One often hears dire reports in the media about the impending doom of the Christian church. But Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family recently wrote an article in the Federalist that showed such reports may be premature.
Stanton notes, “Religious faith in America is going the way of the Yellow Pages and travel maps, we keep hearing. It’s just a matter of time until Christianity’s total and happy extinction, chortle our cultural elites. Is this true? Is churchgoing and religious adherence really in ‘widespread decline’ so much so that conservative believers should suffer ‘growing anxiety’? Two words: Absolutely not. New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth.” [emphasis his]
Stanton is summarizing the research of Landon Schnabel of Indiana University and Sean Bock of Harvard University from their article in Sociological Science. They write, “Recent research argues that the United States is secularizing, that this religious change is consistent with the secularization thesis, and that American religion is not exceptional.”
But their own research leads them to deduce otherwise: “We conclude that intense religion in the United States is persistent and exceptional in ways that do not fit the secularization thesis.”
I interviewed Glenn Stanton on my radio show recently on this subject: Is the American church dying?
He told me, “You hear that everywhere, and you even hear it in the church from good Christian speakers, leaders, and pastors. They say that young people are leaving the church in droves, and there may not even be a Christian church in America in the next couple of years. And it’s just simply not true.” [emphasis his]
Stanton is the author of eight books, and he has a new one coming out soon, called, The Myth of the Dying Church, with a Foreword by Baylor’s Byron Johnson.
Stanton said the research shows that, “far from dying, “the best parts of Christianity (biblical Christianity, or what C. S. Lewis called ‘mere Christianity’) are growing in the United States and just blossoming around the world.”
He said the key is to understand the difference between the mainline churches (the older and now generally more liberal churches—and the evangelical, Bible-based churches). The former are in “freefall,” with members leaving en masse. But that’s because these churches have “long abandoned the basics of the Christian faith.”
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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Dr. Jerry Newcombe