The Real Reason So Many Christians Are Leaving Church

Heads bowed
Statistics about Christianity in America should both alarm and motivate pastors. (Flick/Creative Commons)

The number of Christians in America is dropping, according to a much-hyped Pew Research Study. If this isn't a wake-up call to pastors and churches across the nation, what is?

Here's the gist of the study: The number of Americans who identify with Christianity has dropped drastically in the last eight years. During that same time frame, people who didn't affiliate with any religion continued to grow in numbers.

Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, says the findings are evidence of the greater impact pastors and churches must have on society.

"These statistics should alarm every Christian in America, yet they should serve to motivate every pastor and Christian to greater biblical obedience," Rohrer says. "In the early church, Christians 'turned the world upside down' because their faith in Jesus Christ had been put to the test and they experienced firsthand the transformative impacts of the gospel and unconquerable power of the truth of God's Word. Our nation is in desperate need of pastors and Christians with the early church's passion." 

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Pew also reported that between 2007 and 2014, the number of Americans identifying as Christians fell from 78.4 percent (178.1 million people) to 70.6 percent (172.8 million people). And the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans rose from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent in the same time frame—or about 60 million unaffiliated (including atheists, agnostics or those who claim "nothing in particular") Americans in 2014.

The decline in Christianity is exhibited across nearly all demographics, as the Pew report added, "while the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages. The same trends are seen among whites, blacks and Latinos; among both college graduates and adults with only a high school education; and among women as well as men."

"The decline in Christianity in America is a call not simply for Americans to return to church but for the church itself to return to God's Word," Rohrer continues. "We know from research that too many pastors are not preaching the whole counsel of God's Word as it relates to societal issues, holy living and true discipleship. Therefore, many Americans are leaving the church because the church has left the authority of Scripture. It's past time for pastors to take a stand for obedience to biblical truth if we are to see God's blessing return to our nation."

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