Slim and trim

A guide in Cape Breton told my wife and me this week that the Catholic church closed five of the six churches in one town in one week.

It’s a story that is familiar to Canadians across the country. The Christian church in North America is slimming down.

Bad news? Not necessarily.

It may be a good thing if the remaining church attendees are fully committed to Jesus. It could be a sign that believers are returning to New Testament roots where Christians were on fire for Christ.

I have long believed that the church in North America will either disappear or undergo revival.

An impartial observer might judge that the church is rapidly going down the tubes, just as it already has in Europe.

Church attendance is a fraction of what it used to be. Its outward influence has virtually vanished.

In fact, society is now firmly against evangelical Christianity. I was astonished some years ago to read the results of a poll where Canadians were asked who they would least want to marry their daughters – and evangelical Christians topped the list.

This is partly due to the way evangelicals have presented themselves in recent decades – including on televised religious shows.

But I think it is more that anti-religious views and a more liberal approach to marriage and family have penetrated the church itself.

Many Christians have accepted the thinking of those around them. They question the Biblical standards that Christians have held over the ages.

This is not new.

The Old Testament is filled with stories of the Israelites abandoning God and then returning to him later on.

The church in England was corrupt and sin-racked when revival swept the country under George Whitfield and John Wesley.

Unfortunately, there are stories of serious decline in the church in North Africa and the Middle East just before the Arabs and Ottoman Turks imposed Islam on Christian populations. The church lost its fire, its love for people, and the message of hope through Jesus Christ so Islam was welcomed in many areas.

Pockets of Christianity survive there today, but the church has never recovered.

Which way will Canada – and the United States – go?

I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will purify the Canadian church and set Christians aflame again.

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