In light of my series of posts over the past couple of weeks (Theological Genocide/ Suicide), two news items in the past couple of days have caught my eye. Both are worth reading and considering in light of our faith family’s stated mission to “lead all people to know and treasure Jesus above all things.”
First, the most recent version of the American Religious Identification Survey has been released. It shows that a full 15% of the US population now identifes itself as having no faith. It asserts that long time Christians continue to drop out of participation in a local church– but still consider themselves Christian, faithful to Jesus and growing spiritually. While the evangelical population has shown steady growth (and a lot of that has to do with the very broad definition of “evangelical”), Christians who identify with Baptists have declined a full 3%. That mirrors recent declining statistics from across the Southen Baptist Convention. We are losing ground in the larger religious landscape of our society.
Then, my good friend Michael Spencer, aka The Internet Monk, has a piece in this week’s Christian Science Monitor called The Coming Evangelical Collapse. His analysis of a broad range of issues facing the larger evengelical movment in the West is compelling — even if you don’t agree with all his conclusions. His projections of where it’s all heading are both sobering and hopeful. Read the piece– and even better the original posts for a better sense of it all. It’s all worth a slow, prayerful read and a long discussion with some Christ-following friends over a cup of coffee.
The world in which we are called to do mission, the times in which our Father has made us stewards of His gospel, are challenging. But what an adventure!