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Spiritual, But Lost
by GBC Ministry

 Stephen Prothero, chair of Boston University's department of religion, commented on a recent survey, the massive U.S. Religious Landscape Survey undertaken by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, in Monday's (March 10, 2008) edition of USA Today.  He suggested that the data indicate a fundamental transformation of American religion.  Of particular interest to me were his comments on those who responded "None" when asked for their religious affiliation.  Regarding this group, Prothero writes:

 The key subplot here is the rise of "nones," a category growing faster than any other religious group. Of all adults in the USA, 16% say they are religiously unaffiliated, while 7% were raised that way. Moreover, 25% of younger Americans (ages 18-29) report no religious affiliation at all.
It is important to emphasize that this march of the "nones" is by no means beating the drums for the old secularization thesis, which posited that as societies embraced modernization they would shun God. This is because many "nones" are quite religious. In fact, many Americans refuse to affiliate with any religious organization not because they do not believe in God but because they believe in God so fervently that they cannot imagine any human institution capturing the mysteries of the divine. In this study, only about a quarter of all "nones" call themselves atheists or agnostics. In other surveys, about half the unaffiliated typically affirm the Christian God.
 Prothero argues that the "nones" are not really committed to nothing, as it would appear, but, rather, they are just not committed to any particular system of organized religion.  Instead, they are "spiritual but not religious" types.  He adds that this option "among my Boston University students at least, seems as popular as the smoothie stand in the student union."
 As this survey suggests, there is a great "spiritual" movement afoot.  New Age and other occultist influences, as well as myriads of humanistic, man-centered religions of every sort are everywhere, even, perhaps especially, in professing Christendom.  The result is a growing number of people, a very great number, who have created a god to their own liking.  They have formed a god in their own image and worship him/her as they please. The god is Self.
These don't believe they need "religion."  However, contrary to their personal beliefs, they haven't found a new way of enlightenment at all.  Rather, they have simply passed through the old, wide gate of the old, broad way that the Lord tells us leads "to destruction."  And they have growing confidence in the way they have chosen because their ranks are growing for "many there be which go in thereat." (Matthew 7:13)
Even more sobering for the Christian who has sincere compassion for the lost in this age, these spiritual unbelievers are traveling along this road with a group who have chosen the same path “in the name of Christ!”  These religious traveling companions are they who will one day proclaim the "value" of their self-styled Christianity through their sincere but hopeless inquiry to the Lord at the Great Judgment: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?” Unfortunately for these religious-but-lost individuals, the Lord’s answer to them will be the same as His answer to the spiritual-but-lost Self-enlightened ones, “I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Truly we are in the age to which the Lord was referring when He said, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Yes, He will, but it will be truly scarce. Yet, there has always been, and always will be, a remnant who faithfully serves the Lord “to the end.”
As Christians, we have only one message.  The Lord Himself gave it to us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)  There has never been, there will never be "multiple ways" to God.  There is one Way, through grace alone, by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.  This is our message.  This is the Truth.
Are you a true Believer?  Would you be faithful to lift up the Lord who saved you from your sins before men as their only and all-sufficient hope for salvation "from the wrath to come?" (1 Thessalonians 1:10) If so, then realize that the greatest mission field in the world may very well exist right in our own country, in your own “backyard.”
There’s much to do. Are you willing to serve?  If you are, be encouraged: God is faithful.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37
His Word, faithfully proclaimed, "shall not return unto [Him] void, but it shall accomplish that which [He pleases], and it shall prosper...." (Isaiah 55:11) 
Commit yourself to the service to which He has called you. Be a faithful witness, both in walk and in word. Proclaim the living, incorruptible, life-giving Word who "was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14)
“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9


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