Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Evangelicals = Hypocrites

Jesus hated hypocrisy. I don't think he's real fond of many of the evangelicals who claim to follow him now, because, according to an article in Christianity Today, they are bigger hypocrites than the Pharisees ever were:

Scandalous behavior is rapidly destroying American Christianity. By their daily activity, most "Christians" regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate allegiance to money, sex, and self-fulfillment.

The findings in numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. "Gallup and Barna," laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, "hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general." Divorce is more common among "born-again" Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their nonevangelical peers.

WWJD? Good question! Some details:

What is the divorce rate among evangelicals? According to a 1999 poll by Barna, exactly the same as the national average! According to that poll, 25 percent of evangelicals—just like 25 percent of the total population—have gone through a divorce. Does it make no difference to evangelicals that their Lord and Savior explicitly, clearly, repeatedly condemned divorce?
As we got richer and richer, evangelicals chose to spend more and more on themselves and give a smaller and smaller percentage to the church. Today, on average, evangelicals in the U.S. give about two-fifths of a tithe.

In 2002, Barna discovered that only 6 percent of born-again adults tithed—a 50 percent decline from 2000, when 12 percent did. And in 2002, just 9 percent of Barna's narrow class of evangelicals tithed.
Since 1993, about 2.4 million young people have signed a pledge to wait until marriage to engage in sexual intercourse. Are these young evangelicals keeping their pledges? In March 2004, researchers from Columbia University and Yale University reported on their findings. For seven years they studied 12 thousand teenagers who took the pledge. Sadly, they found that 88 percent of these pledgers reported having sexual intercourse before marriage; just 12 percent kept their promise. The researchers also found that the rates for having sexually transmitted diseases "were almost identical for the teenagers who took pledges and those who did not."
Citing a recent survey in Leadership magazine, Steve Gallagher says, "Tragically, the percentage of Christian men involved [in pornography] is not much different that that of the unsaved."
Coach Bill McCartney, the founder of the national evangelical men's movement called Promise Keepers, was one of the outstanding evangelical leaders in this change. McCartney went on a national speaking tour, regularly calling evangelicals to racial reconciliation. In his book Sold Out, McCartney recalls what happened. When he finished speaking, he reports, "There was no response—nothing. . . . In city after city, in church after church, it was the same story—wild enthusiasm while I was being introduced, followed by a morgue-like chill as I stepped away from the microphone." McCartney thinks a major reason attendance dropped dramatically in Promise Keepers' stadium events was their stand on racial reconciliation.

Phew! Talk about a valley of dry bones. And these are people who get on their high horse and tell the rest of us how to behave.

Check out the entire article. It's interesting and extensively footnoted. (via)


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