Christianity in America
It seems that every day we hear of the decline of Christianity.
- U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time.
- Christianity is quickly shrinking in the United States.
According to Wikipedia, “Christianity is the most prevalent religion in the United States. Estimates from 2021 suggest that of the entire U.S. population (332 million), about 63% is Christian (210 million). A plurality of Christian Americans is Protestant Christians (140 million; 42%), though there are also significant numbers of American Roman Catholics (70 million; 21%) and other minority Christian denominations such as Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Christians, and Oriental Orthodox Christians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses (about 13 million in total; 4%).”
Also, according to Pew Research, “Americans identified as Christians do indeed show a progressive decline, totaling 85% in 1990, 81.6% in 2001, 78% in 2012, 70.6% in 2014, 65% in 2020, and recently 63% in 2021.”
Is this true? Is Christianity really declining in the U.S.? But how do we define Christianity?
The Foundation of the Bible
It’s only fair to disclose the central core of my faith. I am a Biblical Christian who holds to the inerrancy, source, sufficiency, and completeness of the Bible.
With respect to inerrancy, John 17:17 asserts, “…your word is truth.”
With respect to source and sufficiency, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 maintains that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…that the man of God may be complete…”
With respect to its completion, from Deuteronomy 4:2 to Revelation 22:18-19 God cautions, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it…”
False religions deny the Bible’s inerrancy, deny its source and sufficiency, and add other books, new revelations, and tradition to its already completed work.
The Foundation of Christ and the Gospel
The Bible also reveals another authenticity test; all false religions reject the true Christ of the Bible and reject the true gospel of salvation of the Bible.
In John 1, the deity and salvation of Christ are proclaimed “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…in Him is life…[and] as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God….”
In the Epistle of 1 John:1-3, John offers an examination of the true Christ, “…test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world…every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist….”
Finally, Galatians 1:6-8 offers verification of the true gospel, “I marvel that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel…but even if we, or an angel from heaven, should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to the gospel we have proclaimed to you, let him be accursed!”
Who are the true Christians
Commonly accepted, Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Since the teachings of Jesus Christ are exclusively recorded in the Bible, only the Bible can define Christianity.
The truths of the Bible, Christ, and the Gospel above show that many claiming to be Christians are not real Christians.
Are they misleading or self-deceived? Christ knows, and he discusses them in Matthew 7:22-23 where He states, “Many will say to Me on that day [of judgment], ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Christ also claims in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it,” and Psalm 89:4 declares, “I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne from generation to generation.”
God’s true church is His elect. Nothing can alter that. False churches ebb and flow, as do false believers.
How utterly vain to think the world, Satan, or any other power is reducing the growth of the church of God as God has providentially planned. Mankind and Satan have about as much power over the true church as they do over the climate.
So the next time you hear that Christian church membership is dwindling, you can smile and respond, ‘Yes, I heard that, but not the true church of Jesus Christ.’