Strangely enough, it is now being fueled by those who called themselves Christians but can be more identified as "Carnal" or "Cafeteria" Christians...or PRACTICAL ATHEISTS! This last term would be very offensive to such a person, but could it be true? If one were to look at the increasingly weak nature and influence of the church, there would be no doubt a result of professing Christians who are not really what they say they are! The latest surveys show that 72% of people in churches say they are "saved" but only 17% of them think that church and its associated groups, are necessary for spiritual growth. These numbers are from the well known preacher of Lifechurch.TV Perry Noble who gave an even more startling number. He says only 33% of Christians believe God expects them to be Holy. By the way, that would the only group of people worldwide who will actually be in heaven. Hebrews 12:14 says explicitly "Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord".
A "Practical Atheist" is one who claims to believe in God, the God of the Bible, but then proceeds to live like the god of this world!
A "Practical Atheist" is one who claims to be a Christian because they may have been born in America; walked the aisle at a youth camp with friends or even been baptised into foolishly thinking they were regenerated by getting dunked in water.
A "Practical Atheist" is one who is moved by the beautiful baby of the Christmas story or may even cry on Easter Sunday morning decked out with the family in Sunday best, all the while heading out to the big ham dinner and their true concept of Easter - Easter eggs! Yet the 50 other weeks of the year, the inerrant Word of God and Jesus Christ means nothing to the conduct of their selfish lives.
A "Practical Atheist" is one who would agree with discussions that "sure, God created the earth", but we could have "evolved" over 4 billion years....never mind the Hebrew year from Adam's Creation is only 5772 years, which even Jewish atheists believe (the date I mean).
A "Practical Atheist" is one who does not question the teachings of the secular world about God, Creation, the Family or even sin. This person will allow all kinds of strange teachings in their homes - that all religions/cults have the same god, they only take different routes. They will not look out for the spiritual health of their own children because "everybody has to come to faith and spirituality on their own".
A "Practical Atheist" is one who will then question if events like the Parting of the Red Sea really happened or "did the Jews cross the sea at Low Tide". They, like increasingly apostate churches like the Presbyterian Church USA, allow the celebration of unknown gods at their annual conference and see nothing wrong with that. They are part of the almost 60% of Evangelicals who say they are other ways to Heaven than complete Faith and Trust in Jesus Christ. Yet they expect this Same Jesus Christ to let them into heaven because "I am a basically not that bad of a person"!
These people cuss like sailors in the Name of the Lord, taking His Name in vain or worse.
They watch pornographic movies or worse.
They commit adultery, even with members of the same sex as have been happening in some mega- churches recently.
They have affairs with other members of the Choir or worship team, yet are allowed to remain in those offices of ministry by stupid preachers/church leaders who are afraid to lose tithers.
They get their morals from the corrupt culture and can be seen down at the video store on Fridays checking out the latest Rated R movies or walking out Shop and Stop with a case of beer on Fridays.
They share dirty jokes at the office with the best of them while changing demeanor when confronted by a real Christian, of which there are few.
They get their worldview from Doctor Phil; Oprah; Deepak Chopra; Richard Foster or Thomas Merton et al
They are increasingly mixing the voodoo of eastern mysticism with the Pure Word and Faith of the Lord by dabbling in buddhism, yoga and strange meditation, while expect the Blessings of the One True God of Heaven in their lives.
They find nothing wrong with chanting the pagan chant of "Om" while refusing the read the 5 Bibles gathering dust on their shelves.
They act as if God owes them something, while walking in a perverse, corrupt culture He disdains completely and will most certainly judge.
To the Practical Atheist, prayer means nothing to them - unless they are in an accident or develop a terminal illness. In this case, they will not mind if the church prays for them. If by the Grace of God there is a full recovery, they still will not acknowledge Him. I have seen with my own eyes, someone recover from double breast cancer who was just not a believer. We had powerful and widespread prayer for her for months. She recovered and went back to her same, on-the-surface good family lifestyle....a lifestyle totally devoid of God.
One day a few months ago, she had just walked past me very quickly in the hall, when she fell very hard and face down on the carpeted floor. I immediately ran and slid down next to her as if I was stealing first base. As I prayed for her, knowing her breast cancer past, I heard her saying "I can't seem to get out of this black hole I am in!!!!" I knew what that meant. She was not and is still not saved and has never given her life to God as Lord, Savior by repenting and trusting in the finished work of Christ. She is just like 75% of so-called Christians in America who will find themselves falling into the pit of eternal separation from God because they believed in themselves and followed the god of this world....and voting like the god of this world....and buying the filth of the god of this world.....and.....you name it, they do it!
In the final analysis, if you or someone you know, is a person who says they believe in God...and are even a "believer in Christ" yet lives their daily lives as if He does not exist or sees what they do, they will, just might be a ...."Practical Atheist"! Our prayer is this- examine yourself daily, and see if "ye be in the Faith" - the TRUE Faith - where Jesus Christ is All, in all, above all and your All in All. Amen.
(Photo credits: Apprising Ministries (virus graphic); google images)