Posted by: Rina | November 10, 2008

The Current Identity Crisis

The following is a section of the book Who Do You Think You Are?  Discovering the Power of the Kingdom Identity. We will be posting several sections each week. To read the book by chapter, please click on the chapter links to the right of the screen.

“I have been a discipler and a counselor of countless people. I have also taught discipleship and pastoral counseling at the seminary level and in churches and leadership conferences across the country and around the world. I have found one common denominator for all struggling Christians. They do not know who they are in Christ, nor do they understand what it means to be a child of God.”

-Neil T. Anderson

The body of Christ is suffering from an identity crisis. Over a decade ago, Charles Colson said, “For the church in the West to come alive, it needs to resolve its identity crisis, to stand on truth, to renew its vision” (1). It has been a number of years since Mr. Colson made that statement and yet the identity crisis continues. Divorce rates among Christians are skyrocketing (2). Two-thirds of Christians admit to participating in premarital sex (3) and 30 percent of male Protestant ministers admit to cheating on their spouse (4). 36 percent of Christian adults admit to using pornography, and 30 percent of Pastors admit that pornography is a problem (5). Substance abuse is prevalent among Christians as well, especially among the youth. 80 percent of Christian young people admit to using alcohol, and nearly 40 percent have experimented with drugs of various kinds (6).

Christians across America are reaching out in a desperate attempt to find fulfillment in ways that are not Biblical. Not finding true satisfaction in their relationship with God, they are attempting to find it through the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). But God did not sacrifice His Son on our behalf simply to get us into heaven. He sacrificed His Son in order to get heaven into us! Heaven is the place of ultimate fulfillment. Psalm 36:8 tells us that we will be “abundantly satisfied” as we “drink from the river of His pleasures.” We are citizens of Heaven (Phil 3:20). We have the right to access everything that Heaven has to offer us now, while we are still on earth (Isa 55:1, John 7:37-38, Acts 2:13, Eph 5:18, 1 Cor 2:9-16). This is the place where Christians are to find their fulfillment and the acquisition of it is rooted in our identity as God’s children.

1.) Anderson, Neil T., Victory over the Darkness, Ventura, CA, Regal Books, second edition, 2000, page 36.

2.) A 2008 study from the Barna Group found that divorce rates among conservative Christians were statistically identical to the 33 percent figure among non-born again adults. Barrick, Audrey, Study: Christian Divorce Rate Identical to National Average, Christian Post (http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080404/study-christian-divorce-rate-identical-to-national-average.htm)

3.) Lauren Winner, Sex in the Body of Christ, Christianity today, www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/may/34.28.html.

4.) Newsweek (28 July 1997), 62. (http://www.infidelity-etc.com/index.php/4)

5.) In an August, 2000 survey of its readership by Christianity Today magazine, 36% of laymen responding have visited a sexually explicit Internet site, of which 44% have visited such sites “a few times” in the past year. In a 2002 survey of 6,000 pastors visiting the website of Saddleback Community Church in Mission Viejo, CA, 30% admitted viewing Internet pornography in the last 30 days. Another survey conducted by Christianity Today of its readership in August 2000 revealed that 33% of clergy have visited a sexually explicit Internet site at least once within the past year, of which 53% have done so “a few times.” Internet Pornography Statistics –The Scope of the Problem, Project Safe Haven, (http://www.namb.net/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=9qKILUOzEpH&b=1677351&ct=2536071)

6.) The University of Colorado released a survey comparing youth who regularly attended church with those who did not attend regularly, and found little difference in the areas of drug use. 88 percent of the unchurhced your reported drinking beer compared to 80 percent of the churched. 47 percent of the unchruched had tried marijuana compared to 38 percent of the churched youth. 28 percent of unchurched youth had tried amphetamines and barbituites as compared to 22 percent of the churched youth. Finally, 14 percent of the unchruched youth reported using cocaine while the churched youth reported 11 percent. Kerby Anderson, Drug Abuse, Surf in the Spirit, (www.surfinthespirit.com/healthy-living/drug-abuse.html.)

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