Christianity Growing Stronger in U.S.

 

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger” read the headline on the article by Glenn T. Stanton I stumbled across the other day.

 

What? How can this be? The roaring lion says Christianity is doomed in our beloved homeland, right?

 

Not so fast, father of lies.

 

The article I came across was making reference to a paper in Sociological Science called, “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research” by Landon Schnabel of Indiana University Bloomington and Sean Bock of Harvard University.

 

Schnabel and Bock’s research showed “that rather than religion fading into irrelevance as the secularization thesis would suggest, intense religion—strong affiliation, very frequent practice, literalism, and evangelicalism—is persistent and, in fact, only moderate religion is on the decline in the United States and that the intensity of American religion is actually becoming more exceptional over time.”

The “secularization thesis” these scholars refer to is that “modernization” and the advance of science will cause Christianity (and all religion, for that matter) to fade into irrelevance eventually.

 

Their research shows that’s not happening.

 

In fact, Americans who have a “strong affiliation” with their faith has remained rock-solid over the last 25 years or more at 39%. What has declined in modern Christianity is people who have a “not strong” affiliation while those who claim “no affiliation” with religion has increased. So, (in my words) what the figures are showing is that the lukewarm Christians are falling away from the faith.

 

I’m not sure I can say that is a bad thing.

 

I mean, of course we would want lukewarm Christians to grow and mature in their faith and become committed Christians, but the LORD has clearly said how he feels about a lukewarm church.  (Revelation 3:16)

 

Other data in the study shows similar trends. People who attend church more than once a week have remained stable, while people who attend “sometimes” has decreased while people who never attend has gone up. 

 

It’s the same with the Word of God being perceived as literal and inerrant. That’s remained constant at about 32% while the number who believe the Bible is a book of fables has gone up and the number who believe the Bible is “inspired but not inerrant” has gone down.

 

And here’s an interesting statistic: Between 1991 and 2008, the number of Americans who prayed multiple times per day increased from 20.5% to 28.8%. That’s a relative increase of 40.5%. Brothers and sisters, that means there are currently over 93 million of us praying more than once a day! 

 

As I have written before, Kinship Christian Radio was born of prayer, bathed in prayer from its infancy, and is alive and well today because of prayer. The people who bring you the tapestry of worship and the Word you hear each day not only believe in prayer, they live it, as do numerous people who pray for the ministry behind the scenes without expectation of reward or recognition.

 

The LORD does indeed hear our prayers. Prayer does indeed change things.

 

The study also found that prayer is where the United States is the most exceptional in terms of faith. Far more people in the United States pray multiple times per day than people in European countries, we attend church far more, and our belief in the Bible as inerrant is much greater.

 

Now, I would be naive beyond excuse if I did not concede that the signs of the end are on the increase, but that is all the more reason to be diligent, faithful, and put on the full armor of God and do battle in the heavenly realms through prayer. That is all the more reason to be more zealous in our love for the lukewarm and the lost. 

 

And, if you are in need of some encouragement, consider this:  Researchers at Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion found, when looking at U.S. church attendance numbers going back to the days of our nation’s founding, “that the percentage of church-attending Americans relative to overall population is more than four times greater today than it was in 1776. The number of attendees has continued to rise each and every decade over our nation’s history right up until the present day.”

 

So all is not lost. We should never throw up our hands while chanting, “End times! End times!” 

 

As I have written before and gladly write again:

It’s not over until God says it’s over.

 

Today’s Praise

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:21&22. (NIV)

Written by Dan Jones

 

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