The Fall of the Evangelical Nation

I just finished reading, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, by Christine Wicker (2008).  She exposes details that seldom see the light of day in the press.  All is not so rosey in ‘evangelical land’ as one might have been led to believe.  Like most organizations, the evangelicals have mastered the art of ‘spin’ – a clear American past-time these days.  What ever happened to the Christian value of transparency?

The book revealed some interesting stats. Eighty percent of Americans say they are Christian and 60 percent say they are church members – some place. Yet only 40% attended church in the last week. Further research shows that only 20% of Americans are really in church every week.

One would think, though, by what we read in the media, that evangelicals are growing by leaps and bounds and that they truly make up the majority of Christians in the USA – thus a powerful voting block. The truth is that they are only 7 percent of the population and not growing much – if at all. They simply talk a good talk. People come to check it out, but evangelical churches have a fast-spinning revolving door.

Additionally, the ranks of non-believing Americans is growing much faster than believers!

Though it is reported that nearly 6000 people leave church every day, 1000 of these people are evangelicals. More interesting is that few ever return to the church. Ninety four percent of High School graduates leave church within 2 years of their graduation.

Then there are these stats: (1) divorce and spousal abuse among those who claim to be born again is the same as among non-believers. (2) evangelicals lose their virginity on the average at age 16.3 years of age, while mainline protestants and Catholics average at age 16.7. (3) One out of 5 evangelical women have gotten an abortion.

While church attendance in down, it is now estimated that nearly a quarter of the American population meet in small groups of less than 20 people. For a large number of Americans this is ‘church’ for them. This reflects a growing trend away from a strong centralized authority and doctrine that is protected from queries.

Well, there is so much more in this book. I’ve just shared a few thoughts that struck me. It is a book well worth reading – and is a relatively quick read.


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