Just last week, I celebrated thirty years of preaching the gospel, and this week I will have been in the pastorate for twenty-seven. With that said, one of the most dangerous things that I have seen in that time is the rise of the “cultural Christian.” The truth is the very title is an oxymoron in that you cannot be in love with the culture and love with Jesus. John said that you would hate the one and love the other. Yet, it is a title that has become a part of the church language, and it has been something that pastors have dealt with over the past several years and even decades.
So, first, let me define what I mean by cultural Christianity and note that this may not be how everyone would define the term but only my opinion. A Cultural Christian enjoys the benefits of being a part of the church but never wants to go through any sacrifice that being a Christian entails. They come to church occasionally or maybe even regularly, but they never truly contribute to the building of the Kingdom. They give to the church but never in an amount that would make them uncomfortable in their lifestyle. The commitment level of the cultural Christian is not very high, and they tend to want to go to churches that preach only messages of encouragement and never one that challenges their way of living. The cultural Christian will talk about God on social media but never truly stand on anything divisive or controversial to their social position. They love to hear about healing, blessings, and encouragement, but they never really want to hear about sacrifice, denial, and the cost of serving God. Life is a blessing without cost, service without sacrifice, and power without any denial of self.
For many years now, the church’s leadership has been the main reason this group has grown within the Western church. Too many leaders have been more focused on building a mass church with thousands of people and plenty of money and have watered down the gospel so that people would not be offended by their preaching. They built churches that were consumer-driven rather than God-centered. Leaders were more worried about making a big-money person getting angry and fear that they may leave the church, and let be honest; they did go. For the past two decades, we have seen people jump from church to church. Leaving the church every time something happened that they did not like. So, what did leaders do? They pursued after other churches members and called that church growth. They build better facilities and put money into the things that attracted the people, but the problem was they were not attracting the sinner but rather after church people shopping. The result is that the church has lost a generation of young people that heard their parents talk about God but never saw God as the priority in their home. They never saw their parents sacrifice anything for the God that they said was so important to them. They saw a church that never challenged them, and they decided that if living for God is not a priority, maybe none of it is real.
It seemed that the culture church was going to destroy the whole thing, but then COVID came into the world, and something is changing. Now we see that many of the cultural Christians that did not come to church for months are not returning. They found something else to satisfy them, and so they are staying home. Now, if you ask them, they will tell you they still believe that they are not watching church online, but the truth is they are not engaged in the work of the Kingdom, but the truth was they never were engaged. What has happened is that more and more pastors have realized that the only thing that can save us is Jesus and the truth of His message. We are finding more people that are hungry for a true move of God and are looking for something more than just to show up for church a couple of times a week. We have people praying and seeking God’s face because they have come to realize just how important it is to have God and the church in their lives. With all the unrest in our world, people have to decide what they believe and where they are going to make a stand. No longer can they come and sit on the fence of complacency, but they must decide they are in or are they out. The world wants to cancel anyone who makes a stand for truth, and those who are willing to make that stand are seeing God move in their life in a great way. Make no mistake, the day of the attractional church and the cultural Christian is over. We live in a time where you will have to stand up for your faith, and that takes courage, and that does not come when you are just marking church attendance off your list. The day of the cultural Christian is over, and the time has come for a true revival to hit this world just before the coming of the Lord.
I agree with this post. I have seen in my own church, many people who have not returned to church and have moved on. Their faith was shallow