Pew: In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace

"65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or 'nothing in particular,' now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009." - Pew

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G. N. Barkman's picture

The decline seems to mirror the emphasis upon making church relevant.  The old fashioned approach was turning people off (we were told), so huge numbers of churches changed their way of "doing church" to make it more contemporary and relevant.  The result?  An accelerated decline in Christian commitment.  

Hmmm.  Back to the drawing board.  Maybe we should make a greater effort to "do church" the Bible way?

G. N. Barkman

TylerR's picture

Editor

It's almost as though the Gospel message makes people angry, and they won't even want to come unless the Spirit draws them.

It's almost as if God has chosen His people from before the foundation of the world, and church "success" involves being faithful to spread the true Gospel in whatever venue one can do it, by whatever vehicle one can legitimately use, while trusting the Spirit to draw those the Father chose to the Son.

It's almost as if the purpose of Sunday morning is for God's people to worship Him, not to put on a song and dance to attract unbelievers.

Crazy. Gotta go; must test the fog machines and the t-shirt cannon for tomorrow.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

Conservative fundamentalism isn't exactly maintaining the status quo when one considers where we were 40 years ago.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

Editor

Ron wrote:

Conservative fundamentalism isn't exactly maintaining the status quo when one considers where we were 40 years ago.

Good thing, too. Too much civil religion in conservative fundamentalism 40 years ago, and still today. I don't identify as a fundamentalist anyway! I don't care about abstract movements. My fellow elder and I preach the Gospel, we teach adult bible study, we teach kids in bible club, we're leading the congregation to do innovative things to reach out to our community to build bridges for the Gospel, and we're active in our regional GARBC association to strengthen one another and build healthy churches (see the proposed new GARBC purpose statement, and the difference between it and the current [ca. 1972] version).

The culture has changed, and Christianity will continue to be marginalized. See my review of a relevant book. We had missionaries to Spain in our church last week; we've supported them for decades. They have a tough operating environment. They've been there 36 years and have planted "only" two churches. Local national pastors all have to be bi-vocational, because churches are never large enough to support. Culture doesn't care; all converts come from relationships and deliberate bridge-building by means that (outwardly) have nothing to do with the Gospel (ESL, etc.). This is exactly the situation in Olympia, WA. It's why my fellow and elder and I are both bi-vocational. The writing's on the wall, folks.

Our conscience is clear! There are thousands of little churches doing exactly the same thing across the country and across the world. God bless them all. I say, take the numbers and shove them. Meaningless. Trust God's election, sovereignty and effectual calling, and be faithful to do your part without the baggage of stale tradition.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

.....want to be notified when more comments come in.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.