CREȘTINISMUL DE AZI, UN CREȘTINISM SUPERFICIAL – SPUNE GEORGE BARNA

În cartea sa ”Maximum Faith” (Credința la maximum), renumitul cercetător creștin George Barna publică patru concluzii cu privire la starea spirituală a creștinismului american. Rezultatele obținute pe baza unor statistici realiste și bine documentate sunt îngrijorătoare deoarece în SUA se poate spune că spiritul religios încă respiră (cu greu).

  1. ANGAJAMENT LIMITAT: deși 81% dintre cei care se declară creștini au avut un moment al întoarcerii, doar 22% afirmă că viața lor este în totalitate predată lui Dumnezeu.
  2. ABSENȚA POCĂINȚEI: 64% dintre creștini și-au mărturisit păcatele lui Dumnezeu și și-au cerut iertare, dar numai 12% au experimentat o reală căință cu privire la gravitatea faptelor lor și doar 3% declară că în viața lor a avut loc o întorsătură radicală.
  3. IMPLICARE ANEMICĂ: 39% dintre creștini au participat săptămâna trecută (la data sondajului) în activități bisericești cum ar fi serviciile religioase, rugăciunea și citirea Bibliei, dar mai puțin de unul din 10 (10%) au comunicat adevărul Evangheliei cu cei din jur, au postit sau și-au rezervat un timp mai consistent pentru devoțiune.
  4. ATAȘAMENT SUPERFICIAL: cu toate că o mare majoritate se simt bine în comunitatea creștină din care fac parte, doar 21% dintre creștini consideră că maturizarea și edificarea lor în credință depinde de apartenența la o comunitate oarecare sau de frecventarea acesteia.

Printre soluțiile pe care Barna le oferă în această carte după șase ani de studiu, menționez:

  • conștientizarea creștinilor cu privire la produsul final al implicării noastre religioase care este în primul rând caracterul dumnezeiesc și nu realizările instituționale;
  • încurajarea creștinilor de a accepta sacrificiul și suferința ca parte din supunerea necondiționată față de Planul lui Dumnezeu pentru formarea și investirea lor spirituală;
  • cultivarea unui spirit de responsabilitate și încadrare voluntară sub autoritatea bisericii locale ca parte din supravegherea absolut necesară formării și devenirii spirituale a creștinului.

Lucruri grele în societatea de azi care este orientată spre succes, bunăstare și individualism.

About Cristian Ionescu

Pastor Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church Chicago, USA

20 răspunsuri to “CREȘTINISMUL DE AZI, UN CREȘTINISM SUPERFICIAL – SPUNE GEORGE BARNA”

  1. Manuela - servinggodforever Răspunde 24 Octombrie 2011 la 9:05 AM

    „If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed by everything in the world and by the great majority of evangelicals. You’re going to be opposed.”
    ~Paul Washer

    „The early Church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

    „To confess Christ is to choose His ways and to own them. To profess Christ is to plead for His ways and yet live beside them…To profess Christ is to own Him when none deny Him; to confess Christ is to plead for Him and suffer for Him when others oppose Him…Profession is swimming down the stream. Confession is a swimming against the stream.” ~ Matthew Mead, „The Almost Christian,” p. 28.

  2. Someone who believes in predestination would not have a problem with any of the statistics above. On the contrary „many are called but few are chosen”, and from the 90% of those that are not authentically saved, the credit is with God not with men because after all, God did not intend for them to be saved. God actually hardened their hearts, so that only who He wanted to be saved got saved.

    According to the predestination view God should be very busy hardening the hearts of people because the number is limited and there space is finite.

    I understand that there are some difficulties with regards to those that don’t believe in predestination. However in regards to those that do believe in predestination there are many impossibilities.

    A few questions to the chosen ones:

    1. How do you know you are the chosen one?
    (don’t be self-righteous when answering this question)
    2. How do you know you will remain saved?
    (if you’re not in God’s plan of salvation he will make sure that you will not remain saved)
    3. If God predestines for heaven he must also predestine for hell. How is that fair and just?
    (Romans 9 is not the answer)
    4. What do we do with free will?…
    (throw it out of the bible?)… Adam was predestined to sin…. God predestined Satan!
    5. If God predestined some, why didn’t he predestine everyone to be saved?…

    Answers please… I understand Romanian!

    • Filipeni 3:11

      „ca sa ajung cu orice chip, daca voi putea, la invierea din morti.”

      Dupa o alergare si o lupta descrisa in tot capitolul 3 (si nu numai), de ce spune apostolul Pavel „daca voi putea”?…

    • Ben, they will give you a „mitraliera de versete” for each point above except for point #1. They will not be able to prove their unconditional election because it’s not possible. Period.

      • Manuela - servinggodforever Răspunde 24 Octombrie 2011 la 5:25 PM

        Anything with an …ism on the end is not scripture. Why follow calvinism or arminianism when I have Scripture?

        We must all work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

        The same number of people will be in heaven regardless, right? Unless someone uses one of these doctrines as a basis for not evangelizing or not living a life that is a testimony.

    • Ben,

      Allow me to provide you with some feedback. It’s a little long, so I apologize. I’m not going to attempt to convince you of predestination or free will, but rather I will encourage to search the scriptures with an open mind because none of your ‘impossibilities’ are that relevant. Also, I will not identify myself as either Calvinist or Arminian. I will simply say I am Bible-believing and God-fearing. Anything I believe which is not consistent with God’s Word, must be brought into submission.

      It is sad that this topic causes as much division as it does among Christians because in reality it isn’t that relevant. If one believes he arrives at salvation by a matter of his own will, then his proper place is serving God with all his heart, soul, and might and he will be on his knees thanking his Creator that Christ died for his sins and he had the opportunity to learn of it and the wisdom to follow. If one believes in predestination, then his proper place is serving God with all his heart, soul, and might and he will be on his knees thanking his Creator that Christ died for his sins and that God gave him the wisdom and heart to follow (II Thes 2:13 “But we should always give thanks to God for you….because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation…”). It makes NO difference in how we live or how we share our faith with others.

      Now to your questions:

      1. How do you know you are the chosen one?
      It’s irrelevant. The requirements God makes on my life are not affected by what He knows or what He has planned for my life. The plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance of sins is no different. If you would like scripture for the plan of salvation I will provide it. Predestination simply makes the argument that a full understanding recognizes that we arrive at that understanding, faith, and changed life through God’s election rather than our own (even though that’s not how is looks from my perspective). This distinction occurs all the time in the life of the Christian for other topics. For example, if God provides someone a job when they desperately need one, whether or not He actively provided it or they found it on their own is not dependent on their understanding of what happened. From their perspective they could easily say the found it by their merits.

      With regard to salvation, this question is a preoccupation of human wisdom, but is not relevant to me as a servant.

      2. How do you know you will remain saved?
      How does anyone have peace regarding their salvation. I would contend we are not ’saved’, but rather have a ’hope of salvation’ (i.e. saying a prayer and living any way you like isn’t real salvation) God has told us how to attain salvation. Whether He planned my steps or not has NO relevance on how I must strive to live, serve and obey His commandments.

      3. If God predestines for heaven he must also predestine for hell. How is that fair and just?
      Be VERY careful with statements like that. When God hardened the hearts of the Egyptians to enter the Red Sea and drown, unless you believe they were all saved, you must acknowledge that God made a choice regarding their eternity. When God hardened the hearts of the nations in the Promised land so that they would war with and be slaughtered by Israel?

      In fact Romans 9 IS the answer, Vs. 19 ”Why does He still find fault, who resists His will?” Vs. 20 …”who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” This is exactly why Paul explained this. But if you would like another example, consider Job. Job was blameless and upright (God’s words not mine). When his life was destroyed, his family killed, and his health taken he argued that it was unjust on the basis of his righteousness. What was God’s response in Job 40:8…”Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?”

      4. What do we do with free will?…
      (throw it out of the bible?)… Adam was predestined to sin…. God predestined Satan!

      From our perspective we have free will. However, ask yourself, did God create Adam and design his character, personality, body, etc? When He did so, did He know he would fall? If not then He’s not omniscient. If so, then ask yourself, could He have created Adam with just a little more obedient nature, or a little more resistance, or a little more wisdom? If not then He’s not omnipotent. If so, then He made a choice.

      5. If God predestined some, why didn’t he predestine everyone to be saved?…
      The purpose of all creation is to glorify God. Romans 9:23: ”He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand…”

      The fact is, Ben, there are verses throughout the Bible that give the impression we are predestined, and there are verses that give the impression we have free will. ALL of these verses, taken in the proper context ARE TRUE. The proper approach is to first accept ALL that scripture has to say, and then pray for the wisdom to understand what is beyond us. I do not have to understand to accept it…I don’t even have to like it to accept it. God is higher than us, and so it stands to reason He can say things that are difficult for the human mind to grasp. As I believe Manuela posted previously, I would suggest to you that both view points are true when understood properly. I would further suggest that one is just a fuller understanding of God’s sovereignty than the other.

      • Dear Matt,
        you are right in a way, but the BIG question still remains: what is the Gospel that you are going to preach?! That is the Gospel of YOUR salvation and that is what we should believe. Everything else belongs to personal maturity and relationship with Christ. And we cannot preach to people:
        Welcome to church! Thank you for listening to the Word. As we have said, you may or may not be chosen but it’s worth trying!
        Furthermore, it’s not very logical to preach to the church:
        Dear brothers and sisters, it’s wonderful to be saved but as we all know, some people ended up in the world which means we cannot tell if you are saved until the end but just in case you are one of those, good news: you cannot lose your salvation!
        If we cannot preach it than we shouldn’t!
        God Bless You!

      • Dear Frate Ionescu,

        First of all, while I believe we have a slight disagreement, I want to stress that I have great respect for you and the work you are doing in your church. As I wrote to Ben, issues like this should never divide us.

        I would contend, and I’m sure you’d agree, that the decision about what we preach to people does not rest on human logic, but on what is true according to God’s Word. If the Bible says the sky is green, or that the Earth is 6000 years old, then that’s what I believe.

        As far as what Gospel to preach? It seems to me we misunderstand what predestination means in a practical sense when we ask this question. The Gospel we preach is unchanged. We have salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood which washes away our sin when we truly repent. (I’m being brief). This message is unchanged. We teach that God’s grace is available to anyone. From our perspective this is all true.

        I simply suggest that a fuller understanding is to recognize that those who DO choose to repent and have faith choose do so with God’s foreknowledge, and according to His plan. If bringing people to Christ doesn’t require the moving of the Holy Spirit then you as a Pastor might, somewhat rightfully, take credit for bringing people to Christ. In that case whoever packages and sells the message best arguably deserves much credit.

        We would all agree with Paul’s statement “I planted, Apollos water, but God was causing the growth” (I Cor 3:6 NASB), but we wouldn’t argue about standing up in church and saying, ‘don’t worry about studying the Bible or prayer because God will cause the growth’. Paul gives us insight into how things really work from the perspective of the Infinite. Is it always easy for me to understand how the Bible contains both ideas? No. My understanding is not a prerequisite, however, for it to be true…First I accept scripture and then I allow God to work on my understanding.

        With much respect!

      • Matt,

        Predestination view will always have the difficulty of explaining how God predestined lucifer and man to fall and at the same time be a loving God!

        When we try to get into the mind of God we lose our mind! We have a timeless and a limitless God and therefore we must not try to get into His mind….

        Believing in His foreknowledge is enough for me.

        Otherwise, I’ll have difficulty explaining His LOVE.

      • Ben,

        Really? You don’t see that a God who created you and I(and the rest of the universe) from nothing, sustains this world and our very lives by His power, and allows us the opportunity to know Him and serve Him for eternity is loving? I find that statement unfathomable.

        With regard to God’s mind, you actually make my point and completely miss it at the same time. To ACCEPT what God says in His Word is the only thing that DOESN’T require us to get into the mind of God.

        God’s Word says “He predestined us to adoption as sons” (Eph 1:5) and that we have ‘been predestined according to His purpose’ (Eph. 1:11), that “those whom he foreknew he also predestined’ (Rom 8:29). It tells us that the end times are to be shortened ‘for the sake of the elect, whom He chose’ (Mark 13:20), that Paul was a “chosen instrument’ (Acts 9:15), and Luke was surely not mistaken when he record that “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

        If you read those passages in their proper context and you HONESTLY don’t believe that they might be talking about predestination, that’s between you and God. BUT if you’re reason for not believing is that you don’t understand it or don’t think it fits your perception of God’s character then I would encourage you to continue studying. God’s Word is His revelation to us. That’s HOW we learn about His character.

        The worst argument I ever had with my father was on this topic. He listened as I posed all my arguments which went something like, I don’t understand how God can….It doesn’t make sense to me that God did….I can’t believe a loving God would….etc, etc (sound familiar?). My father was wise, and told me to continue studying God’s Word with an open heart, but perhaps the most important thing he taught me, was that God is not obligated to make sense to me. In fact real obedience requires trusting and believing when it makes no sense. Accept His Word as truth, whatever it says. It doesn’t matter if you understand it. Seek His wisdom to understand it.

        This issue isn’t important to our daily lives. What is of life and death importance, however, is how we approach God and His Word.

        God Bless!

    • Manuela - servinggodforever Răspunde 25 Octombrie 2011 la 10:01 PM

      Ben, as i said before I’m neither Calvinist or Arminian! My greatest desires are to serve God and to study His word.

      I don’t understand your assertion that those who accept biblical statements about predestination are trying to get into the mind of God. Nor do I understand why you feel that those who do not understand how those statements can be true and therefore assume they must mean something else are not trying to get into the mind of God.

      It seems to me that the latter are the ones making assertions about God’s mind.

      I would be curious how you interpret Acts 13:48. „Neamurile se bucurau când au auzit lucrul acesta şi preamăreau Cuvântul Domnului. Şi toţi cei ce erau rânduiţi să capete viaţa veşnică, au crezut”.

      Be blessed!

  3. „Lucruri grele în societatea de azi care este orientată spre succes, bunăstare și individualism.”

    Deoarece biserica de azi este, intr-o oarecare masura, contopita curentului societatii contemporane, probabil ca aceeasi afirmatie ar fi valabila si in dreptul bisericii, adica: „Lucruri grele in biserica de azi care este orientata spre succes, bunastare si individualism”.

  4. Pastorul nostru obisnuieste sa spuna „daca te porti, vorbesti, gandesti si actionezi la fel ca si inainte de mantuire si nu se vede nici o schimbare in tine inseamna ca nu ai avut o intoarcere autentica la Dumnezeu”. In engleza, pe scurt, suna cam asa „If you are what you’ve always been you’re not a Christian!”

  5. „Nu te teme, turma mica!” … spune Domnul. Cred ca putini vor fi intotdeauna cei care vor trece prin „urechile acului” – nici in Evul Mediu, in vremea ridicarii glorioaselor catedrale, nu cred sa fi stat lucrurile altfel.

    Intr-un fel, ma gandesc ca fiecare virtute are la capatul ei, prin exagerare pozitiva sau negativa, cate doua vicii. Matematic vorbind, viciile sunt mai multe decat virtutile, deci mai … la-ndemana :-)!

    Laudat fie Isus!

    • Adevarat !
      Nu degeaba isi imbarbateaza Domnul – Pastorul cel Bun , oile cu apelativul plin de blandete, mangaiere si si ocrotire divina : NU TE TEME, TURMA MICA !”
      Oare nu spunea El : Multi chemati, putini alesi; calea incusta si calea lata si subliniind aprecierea Sa divina pentru CALITATEA CANTITATII ?

  6. Incercarea este reusita de a desavarsi o statistica despre crestinismul superficial si despre cel statornic, nu este prima de acest gen in istorie.
    Prima data cand se face o statistica, se face in mod aprioric de catre Ioan Botezatorul;
    „Acela isi are lopata in mana, isi va curati cu desavarsire aria, si Isi va strange graul in granar; dar pleava o va arde intr-un foc care nu se va stinge !”(Matei 3:12)
    Imediat, Domnul Isus vorbeste despre „grau” si „neghina”, despre „neprihanirea fariseica”, despre „fatarnici”, despre „serpi si pui de naparci” (expresii folosite tot aprioric de catre Ioan Botezatorul, desi serpii si puii de naparci existau si in Vechiul Testament, si in Psalmi, si in Profetii), „morminte varuite”, (expresie preluata mai apoi de apostolul Pavel prin „perete varuit”), „aluatul fariseilor”(expresie dezvoltata cu brio de apostolul Pavel in 1 Corinteni 5:6-13; 6:1-20, text preluat din Psalmul 50:16-22); despre „cainele care vomitase” si „scroafa si mocirla” (2 Petru 2:17-22), „fantani fara apa”, „nori alungati de furtuna”, (2 Petru 2:17 si preluate expresiile de apostolul Iuda 11-16); „draci care se-nfioara…” (Iacov 2:19) si in final, „COCLITI”, crestini cocliti, caldicei si „varsati din gura Domnului” in „Ziua Aceea…” (Apocalipsa 3:15-16).

    Deci, Statistica lui George Barna are un solid precedent biblic in spate, o puternica fundatie dar despre care vorbeste cu cuvinte „soft & silky”. Mie-mi plac mai mult expresiile transante, folosite de cei din vechime !

  7. Eu inca nu inteleg de ce John Calvin are asa o influenta intre crestini si dupa sute de ani. De ce invatatura noastra evanghelica este bazata pe cele doua curente care se contrazic si sunt contra puncte. Atat pozitia calvinista cat si cea arminiana sufera de anumite handicapuri. Calvin a fost fara indoiala un neconvertit in totalitate. Multi o sara in sus. La fel si Martin Luther. Ei au aparat crestinismul doar atunci cand erau ei persecutati, in rest au persecutat, au ars pe rug, au batjocorit cu mandrie pe cei ce nu se supuneau tavalugului teologic impus de ei. Chiar daca crestinismul pare sa le datoreze ceva acestor reformatori, cred ca ei de fapt nu si-au dus pana la capat misiunea data de Dumnezeu. Poate cineva sa-si sustina teologia cat de buna ar fi ea prin crime si persecutii? Nu cred. Ei au fost bolnavi de doctrinismul nascut din opozitia fata de nelegiuirile papalitatii si a catolicilor, dar nu au avut nici pe departe o lumina de sus in multe chestiuni si au murit intunecati. La fel si noi daca ne alipim partinic de anumite doctrine trunchiate din Scriptura nu mergem prea departe, si noi vom cadea in propria capcana sau in capacana intinsa de altii. Doar daca vom cere lumina de la Dumnezeu, daca vom merge cu Domnul Isus in fiecare zi, daca vor cere mereu calauzirea Duhului Sfant, atunci vom avea pace, vom stim ca drumul nostru chiar daca e greu duce sus, vom experimenta pacea ce intrece orice pricepere, teama ca nu suntem alesi va disparea, teama ca nu vom ajunge sus va pali, siguranta iertarii si a manturii va creste, vom fi mereu inoiti de Duhul Sfant, dar pentru asta va trebui sa-L urmam pe Domnul Isus si nu invatatori subiectivi.

    Ioan 8: 12  Isus le-a vorbit din nou şi a zis: „Eu Sunt Lumina lumii; cine Mă urmează pe Mine, nu va umbla în întuneric, ci va avea lumina vieţii.”

  8. Oare Domnul Isus a stiut engleza?

  9. Indemn si la citirea cartii „Crestinism pagan?” al aceluiasi autor, impreuna cu Frank Viola.
    http://www.paganchristianity.org/
    Domnul sa va binecuvanteze!

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