A Snapshot Of The Church?
Won't you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? (Psalms 85:6).
We cannot trust human polling methodologies to tell us what the invisible, pervasive and wonderful Spirit of God may be doing in our world.
Our Lord Jesus said, "Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit" (John 3:8, NLT).
Yet, polling may give us a hint in some situations, sometimes providing a fuzzy snapshot.
George Gallup, the renowned pollster, conducted a study to assess the religious climate in America and particularly what is called "the born-again movement." At first glance, the results of his survey were very impressive.
Did you know, for instance, that the percentage of our population who attend church on a given Sunday is greater today than during colonial days -- an era we tend to celebrate as Christian? And the number of people today who believe the Bible is the Word of God, who believe in a literal Heaven and Hell, and who claim to have had a born-again experience, is higher than ever before?
But, while those statistics sound encouraging, Mr. Gallup's concluding statement cut to the quick. My heart sank when I heard him say, "Never before in the history of the United States has the gospel made such inroads while at the same time made so little difference as to how people live."
That is an incredibly sobering thought. While salvation is the free gift of God, there is a sacrifice associated with following Jesus. We will not begin to see the effect of a country totally sold out to Him until we acknowledge this sacrifice.
Historically, the gospel has exploded and prospered under conditions of tyranny and oppression, when people are faced with the harsh realties of life, where every day is a matter of life and death, and where standing up for Christ may mean a brutal execution. This includes the ancient days of the Roman Empire, and also recently, and even now, in certain countries under political or religious despotism. Yet many have stood bravely for our Lord throughout history, and thanks to them, we have the gospel today.
May God grant that such terrible conditions will not be necessary in America and the West. May He also grant an eye-opening and nation-changing revival and a new level of commitment by God's people everywhere.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.