An interesting article was published in Newsweek about the apparent decline of Christianity in America. You can access the article at the link below:
Newsweek: The End of Christian America
Below are insightful email comments from pastors Dennis C., Michael M., and occasional troublemaker John M. regarding the significance of the demographic trends:
[Dennis C.] I found in it a lot of confirmation regarding the thrust of our conversations over the past weeks. Her understanding of the church/state separation issue and the religion/politics integration issue is important. She really has a grasp of the issue in American history since the colonial era and up through the founding and the reason for the thought that went into the first amendment. I find her analysis of the current dilemma in the evangelical world and the recent history of getting into bed with a political party to be very persuasive also. By reaching back to Augustine, Paul and Jesus she is really promoting a kingdom perspective re: the mission of the church throughout the ages.
[John M.] Below are a couple quotes that stood out to me:
"The American culture of religious liberty helped create a busy free market of faith: by disestablishing churches, the nation made religion more popular, not less."
"Let the religious take their stand in the arena of politics and ideas on their own, and fight for their views on equal footing with all other interests."
For me the fact that fewer Americans are claiming a specific religious affiliatioin and tend to identify more with "spirituality" than "religion" is actually encouraging. Ultimately, truth will stand in the "free market of faith".
Also, the survey results can be interpreted in more than one way. It may depress Dr. Mohler, but it also means that the harvest is ripe and getting riper. The last time I filled out one of those forms regarding religious preference I gripped to my wife that I could not find a category that I fit into. I was very tempted to put "no religion". Apparently, I'm not the only one...
[Michael M.] John & Dennis, Hearty “Amen” to both of your observations, I could not agree more. [This is one of the better articles I have read commenting on the Survey.] Perhaps another “need” illustrated by the study is the lack of historical understanding both within and without the church. [I know, a real surprise opinion coming from a historian.] I believe it illustrates that along with our call to develop, teach and implement an “orthodox-relational-practical-cross filled” theology, we should probably add “historical.” Doing so will produce believers who understand that his kingdom comes, his will is done regardless of the friendliness of either our culture or government. In fact, we have ample illustrations (China?) of the faith exploding even when governments attempt to stifle the market place of ideas. Michael M
ok, so what do you think? Is this troubling or encouraging? How can or should we respond?