The fastest death rate of churches in America is happening in the Bible belt, said a southern US pastor at a 3-day convention that was held recently, according to Christian Today (CT).
Churches are dying fastest in the so-called Bible Belt/Credit: klsmith77/sxc.hu
At Advance10: Contextualizing the Gospel in the New South, Pastor Tyler Jones of Vintage21 Church in Raleigh, North Carolina said churches are dying rapidly in the Bible belt. He and several other pastors blamed the churches themselves for the decline, CT reported.
According to Jones, churches don’t understand the gospel and how it applies to people’s lives. They are being taught “quaint moralism over the Gospel.” Jones said, adding “Moralism is the greatest form of self worship. It robs us of our need for God,” CT reported.
Jerome Gay, lead pastor of Vision International Church in Raleigh agreed, saying, “Christianity has been presented as a list of don’ts. Don’t go to the club, don’t join the frat, don’t do this, don’t do that.” As a result, people leave the church, disillusioned, without actually knowing Christ as he is presented in the Bible, CT said.
The conference was held by Advance the Church, and co-sponsored by The Summit Church and Vintage21 Church. They seek to help local churches become more responsive to the changing culture without watering down God’s Word, according to the Christian Post (CP).
CP quoted Pastor David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, who said many churches need clarity on the Gospel. “A lot of people who [grew] up in the church need to hear the Gospel as it’s presented biblically,” said Platt.
Other scheduled speakers were Matt Carter of The Austin Stone; Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle; J.D. Grear of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area; Johnny Hunt, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention; and Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla, according to CP.