Is Christianity Really Shrinking?
By Glen T. Stanton, July 6, 2019
There’s been a rash of stories lately suggesting Christianity is in steep decline and that atheism is rapidly becoming the largest “religion” in the United States. But is such news true? Is Christianity really going the way of the VHS tape?
As President Ronald Reagan once said of liberals: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”
Christianity is certainly not declining, and our nation’s citizens are not growing more secular. Let’s look at just three questions that reveal the actual story based on a broad array of leading academic research from our nation’s top sociologists of religion.
Where is church membership down?
Is church membership actually down over the last few decades? Yes and no. It depends on what branch of Christianity we’re talking about – the liberal mainliners or the more conservative, biblically faithful evangelical and non-denominational churches.
Greg Smith, the widely respected associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, confidently explains that while the more liberal mainline churches are hemorrhaging members — between 5 million to 7.5 million members in the last 10 years or so – things are completely different for evangelical and non-denominational churches.
Smith explains: “There is nothing in these data to suggest that Christianity is dying. That Evangelicalism is dying. That Catholicism is dying. That is not the case whatsoever. … I would say, that particularly compared with other Christian traditions in the United States, Evangelicalism is quite strong.”
Glenn T. Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family.