by Bob Dasal<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> The Church's Return to Normalcy
Immediately following the terrorists' attacks on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush encouraged the American people to work together to get their lives and the country back to "normal." Unfortunately, George Barna and his research group have found that the church has succeeded too well in this request (see Jon Walker's article in this month's issue).
In the 21st century the Christian community faces the tremendous challenge and opportunity to live the kind of lives we sing about in our songs and hymns and learn about in Bible study classes and preaching (worship) services. But living biblical Christianity will mean a HUGE change from the "norm" experienced in most churches during the decade of the nineteen-nineties. Words used to describe a lot of churches during this period would include worldliness, decline, me-ism, compromise of biblical principles, error in doctrine, etc.
A number of influences have contributed to the decline of genuine Christianity, especially in the churches of America. Movies, TV, and massive cultural changes have infiltrated the church. In trying to reach the world, many churches have adopted worldly ways. In fact, today it is hard to tell the difference between the Christian world and the secular world! And it is NOT because the world is acting Christian, but because, too often, too many Christians live like those in the world.
What is needed in the church and Christian community is not a return to "normal," as we know it, but a return to New Testament Christianity! Churches that are having a life-changing impact on people's lives are committed to biblical truth and principles. They are marked by their strong emphasis on Bible study. It is not study about the Bible, but the study of the Bible. It is inductive Bible study. The goal of inductive study is the application of Scripture to one's life, in order to be conformed to the image of Christ.
As a pastor or Bible teacher, what is your personal approach to Bible study? Share with us and we'll share some of your methods in the "Readers' Forum" in an upcoming issue.
Bob Dasal is editor-in-chief of Pulpit Helps.