Compared to the first book I read for this project, this one was a page turner. The author started by telling us the bleak post-Christian state of Europe, explaining that in a matter of only 2-3 generations, the European Church went from a vibrant, authentic group of believers to nothing more than a shell, only a small remnant.
Convinced that many things point towards the same thing happening in America, Ken conducted a survey with the help of a respected research company surveying 1000 20-something year olds that grew up in the church attending Sunday school but now no longer attend church. He wanted to find out why these people left the church and what their current beliefs are.
The results were a bit surprising and seemed to point out that Sunday school as we currently know it isn't working. The Church is quickly losing relevancy in America, and Ken proposed some radical explanations for this.
A verse spoken by Jesus from the Gospel of John was frequently quoted throughout the remainder of the book. I apologize for not having the exact reference at the moment, but from memory it reads like this:
If they won't believe Me about earthly matters, how will they believe Me about heavenly matters?This became the center of Ken's argument to back up the book's thesis that the first and most important step in restoring relevancy not only to the Church but also to Christianity is to reclaim the absolute authority of the Word of God. The Old Testament is not just a collection of nice stories. You can't just take the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Bible and allow everything else to be interpreted as is most accepted and tolerated by science and society. Ken gave convincing evidence that the European Church's decline began when church officials allowed Darwin's ideas of evolutionism and the subsequent Old Earth (the idea that the earth is millions of years old) theory to be accepted as possible truth in conjunction to the Biblical account. A compromise was formed by the church when they proposed that maybe those 6 creation days mentioned in the first chapters of Genesis were not just simply six 24 hour days but could possibly be longer and thus this could help explain the supposed millions-of-years old earth.
Basically, if we won't take God at His word in Genesis, how can we take God at His word in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?
The author spent a good portion of his book reinforcing his idea that another part of the problem is that the church leaves science -biology, geology, palaeontology, etc- up to the public schools. When kids reach middle school they begin to, even if unknowingly, face an internal conflict. Their science teachers, who look professional and wear lab coats and give convincing evidence that evolution and the Old Earth Theory is fact, seem to have a practical grasp on the real world. Then, when Sunday school rolls around, however enjoyable it may be, the poor child is exposed yet again to another cutesy portrayal of Noah's ark with adorable cartoon figures and happy little giraffes and elephants poking their heads out of an over-sized bathtub. This worldwide flood, which explains so many things like fossil fuels, sedimentary layers, and the division of continents, is reduced to the equivalent of Disney's Finding Nemo. The child questions the truth of these stories, seeing that the schools have evidence and the church has cartoon characters. The authority of the Word of God is slowly eroded in this little person's heart. They begin to see school as the place to go to learn and prepare for the real world and church as a place to go to address more abstract and less tangible ideas of morality and spirituality.
If the church, parents, and Sunday school teachers were a bit more armed with solid Christian apologetics (i.e. Why do we believe what we believe? How do we know the Bible is infallible and not just another great religious book?), we could begin to restore relevancy to the Word of God and the Church.