"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -- Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
I was speaking with someone via Facebook today regarding a devotional I had done. After he rattled off some common NAR dominionist language I pointed out that the NAR had clearly influenced him. His denial was based on his belief that he had never heard of the NAR until reading my devotional. Such is the nature of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Dr. Michael Brown once tried to claim he had never heard of the NAR. Bill Johnson still denies he is part of it even though he was part of the NAR clown car that went to Lakeland to anoint Todd Bentley a prophet in 2008. C. Peter Wagner, who founded the NAR, was in the same car! Fast forward to today and Wagner's vision has grown like a bodybuilder on steroids. What we have today is a loose collective of churches who espouse one or more planks of the NAR. They do not know they are NAR in many instances. That is not the point. Just like my new friend did not realize that he may as well hang a NAR sign around his neck, many in the NAR leadership are just as clueless. The above link is from someone named Thomas McDaniels, whom I have never heard of. His premise is just more NAR absurdities. He believes the relevant church will always kill the popular church. What he fails to see is that they are one in the same as they are both NAR and they are seeking to kill the actual church. Let us reason once more beloved.
"Every decade leaves an indelible impression on the culture. In the last decade, one of the culturally related shifts is how society relates to the church. America was once a nation founded on Christian principles. The "Christian" label has declined from the once Christian and family-centric cultural values. While some hold to Christian values, people of faith engage in and attend church less than the former generations. As recently as 30 years ago, 67% of Americans attended and supported a local church. The most recent (2013) poll by the Pew Research Center reported that just 37% of Americans attended church weekly (Gallup's estimate came in at 39% in 2013). Church attendance remains a declining trend in 2020. About one-third of Americans now say they worship weekly and two-thirds say they rarely or never attend a service. Taylor Billings Russell--research specialist for the United Church of Christ's Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD)--recently explored the origin of this widely quoted statistic. The "6,000 to 10,000 churches closing a week" statistic lacked credibility. Academic research into this topic suggests that in recent years, 1% to 2% of American churches close. Put differently, the best estimate among researchers is that 3,850 to 7,700 congregations closing a year which works out to around 75 to 150 congregations a week." -- Thomas McDaniels
McDaniels starts with the NAR talking point about America being founded on Christian values. While it is true that many of the Founding Fathers held to faith, that faith would be largely rejected by the church today. Many were deists, who denied the deity of Jesus Christ. Thomas Jefferson even rewrote the bible removing all references to Christ's deity. I will not question the statistics he uses for church closings but the main question is of course why? It is not surprising that as society has gone down a moral slide that interest in church would decline as well. As we will see however, McDaniels misses the point altogether.
"There are a variety of reasons why churches have experienced a decline in attendance. The primary reason is that many churches are irrelevant to the lives of everyday believers.
Additional reasons Americans have stopped going to church:
--Some choose to practice their faith in different ways.