By: Jason Kline
A major crisis in the Church is how many believers lack a depth of understanding about the Christian faith. What this means is that a good many of us cannot explain what we believe to another person let alone explain why we believe it. As a result it shows that Church leaders have led people gradually through a state of unintelligible beliefs to a kind of anti-intellectualism about faith, or what is named fideism. According to Geisler, “Religious fideism argues matters of faith and religious belief are not supported by reason.” As a result, unsuspecting Christians have become intellectually stifled. They simply, “just believe,” with a low view of education and training. Others have become antagonistic about Christians seeking educational training. I have been ridiculed and mocked for going to Seminary by people in a church I used to attend. Without a doubt, this trend has burdened the Church with great consequences, (1) People who are ill-equipped to defend the Christian faith on intellectual grounds, (2) loss of ground in academics, (3) a significant falling away from the faith (roughly 70 percent of students, who graduated from the Church youth program, go off to college and abandon their faith), and declining church attendance on an average Sunday.
It is believed that Americans are becoming increasingly less spiritual. That is a myth. I believe Americans continue to be spiritual but are thirsty for truth, and are willing to follow whatever appeases their “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3). The Church has failed to meet this need head on. I have personally heard leaders teaching and preaching shallow doctrine or focusing so much on ethical living (how Christians ought to live). The problem with this style is that the people do not know who it is they are being asked to follow – namely Jesus. I believe it is more effective to discipleship we teach out folks what they believe, why they believe it and then how to live and defend the faith. I believe that ethical Christian living naturally follows from being confident in knowing who it is they are following, on an intimate level; and people desperately want to know their savior on this level.