Over half of millennials no longer Christian

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by bwallac2335, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    132
    Religion:
    Methodist
    https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/

    The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
     
  2. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    436
    Likes Received:
    198
    moved to News.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    132
    Religion:
    Methodist
    Thanks.
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    501
    Likes Received:
    354
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    People turn toward God when faced with adversity.

    I wonder if some serious adversity looms on the horizon for the USA? :o

    In the meantime, this decline in faith serves as a great reason why Christians need to be more involved in, and supportive of, evangelism. Each of us should be challenging ourselves to step outside the 'comfort zone' and share our faith with the ones around us with whom we've formed relationships. :yes: After all, people don't soak up the Gospel by osmosis or by spending time in open sunshine; 'faith cometh by hearing' the message of Jesus Christ's redemption.

    Here's the first video in a little 'how-to' video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX5CcRJLIVg
     
  5. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    724
    Likes Received:
    350
    Country:
    US
    Religion:
    Orthodox Christian
    I disagree on this point. I don’t know of any case where someone has been converted to authentic Christianity by arguing with them. What is more, to say that people convert solely by hearing the Gospel preached is an accidental Pelagianism on your part (note that I am not accusing you of being a Pelagian or a heretic; I make mistakes routinely and am open to correction, and in this case I think your post contains an error, which you may well have not intended). Specifically, I am sure you will recall that it is the teaching of the Bible and the Church that people come to Christ through the grace of God, which in turn inclines them to hear the Gospel.

    But hearing the Gospel is not even what most people might think it is. It is worth considering that in the Early Church, which was spectacularly good at proselytism and evangelization in the face of extreme persecution and adversity, the custom was that people did not hear the Gospel until, at a minimum, becoming Catechumens, and furthermore, in many cases, they did not hear it until they were baptized. Rather, the early Church used the prophecies in the Old Testament which point to Christ to introduce people to the concept, and then revealed the Gospel to them as part of the conversion process. I am not calling for this now, since the cat is rather out of the bag as far as the Gospel is concerned, and as a result Christianity must function almost entirely in the open, however, the gospel message is something people are induced to receive by the Holy Spirit.

    Rather, I believe the best way to guide people to the faith is to pull, rather than to push. The exemplary conduct of the faithful draws people to religions. Indeed many people become Mormons or Quakers or members of other heretical sects owing to the famed ethics of the members thereof (which are actually illusory, but the reputation the Mormons have is very good). We have to make sure people become fascinated with the apostolic faith, so that they seek us out and come to us, and this is a delicate process, but it does work.

    To put it another way, consider how annoying Jehovah’s Witnesses are. Their approach attracts only the desperate, naive and guillable. Of all the denominations, and I use that term very loosely, in the US, they are the poorest on a per capita basis, no doubt in part due to predatory targeting of vulnerable people and extortionate tithing policies. The wealthiest per capita, interestingly enough, are the equally horrible Unitarian Universalists.

    In general, though, I would say that the techniques used by the J/Ws are entirely wrong, and we should use a completely different approach.

    Some things that do work, but which require clergy and which have become less common, include open-air preaching. The presence of clergy on radio, television, and new media however is very good. YouTube also opens the door to pious laymen. I think one of the best evangelists in recent years has been Hank Haanegraaf, a brilliant apologist, who attracted not only the faithful, but two other groups as well, the curious and the poorly catechized.

    Poorly catechized people I expect make up the majority of people who have left the church, due to the erroneous doctrines of various heterodox churches and the increasing moral decay thereof. Also the horror of the paedophilia problem in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church caused an exodus. But these people still in many cases retain some interest, and in other cases, though they are on the verge of alienation, they can ne brought back.

    I do believe that the Apostolic Faith, properly conveyed to a willing listener, to someone seeking, in the case of Hank Haanegraaf, answers to common questions about the Bible, and what it means, is very compelling, and Dr. Haanegraaf has done a superb job of presenting it. I feel that given his cancer, and his effectiveness, he did not deserve the abuse that he received, including allegations of apostasy, when he joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, allegations which would also certainly have occurred had he become Anglican; it is important to remember that the anti-liturgical, anti-traditional, anti-creedal non demoninational megachurch types, the iconoclastic “Calvinistas”, especially Calvinist Baptists and the 9 Marks set, and some of the evangelicals, really absolutely hate us, since Anglicanism and Orthodoxy are liturgical churches.

    Indeed the Church of England was viciously attacked by Puritans for alleged “popery” a d violently persecuted during the horrible reign of Cromwell during the English Civil War. It is a miracle that Cromwell’s regime fell and the Church of England was restored. It is a still greater miracle that Anglicanism survived north of the Border in the Scottish Episcopal Church, despite the Church of Scotland becoming the Established Church therein. Although the Church of Scotland did improve in the 19th century, but is now in a much worse condition than any Anglican province I can think of with the possible exception of the Scottish Episcopal Church, alas (the decline of which makes me extremely sad, as I particularly love the Caledonian expression of Anglicanism).

    But in general, just as the approach used by J/Ws is to be avoided, I think the approach used by the likes of John MacArthur and other pastors of the Megachurch and the Calvinista or 9 Marks set is to be avoided. I doubt John MacArthur has converted half as many people as Dr. Haanegraaf, since his main focus seems to be on polemics of a sectarian nature.

    This takes us to another point: Presbyterians are not all bad when it comes to comversion. Three very excellent evangelists in the 20th century were Rev. Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhoof, Rev. Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral, but even more talented than him, Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge, who Dr. Hanegraaf worked with throughout much of his career. The Coral Ridge Hour was a great blessing for me personally during the life of Dr. Kennedy, as it provided a means of attending church when I was otherwise unable to go. Was he too political at times? Possibly, but he was a great preacher and a pious man, and I did once have the pleasure of seeing him preach; I visited Coral Ridge about a year before his death.

    There is also the case of Billy Graham, who did a very good job, and who also was a friend of the Russian Orthodox Church: during the Soviet Union, the Russian church was not able to catechize or proselytize; even routine sermons were largely out of the question. Sunday school was non-existant. Billy Graham therefore, when he travelled to Russia, obtained a blessing from the Moscow Patriarch to preach, and his preaching helped teach the Gospel to millions of Russians who wanted to learn more, who the Russian church was only able to take care of sacramentally, but which the Russian church was not able to catechize openly, due to the persecution (many did risk their lives behind the iron curtain, by catechizing the faithful in private, but this was very dangerous due to the secret police). So in many respects Billy Graham was a godsend for the Russian church, in that his celebrity status and American nationality enabled him to do what the Russian church needed to be done, but was unable to do unassisted, due to the evil Communist regime.

    One of the last people to visit Billy Graham before he reposed was in fact Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, who visited him on his deathbed and ministered to him; Metropolitan Hilarion is in charge of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, and also a brilliant composer of classical music. And being an Orthodox bishop, he is also a monastic.

    I greatly admire him among the bishops of our present time, just as I admire the retiring Archbishop of Sydney, whose recent courageous address to the other primates of the Province of Australia, in which he told those who supported gay marriage, et cetera, to leave the Anglican church, was spectacularly.
     
    Brigid likes this.
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    501
    Likes Received:
    354
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    You characterized evangelism as "pushing" and "arguing." I'm sorry you have such a dim, and inaccurate, view of evangelism.

    In Act 2, Peter stood up and addressed the crowd in an act of mass evangelism. The people heard the truth ab0ut Jesus Christ, and thousands came to faith in Him because they heard the Gospel truth.
    Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    Of course, you are correct that no one can come to faith without being drawn by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit beckons every human being to trust Christ the Redeemer; God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) and desires that no one perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Nevertheless, communicating the Gospel message is necessary for people to come to faith.
    Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    And all believers/followers/disciples are called to be light and salt in the earth and to help lead others toward the eternal Light, God Almighty, by communicating or facilitating communication of the Gospel.

    One need not be 'pushy' or 'argumentative' to accomplish this. The video I linked to, in which an Anglican priest teaches about evangelism, helps convey this idea.
     
  7. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    724
    Likes Received:
    350
    Country:
    US
    Religion:
    Orthodox Christian
    No, I did not. Rather, I was referring to the specific approach used by J/Ws and Mormons. Door to door action, which annoys people and is an intrusion, and therefore a stumbling block.

    The goal must be, whether through public services like soup kitchens and organ concerts, or open air preaching, to bring people into the church, praying for the grace of the Holy Spirit to touch them and induce the first steps of metanoia (repentance, but literally, to change ones mind), which will induce them to draw closer and in due course to be received sacramentally, or, in the case of those baptized as infants who fell away from the church for whatever reason, to be restored to participation in the holy mysteries.

    Merely seeking to persuade people on an individual basis to assent to the reality of the salvific acts of our Lord is only half of the required effort. Because we are not saved apart from, but rather within, the church. This idea is a key distinction between the beautiful Anglican faith and the incomplete and self-contradictory ideas of the anti-ecclesial evangelical non denominational churches, which are derived from grotesque mutations of Pietism (which in its original form in Scandinavia was not the dark heresy the Orthodox talk about when referring to Pietism, but rather, what emerged in Poland on the ecclesiastical frontier between the different churches in the region.

    This was entirely correct of him, and I have in my posts commended open air preaching. For example, the conversion of St. Dionysius the Aereopagite resulted from this. And the example par excellence is the Sermon on the Mount given by our Lord himself. And for that matter the homily of the illustrious forerunner St. John the Baptist.

    Indeed so. We are not in any disagreement here. I am not a Calvinist but rather adhere to the Patristic soteriology which one might call Orthodox, Wesleyan or Arminian. But some Anglicans are Calvinists, and also one of my favorite evangelists, Dr. James Kennedy, was obvioisly a Calvinist, so it is not all bad within Presbyterian and continental Reformed circles.

    It is mainly the Calvinist Baptists and 9Marks type who I object to. But even among Calvinist baptists there are some that I like. For example, the very pious Albert Mohler. I also am acquainted with a wonderful pastor of the Calvinist Baptist persuasion in the UK. I want to try to persuade him to use one of the 19th century liturgical service books derived from the Book of Common Prayer.

    I did not view the video you linked to; my comments were specific to a certain approach to evangelism which I regard as counterproductive. We must draw people into the Church. Merely causing people to consider themselves to have a “personal relationship” with our Lord is inadequete if they are not baptized or moving in the direction of baptism as a catechumen, and then partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

    To wit, I consider the Salvation Army and many Quakers to be heretical, in so far as they lack these sacraments. The Salvation Army is also overrated; the Anglo Catholics managed to accomplish heroic acts in aid of the poor and for their trouble were imprisoned by the British government for wearing chasubles, an act which caused much popular support for High Church Anglicans. Men like Fr. Percy Dearmer did enormous good for the poor, without separating schismatically from an already schismatic British Methodist Church and forming a new and defective denomination which lacks the fundamental sacraments which are the primary means of salvific grace.
     
    Brigid likes this.
  8. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    412
    Likes Received:
    480
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Truth. This point is one of the reasons I don't wring my hands as much as many others when the 20 somethings leave the church. They'll be back after their first divorce, or their first child is born, or they've hit rock bottom with substance abuse, etc. Then it's my job to point them first to the confessional, and second to the resources they need to work through the situation; sometimes perhaps falling into the role of Simon the Cyrenian and bearing the cross for them for a while.

    Unfortunately, many people no longer think of the church as the place to turn when they are in these situations. Our society has successfully substituted healthcare and pseudo-healthcare for pastoral care.

    I let the JWs in a few times. It occured to me after 2 or 3 visits that they do not know one thing about the Gospel. The script they followed was always to read some obscure OT passage to me and then start ranting about the end-times. I pointed this out to them and the substance of what I said did not even register in their minds.

    I did the door knocking thing once or twice in times past long before I was Anglican. It's been more than 15 years since I last did it. It was about 1 in 3 that would open the door. Of those, about half would take the literature we had. We weren't actually trying to get in the house and our approach was to be off the door step within a few minutes. I guess the reasoning was that if we weren't entering the house we weren't being annoying.
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  9. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,034
    Likes Received:
    1,868
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    This society for all its free access to untold treasure troves of information has lost its ability to appreciate truth and wisdom when it is presented with it. As Paine put it: "What obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly".

    Instead, we are trained to marvel at the "clever",the pithy, and the sarcastic. How can a someone awash in a sea of memes and 140 character sophistry and to belittle and mock all authority in any form be expected to appreciate the spiritual authority of God's Truth set down in 31,102 verses?

    Moreover, what reason has the modern Church given to millennials to convince them that God is and is the rewarder of those who seek Him? So often it feels as if folks are brought to and kept in Salvation in Jesus Christ in spite of, rather than because of, modern churches.

    Lord have mercy!
     
  10. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    724
    Likes Received:
    350
    Country:
    US
    Religion:
    Orthodox Christian
    God’s grace continues to move people. But I think there is a need for the kind of rich, compelling, multi-sensory experience which traditional liturgy can supply.
     
    Brigid likes this.
  11. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    649
    Likes Received:
    281
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I take humanism and it's doctrines seriously since there's been times in my life where I was seriously bewitched by their anti-christian propaganda. The smiling, cute-looking, 'nice' atheists portrayed in the humanist movements make me sick to no end, only because I believe their claims to be more loving in general than Christians is an outright lie, and very dangerous. I do not think homosexuality, abortion, gender dysphoria, and radical feminism deserve even the slightest bit of pity. Many of their narratives to make it seem that the church 'hurt them' are only superficially true. I've been the target of severe misunderstandings from my Christian brethren regarding my struggles in particularly shameful sins like pornography, or lust, among other things, yet I do not take any account that rejects the church entirely on its opposition to these sins as something to be pitied. I generally choose not to associate with humanists or atheist fundamentalists when given the opportunity. Their arrogance and false charity is truly abborent. I have no problem saying that I think communists and many extremists who murdered millions using evolution and other atheist filth as their justification were actually consistent atheists. Some of them can be good to an extent but they'll never reach their proper potential as a sanctified soul without the Christian faith. Even if it is a lie, it works well enough.

    I can usually tell when someone is seriously irreligious without them saying it outright. Even fake Christians I am usually good at weeding out, since they tend to gravitate towards worldly cares and arrogance more often than not. A lot of nominally Christian types make me sick.
     
    Liturgyworks likes this.

Share This Page