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Is the Christian church failing it's mission?

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Moral issues have created some of the most divisive controversies in recent political campaigns. While some Christians try to argue these issues from the Biblical perspective, their arguments have been falling on deaf ears, often because the Christians themselves are such an integral part of the problem.

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For His followers, Jesus laid out a set of moral values, expanded by the Apostle Paul, that were intended to be the lifestyle blueprint for anyone claiming to be a Christian.

In a recent Gallup poll, 77 per cent of Americans claimed to be followers of Christ. At least, they declared themselves to be Christians. But integrating the results of various polls, we are hard-pressed to find credibility in this percentage.

In another poll, Gallup found that 43 per cent rated American morals as poor and 73 per cent said that our moral values were getting worse.

As the major defects in our moral values, poll respondents placed at the top of the list the lack of respect and tolerance of other people, decline of family structure, lack of religious faith and lack of morals in general.

In still another survey, Gallup asked respondents to rate various types of behavior behavior as morally unacceptable or morally acceptable.

A majority of respondents, which had to include significant numbers of Christians considering they make up 77 per cent of the people, found the following to be morally acceptable: homosexuality and lesbianism, having children outside of marriage, sex between unmarried adults, divorce, gambling and unmarried women having children.

(It seems that some other forms of unChristian behavior, such as greed, arrogance, love of money, gluttony and crass materialism, have become so morally acceptable that pollsters don't even ask about them.)

The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church that they were qualified to judge other Christians but judgment of nonChristians was left to God. However, Christians would rather judge the secular society about the decline of morality even though they themselves are major contributors to the trend.

Since professing Christians make up 77 per cent of society, when polls show that a majority of people support unbiblical behavior, those numbers must include a significant number of Christians.

This proves the Pogo principle that "we have met the enemy and they is us."

Apparently, Christians are joining the secular society in finding morally acceptable behavior that is not acceptable in Scripture. There seems to be a gap here that can only be explained by the fact that many Christians no longer rely on the Bible as a reference for moral values, raising questions about the depth of their commitment to their faith.

However, according to a Gallup survey, 79 per cent claim that religion is important in their daily lives. Inconsistency seems to be rampant in the minds of Christians.

It seems that Christians need to spend more time correcting their own moral values and less time condemning the rest of society. If Christians were Christians, they would have significant impact on moral values, considering that they make up 77 per cent of society.

So instead of standing around wringing their hands, blaming secular society, and making political issues over the decline of various classes of morals, Christians ought to quit judging those outside the church and assume more responsibility for the holiness of their own.

That would go a long way toward improving our morals.

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Lloyd Omdahl
Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and a retired University of North Dakota political science teacher.
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