The Decline of Christianity in the U.S.
Pew Research shows that Christians will be in the minority in the not-so-distant future.
A recent Pew Research Center study estimates based on various scenarios that Christians in America will become a minority in the next two to five decades. Since the 1990s, the study notes, the number of Americans leaving Christianity has been accelerating, as the number of those identifying as nonreligious or “nones” has ballooned over the last couple decades.
Pew reports, “The projections show Christians of all ages shrinking from 64% to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.” Furthermore, “Over that same period, ‘nones’ would rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.”
Evaluating a different scenario, Pew notes, “If the pace of switching before the age of 30 were to speed up throughout the projection period without any brakes, Christians would no longer be a majority by 2045.”
Of course, Pew is quick to point out that these projections are based upon current trends that could change. That said, the news is disconcerting for Christians, but even more so for our nation.
As all genuine Bible-believing Christians understand, their ultimate home and eternal destination of Heaven is secure, thanks entirely to the work of Jesus — His death and resurrection on their behalf. Yet while the future on this side of Heaven is difficult, a Christian’s hope never rests in this world.
The deeper question the Pew research raises may be less obvious, though it should seem quite apparent. If the number of people leaving the faith has been increasing steadily for the past three decades, then the number of genuine Christians must have fallen off long before.
In other words, how many of these “Christians” were nominally so because of their cultural upbringing? If they grew into early adulthood and left the faith, did they ever really believe in the first place? Are we simply witnessing the ripples of a rock that sank long ago?
That said, America, by God’s grace, has known times of spiritual revival. And rather than fearing a potential loss of cultural influence, Christians should remind themselves of the Lord’s sovereign rule over all of history. This presents an opportunity to shine brightly the good news of the Gospel before a darkening world. Jesus did warn His followers of the opposition and trouble they will face: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
News like this should encourage all Christians to pray for God’s mercy on our nation — that He would send another revival and that He would embolden Christians to speak the truth and share the Gospel of salvation. For the power for anyone to change, repent, and believe ultimately comes from God.
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