I received the following comment/question in response to my “Discipleship is Friendship” blog.

Why do 80-90% of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith?

I am not sure how my blog produced that question, but here is my quick answer.

First of all I am not so sure about the accuracy of the 80-90% fall away stat – at least not here in our church in the Philippines – but whatever the percentage, something is wrong.

So, why do so many fall away from the faith?

1. The Message is Sometimes Incomplete.
When people only hear part of the gospel, it seems like they quickly fall away from the faith, while in reality they may not have actually had real faith in the first place. Too often what is passed off as the gospel is little more than religious self-help. If we want our message to be life-changing, then it must be Christ-centered, not man-centered. It must be powered by grace, not by human effort. It must produce repentance, not reform. It must led people to Christ, not to religious organizations.

2. Discipleship is Often Missing.
It sometimes seems like every month Manila is the staging ground for a massive “Salvation Miracle Crusade” featuring some suit-wearing international TV evangelist with a toothy smile and an honorary doctorate. If the point is to gather a crowd to preach to, then mission accomplished. If the point is to make disciples, then something is sadly lacking in most of the crusades I have witnessed in this part of the
world. So, why do so many fall away? Because of a strange separation of evangelism and discipleship, where the gospel is preached but disciples are not made.

3. The Local Church is Largely Ignored.
Corporate worship and prayer, preaching and teaching of the Word, friendship and fellowship – God used all these aspects of the local church to strengthen my new faith. I don’t think I would have survived very long as a new Christian without the help of the local church. I believe many fall away today, because they try to do Christianity alone, without the help of a community of believers – the church.

I don’t think we will ever get to the point where 100% of those who profess faith in Christ endure until the end, but I am sure that if we preach the right message, if we make disciples, if we establish new believers in local churches, then most of those who profess Christ will follow Him for life.