Do you know what one of the biggest lies about the church is today? It’s actually been going around for a number of years now. You may have even innocently passed along this false information to others. After all, you’ve received your information from reliable resources—pastors and other Christian leaders, authors and the news media, pollsters. They proclaim often and with great confidence that the number of people who claim to be Christians is shrinking drastically while the number of “nones” (those who are religiously unaffiliated) is growing like weeds. Therefore, the church will soon disappear.
This news is certainly disturbing to all who love Jesus and His church and who desire to spread the life-giving gospel. Even more alarming, though, is how many Christians have bought this news as truth and allowed it to weaken their faith and put their churches on the defensive (if not cause them to lie down and wait to die).
But I have good news for you: IT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
It is important to understand what is really, truly happening with the church today. In this book, I explore and present in an understandable way data from leading academic sources today that provides a broad array of the best evidence for significant hopefulness. Our exploration will also help us understand how and why so many smart and well-intentioned people have gotten it so wrong in their understanding of the state of the church today.
Let me provide you with a quick summary of the truth on the matter in plain language:
- Liberal churches are hemorrhaging members. Churches that are bailing on Christian orthodoxy—those denying the deity of Christ; rejecting the reality of sin; doubting the historical reality of Christ’s death and resurrection; and embracing abortion, gay, and gender politics—are all in a drastic free fall. People are leaving those churches as though the buildings were on fire. They can’t get out fast enough.
- Biblical churches are holding strong. Churches that are faithfully preaching, teaching, and practicing biblical truths and conservative theology are holding stable overall. Some are seeing steady growth and others are exploding. No small number are pressed thin with the good problem of figuring out how to manage their growing crowds. You likely know of a few in your own community; perhaps you even attend one of these churches.
- Church attendance is at an all-time high. More Americans, in raw numbers and as a percentage of the population, attend church today than at any other time in our nation’s history, including the colonial days. That’s hardly scary news. — The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity Is Actually Thriving in America and the World / Glenn T. Stanton