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The Great Divide

What is a mature Christian? Assuming that evangelistic concern is a vital part of maturity and discipleship, there was one troubling tendency in the statistics: "older Christians" (believers of eleven or more years) are less committed to evangelism than "newer Christians" (believers of ten years or fewer).

When asked whether respondents agreed with the statement, I have been more active in telling others about Christ in the past year than ever before, twice as many newer Christians than older strongly agreed (37 to 18 percent). Some might think that doctrinal beliefs would intensify over time. But 88 percent of newer believers strongly agreed with the statement I believe faith in Christ is the only way to salvation, versus 73 percent of the older group.

Church consultant Bill Hull, author of The Disciple Making Pastor, says, "I think this reflects the deadening effect of much institutional Christianity. When you have a pulpit-centered, institutional church model, where accumulating Bible ...

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