the adult population of the U.S. (The percentage of the adult population represented by the other half-dozen tribes included 16% who are Captive Christians, 2% Jews, 2% Mormons, 2% Pantheists, one-half of 1% Muslims, and 11% Skeptics.) The following are 3 of those questions and Barna’s answers:

1. Question: You describe the Casual Christian tribe as spiritually middle-of-the-road, perhaps even ambivalent about their faith. Why, then, are they so important to the nation’s future?
Barna: Each of the seven tribes is important to our nation’s future because they include millions of American citizens. The Casual Christian tribe is especially significant because it represents a huge majority of the nation’s population – two out of every three adults. This particular tribe is comprised of significant proportions of minimally active born again Christians and moderately active but theologically nominal Christians. If a catalyst were added to this mix to deepen this tribe’s integration of faith and lifestyle, or even to simply create a more extensive sense of community and purpose within the tribe, unprecedented changes could occur.
2. Question: What have you found to be the appeal of Casual Christianity, as opposed to what draws people to the Captive Christian or even the Mormon tribes – that is, other tribes that are much more fervent about their faith?
Barna: Casual Christianity is faith in moderation. It allows them to feel religious without having to prioritize their faith. Christianity is a low-risk, predictable proposition for this tribe, providing a faith perspective that is not demanding. A Casual Christian can be all the things that they esteem: a nice human being, a family person, religious, an exemplary citizen, a reliable employee – and never have to publicly defend or represent difficult moral or social positions or even lose much sleep over their private choices as long as they mean well and generally do their best. From their perspective, their brand of faith practice is genuine, realistic and practical. To them, Casual Christianity is the best of all worlds; it encourages them to be a better person than if they had been irreligious, yet it is not a faith into which they feel compelled to heavily invest themselves.
3. Question: What are the critical elements that make the Casual Christians tick?
Barna: The comfort that this approach provides. It offers them life insights if they choose to accept them, gives them a community of relationships if they desire such, fulfills their inner need to have some type of connection with a deity, and provides the image of being a decent, faith-friendly person. Because Casual Christians do not view matters of faith as central to one’s purpose or success in life, this brand of Christianity supplies the multi-faceted levels of satisfaction and assurance that they desire.

Read carefully the following portion of Scripture: Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:3, 4, 10-13 NLT)
What a perfect description of the times we are living in. I am very much concerned for the ‘Casual Christians’. I am not going to start arguing about ‘once saved, always saved’ or ‘don’t judge or you will be judged’. What I will say is that Jesus stated two things that should wake everyone up. First, that many that were once following Him will grow cold and turn away from following Him. This will steadily increase as the end gets closer and closer. Second, that only the ones that endure until the end will be saved.
I believe that the message Jesus gave is very clear and simple, just like when He told His disciples plainly: “Lazarus is dead.”(John 11:14 NLT)
As we read Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13, we know that a demonic onslaught will be vicious as we get closer and closer to the end. As a matter of fact, it is already in full gear. Just look around and discern the signs. Lets not be found ignorant: “You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.” (Luke 12:56 NLT)
I speak this way because we are in a war for our souls: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)
Mediocrity will not make it in the dire days ahead. Now is the time to read the Word more, pray more, fast more, work for the Lord more than ever before. The lion is hungrier more today than he was 5 years ago. Lets not be his next meal. Hell is a real place to shun and the final resting place will be the Eternal Lake of Fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Isaiah concludes his writings with: “For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out.” (Isaiah 66:24 NLT)
I believe that when Paul wrote the following Scripture, The Lord was looking right at us and the days we are living in: “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (Romans 13:11-14 NLT)


About annointing

Defender of the Christian Faith
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