The number of Christians in America has dropped nearly 8 percentage points since 2007 while the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by nearly 7 percentage points during the same period, Baptist Press reports.
That’s the finding of the Pew Research Center’s 200-page study of “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” released May 12. The survey of some 35,000 adults drew a variety of reactions from Southern Baptist leaders.
“The results of the survey communicate growing evidence that the greatest need in America is a spiritual awakening,” Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press in written comments. “The time is now and the hour is urgent; our churches in this nation must come together in clear agreement, visible union and extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and to reach America and the World for Christ.
“Simultaneously, we need to rise with the same urgency, having a vision to reach our communities, towns and cities for Christ, returning to the priority of evangelizing, disciple-making and planting Gospel churches exponentially,” said Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
Pew’s survey — conducted by phone June 4-Sept. 30, 2014, in Spanish and English — estimated a net decline of between 2.8 to 7.8 million Christians since a comparable survey in 2007. That translates to a drop from 78.4 percent of the U.S. population to 70.6 percent.
Most of the decline occurred among mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics, with each decreasing by approximately 3 percent as a portion of the population since 2007. For every convert to Catholicism in America, there are six former Catholics, according to the report.
Conservative political commentator Steve Gill of Gill Media (Brentwood) made a good point Tuesday on Facebook:
As many churches focus on “feel good” faith instead of Biblical truth, the numbers of those drawn to church declines. Those who preach the BIBLE, however, do seem to be the congregations that are growing in number. Feel good only lasts for a little while before people hunger for truth and relationship with God based on what the BIBLE says, not what those seeking to promote their own agenda preach.