The Death of Christianity?

Header3That is what some major newspapers like the New York Times are suggesting based on a recent survey by the Pew Research Center which reported that 71% of American adults identified as Christians in 2014 compared to 79% in 2007 in a similar Pew survey.

But what is really going on? First, if anyone really believes that 71% of Americans are genuine Christians they are terribly naïve. Why? Because if that many Americans were truly Christians today, our nation would not look the way it does, affirm the anti-biblical things it affirms and the church would not be under fire as it increasingly is. Second, the survey really suggest a greater secularism in America in which it is now easier for the “closet” atheist or agnostic to feel comfortable and even emboldened about their non belief—they can say it loudly and in their view proudly and be held up as models of free thought and expression (ironically Christians are less and less being granted that same kind of liberty).

In response to the Pew Survey, I agree with Dr. Russell Moore who said, “Now, what some will say is that the decline in self-identified Christians is a sign that the church should jettison its more unpopular teachings. And in our day, these teachings are almost always those dealing with pelvic autonomy. First of all, even if this were the key to success, we couldn’t—and wouldn’t—do it. Christianity isn’t a political party, dependent on crafting ideologies to suit the masses. We received this gospel (Gal. 1:11-12); we didn’t invent it. But, that said, such is not the means to “success”—even the way the sociologists define it.”

An interesting twist on the survey, which most news articles are not giving much attention to, is that while mainline denominations that have compromised biblical belief in order to gain cultural acceptance, especially in the areas of sexual liberties, continue to report heavy losses, evangelical churches remain incredibly stable, even in the face of some heavy societal pressures to conform. Why?

Dr. Moore explains why when he goes on to say, “We learned this answer 100 years ago, and it reminds us of what we learned 2,000 years ago. Two or three generations ago, Christians who held to the Virgin birth of Christ were warned that their children would flee the faith unless the parents redefined Christianity. “If you want to win the next generation,” they were told, “you have to make Christianity relevant, and that means dispensing with miracles in favor of modern science.” The churches that followed that path aren’t just dying; they are dead, sustained by endowments and dwindling gatherings of nostalgic… adults with a smattering of community organizers here and there.”

The fact is more and more Christianity is accepted less and less by secularist as the norm in America. But that is not all bad. Historically the true biblical church has thrived during times of chaos, persecution and when it has been marginalized. The church is not dying at all, what’s dying is the pseudo-faith of those who have claimed a title without any connection to God in the first place. I believe that God is weeding out “the church” at large in order to prepare His bride for difficult days to come.

But don’t be discouraged by polls and surveys. The church has a glorious future ahead. God is still working powerfully through His people. Let the surveys proclaim the death of Christianity and the Church, but don’t drink the “Kool-Aid”. The Church has always grown strong when it operated by a mindset of “Thus says the Lord.” And it has always declined when it caved to a “Thus says the culture.” And the fact remains that Jesus said, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

For God’s Glory Alone,

RJ