Q: We visited Europe this summer, and we were shocked at how few people actually attend church there. It was inspiring to visit some of the great cathedrals, but it depressed us to see them almost empty on Sunday. Could the same thing happen over here? — E.Y.
A: Yes, it certainly could happen here, because it’s happened before in other parts of the world. Sometimes it happened suddenly because of a war or revolution; sometimes it took place over several centuries, as churches forgot their God-given mission.
I think, for example, of the churches to which John (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) wrote in Revelation, the last book of the Bible. At one time they had been active and vibrant, reaching out to others with the Gospel and living lives of purity and compassion. But over time many of them lost their zeal or compromised their commitment to the truth of the Gospel. To one church God said, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!” (Revelation 3:1-2).
Will God say this about us a generation or two from now? I pray not — but we live in an increasingly secular, and even anti-Christian, world, and the pressures on our young people are enormous. In addition, sometimes we’ve become too preoccupied with our own lives, and have lost our zeal for evangelism and the Bible. Jesus wept over the lost of his day — and so should we (see Luke 19:41-42).
Pray for our nation and its churches. Pray especially for your own church and its pastor. Pray as well for Christians in other parts of the world who face indifference or opposition or active persecution. And pray most of all that you and your family may be faithful to Christ every day.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.