Dear Friends of the Cross,
In a shocking new survey, George Barna is reporting that less than 1% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 have a Biblical worldview.(1) I’m hoping that something is really wrong with the methodology of his survey, but even if his margin of error is +/- 10% (an extremely unlikely possibility for such a reputable pollster), it is alarming evidence that the youngest adults in America are rejecting Biblical Christianity.
Furthermore, 61% of today’s young adults who were churched as teens are now disengaged from the Church (they do not actively attend Church, read the Bible, or pray). Only 20% of the twenty-somethings have maintained a level of spiritual activity that is consistent with their high school experiences.
We who contend for Scriptural holiness may be quick to criticize Churches that are failing to win their young people, but we too have witnessed our own “falling away.”
During the 19th Century, Methodist circuit-riders, Camp meeting Evangelists, and holiness writers were the predominant religious force in our nation. Today, many of our congregations iare struggling, several of our schools are finding it increasingly difficult to attract students, and the message of holiness has been relegated to a historical footnote.
Why? One thoughtful observer concludes:
We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.2
Michael Spencer’s diagnosis of our plight is right, but it is incomplete.
We believe with John Wesley that, “A man may be orthodox in every point, he may not only espouse right opinions, but zealously defend them…and yet it is possible that he may have no religion at all. He may be almost as orthodox as the devil, and may be a great stranger to the religion of the heart!” (52 Standard Sermons, Number 7:The Way to the Kingdom).
We need more than enlightened minds. Our greatest need is for the heart-purifying, life-changing, mighty baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16). We need flaming hearts.
The inspired Apostle Paul tells us, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind [or self-discipline].” (2nd Timothy 1:7). Indeed it is this power, this love, and this self-discipline, that is our most pressing need.
Without a personal Pentecost and the frequent fresh outpourings of God’s Holy Spirit into our lives—our Christ will not be exalted, the cause of Holiness will not be advanced, and our Churches will never be that winsome force God intended for us to be.
We need apologists who will defend our faith against the onslaught of heresy
…but we need more.
We need leaders who will strategize and organize God’s people …but we need more.
We need pastors and teachers who will minister and teach …but we need more.
We need writers, composers, and musicians who will communicate the Gospel to the masses…but we need more.
We need workers and supporters who will man their posts and finance the work
…but we need more.
More than anything else, we need Christians who are so “filled with all the fullness of God,” (Ephesians 3:19) that the fruit of the Spirit, (“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance” Galatians 5:22ff) is existent in their hearts and evident in their lives.
We need Christians who “are Christ’s.” We need Christians who “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” and who are “quickened by the Spirit,” (1st Peter 3:18) “filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18), “sanctified by the Spirit,” (1st Corinthians 6:11), “walk in the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:25), and are “led by the Spirit.” (Romans 8:14).
It is our conviction that Spirit-filled men of God are the only ones who will “earnestly contend for the faith” with the kind of power that can triumph over the onslaught of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Enlightened minds and inflamed hearts will not dilute, nor deny the faith. They will deliver the faith!
We invite you, and all of like heart and mind, to join with us for next month’s St. Louis Holiness Convention. Our speakers are men of God. Our singers are anointed by God. Our services will be ordered by God. And it is our fervent prayer and anxious expectation that everyone attending will be blessed by God. Without Him we can do nothing. But “with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). This year our speakers and singers include:
WILLIAM CAWMAN (Emmanuel Church, Colorado) comes to us from New Jersey. Brother Cawman is a devout and thoughtful man of God.
BOB & ROWENA CLOUSE (Church of God Holiness, Missouri) pastor the Church of God Holiness in Mexico, Missouri. They are wonderful singers with a passion for the cause of Scriptural holiness.
BENJAMIN CRAWFORD (Bible Methodist, Alabama) is a young man with a passion for evangelism and the cause of Scriptural Holiness. He is currently a candidate for the Alabama legislature.
ANDREW DURST (Crusaders USA, Illinois) is Associate Pastor at Faith Crusaders, Urbana, IL, and the Field Director of GREAT COMMISSION CAMP. This year Pastor Durst will be leading teams in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
DR. STEVE GIBSON (Midwest Pilgrim Holiness), Pastors Victory Chapel in Indianapolis. He is the author of five books including “The Essential Wesley, I Believe,” and “Practical Christianity,” and director of KEYSTONE URBAN INSTITUTE.
ERIC HIMELICK (International Conservative Holiness Association, Indiana) leads Victory Inner City Ministries. He is a church planter, a professor at Union Bible College, and author.
DR. MARSH W. JONES (Crusaders Church USA, Illinois) is serving his 3rd year as Bishop of the Crusaders, and Pastor of Faith Crusaders Church in Urbana, IL. He has written “The Pulpit, The Periodical, and The Pen: The Life of Joseph Benson.”
TOM KISER (New York Pilgrim Holiness) is launching a new ministry to the streets of New York City. “Goforthall.org” is reaching thousands through prayer stations and discipleship groups.
P L LIDDELL (Church of the Nazarene, Michigan) has been an evangelist for holiness over 50 years. He has composed and written a number of great Gospel songs including, “When I Said Yes To Jesus.”
KENNY THOMPSON (Church of God Holiness, Missouri) has been used of God around the world in the advancement of holiness missions. His zeal for God and his love for people have endeared him to thousands.
WALLACE THORNTON (Church of the Nazarene, Missouri), Pastors in Moberly, Missouri, and serves as an adjunct professor and scholar to a number of Bible Colleges. He is the author of “Radical Righteousness.”
Meals will be provided on a free-will offering basis. We will do what we can to help you secure lodging. If you’re looking for rooms on Priceline, select the St. Louis Airport and Westport areas as they are closest to the convention site. If you need transportation to and from the Lambert International Airport, we will meet you.
Invite your family and friends to join us next month, Thursday, February 25 and Friday, February 26, 2010. If you have need of more information you may call my cell phone (314) 607-1424, or e-mail PastorRick@FCCToday.org.
1The survey defined having a Biblical worldview as holding the following six beliefs:
1) Believing that absolute moral truth exists.
2) Believing that the Bible is completely accurate in all the principles it teaches.
3) Believing that Satan is a real being or force, not merely symbolic.
4) Believing that a person cannot earn their way into heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works.
5) Believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth.
6) Believing that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
2 Michael Spencer, “The Coming Evangelical Collapse,” in The Christian Science Monitor,
March 10, 2009