We are living in a culture with a growing distaste for traditional Christianity. Those who claim the name of Jesus are often mentally hashtagged by non-Christians (especially younger ones) as #Homophobic, #OutOfTouch and #NarrowMinded.
According to the ground-breaking (and now somewhat classic) book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, 40 percent of those between the ages of 16-29 consider themselves outsiders to the Christian faith. That’s up from 27 percent!
The rejection of the historic Christian faith among young people is skyrocketing. If the current trajectory continues, this nation will continue to morph into not only a non-Christian nation (which some would say it already is), but possibly an anti-Christian nation.
For a country that was birthed in a quest for religious freedom and whose free-wheeling independent Christian leaders pioneered the launching of hundreds of thousands of churches across the world, this statistic is a reality punch to our spiritual solar plexus. How can we “save” this nation if we are losing our young people at such a rapid rate?
The short answer is that we can’t. Our best moral, cultural and political reformation efforts are band-aids on brain tumors. Our only hope is the brand of spiritual transformation that comes from the gospel. This narrows the church’s options to the elemental essentials of intercession, compassion and the gospelization of our communities.
Evangelism is the touchpoint where stereotypes can be transformed or reinforced. So, if we learn to evangelistically engage this culture in a loving, wise and compelling way, the power of the gospel can do its wonders in ways we’ve never imagined.
This is why I love Romans 1:16 so much. It simply states, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” From this short verse, three realities emerge to encourage us in this increasingly anti-Christian culture:
1. The gospel is shockingly powerful.
“It is the power of God…”
The Greek word for “power” in this verse is “dunamis.” It means explosive. It is where we get our English word for dynamite. The gospel explodes in the hearts of those who believe its message. It shatters sin and scatters it farther than the east is from the west.
When we share the Good News, we are pulling the pin on the gospel grenade. And, because it has inherent power, there will be results.
We must believe that this message is more relevant now than ever. It’s more relevant than politics. It’s more effective than the culture wars. It’s more powerful than anything else when it comes to really changing the nature of things. Why? Because only the gospel can heal what sin has broken! Only the Good News of Jesus can counteract the bad news in the deepest part of our souls.