Lukewarm Christians: Good News and Bad News
If the Pew Research Center models are correct, we have good and bad news for lukewarm Christians, particularly in America. The good news is that many lukewarm Christians hear God's warning and respond with on-fire faith. The bad news is that many more are listening, turning their back, and falling away. This article will provide a snapshot of current research and what it could mean for the end times.
Good News and Bad News
Some people think of good and bad news as a half-full or half-empty hourglass. It just depends on their perspective. If they see the hourglass with equal sand in the top as the bottom, the optimist says I've got time, while the pessimist says I don't have time.
The problem is that neither optimists nor pessimists know how much time remains. It's God's hourglass; only He knows how much sand is left.
"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Matthew 24:36-39
But many believe that time is running out for optimists and pessimists alike. The question isn't about optimism or pessimism; it's about our faith in Jesus NOW! Are you and I following Jesus or not? Lukewarm faith is cold faith—time to awaken lukewarm Christians. We see the signs Jesus told His disciples to watch for (see Matthew 24:4-8). Be ready.
The Watchman Blows The Trumpet
On September 13, 2022, The Pew Research Center published "Modeling the Future of Religion in America." Their findings suggest that "if recent trends in religious switching continue, Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades."
Is it just me, or does "religious switching" sound like "falling away or rebellion" discussed in scripture? For example, the Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, said,
"Now the Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." 1 Timothy 4:1-2
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." 2 Timothy 3:1-5
We see these characteristics in people today. But, we have seen them coming for decades. And the research clearly shows the falling away (or rebellion) trend among American Christians. Look at the trend line showing the projected falling away unless something changes,
Source: Pew Research Center
Think about this fall from Grace. In 1972 (I remember it well), approximately 90% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. Now, 50 years later, we are around 64% and falling like a rock. Another indicator of the end times rebellion is those who indicate "none" as their religious affiliation. Look again at 1972, where only 5% were "nones" compared with 30% today. Look at the upward trend. Up is down from a believer's perspective.
Source: Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is careful in presenting its data. They acknowledge that "this study presents formal demographic projections of what could happen under a few illustrative scenarios based on trends revealed by decades of survey data from Pew Research Center and the long-running General Social Survey."
Fair enough. Results from legitimate long-term research suggest bad news for falling away Christians. Even if we select a conservative model, we have too many lukewarm Christians going stone-cold. They are making a decision that may be irreversible. Some scriptures suggest that falling away is irreversible. However, Jesus assures us otherwise in
The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7)
The Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)
What's important, however, is that we blow the trumpet. We have an opportunity to alert the sleepwalking masses. It's time to repent, pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
The Watchman comes in many forms. All share the same message,
"...'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him a watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. If they heeded the warning they would have saved themselves." Ezekiel 33:2-6
Only God knows when His hourglass of time will run out of sand. But those awake see the signs Jesus spoke of when the end is near. Decades of survey data compiled at the Pew Research Center show a falling trend among American Christians. What researchers call trends in "religious switching," the scriptures call falling away or rebellion. So on fire believers need to sound the trumpet for our lukewarm brothers and sisters in Christ. Time may be running out as the last grain of sand falls into the abyss.
End Note: See how falling away manifests in suicide ideation, attempts, and completed suicide in our upcoming suicide prevention series.