It is my opinion that the Christian church has lost relevance because it has ceased to be the church of God; it has become an apostate church. Under constant attack from the forces of evil - secularism, humanism, socialism, paganism, polytheism, hedonism, and all forms of antichristian isms or entities - churches have declined. In an effort to recover their losses, they have appealed to secularized (un-churched/non-religious) people by abandoning the true biblical teachings of Christianity for a soft-sell approach (Christianity Lite).
These churches have adopted progressive theologies and opted for a wide array of worship styles and genres embracing non-Christian, even pagan, liturgics; stretching inclusivity to the extent of "anything goes." In reality, they are expounding nothing less than idolatry that replaces God with His creation. They have shifted focus away from God to people and things - good deeds, agendas, agencies, movements, plants, animals, the earth, political parties, etc. - worshiping the creation, not the Creator.
In addition, progressive churches have denied sin and replaced the need for repentance with doing good works. As a result, the church has morphed into a faith-based social service agency. In the minds of secular society and even of some Christians, the church's social ministries are nothing more than extensions of secular/government programs.
These churches have continued to move farther and farther away from traditional Christian orthodoxy, watering down beliefs and teachings to achieve greater mass appeal and to be less offensive to unbelievers. As a result, churches are not much different from secular institutions, and religion is not worth being a part of when pews are empty, buildings are being closed, and being a Christian means being marginalized and labeled as a bigot and fanatic.
Additionally, these churches also have embraced universalism, that all are saved regardless of faith in Christ Jesus, that there are many paths to God and Christianity is but one path. If this were the case, Christ Jesus' birth, life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection would all have been in vain, for naught, useless, unnecessary; that Christianity is but one of many options from which to choose. So why be a Christian?
Jesus said," I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). If the church denies or rejects Christ, He will deny the church. In essence, Jesus inferred this when He said, "So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:23-33).
These churches are irrelevant and dying today because they are in apostasy. They no longer endure sound teaching; and having itching ears, they have accumulated teachers to suit their own passions, turned away from listening to the truth, and wandered off into myths. Having become secularized, they have turned away from God and are now reaping the fruits of their deeds. However, not all hope is lost; God always redeems a faithful remnant. That is His promise.
- Letscher is the pastor at Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Montoursville.