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Good News! Christianity is Disappearing

June 9, 2016 by

At last a good news story in the media! It is a rare glimpse of hope in a time when it seems like all that matters are gorillas being shot at the zoo. I am glad the editors managed to slip this one into such an action-packed news cycle.

The good news story again: Christianity is disappearing. This has been picked up by the Guardian, the Telegraph, the New York Times and the Spectator. Essentially, a survey found that the proportion of the population here in Britain who identify as having no religion rose from 25% in 2011 to 48.5% in 2014.

For those of us who try to be disciples of Jesus, this has to be good news. I don’t believe Jesus ever told us to devise strategies to fill the pews. Surely the real reason for the decline is an uptick in honesty: those who previously said they were Christians now feel free to say they were just pretending.

In any case, God and his church have never been dependent on mere strength in numbers. The story of Gideon in Judges 7 is instructive here. First God purges Gideon’s army of those who are cowardly and afraid. Next (using a unique selection process based on the way water is drunk from a stream) the army is further disbanded, leaving only 300 men. But in realization that this is God’s battle, not theirs, they defeat the enemy Midianites.

I believe something similar is happening now. For too long, Christianity has dominated others by force in a way that was never intended. Further cuts are probably needed, and according to the survey, will happen. (The date set for extinction, according to the survey, is 2067. Save the date.) We should stop defining who is a Christian by what they say, and rather look at what they do.

Here are some statistics to lay alongside the ones given by the media: in 2014 the number of hours put in by volunteers in church-based social action projects rose by 59.4% compared to the four years previous. The average number of projects per church rose from 4.9 to 8.9 over the same period. The Cinnamon Faith Action Audit carried out last year tells the same story. So while the number of self-identifying Christians is declining, the number of those who actually put their faith into action is increasing. And that’s what really matters. As Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

two grandmothers in wheelchairs talking together as they are pushed down the road by a son and a grandson

We can look to the early church for examples on how effective a small, persecuted, but dedicated group of people can be. We should allow the pressure of secularism to force us into community with other believers. We should shrug off the ridicule we receive for believing in “fairy tales” and rather live out the commands of Jesus more fully. We should continue to tell people about Jesus, and point them to the peace, joy, and love we enjoy as followers of Christ. When they see that there are no rich or poor among us, when they see our marriages lasting, when they see our old and sick being cared for, they will have two choices. Either they will ignore us or hate us, or they will decide to join in wholeheartedly with us.

God will build his church as he sees fit. We should focus on being – and making – disciples as we are instructed. He’ll do the rest.


Bernard Hibbs lives at the Darvell Bruderhof in the UK.

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  • He rather they be HOT or COLD verse being lukewarm.. yes this is how Our Father is able to bring the people to their knees.. He will allow their self inflicted wrath to come on many so those who are lukewarm or Cold will more quickly turn and not burn in hell.. As for working for our salvation by doing good things / works, this is not what works means. Works is abiding in the Son and doing his will. It is listening and obeying and stopping willful sin. Yes when a person abides in Our savior and listens and hears and obeys they will do what The father has for them to do. But it is not to take on charity that he hasn't directed for us to do. Many times that is not abiding and not doing his will but doing our OWN will. If you read in the OT how the people who were saved so many times over and over yet they kept running away and serving other gods, you can begin to understand how so many still have this same nature today. Then you have those, who are out there doing what they call good works, which is charity but it was never asked of them by the Father / Son. Our Father didn't want the charity done because he wanted the people to feel their self inflicted wrath sooner, so they would come humbly to their knees in surrender for a salvation of eternity. However, because so called, Godly people, decided to do THEIR wills and start charities, which he never asked them to do, many more peoples salvation's / eternities will be lost. Now on the other hand, when our Father tells us to give or to do something, we better do it, because he knows best. In closing yes many are temporarily falling away, but with enough destruction in their lives, they will come running back to the Father and find true salvation not a lukewarm feeling or a lukewarm church fellowship. amen

    Daniel Erline