On Palm Sunday in Egypt several churches were attacked by ISIS. Thirty-nine Christians who rose that morning to celebrate Jesus's Triumphal entry into Jerusalem were instead ambushed and lost their lives at the hands of monsters. ISIS claimed credit for the attacks and issued a statement which said, "Christians are our favorite prey."
Arab Muslims arrived in Egypt in 640 A.D. At that time the country was essentially Christian. Most historians believe it was evangelized by St. Mark, who came to Egypt in the first century. It took centuries for Arabic and Islam to become the predominant language and religion of Egypt, but it happened slowly and systematically. Now Coptic Christians are a persecuted minority in their own land.
It is obvious that Christianity is under attack worldwide. Thankfully, in America our churches are not attacked by suicide bombers, at least not yet. We know, however, there are Islamic Jihadists here who would like nothing more than to kill Christians in worship on Sunday morning. We must be vigilant to protect the flock of God.
Nonetheless, in my opinion there are even greater threats to the future of the church in America. Those dangers are the incessant leftist attacks against our Christian values and culture as bigoted and hateful, coupled with Christian apathy, fear, and a refusal to boldly proclaim our message to an increasingly secularized culture.
We do not seek, nor do we want, a theocracy. That would be a disaster for America as well as Christianity. That notwithstanding, America is culturally a Christian nation. Our values are Judeo-Christian. This is not codified in any legal declaration, nor should it be. It is ratified in the traditions and values of the American people.
The good news is that seventy percent of our population still self-identifies as Christian.
The bad news is that the number of people who identify as Christians has been on a slow but steady decline for the last fifty years. Of those who "identify" as Christian, only a small percentage say it is important in their lives.
If this trend continues, America eventually will look like Europe - secular atheist rather than Judeo-Christian. Since our very Constitution is founded on the principle of rights and freedom coming from our Creator, if the influence of Christianity is destroyed, our fundamental rights will be destroyed as well.
According to a Pew Research Center Study, the number of people who identify as Christians dropped nearly eight percent from 2007 to 2014 -- only seven years. During that same period, the number of those who identify as atheist and agnostic grew by nearly seven percent. We are trending in the wrong direction, and the change is dramatic enough for news agencies to notice it.
Religion News Service reported in September 2016:
"The number of Christians and cultural strength of Christianity are both declining in the United States. This decline is noticeable and is affecting church life, culture, and politics."
Already we see the First Amendment under attack on college campuses, with faculties and students denying a platform to those with whom they disagree. This is totalitarian, not democratic. This is mob control, not individual liberty. This is Marxism, not Christianity.
In response STAND is launching a new program called the Christian Awakening Project. This has been years in the making. It is an effort to help churches more effectively reach the people in their communities. We are working with Outreach, a national church marketing organization based in Colorado Springs.
We are beginning with a pilot program of five churches in Virginia and then hoping to take the effort nationwide. It will cost us $20,000 to do this pilot program. A donor has agreed to put up half, but has challenged us to raise the additional funds from other sources. Will you help us? Your donation today will have double impact.
It took centuries for Egypt to cease being a Christian nation, but they didn't have internet, Facebook, Twitter, television, or a vast entertainment and media culture to help drive out Christian ideals. We do.
All those tools being used against us must be turned in our favor. We want to help churches nationwide to use mass mailing, social media, video, and every other form of communication we can employ to reverse the downward trend of Christianity in America. It can be done, but it will take many of us working together.
Outreach leaders told me that it would take $18 million dollars to reach every household in America. That is a very tall order, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Our first step is here in Virginia.
Christianity is the "titanic" influence that has blessed and carried us to our destiny as the greatest nation in human history. The "Titanic" was a big, beautiful, luxurious ship - the largest ever built. It was gliding through the Atlantic with ease, but it was headed for an iceberg that would sink it.
The decline of Christianity is the iceberg that could sink America.
We will keep you updated on our progress. Thank you for your support. God bless you, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.