It has been noted based on current research, on many news stations (CBC National last night) and in media in general that Christianity is declining in North America.
The National did a balanced report yesterday (Religion in Canada: Are We Godless?) investigating whether faith is indeed on a decline in Canada. The report noted that many churches are closing or up for sale due to a decline in money. Simply put, they can’t afford to keep their doors open, nor can they pay their bills. Most of these are traditional religions.
It also highlighted many thriving churches as well and contrasted them with those that showed decline indicating that reports of our faith declining may not be entirely accurate.
Pew Research Center’s report entitled, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” (Results of Report) wasn’t as optimistic as The National. Their conclusions were reported as “troubling” as they noted a decline in those to claimed they were Christians and an increase in those who were unsaved from 2007-2014.
The report is interesting, if you dissect it. Christianity (in a global sense) decreased from 78.4% to 70.6% (8% change) during those seven years. Evangelical Christianity decreased by a fraction of a percentile (.9%), Catholic by 3.1%, Mainline Protestant by 3.4, while “Non Christian Faiths” (Jewish, Muslim, Hindus, etc) increased by 1.2%. Those that fell under “Unaffiliated” rose by 6.7%, which really is the most dramatic.
So does this picture give us hope or despair? Well, it depends on how you look at it.
Those who are Catholic are reporting that the findings are beneficial for planning the direction of the church while some other denominations aren’t as fretful of the numbers as much as facing the reality of more church closures.
What do we say? The survey reports that 7 out of 10 Americans are Christians. That is still a majority. Even if Christianity is on a decline (albeit a slow one), it should give Christians hope because it opens up an opportunity for those of us that are saved to reach the lost. They may be lost, but they are not gone, and God is still calling them into a relationship with Him.
The findings are not a recipie for disaster, but a call for change- in our churches and the way we reach people for Christ. If we don’t want to see the next generation lost and Christianity on a further decline, then we need to reach those who do not know Christ. Scripture never said to just let the church bring in the lost, but it was a command to every believer to preach the gospel. In bringing people to salvation, they will begin to attend church and be filled with the truth of God’s word.
In that, we will see our greatest change!
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