Michael S. Horton, professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary in California, said Christians appear to be creating future "nones" by failing to adequately pass the faith on to successive generations.
"We are about a generation away from a worshiping community that is rather small in terms of those who know what they believe, why they believe, and practice their faith with some real conviction," he said.
[from a Christianity Today article found here]
In my now significant number of years teaching people the Christian faith, I have to agree with this assessment. It has been coming for a long time now. My analysis is that lack of knowing what we believe and why we believe it is a significant contributing cause of the lack of practicing the Christian faith with real conviction.
The article focuses on a recent Pew poll that showed Protestants losing majority status in the U.S. As the article points out, most of this has come from the “mainline” Protestant denominational churches. Given my analysis, this is not surprising. For many years most mainline Protestant churches have been moving in the direction of deemphasizing what they believe and why. Instead, they have focused on promoting a somewhat distorted version of “doing good” that is often defined by current cultural fads.
So it is no wonder that people eventually tire of doing that kind of so-called ‘good’ – there is no real reason to motivate anyone to do it. But even among more conservative groups, including the now-popular no-brand ‘community’ style churches, I get the impression that the emphasis has now fallen on the “just do it” approach. People in our culture generally have no patience with whats and whys – they just want to do it. We are a culture of people who want to try to play the game without ever understand, or even reading. the rules. You can sometimes do that to a point, but the game will fall apart in the end.
I am sometimes shocked at the ignorance of the Christian faith I find in those who claim the Christian faith. Some of these people are very sincere. Sincerity has some force, but I think that, in the end sincerity alone is dead. It is no wonder that ‘we’ have been failing to pass our faith on to successive generations: ‘we’ don’t really understand our faith. It is very difficult to pass along something you don’t understand.