• It’s Not True: The American Church Is Not on Its Deathbed

    Surge Summary: There is a widespread claim that the modern American church is dying. A new book challenges that assertion and says the church, in fact, is thriving in this nation.

    According to a widely-repeated legend – an inaccurate one – when famed novelist Mark Twain was visiting London and was informed an American newspaper had announced his death and printed his obituary, he quipped: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

    There’s one phony death-story circulating in the media today, but it’s not about a celebrated writer.

    Instead, we are constantly told the Christian church is near to breathing its last.

    Over at OneNewsNow.com, Billy Davis and Steve Jordahl pass along that a new book strenuously challenges the tireless assertion that the Church’s demise is “looming, pending, certain”.

    “This idea that we are seeing the darkest days of the Church today,” says author Glenn Stanton, “and that the glory days are in the past, is not only bad sociology, it’s bad theology.”

    Stanton, who researches, writes, and speaks about marriage and family at Focus on the Family, tells OneNewsNow he is well aware of the opposite view: studies pointing to plummeting numbers of young people attending church, and reports that liberal college professors are wooing three-quarters of young people from the faith of their parents.

    “None of those things are true,” insists Stanton, whose book is entitled, “The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity is Actually Thriving in America and Around the World.”

    Stanton says he was well aware of numerous competing views but pushed ahead with his own research that studied the findings of leading sociologists. What he found was that more Americans, in raw numbers and percentage, attend church today than at any other time in our nation’s history – including colonial days.

    In a June interview with Sean McDowell, Stanton elaborated on the research, telling the Christian apologist that the popular view is wrongheaded, America is decidedly not headed in post-religious Europe’s direction.

    Stanton said he looked at findings from two secular-based studies, from Harvard and Indiana University, in which the two sociologists quizzed church attendees not just about Bible reading and prayer life, but how often they read the Bible, and how often and why they pray.

    “And what they said was,” Stanton told McDowell, “that the United States absolutely is contrary to the secularization thesis.”

    During the discussion, Stanton appeared to blame “fake news” for much of this erroneous public perception. Sloppy headlines pick up a few facts from a Pew Research Center study and, from there, summarize Christianity in the United States is on the decline.

    “They’re basically doing journalism off a press release,” Stanton complained. “But when you dig into the actual study that Pew put out itself, you see that no, what’s been reported is not the case.”

    In the case of the Pew study, Stanton pointed out that lead researcher Greg Smith told Christianity Today that it was untrue to suggest their study shows the decline of Christianity.

    “There’s nothing in these data to suggest that Christianity is dying,” Smith told the publication in 2016, a statement that Stanton accurately quoted in the McDowell interview and includes in the book.

    Stanton conceded it is accurate that some mainline denominations all but collapsed after drawing back from orthodox Christianity. That said, evangelical churches? He says, according to the actual Pew numbers from 2007 to 2014, those congregations grew — by at least 2 million. Meantime, over the same period, liberal churches plummeted by 7.3 million.

    What should followers of Jesus conclude from Stanton’s study?

    “The gospel is moving on and God’s Word is not returning void,” he says. “It is pushing through history like a freight train.”

    Didn’t Someone long ago guarantee as much? Something about “building [His] church” and “the gates of Hell not prevail[ing]” against it.

    H/T: OneNewsNow.com/Billy Davis and Steve Jordahl

    Image by J F from Pixabay 

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