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Robert Jones in a Washington Post article says based on research by the Public Religion Research Institute, Christianity among Anglo Americans is dying. He ends the article with a stark conclusion: “There are no indicators the country will see the likes of White Christian America as a dominant cultural force again.” As usual, reasons for this bleak outlook are complex. But one reason may well be the church’s historic failure to practice the unity and oneness of the Body of Christ—a truth stressed often in Scripture. In Ephesians 2:14, Paul writes, “Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” In 2:19 he says, “Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s people. You are members of God’s family.” Then in 3:10 he says, “God’s purpose in [uniting us] was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Christ unites into one Body all who accept Him as Savior and Lord. It is our task to reflect that diversity in our worship and function. If we fail to do so, God may shift the work of His Spirit to somewhere else.

One Comment

  • Charity J. Dell says:

    Christianity may be dying among SOME Euro-Americans, but it is clearly GROWING among others, including members of Evangelical and Pentecostal/Full Gospel and non-denominational churches. In addition to that, many members of dying “white mainstream” churches have migrated to other churches that meet their spiritual needs. These polls and surveys are often
    completed among only select places, but do not accurately reflect the shift
    in white Christian populations from one set of churches to another. Many white
    Christians are more attracted to mega-churches, many of which have multiethnic
    and multicultural congregations. “White flight” from urban areas has also
    meant “white church growth” in suburbs and exurbs. Many cities are experiencing “gentrification”, and some of these more affluent whites have
    also started returning to churches on a smaller scale, or started to visit various
    houses of worship.

    Again, most surveys and polls do not accurately record the multiple shifts and
    trends taking place among white Americans, many of whom are joining churches
    other than their childhood church. For example, those white Christians who
    came to faith during their college years are more likely to join churches that reflect their new faith. Years later, after marriage, graduate school, career changes and multiple moves, these white Christians may have shifted to another
    church for a number of reasons; the desire for strong children’s and youth programs; the attraction of a varied music ministry; the convenience of “the church in the neighborhood” vs. commuting 30–45 minutes to church; the
    desire to have a church that satisfies the needs of both partners, etc.

    Many white churches are growing in suburban and ex-urban communities,
    as well as those white churches found in less-populated areas–small towns,
    boroughs and villages. In addition to that, many white “mainline” denominations
    have congregations which continually attract new members–most of these
    growing churches are in small towns and suburban communities. Church growth
    is also taking place among Jewish populations–many Jewish believers attend
    their own Messianic synagogues and still others attend both white and non-white churches that attract them. Some Jewish believers of either Ashkenazic (East European) or Sephardic (Portuguese/Spanish) descent also may attend both their traditional synagogues/shuls/temples and a Messianic congregation–still others may simultaneously attend a traditional synagogue and a church of their choice. Many non-Jewish believers ALSO attend Messianic congregations and a church of their choice. Many Messianic congregations have multi-ethnic membership,
    composed of both ethnic Jews and ethnic non-Jews, including Brazilians, Latinos, Native Americans, Africans, African-Americans, and Afro-Caribbeans.

    There is also substantial church growth among Arab-Americans and recent
    Middle Eastern “white” populations. Recent trends include the growth of
    Christianity among Muslim immigrants from Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon,
    as well as other Muslim-dominant countries. Most of these populations are counted as “white” in census tracts, but it is clear that Christianity is growing
    steadily among these populations as well.

    My guess is that the poll takers and surveyors did not get the memo from Isaiah 55:11, which declares that God’s word would not return unto Him void, but would accomplish whatever He sent it to accomplish!

    Christianity is also growing among immigrant populations, including African, Afro-Caribbean, Asian and Latin American communities. When I lived in Irvington, New Jersey, I regularly passed TEN Black churches on my way to my own Black Presbyterian church. These churches were substantial congregations and reflected a range of faiths, including Baptist, Pentecostal and non-denominational community churches. I observed that my own church also had picked up membership when I visited them this year! The Christian faith is definitely on the UPSWING in many African-American churches, and shows no sign of “retreating”, either from the cities, small towns, or suburbs.

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