The headlines from the news media this week was on the death of Christianity in America.
Some did not.
But for the most part, news media got it wrong.
Every year the Pew Research Center releases its finding on religious trends and affiliations in America.
Here is what they really found….don’t believe the misleading headlines!
In fact, as you’ll see evangelicals were the only segment of “Christian” that saw growth.
1) The Skyrocketing “Nones”
The fastest growing group in America today are the “nones” – those with no religious affiliation.
They outnumber Catholics now and mainline Protestants together.
In my talk for Churches “7 Surprising Trends Impacting the Church and America”
I analyze this group and this shocking trend.
They are the only group to gain more than evangelicals from religious “switching.” They gained 18 percent (nearly double the evangelical rate) for a ratio of 4.2 people gained for every 1 person lost.
Most current “nones” were raised as Catholics (28%), mainliners (21%), or unaffiliated (21%), while 16 percent were raised as evangelicals.
Incidentally, this group overwhelmingly vote liberal and are Democrats.
2) The Growing Evangelicals
Evangelicals (and those who say they are “born again.”) is still America’s largest religious group at 25.49% in 2014 vs. 26.3% in 2007.
But Evangelical churches gained more than two million members in the last seven years, while mainline liberal churches lost five million members.
So evangelicals are the “major exception” to the national pattern of “Christian decline,” and the only major “Christian” group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching.
But the news media ignored this.
More than 60 percent of current evangelicals were raised as evangelicals, while 14 percent were raised as mainliners, 13 percent as Catholics, 7 percent as unaffiliated, 3 percent as black Protestants, and 2 percent as non-Christian faiths.
Of the third of those raised as evangelicals who leave the “evangelical” title, most switch to no religion at all (15%) or a mainline Protestant church (12%). Only 2 percent become Catholics.
Meanwhile, 19 percent of both Americans raised unaffiliated and raised mainline now identify as evangelicals. So do 10 percent of those raised Catholics and black Protestants, 9 percent of those raised Orthodox, 7 percent of those raised Buddhists, and 6 percent of those raised Mormons.
3) Other “Christian” Church Members Decline
Five million less adults said they were “Christian” in 2014.
Mainline Protestants (27% in 2014 vs. 25% in 2007), Catholics (22% vs. 16%), Orthodox (18% vs. 16%), Mormons (23% vs. 21%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (24% vs. 17%), and spiritualist Christians (24% vs. 15%).
The decline we see is reflected in the liberal churches that have abandoned Biblical teaching…and people are leaving.
Those who believe the Bible is inerrant and salvation is by grace through the blood of Christ is steady and growing.
What do you think?
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