In the 20th century there was a dramatic moral and spiritual paradigm shift in this land. Over time, and virtually unnoticed by most Christians, the word and concept of sin disappeared from our culture and from most of the pulpits in this land.
During the most dangerous spiritual freefall in this nation’s 246-year history, the vast majority of the 400,000 preachers and priests rarely preached on sin, the spiritual poison that affects us all.
I believe that silence was the major cause of this nation’s moral and spiritual disintegration and the descent into the abyss of every kind of sin and immorality known to man.
That silence also created a spiritual and moral vacuum in the souls of millions of Americans who know nothing about sin because preachers no longer warn them about sin.
The result is that if the American people have no knowledge of sin, there will be no conviction, if no conviction, no repentance.
I came to this conclusion after I reviewed hundreds and hundreds of sermons on the Internet and television by pastors, priests, and teachers in churches in 196 cities – some large, some small -- in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The preachers/priests/teachers included 400 men and 103 women.
Some of the sermons were deeply moving, others comical and, as I listened and read, I often laughed and sometimes cried.
There were long days and sleepless nights as, week after week, month after month, I fought sleep and fatigue to stay awake. About 2 a.m. one morning, I dozed off as I listened to one of the sermons. But, unlike Eutychus in the Book of Acts, I did not fall out of a window. After several months, I completed my research and breathed a sigh of relief.
I chose preachers and priests that preached 100 sermons from each of the following Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church: African American (several communions); Assemblies of God; Disciples of Christ – Christian; Episcopal; Evangelical Lutheran; United Methodist; Presbyterian, U.S.A.; Southern Baptists; and the United Church of Christ. I also included Bible Churches since they represent large numbers of Christians but are not a denomination.
Although by no means a scientific survey, I believe the contents of the hundreds of sermons I reviewed present a microcosm of preaching in America today.
A 2020 survey by the Center for Public Affairs Research of the University of Chicago Divinity School corroborated my research. Their survey found that less than 10 percent of sermons preached in evangelical churches even mention the subjects of hell, sin, salvation, or heaven. I am sure the numbers would be far less in the mainline denominations.
“A person, attending every service in an evangelical church for two months straight, would have less than a ten-percent chance of hearing a phrase that included the words hell and redemption, two of the most distinctive words that characterize evangelical beliefs,” the Divinity School surveyors reported.
Research conducted by the Barna Group, reported in Decision Magazine, revealed that only about eight percent of pastors address the plague of sin affecting this nation. Barna is a Christian organization that regularly monitors Christianity in this land.
Following is some of the alarming cultural issues you will read about in detail in my new book Whatever Became of Sin?
-- Corruption in government. Congress has a secret fund to pay off women at the capital who are sexually harassed by congressmen. It is so perverse, the young women aides and even congresswomen are told not to get into the elevators alone with congressmen. To date, Congress has paid nearly $20 million in taxpayers’ hush money to keep the women victims silent.
-- USA TODAY published several articles on the secret fund.
-- Pedophilia (men who lust after little children) is spreading across America like a wildfire.
-- Pornography has reached epidemic proportions as millions of men – and a lesser number of women – view porn every day. Sadly, surveys reveal that there are men and women in our churches who also regularly watch porn on the Internet.
-- Although some Protestant denominations have approved abortion, most all evangelical pastors and Catholic priests oppose the killing of the little helpless unborn boys and girls. But after the horrific abortion procedure, doctors dissect the babies’ body parts, sell them for profit, and throw what’s left of the babies into the dumpster in the alley.
-- Tons of fentanyl come across our southern border and kill some 100,000 Americans each year. The raw product comes from China to Mexican labs and the cartels bring it into this country. The leaders of our government refuse to close the southern border and it costs the lives of thousands of Americans.
-- Giant retail stores such as Walmart market pornographic books, homosexual-related videos, and sex toys online along with all kinds of satanic books, including the Satanic Bible.
-- The U. S. Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage in 2015, although God’s Word condemns it. It is rebellion against God’s creation of man and woman. And the Word teaches us that rebellion is just as bad as witchcraft.
-- Doctors in hospitals across America are performing “transition therapy” on thousands of young boys to “ostensibly” turn them into women. The procedure in essence is castration.
Sadly, most preachers and priests are silent on all the above-mentioned issues. And I wonder why? What has happened to them? Why are they silent?
We Christians must find a way to turn back the avalanche of sin that has brought this nation to the brink of apocalypse, turn our nation back to God, and save our civilization.
My book includes several chapters on a plan of action that encourages Christians everywhere to fight for the soul of America and defeat our ancient foe.
We can win the battle if we will come out from hiding behind the stained-glass windows and under the pews of our churches and confront this fallen culture.
My book is available on Amazon.com and booksbystonegate.com.
Bill Keith is a retired newspaper editor who has written more than 20 books, fiction and non-fiction. He and his wife, Vivian Marie, live in Lubbock, Texas.