Saturday, March 28, 2015

Is The Senator Right To Propose Mandatory Church Attendance As A Solution To Sin?

During a legislature debate to expand gun owner’s rights, Senator Sylvia Allen  said that those who committed gun violence had corrupted souls.  She yearned for a moral rebirth in this country. Finally, she suggested a path to the moral rebirth as mandatory church attendance in these words. “We are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. We should probably be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”[1] The beloved senator was right in the diagnosis, but she was wrong with the solution. In the past, going to church would have been a good solution but not now because those who preach about heaven are not heaven-bound themselves.  Firstly; history shows that it does not work; secondly; the present church goes do not show its benefits; and thirdly; the quality of churchgoing is not good enough: You will see why.
Senator Sylvia Allen was right that those committing gun violence had corrupted souls. The Bible agrees with her because it reads, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).” That means, sin makes people do evil things. She was also right that we need a spiritual rebirth because as you have seen all along in history, Christianity helps to build stronger families, create high value for human life, makes people duty conscious and gives them peace of mind. Many of the scientists were Christians. It was their going to church that influenced them to do the things they did. Churchgoing in the olden days encouraged education. Today Christian colleges are so corrupt and full of games that you wonder what the difference is. Their whole focus is not different from their non-Christian counterparts; make money. Churches were a source of democracy as you see in Acts 6 and 15. They always debated and voted on doctrines. Today, we do not even debate on any doctrine. If you do not agree with the church position, you are excommunicated.
In addition, nowadays, there is a familyquake in church that seems to break almost half of many Christian marriages. Divorce was not normal then, but today it is normal and even encouraged in churches.  The notion of the family is muddled with modern philosophies. Those who go to church are no more the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Why is depression picking churchgoers apart just as those who do not go to church? Do churchgoers trust each other to confess heir sins to one another without fearing they will be ostracized or judged? 
First and foremost, mandatory church attendance has never worked in history. When Theodosius made Christianity the state religion in 380 A.D, the church instead became more corrupt because the heathen came to church with their heathen  behaviors. It is easier for bad communication to corrupt good manners than for good communication to corrupt bad manners because just immediately thereafter, the church underwent through the Dark Ages. It showed that churchgoing per se does not transform people; it is the Word that transforms. Nowadays, people preach their own gospel rather than the gospel of Christ. That is why going to church may not be a great solution.
 It is important to note that church attendance has fallen. The Barna Report states, “Millennials (those 30 and under) stand out as least likely to value church attendance; only two in 10 believe it is important.”[2]  While theologians and research groups all argue that the number of young people leaving churches is not as high as 86%, all do accept that the number is pretty high.[3][4][5][6]
Secondly, churchgoing has less influence on people nowadays as it should. Most of the states with the highest number of church attendance are states that top the chart on racism. You should look at the states with the highest church attendance.[7] Now you should also look at the states with the highest rate of racism.[8] [9] We can now ask a simple question. What good is their church attendance then if they go to church that much and still top the chart on most racist states in the country? It explains to you why the young people are leaving church because they want an inclusive environment that loves your neighbor as yourself.  These statistics will tell you that the senator’s solution will be mere rodomontade.  Christianity teaches people to value and respect human life, but racism does not. God requires from humans justice, mercy and humility. Micah told Israel what God wanted from them. Israel was the macrocosm of the human race in that picture. There are many churches suing each other, Christians suing each other, pastors suing each other and so on and so forth. There is a great hatred amongst churchgoers from one denomination with those of another denomination. We talk about homeless or feeding the homeless once a year while we have big churches and homes that are empty. There are many Churchgoers whose relatives are homeless while they live in their homes only with their cats.
Thirdly, the mentality now in most churches is too corrupt that one has to wonder if going to church is a good thing. We go to church to encourage one another (Heb 10:25). I have kept more than 20 people who wanted a place to stay, and almost everyone left as a Christian without anyone forcing them. I realized that the non-Christian girls had a simpler mind as compared to the Christian ones. The non-Christians did not suspect any evil in your action. You treated them both the same. Sometimes I ask myself what we learn in those churches. Let me give you an example. One time I saw a Christian lady with her daughter requesting for a place to live. I proposed mine, and she told me that she was grateful, but she will have to turn it down because she has her daughter with her. Then I decided to offer the opportunity to a non-Christian woman with two daughters who took it and were so happy. Paul said, ‘Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled (Titus 1:15).” We need to renew our minds. That is why the apostles lived as one family the way they lived (Acts 4:31).  A brother and a sister cannot engage in any meaningful conversation because someone is thinking evil. There is a reason Paul encouraged the people to renew their minds (Rom 12: 2).
Notwithstanding, the church is still relevant and needed today. A good church will help you to stand and grow better in the Lord. However, to have a great impact, the church must go back to the gospel and live as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. For now or until churches can turn around, I will support that schools and the country teach moral instructions but leave mandatory going to church because it will form more hypocrites that genuine believers.

Until then, don’t hate me for what I write, treat me well and I will write about your goodness.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

[1] "Arizona Lawmaker Wants Church Attendance to Be Mandatory." NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[2] "Americans Divided on the Importance of Church." - Barna Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.

[3] "Why Are Young People Leaving the Church?" Why Are Young People Leaving the Church? N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[4] "The Real Reasons Young Adults Drop Out of Church." The Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[5] "Dropouts and Disciples: How Many Students Are Really Leaving the Church?" The Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[6] "The Everyday Theologian: September 2014." The Everyday Theologian: September 2014. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[7] "Where Does Your State Rank In Church Attendance? This New Map Has the Answer." Western Journalism. N.p., 24 Feb. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[8] "Most Racist States In the U.S. - Top Ten List -" Most Racist States In the U.S. - Top Ten List - N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
[9] "Top 10 Most Racist States in America - Page 5 of 5 - Atlanta Blackstar."Atlanta Blackstar. N.p., 14 May 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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