Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thesis #2 - Looking at Ron Sider's "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience"

If you didn't read yesterday's post, Humility and the 95 Theses Project please do before reading this post. I feel that post was important to this project.

Today's post:
Bloggers spent about 2-3 days reporting on Ron Sider’s book and the related article in CT - "The Scandal of the Evangelical ConscienceWhy don't Christians live what they preach"? Did you miss it??

Just a few notes: What really is important in the world and the church? What alarms us and gets the church and Christians praying and writing and talking? The problems Sider addresses are the real problems and facts Christians need to stare in the face. Let's contemplate our priorities and our attention span.

From the statistics Sider sites, I come up with my
Thesis #2:
The church in North America is not providing the believer a life of discipleship which liberates the 21st Century Christian from sexual sin.

(note:I do not think this wording will be the final wording nor will this be the order of the theses as I think statements on "being a disciple" and "kingdom" need to be stated early on under which this thesis will be a sub-thesis.) - John at Blogotional has submitted a thesis regarding making kingdom a priority.

Sider runs down a litany of statistics that show that American Christians lack moral distinction from the world to which we are called to call minister to.

The Witness of the Church and Cultural Renewal
Sider’s theory is the same as mine and the same as Jesus’. Basically, our salt has lost its saltiness and, therefore, we are getting trounced in the culture.
Sider says:
If Christians do not live what they preach, the whole thing is a farce. "American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the twentieth century," Barna concludes, "because Jesus' modern-day disciples do not act like Jesus." This scandalous behavior mocks Christ, undermines evangelism, and destroys Christian credibility.

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.

Sexual Disobedience
Sider’s writing:
Popular evangelical speaker Josh McDowell has been observing and speaking to evangelical youth for several decades. I remember him saying years ago that evangelical youth are only about 10 percent less likely to engage in premarital sex than nonevangelicals.
True Love Waits, a program sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, is one of the most famous evangelical efforts to reduce premarital sexual activity among our youth. 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."

Barna found from a 2001 poll that cohabitation—living with a member of the opposite sex without marriage—is only a little better among born-again adults than the general public. Nationally, 33 percent of all adults have lived with a member of the opposite sex without being married. The rate is 25 percent for born-again folk.

These facts cannot be denied. Therefore, it follows that:
Thesis #2:
The church is not providing a life of discipleship which liberates the 21st Century Christian from sexual sin.

As I wrote yesterday,
I am aware that there are many causes and suggested causes but I think we simply need to simply allow the weight of the problems to sit in our hearts for awhile. Time will come for analysis and solutions. For now lets just sit before the Lord and cry out:
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips..."
God Bless,

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