Ed Stetzer wrote an article for Christianity Today titled The State of the Church in America: Hint: It’s Not Dying. In it he shares some statistics that, to me, are very encouraging. Some people have said for years that we live in a Christian nation because it was founded on Christian principles and because the majority of the people living here are Christians. I have never really bought into the idea that most people in this country are truly regenerated Christians. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said that wide is the road that leads to destruction and many find it, but narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it. Could it be that many Americans think that they are Christians simply because they were born in this country?
Stetzer identifies three kinds of Christians: cultural, congregational, and convictional. True believers do not identify themselves as “Christians” because of the culture or because of their upbringing in a church. True believers know and believe Jesus Christ to be the savior and have trusted in him alone for salvation. Now that our culture is beginning to look down on cultural Christians, more and more we see that only those who are true believers are identifying themselves as Christians with Biblical convictions. It’s why we have seen the rise of people (especially those under 30) who now identify their religion as “none.” Stetzer says, “Convictional Christians are not leaving the faith; the “squishy middle,” as I like to call it, is simply being flattened.”
He calls for Christians to be a “mobilized mission force” here in the mission field of America. I am excited to be a part of this “new” America where being a Christian might mean being uncomfortable or difficult. I am excited that God has led a team of us to plant a new church in Pittsburgh that is gospel-centered and God-honoring. I am excited that the “squishy middle” is being flattened. The road may be difficult, but I’m praying that we get to see people move from the wide road to the narrow road for the glory of God. What about you? Will you join us?