The End is Near – Or Not?

Is there any hope? We are living in a day of increasing skepticism.  Atheism is seemingly on the rise. Churches are closing as young people are walking away from the faith of their parents. The voices questioning religious belief seem very convincing and are stirring up questions, few seem to have answers to. Since the end of our faith is near, perhaps we should just throw in the towel?

It appears the challenges to our faith are endless. The last one hundred years have brought incredible change to the world.  Like many things, the Bible has been questioned like never before.  With more open discussion on evolution many claimed and thought this would inevitability lead to the end of faith, religion, and the Church.

More recently some have claimed that the internet would pose a major challenge to the faith of young people.  It is the number one source of information, including religion, faith, and God.  At one time the Church controlled this information but now it is in the hands of Jesus followers, atheists, scoffers, and everyone in between.

In some areas of the world we can see how things like this have caused trends.  In some countries the percentage of people with religious affiliation has indeed dropped.  For example in the US religious affiliation dropped from 91% in 1948 to 77% in 2008. These facts have led some to declare the end was indeed on the horizon and faith is actually in decline in the world.

However, this is not the whole truth. In fact, something completely unexpected has taken place. The opposite of what every sceptic predicted  would happen has in fact taken place.  Christianity has made vast strides in the world.  In places where people have tried to destroy it, it has grown.  Certain groups, especially those who strongly believe God is at work today, are growing.  For example the evangelical, charismatic, and pentecostal Christians have increased dramatically.  If this type of exponential growth takes place in this century again, as it did in the last, the world would be entirely Christian.

This of course is not what many expected would happen and is not the story many have heard.  How in the age or reason, logic, science, doubts could faith survive, thrive, and be growing?

In a search for answers I have come to a few conclusions.  First, reason, logic, science, and questions do not have to live contrary to faith.  However, I will leave this topic for another time.  Second there is a verse found in 1 Corinthians 4:20 that gives an even better explanation.  It says, ‘For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.’

There seems to be something happening that is more convincing, more powerful, and more attractive than the doubts, skeptics, and opposition. This is what goes against every explanation. Christianity reaches into every class, every race, from   some of the most brilliant minds to the unschooled.  It cannot be explained away on the uneducated, the helpless, and unwitting populations of the world.

For the millions and billions who are following Christ, who are turning to the Christian faith, to deny our faith would be to deny our own experience and testimonies.  From the small miracles, the still small voice, the big God moments,  the promoting of the Holy Spirit, it is all undeniable.

In the end it is not all about arguments.  If there is a God than He is able to reveal Himself.  Billions of people claim He has.  A growing number of people and Christians are believing and claiming, not just that Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, but that God’s power is at work today.  What does the future really hold?

 

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