george_hancockstefanFor those who follow the religious trends, a recent article in Newsweek brought some very unsettling news.  The number of Christians in the USA is decreasing and over this decade the change has been precipitous.  In 1999, 86.2 percent of Americans claimed to be Christians, while in 2009, only 76.0 percent made that claim.

A number of years ago, one of our active members came to tell me that he and his wife will not be here for Christmas.  Upon inquiring about his travels, he sheepishly told me that they are going to celebrate Christmas in Las Vegas. Now, I do know that there are churches in Las Vegas, but that was not his purpose for traveling to Las Vegas.  Some of his friends were contacted by a travel agency and they thought that these have been the best tickets that they have ever seen.  Since that time, I have seen the tourist industry attempting very hard to take believers away from God’s house even on the major holidays of the Christian faith.  I have seen major travel junkets over Christmas and Easter.

Many argue that the vitality of the church here in the United States is going to be produced by the various Hispanic groups.  In fact, I know that some churches have grown by starting missionary work among them. Some churches, especially the Catholic Churches, have at least one service in Spanish.  Some Protestant churches claim that the Hispanic communities are Catholic.  Yet, on closer inquiry, the researchers have found out that the percentage of the Hispanic population attending religious services has decreased.  Most of the Hispanic Catholics from various countries stop attending church when they come to America. In fact, one person was arguing very convincingly, that the newest religion among the Hispanic groups here is soccer.  Soccer is played with great intensity from the youngest age to competitive teams from various countries.  This article concluded that on the week-end there are more Hispanics playing and watching soccer games than there are in Catholic Churches.

One time I have asked a family if their children did not come to visit them for the holidays.  I was assured that they will be home for dinner: they will celebrate the traditional family meal, but the children and their children decided not to come to church.

Apostle Paul tells us that nothing is stronger than the resurrection truth.  If Christ had not risen from the dead than hedonism is the only way – let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die and that is what life offers.  However, over two thousand years ago, Christians have celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, the dead will rise again.  Those that have believed in Him shall receive eternal life – they shall enjoy the blissfulness of heaven, while those who have stayed away from Christ, who denied the greatest truth of God, will be judged to spend eternity away from God’s presence.  The choice is ours today.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...