No Fear

by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemporary Church


On the Moral Collapse in the Pan-Evangelical Nation.

There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18, KJV)

Circa 600 B.C. Indicting the people of his day, Jeremiah described that; they “swear falsely,” “refused to take correction,” “refused to repent,” “do not know the way of the Lord or the ordinance of their God,” “were well-fed lusty horses, each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife,” “bend their tongue like their bow“; that “lies and not truth prevail in the land“; that their “sons have forsaken Me and sworn by those who are not gods“; and that “every brother deals craftily and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer” (See Jeremiah 5:1-9, 26-28; 9:3-6). Déjà vu! Any reader of Jeremiah and the other prophets cannot help but notice the uncanny resemblance between the society of Judah then and the evangelical sub-culture now. Fast forward to . . .

Circa 2009 A.D. In their book UnChristian, two authors from the Barna Research Group describe behaviors evident among today’s pan-evangelicals. They write:

In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioral evidence of transformed lives. . . . the lifestyle activities of born-again Christians were statistically equivalent to those of non-born-agains. . . . born again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that did not belong to them, to consult a medium or a psychic, to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, to have used an illegal, nonprescription drug, to have said something to someone that was not true, to have gotten back at someone for something he or she did, and to have said mean things behind another person’s back. No difference. [1]

The two researchers then go on to illustrate:

In statistical and practical terms, this means the two groups [i.e., those claiming to be born again as opposed to those making no such claim] are essentially no different from each other. If these groups of people were in two separate rooms, and you were asked to determine, based on their lifestyles alone, which room contained the Christians, you would be hard-pressed to find much difference. [2]

After more than three decades of “user-friendly” Christianity peddled to the grand evangelical sub-culture by schmoozing preachers, their publishers, and publicists, should we be surprised at what the research reveals? The chickens have come home to roost. But what might be the cause of there being “no difference” between the lifestyles of born-agains and non-born-agains?

The cause is that evangelical sub-culture apparently no longer stands in awe of God. As Jeremiah spoke: “‘Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not; who have ears, but hear not. Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence?’” (Jeremiah 5:21-22).

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and Christ, who is the Wisdom of God and the Spirit of wisdom, will enable us to walk in obedience to the Lord’s commandments (See Colossians 2:2-3, 6; Isaiah 11:2; Ezekiel 36:26-27). The fear of the Lord will be exhibited in the lifestyle of a believer “who walks in His ways” and “who greatly delights in His commandments” (Psalms 128:1; 112:1). There will be a difference!

A few years ago I heard of a respected news commentator who stated, “I don’t believe in God, but I fear Him.” In one sense his statement was tragic; in another, it was truth. People ought to fear God. Yet in surveying the current moral state of the pan-evangelical movement, I am forced to ask, who is better off–the atheist who doesn’t believe in God, but fears Him, or the evangelical nation who after a generation of listening to “schmoozer-user-friendly” religion, believe in God but, as indicated by how they live, apparently don’t fear Him?


[1] David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks About Christianity . . . and Why It Matters (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007): 47.
[2] Ibid.

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