Nominal…

“Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.

Nominal conservative Protestants, on the other hand, were 20% more likely to divorce than religiously unaffiliated.” ~ USA Today Article

For years from the pulpit I have heard the statistics that Christians were no better than the rest of society concerning divorce. As a student, I knew many friends whose parents split. Then as a youth minister, I worked with many kids from divorced homes. And yet, it never seemed to be the 50% statistic that was preached. I suppose I was around more spiritual people… and with this new study, it looks like I was right!

This is good news for the church. Though the church is often condemned for not being any different than the world, this study proves we are changed. We have certainly not reached the holiness of Christ, but we are moving toward Him! And this journey, this move to follow Christ, is the summation of our faith.

But this study also says something huge about nominal Protestants, who are TWENTY percent more likely to divorce than non-believers. These are people who in word claim faith in Christ, but in action make no moves towards Him. In the same way they must claim faithfulness to their spouse, but words are only air without action…

This has made me wonder. The church is ridiculed for so many things. We are accused of being hypocrites and judgmental. But the majority of Christians I meet are neither of these things (Certainly there are exceptions!). Believers who dive deep grow humble as they focus on Christ. We realize the good in our lives is grace, because we are nothing without Him.

So I wonder, is our reputation defined not by those inside the church, but instead by those sleeping in on Sunday and watching TV on Wednesday??? Are these people, claiming to be Christian on Monday, the ones judging their neighbor’s scandalous lifestyle?? Are they the ones doing the very actions for which they judge others???

Have the nominal destroyed our statistics and made us look just like the rest of the world? When in reality the nominal are far worse off than anyone…

… Which is the most amazing thing of all. Nominal believers divorce more often than non-Christians. How can this be reality? Even if they do not follow Christ, at least a nominal person acknowledges Jesus… shouldn’t this be better than not believing at all???

“So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” ~ Revelation 3:16

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