do you have an answer for a former Catholic?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by nodak, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    I was at a Bible study one evening this week.

    The teacher shared some statistics about how with people born before 1940, x% were self identified as born again. (Sorry, I did not take notes on his stats.) People born 1940-1960 had a smaller number, then those born after 1960 had a tiny %.

    The teacher expressed the opinion that proves the church much change or die.

    One gentleman is a born again former Catholic. He raised this question:

    It seemed to him that the churches (protestant) had changed tremendously DURING the time the % of saved folks was declining. Wouldn't that mean perhaps the best way to reach folks would be going back to the older ways?

    edited to add: some thought he was upholding the fact the Catholic church has not changed as much. Since he formally left the Catholic church and joined a protestant church upon conversion, and wants nothing to do with the RCC, I personally doubt that.

    Needless to say, much discussion. How would you answer him?
     
  2. annsni

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    See, the question I would ask is "What is a born again Christian and did all of these people define themselves as such?" Recently there was a survey about "evangelical Christians" yet the answers they gave clearly showed themselves to NOT be evangelical Christians as many of us would define them.

    Secondly, we know for a fact that as we get closer to the end, more and more will fall away from the faith. That would also mean that many will just not enter the faith.

    I honestly don't think old methods necessarily were better but I do think we need to seriously consider what we are doing with the Gospel. Do we just sequester ourselves in church and church groups or are we going out into all of the world to preach the Gospel? That is the key, IMO.
     
  3. nodak

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    Good points!

    I can only answer some of your questions poorly and only about the little southeastern NM area I hale from. My family is still there.

    In the 1950's, I would guess about 95% of the people belonged to the local Baptist church. Only the Lord knows about their hearts, but judging from their lives I would guess it was the real deal for maybe 90% of those. They didn't sequester themselves in church groups, but were active in the community. About the only time "religion" was discussed outside homes and church was the twice a year revival meetings. At that time, any non members of that church were visited.

    Let's see, fast forward to the 70's and I guess about 50% of the people were members. About the same handling of the gospel. Judging lives--I guess real deal still about 90%.

    Mid 90's--maybe 20% were members. About everything you can name that a church can change had been changed to be up to date. Members were getting vocal and very political. Real deal for about 50%. Rest living lives of open sin. Extremely active in outreach.

    Today. Church closed down.
     
  4. annsni

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    I really think a lot of it was cultural Christianity. Around here, the vast majority are Catholic and most everyone goes to the local Catholic church. But that doesn't mean that they even practice what the Catholic church teaches.

    Back in the 50s, things were WAY different than today. A "loose woman" was frowned upon, whereas today it's "anything goes". Disrespect in teens resulted in punishment both at home and at school yet nowadays, they get away with it. Moms were at home the vast majority of the time, families ate dinner together, we didn't have the distraction of technology like we have today, etc. I'd say cultural Christianity was the name of the game.
     
  5. Crabtownboy

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    Perhaps it is a change in terminology. I remember when Jimmy Carter was running for president the the term 'born again' was used. Quite a number of people had no idea what the term meant and many were Christians outside the South. How often is the term 'born again' used in churches? In the South? Outside the South? I have no idea how often this term is used in our current culture.
     
  6. BobRyan

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    He is right.

    The "old way" is to reject evolutionism -- the new way is to find a way to merge it into the church.

    the "old way" is to reject catholic doctrine -- the new way is to find common ground and try to merge in as many areas as possible.

    the "old way" was to read and have outside occupations. The new way iss to have TV spoon-feed our saints until they can do only minimal reading of their own.

    The "old way" was to have neighbor-to-neighbor Bible study fellowships -- the new way is TV evangelism, or large seminar evangelism -- church as a "non-contact sport".

    The "old way" was that the Bible "is really true" -- the "new way" is to condemn that notion as "Christian fundamentalist extremism"

    Much has changed -- the "old way" was better.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    Answer what? Whether the Catholic Church has changed? It has but I'm not sure what you mean to answer.
     
  8. Johnv

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    I dont' use the term "Born Again Christian" since it's a term people associate almost exclusively with hyperfundamentalism. I simply refer to myself as a Christian, and include that I've given my life to Christ (to differentiate from those who use the term "Christian" to ascribe a religious affiliation).
     
  9. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I agree.

    One, people today are much more likely to define themselves as simply Christian rather than "born-again Christian." My guess is that my teens haven't even heard of that expression. It may be more of southern or fundamentalist term today.

    Two, the US is indeed less Christian today than it was in the 1940's or 1960's or even 1980's. I think this is due to increase of those with other faiths, the rise of secularism, and the falling away from the Christian faith of the young.

    Three, I agree with Ann in that a lot of "Christianity" may have been more of a cultural thing in the "old days" rather than a personal relationship with Christ.

    So perhaps it's a combination of things.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    hmm that means that "saved", and "Bible believing" will soon follow since they too are associated with the new pejorative term "fundamentalist".
     
  11. Thinkingstuff

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    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand why are we letting others define our terms for us? On the other how is our witness?
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Forty years ago, our pastor advised us that the term Christian had become too vague. He suggested that during personal witnessing that we avoid asking someone if they were a Christian, since it meant different things to different people.

    Or, if they identified themselves as a Christian, we should ask followup questions to let them define what they meant by that. We have to remember that Catholics and Mormons describe themselves as Christians.

    Most of the time, if I'm asked, I identify myself as a believer. Among friends, I jokingly describe myself as a right-wing, redneck, deep-water Baptist.

    During a mission trip to Romania a few years ago, I learned that Romanian Baptists describe themselves as "repenters." They also do not understand terms such as "accepting Christ" or "asking Christ into their hearts."

    I don't think one can have a hard and fast rule about Christian terminology. Even asking someone if they're saved requires further clarification these days.

    I do think we Baptists would do well to re-evaluate the terminology we use in presenting the gospel. But that's another thread.
     
    #12 Tom Butler, Oct 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2009
  13. Tom Butler

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    Clarity in presenting the gospel is exemplified by this story I read a long time ago.

    A new preacher at a country church was out visiting the folks, and saw a man plowing in a field. He got out of his car, walked out to the man, introduced himself, and asked the farmer directly, "are you lost?"

    "Naw," he replied, "I've lived around here most of my life."

    "Well," said the preacher, "are you ready for the judgment day?"

    "When's it gonna be?"

    "Oh, it could be tomorrow, or it could be next week."

    The farmer said, "well, when you know for sure, let me know. My wife will probably want to go both days."
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    It seems there are no terms left to use. Born again is scriptural whether some see it as "hyper fundamentalism" of otherwise. John3

    People use statistics to justify what they already want to do before knowing the details of the statistics. Preach Christ and Him Crucified and He will draw all men to Him. We do not need to add on iota of man's wisdom or methodology which only works to interfere with the gospel. The idea that the church needs to change is a failed post modern argument to justify what they want to do. Post modernism is a walking contradiction as its very own arguments come out of modernism.

    Christ and His gospel is the same every day and will never change. The method by which it is delivered is clear in scripture and does not require our thinking about it. Lift up Christ and let the Holy Ghost do the rest.
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    That is a great Joke. Thanks!
     
  16. Johnv

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    Well, to that end, fundamentslists often use "bible believing" as though they were the only ones who did.

    If you're a Christian, you're a Christian. It's not a matter of desgrees. If a person has a need to compartmentalize their religious affiliation by preceding it with words like "bible believing" or "saved", or "born again" or "spirit-filled", or whatever else, one can't help but question the necessity of doing so.
    Interesting, since it's often the fundie crowd that questions peoples' salvation, and they're the ones using those labels the most. Of course being born again is scriptural! No one says otherwise. Using it in as a label which precedes the word "christian" is not biblically mandated, however.
     
    #16 Johnv, Oct 30, 2009
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  17. OldRegular

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    Malachi 3:6. For I am the LORD, I change not;

    God does not change! His purpose in Salvation does not change! Why should His Church change?
     
  18. saturneptune

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    The Lord really does not care what terms we have invented or catagories man has made up to define Him or His plan. The fact is either you are saved by grace through faith from the finsihed work of Jesus Christ on the cross or you are not.
     
  19. Trotter

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    Actually, the answer to the OP is rather simple.

    The Baby Boomers moved out of church a long time ago to make their own way. Because of this, their children, the Busters, grew up outside of church influence with very little exposure to the gospel.

    As for change, the churches in the US haven't changed since the 1950's. Walk into any non-mega church and you will see the same things in all of them... almost cookie cutter images of one another.
     
  20. nodak

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    Sorry to be so long in replying and thanking all who replied.

    14 inches of snow had us busy, then a party for the church kids, and some family sickness interfered.

    trotter--must be a regional thing. Our idea of a mega church would be 150 in worship! Baby boomers haven't gone anywhere, but the busters are definitely missing in action.

    And can't find one single solitary church still doing things the same old way in this town!!
     

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