Blog Archives

Poll: Are You Attending Church More or Less These Days?


Why Christians are Leaving ChurchIn a recent post, we discussed a study that concluded Christians and non-Christians are both attending church services much less today.   If you missed that compelling post, you can read it here: Barna Study: Even Christians Are Leaving Our Churches.

Today we want to give you a chance to chime in on the topic, and we have two polls that allow you to do that.  The first one asks if you are attending church more or less these days.  There are several answers.  Please don’t answer the way you would like to be able to answer or how you think you should answer.  Just the way it really is in your life at this moment.

The second poll asks why you are attending church less.  You have several option here as well, even an “other” where you can write in your answer.  There is also an answer for “I am attending church MORE”  and “I am attending about the same”

Thank you for voting and please feel free to share these polls with your readers or re-blog this post.  If you look at the results so far, it seems to coincide with the study.  The more answers the better, so share away!

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Barna Study: Even Christians Are Leaving Our Churches


Why Christians are Leaving ChurchThe church may want to stop focusing on those elusive and extremely sensitive “seekers” for a while, because now, even believers are starting to leave the church.

We were warned back in 2005 that this was coming, but few paid attention to it then.  Many scoffed and pretended it could never happen.  But it is happening. That is what a recent poll by the Barna Group has uncovered, and the implications of it are alarming.

In this article, I want to share some of Barna’s findings with you.  I warn you:  Brace yourself!

I invite you to join the discussion in the comment section, as well as answer the polling questions (there are two polls at the bottom of the post) so we can get a better idea of what is going on from your perspective.   In the next post we will offer our analysis about why it is happening.

“What, if anything, helps Americans grow in their faith?”

When the Barna Group asked this question, people offered a variety of answers:

  • Prayer
  • Family or friends
  • Reading the Bible,
  • Even having children

But CHURCH did not even crack the top 10 list.

That is staggering in its implication.  Christians of all Read the rest of this entry

State of the Gospel: Why Christians Are Leaving Church Too


Why Christians are Leaving Church I think you are going to want to read this upcoming post, based on a recent study.  It is now up!  Brace yourselves though, because this stuff is going to be hard for you to handle.  After you read through it, make sure you answer the poll questions at the end.

Is Worship A Life Well Lived or A Song Well Sung?


worshipasasong2We love to discuss those things we are passionate about, don’t we? Be it our favorite football team (THE Washington Redskins), politics, sports, movies, cultural issues. Heck we even argue about beer! Remember the Miller Lite commercials? For years, Miller Lite drinkers, including the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and John Madden, bickered back and forth on our TV sets. The argument? What made Miller Lite such a great beer. Some said the drink tasted great. Others said it was less filling. Though they were very entertaining commercials, it makes one wonder: Don’t we have anything better to discuss than beer?

Of course we do! Over here at Not For Itching Ears, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about a topic that is higher up the food chain: Worshipping God. If you read these posts (millions of people do each hour) Read the rest of this entry

Why God Might Not Be Concerned About Our Doctrinal Differences


blog-oh-my-god“Maybe it doesn’t matter to Him?”

I asked, as my friend looked on in utter disbelief at what had just been said. We had been discussing the state of the church in its four major divisions: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant. (For the sake of brevity, I have lumped all us Protestants into one category. I don’t have time to list us all!)

“Of course THE Church matters to God”, he replied, “He died to give it birth!

I can’t argue with that!

What perplexes me though, is that there are so many different types of churches. Clearly a lack of unity within THE church has eluded us. Catholics believe in purgatory, the other three divisions of the church, don’t. That is a pretty significant difference. We can’t all agree on how many books are actually in God’s Holy Word! That also seems significant. Some of the churches teach that how one lives has absolutely nothing to do with one’s salvation, while others teach that it has a lot to do with it, still others are somewhere in-between. Maybe it is just how I think about things, but I would have to say this one is a critical difference of doctrine. We have Catholic decrees calling the Reformers heretics, and we have the Reformers labeling the Pope the anti-Christ. Orthodox and Catholics are at odds over one word in the Creed among other substantial issues. We can’t even seem to agree on the purpose of Christianity.

Then we have us Protestants who agree to disagree!

We agree that Jesus Christ died on the cross for “our” sins, but we can’t agree on who is included in “our”. We believe there is such an important and critical thing as the Atonement, but can’t agree on what it actually entails. We believe that people worked miracles, but can’t seem to agree on when or IF that has stopped. We can’t agree on how a church should conduct itself in worship. We can’t agree on something as simple as how a person actually comes to Christ. We can’t agree on what it means to follow Christ. We don’t agree on a host of important issues.

The world looks at us and sees “Christian” sects that argue amongst themselves and who can’t seem to agree on the essentials. We are divided, pure and simple. Stating otherwise is foolish and wishful thinking.

“Maybe it doesn’t matter to Him?”

Of course, Jesus did pray for “those who would believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me…” (John 17:20-21, 23.) Unity was important enough to pray for on the eve of the crucifixion.   It would seem the Father didn’t answer that one in the affirmative. Or am I missing something?

Why would God have allowed that to happen?

Many Protestants believe that around 300AD the real church was infiltrated and perverted by the Catholic Church. As a result, the true Gospel was lost.

If the church is so important to Him, and if the purity of the Gospel and the doctrinal teachings that stem from understanding it correctly matter so much, why didn’t he step in at such a critical moment to stop the hijacking of the Church? Why would God allow the church to embrace a false gospel that would consign its followers to hell? Why didn’t he intervene? Why didn’t he put a quick end to it? I find these questions a bit troubling.

Of Course Catholics believe that the Reformers are the real usurpers. Who can blame them? After all, the church had existed virtually unchanged for 1500 years, until Luther and the young punk come along and want to change the whole thing. It is understandable that they got together at Trent and called the Reformers heretics.

Here’s the compelling issue for me: In both cases, God did not stop the supposed error from taking root. Make no mistake about it; God knew what the result would be of doing nothing to stop these movements. Because of the omniscient nature of God, combined with His foreknowledge, the ensuing doctrinal mess would not have surprised him. He knew it would happen if He did nothing, and he did…. nothing. Think about that!

We do know that if God wanted to step in and crush the rebellions, he could have. He did that very thing during the Exodus when Korah and his crew openly challenged Moses leadership of the young Israel. Read about it in Numbers 16. The gist of it is that God caused the ground to open up and swallow the leaders of the rebellion, their families and everything they owned! Rebellion over. Case closed. God’s leadership of his people settled.

But that is not what he did in 300AD. That is not what he did when the West and East Split. It is not what he did at the beginning of the Reformation. In all three cases, God allowed it to stand. In all three instances, The Father had the opportunity to answer the Son’s prayer for unity, but chose not to. Even when, in the case of the Reformers, God knew that a Pandora’s Box of doctrinal disunity would surely result if He did not act. Still, he refrained.

This brings me back to my conversation with my friend. Most assuredly, the doctrinal differences we have killed others for matter to us. They are a big deal. But do they matter to God?

Before you get the kindling and light the match to burn me alive at the stake for the heretic that I am, realize that I am not saying that God does not care about the Gospel or the church. That is not what I am saying at all. Actually, I don’t know what to think about all this. This is a conversation I have been having, largely in my own mind, for quite some time. I thought I would put it out there for others to interact with and see how you might approach the topic.

Why do you think God did nothing to stop any of these movements?

Read another thought provoking post on worship:  God Does Not Need Our Worship…We Need It!

Christian Bloggers of the World…We Need Your Help!


help wantedI have a hunch, a hypothesis, a gut feeling.  That is, that singing in church is not as important to most of us who attend regularly.  We don’t dislike singing, and are not theologically opposed to it.  However, most of us, I propose,  don’t give it as much weight as our worship leaders or senior leadership do.

That has been what I have observed in congregation after congregation that I have visited in the past 4 years.  These polls are an unscientific way of trying to get a more objective view.   The answers to some of these polls has been rather eye-opening, and seem to confirm my gut feelings.  I will be spending time writing about what I have learned as a result in the not too distant future.

I need more answers to these questions, and so I am putting a link to our polls in this post.  Please feel free to use them in your own blog posts.  The results are available for all to see, and you can use the gathered information for any observations you would like to make.  The more votes we get, the better understanding we will have.

So here are the links:

What Are the Two LEAST Important Elements of Corporate Worship for YOU Personally?   http://poll.fm/45vog

Do You Think We Spend Too Much Time Singing In Church?  http://poll.fm/45rag

What Would You Do If Your Church Eliminated Singing from the Service? http://poll.fm/31app

What is the Most Important Element of Corporate Worship for You Personally? http://poll.fm/2hazg

What one thing would you like to see changed in the American Church?  http://poll.fm/2ga0u

What Do You Like Most about the Church Service You Participate In?


Do We Spend Too Much Time Singing In Church?


Making Room for God in Your Life


Making Room For GodMerry Christmas everyone!

Not being catholic, I seldom read what the Pope has to say. But this year I actually read his Christmas eve sermon. I was moved by his words and challenged in my own life and faith. I have posted it here. I hope my protestant friends can read it and Read the rest of this entry

How Does One Truly Worship God? An Early Church Father’s View


From my view in the cheap seats, it seems that what it means to worship God has become open to interpretation.

Can I worship God any way I want to?

On a corporate level, does church leadership have biblical authority to design a worship service anyway they think is best?

Judging by state of the American Evangelical church, I think most leaders believe the answer is Yes to both questions. And boy do we ever take this permission seriously!

It would appear to this writer that Read the rest of this entry

What Did A Church Service Consist of in 150 AD? Take a Look…


In the movie “Back To The Future”, 17 year old, Marty Mcfly, lives a lousy life. His dad, George, a nerdy scaredy cat, and his mom, Larraine, is an alcoholic, who met George through pity, when her dad hit George with a car. All he has ever known is this reality. The only thing that he can do for fun, is hang out with the local scientist, Dr. Emmit Brown (Doc) who has created a time machine. You know the story. Marty goes back in time and changes how his parents meet. In the process everything that was wrong with his life and family is dramatically changed for the good.

When I contemplate the current state of the American Evangelical church, I wish we could get into that DeLorean and head back in time. If we could, perhaps we would be able to intervene at just the right moment so that today’s church reflected God’s design rather than our own. We can not time travel back to the first century, but we can read their documents to see how they understood “Church.” It is good to look at history to observe how things “were”. We often look at how things “are” and assume that’s this is the way things are supposed to “be”… Read the rest of this entry

Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers: How to “do” Church, How to choose pastors, and What the last Days will be like


Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  Their writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 9 and 10 of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century Read the rest of this entry

How Would You Like to See the American Church Change?


What is The Most Important Part of Corporate Worship for YOU personally


Let’s face it, every church-goer has an opinion about this topic:  What they like the most about attending a corporate church service.  Over here at NotForItchingEars.com we are VERY interested in what you think.  It is part of our ongoing study of worship and Christianity.  We need your help here, so please take 45 seconds or less and answer the poll.

Now, about the poll:  We understand that we are asking you to make a choice that Read the rest of this entry

“Evangelical Christianity Can BEST be described as…………” Take our Poll and tell the World


How would you best describe Evangelical Christianity?  We have assembled some of the most common descriptions of EC in our poll.   Taking the poll is easy.  You can choose more than one answer, so feel free to combine answers.  You can not add your own description to the poll, but you can leave comments. We intend to Read the rest of this entry

Mondays with The Early Church Fathers: Their Criteria for Identifying False Teachers and False Prophets


Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 11-13 of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century Read the rest of this entry

Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers: Their Thoughts on Baptism, Communion and Prayer


Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 7-9 of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century Read the rest of this entry

Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers: The Didache


Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 5 and 6  of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century Read the rest of this entry

Monday Mornings with The Early Church Fathers


Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I am posting chapters 1-4  of the “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century Read the rest of this entry

Free Prayer: Urgent Prayer Request


This prayer request just came into the NotForItchingEars Free Prayer line.   If you pray, please take a moment and pray for Roesans situation.
Name: Rosean
Date:  September 24, 2011

Prayer Request:
There is a file at work that it missing. We now have a subpoena from the police department to locate it. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will direct, lead and guide us to locate this file. If it is not found I will be fired because I do the filing. If I lose this job I will lose everything, the company will be sanctioned and the ramifications will be so severe I could land up in jail or worse. Please pray in earnest for me that the Lord will have mercy on me and that His wrath will not fall upon me and we locate that missing file. Thank you. Isaiah 54:17

“Father, we humbly ask that you would help Rosean find this missing file.  Give her and her co-workers to wisdom to know where and where not to look.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen!”