It is a known fact that empty and under-utilized spaces are readily recognized and exploited by criminals.
My wife inherited a small tract of land near Sinton, TX almost 25 years ago. It is supposedly a few acres in a very remote area with no physical structures on the property. Five years ago we were in San Antonio for a meeting and decided to drive to Sinton to see the property. We went to the county courthouse to find a map or directions to the property we had been paying taxes on for a quarter of a century.
When the person who helped us find the directions to the property realized the location of the land, she said, “I would advise you to stay as far away from that property as possible. There are immigrants in that area who would think nothing of shooting intruders.” Martha Jean and I took a vote and the decision was unanimous to stay away from our inherited land and allow the appearance of the property to remain a mystery.
An empty house is a vacuum that invites occupants of the vilest sort. Drug addicts, prostitutes, and vile and unscrupulous people of all descriptions love to fill that kind of vacuum and generally do.
First of all, a vacuum does not discriminate. Empty and under-utilized spaces are neither particular nor selective. Since such abandoned places have no monitor or overseer it is very likely those places will be inhabited by people who need attention, counsel, correction, and love the most.
Second, a vacuum does not hesitate. Since an empty space is unlikely to have an overseer, those who wish to fill that vacuum do not have to fill out a form for occupancy. There is no protocol to adhere to as a requisite for occupancy. There are no waiting lists. The vacuum can be filled immediately.
Third, a vacuum does not cooperate. Those who fill up empty spaces or under-utilized areas make up their own agendas and their own rules. In fact, those who occupy once-empty spaces may be averse to rules and given to more of an antinomian society. They are not interested in developing a common moral consensus. They feel no need to cooperate.
I have presented this introduction to explain why I think we have a spiritual vacuum in America.
First, the majority of mainline protestant churches have become apostate. For many people their Christianity is cultural rather than biblical and the relationship they have with God is marked by superficiality rather than authenticity.
Many protestant churches have jettisoned the inspiration and authority of God’s Word. They have put men under the authority of women contrary to Scripture. They have acquiesced to the Supreme Court’s definition of marriage and given a secondary place to the Supreme Being’s definition of marriage. They have compromised on the sanctity of human life. This is unconscionable in view of the fact that an unborn baby is murdered every 23 seconds; and five states have legalized assisted suicide.
They have substituted the social gospel for the Gospel of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, who was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. They have replaced the exclusivity of the Gospel for the philosophy of universalism.
The list of compromises and accommodations is almost endless; and people are abandoning the mainline protestant churches by the millions.
Second, the Catholic Church has it own set of problems. Not only has the church been ravaged by priests who have diminished the influence of the church with their sexual perversions (protestants by no means have escaped the trauma of sexual scandals), but the church as an institution is mostly apostate.
Only each individual Catholic can truly know if he/she is trusting in Jesus as He is defined in the Bible for their salvation or if they are trusting in a false hope of following Catholic doctrine to save them. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are convoluted and their doctrine of salvation is contrary to New Testament teaching.
Consequently, people are leaving the Catholic Church by the millions. Dan Merica of CNN recently reported that one in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic. In fact, if it weren’t for the infusion of Catholic immigrants from Latin America, the Catholic Church in America would be shrinking pretty fast.
… when people smell the stench of stagnation and experience the malignancy of cancer in churches they leave and it is difficult to blame them.
According to a CNN report, Catholics are leaving the church because of the sex abuse crisis, dissatisfaction with the priests, uninspiring homilies, the status of women, etc.
Finally, the evangelical churches in America are ridden with apathy. Fewer and fewer church members are giving or serving with their time, talents, and treasures as compared to ten or 20 years ago, and it gets worse as one goes back to the giving and serving trends of generations past.
Not only are more and more evangelicals failing in faithfulness to their churches, but many are not even effectively involved in their own families. They have little interest in being involved in their local government and many of them don’t even vote in national elections.
Dr. Richard J. Krejcir stated, “We can see this problem in most boardrooms of churches these days. People shift blame and become argumentative. Yet, many of these do little to seek solutions or engage in real, authentic prayer. When we, as Christians, are not experiencing the wonders of the spiritual life and the Christian experience, we will stagnate. If you are a leader, your ineffectiveness can trickle down to the rest of the body and spread like malignant cancer.”
So, when people smell the stench of stagnation and experience the malignancy of cancer in churches they leave and it is difficult to blame them.
So, because of the apostasy of the mainline denominations, the abuses in the Catholic Church and the apathy in the evangelical churches people are departing the churches in America and leaving a vacuum; and a vacuum subtlety invites someone or something to occupy it and cares little who it is.
And have you noticed who is coming to fill that vacuum? It is the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and a variety of false religions and cults. How are they managing to fill that vacuum? They are more zealous and passionate than we are. While we are giving “incentives” for our missionaries to come home because of a lack of funding, the General Conference of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) announced in April of 2014 that they had 83,035 missionaries serving in the United States and around the world. Southern Baptists have only a fraction of that.
Vance Havner said, “It is high time that something, persecution if necessary, broke up our complacency and made missionaries out of mere church members.”