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The Decline of Evangelical America
The New York Times ^ | 12/15/12 | John S. Dickerson

Posted on 12/18/2012 6:45:08 AM PST by marshmallow

IT hasn’t been a good year for evangelicals. I should know. I’m one of them.

In 2012 we witnessed a collapse in American evangelicalism. The old religious right largely failed to affect the Republican primaries, much less the presidential election. Last month, Americans voted in favor of same-sex marriage in four states, while Florida voters rejected an amendment to restrict abortion.

Much has been said about conservative Christians and their need to retool politically. But that is a smaller story, riding on the back of a larger reality: Evangelicalism as we knew it in the 20th century is disintegrating.

In 2011 the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life polled church leaders from around the world. Evangelical ministers from the United States reported a greater loss of influence than church leaders from any other country — with some 82 percent indicating that their movement was losing ground.

I grew up hearing tales of my grandfather, a pastor, praying with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. My father, also a pastor, prayed with George W. Bush in 2000. I now minister to my own congregation, which has grown to about 500, a tenfold increase, in the last four years (by God’s favor and grace, I believe). But, like most young evangelical ministers, I am less concerned with politics than with the exodus of my generation from the church.

Studies from established evangelical polling organizations — LifeWay Research, an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Barna Group — have found that a majority of young people raised as evangelicals are quitting church, and often the faith, entirely.

As a contemporary of this generation (I’m 30), I embarked three years ago on a project to document the health of evangelical Christianity in the United States. I did this research not......

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christianity; evangelicals

1 posted on 12/18/2012 6:45:10 AM PST by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

Why am I suspicious of an article by a self-proclaimed evangelical that appears in the New York Times?


2 posted on 12/18/2012 6:47:29 AM PST by Arm_Bears (The MSM lies about conservatives; and it lies about liberals.)
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To: marshmallow

Is this the latest negative meme regarding evangelicals?

My goodness, it seems just last week it was evangelical’s fault that Romney lost.

Sort of odd, blaming a group whose influence has collapsed, don’t you think?

Whose influence is putatively on the rise among religious groups, and to what sort of account should this group be held, marshmallow?


3 posted on 12/18/2012 6:53:05 AM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: marshmallow
He sounds like an evangelical Unitarian.

Evangelicals have not adapted well to rapid shifts in the culture — including, notably, the move toward support for same-sex marriage.

Quite possibly because they have read the Bible.

4 posted on 12/18/2012 6:57:31 AM PST by crusty old prospector
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To: Arm_Bears
This person is of satan and should be shunned. By his presence in the slimes, he gives us all of the proof that we need. Shun this demon.

LLS

5 posted on 12/18/2012 7:13:30 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (A child is born in Bethlehem KING of KINGS)
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To: marshmallow
IT hasn’t been a good year for evangelicals.

Maybe he's not doing it right? Not sure what this means or how he defines evangelicals, but for me the Bible has never been more relevant than now, nor has my need for faith been stronger.

Reading the stories posted here and then stories written in the Bible, other than technology and location, I'm basically reading the same story.

If such a lay person as me is having this experience in these interesting times we find ourselves living through, I would think those in his profession would be building larger parking lots or looking for larger and more grandiose facilities.

6 posted on 12/18/2012 7:21:31 AM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: marshmallow

No they just choose not to go to a watered down Osteen type church and be counted. True conservative Southern Baptist churches that have traditional services are doing very well.


7 posted on 12/18/2012 7:24:31 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: Arm_Bears
What he reports is a good development.

I have moved around and ministered in this ecclesiastical/theological demographic for almost 50 years now. Within it are a remnant of orthodox Christians, and they have always been a decided minority.

The author notes that "values" of American culture have moved decidedly away from previous evangelical moral consensus (e.g. homosexuality). This is no surprise, for G. K. Chesterton foresaw this almost years ago! Here's what he said in a newspaper column on June 19, 1926:

The next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back... The roots of the new heresy, God knows, are as deep as nature itself, whose flower is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life. I say that the man who cannot see this cannot see the signs of the times; cannot see even the skysigns in the street that are the new sort of signs in heaven. The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan — but most of what was in Broadway is already in Piccadilly.

The problem with evangelicalism in America today is tediously old and common within Christendom: worldliness.

Now that the culture has moved so decidedly counter to standard Biblical morality, Christians will be sorted by this into those who are overtly compliant with the world (i.e. "worldly") and those who are faithful to the teaching of Jesus, the Prophets, and the Apostles.

The result? A decided decline in the mere numbers of those who profess the faith with integrity, at least as a percentage of those who name the name of Christ. Again, as I said, this is a good development! Someone somewhere said, "Let the righteous become more righteous yet, and the filthy filthier yet."

8 posted on 12/18/2012 7:32:34 AM PST by Brandybux (Oportet ministros manus lavare antequam latrinam relinquent.)
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To: crusty old prospector

Evangelicals have not adapted well to rapid shifts in the culture — including, notably, the move toward support for same-sex marriage.

Quite possibly because they have read the Bible.


LOL! Right on! People I know from various other countries tell me that Evangelical churches are growing rapidly and thriving there. Largely because the Catholic Church has chosen to convey its teachings in an incomprehensible Latin muddle.


9 posted on 12/18/2012 7:40:07 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: marshmallow
The answer to our problems is neither RCC nor Protestants, Republicans nor Democrats, White nor Black, but movement of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of men that will change a nation......"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
http://bible.cc/ephesians/6-12.htm

10 posted on 12/18/2012 7:50:59 AM PST by haffast (Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. -Abe Lincoln)
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To: marshmallow

I suspect it is churches that are culturally irrelevant that are shrinking. I attend a church that just passed 12,000 attendees-most who were unchurched before. There is hunger for truth in the hearts of people. Churches too often put up unBiblical barriers that repel those who are open to truth.


11 posted on 12/18/2012 7:57:37 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: marshmallow
IT hasn’t been a good year for evangelicals. I should know. I’m one of them.

In 2012 we witnessed a collapse in American evangelicalism. The old religious right largely failed to affect the Republican primaries, much less the presidential election.

He's conflating evangelicalism with conservative (in it's current sense) politics. Not the same.

ping to read the article later.

12 posted on 12/18/2012 7:57:41 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
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To: marshmallow

I suspect it is churches that are culturally irrelevant that are shrinking. I attend a church that just passed 12,000 attendees-most who were unchurched before. There is hunger for truth in the hearts of people. Churches too often put up unBiblical barriers that repel those who are open to truth.


13 posted on 12/18/2012 7:58:04 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international. Gone.)
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To: marshmallow
The Decline of Evangelical America

The Decline of.... America.... period

14 posted on 12/18/2012 8:02:06 AM PST by RedMonqey ("Gun-free zones" equal "Target-rich environment.")
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To: Buckeye McFrog
an incomprehensible Latin muddle

Did someone tell you that over 50 years ago? That's when Latin's use in sacraments and Mass effectively ended for the typical Catholic.

Also, I don't mean to highlight your ignorance, but scholars of language and history don't exactly characterize Latin as a "muddled" language LOL.

15 posted on 12/18/2012 8:04:40 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: marshmallow
Overall I think it's a good article.
Some evangelical leaders are embarrassed by our movement’s present paralysis. I am not. Weakness is a potent purifier. As Paul wrote, “I am content with weaknesses ... for the sake of Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:10). For me, the deterioration and disarray of the movement is a source of hope: hope that churches will stop angling for human power and start proclaiming the power of Christ.

Simple faith in Christ’s sacrifice will march on, unchallenged by empires and eras. As the English writer G. K. Chesterton put it, “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

Amen

John S. Dickerson is the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church and author of the forthcoming book “The Great Evangelical Recession: Six Factors That Will Crash the American Church ... and How to Prepare.”

Might be worth looking at.

16 posted on 12/18/2012 8:59:12 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
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To: marshmallow

The Bible believing, Bible preaching church I attend is growing and thriving.


17 posted on 12/18/2012 9:51:44 AM PST by crosshairs (Open season on feral governments.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog; steve86
Oh, that's so 1950's. The USCCB now issues its teachings in an incomprehensible English muddle.
18 posted on 12/18/2012 11:06:40 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (USCCB Delenda Est.)
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To: marshmallow

Someone should tell him numbers mean nothing


19 posted on 12/18/2012 7:07:54 PM PST by RnMomof7
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