Monday, February 20, 2012
No Shock Here
There is a declining depth of commitment among born-again Christians to their faith over the last 20 years, according to a “State of the Church” study by the Barna Research Group released this week.That is a definite sign that we have dropped the bar on what it takes for people to be able to self-identify as "born-again." Cheap grace indeed abounds.
In interpreting the study, which shows a drop in church attendance, Bible reading, and priority in faith, research group founder George Barna warned that American Christians have become complacent.
The study in regards to those identified by Barna Group as born-again Christians showed that:
Attendance at weekend church services has declined among this group by seven percent since 1991, falling from 66 percent to 59 percent.
The proportion of born-again adults who read the Bible during the week, not including when they are at a church event, has decreased by nine percent since 1991. The weekly average is now at 62 percent.
Volunteering at church during the week for those identified as born-again Christians has dropped from 41 percent in 1991 to 29 percent today.
The study also found that those who self-identify as Christians are 10 percentage points more likely to be unchurched than in 1991. The 31 percent who fit this profile have not attended any church service during the past six months, excluding special services such as weddings or funerals, according to the study.
This study is hold now, and I have seen almost no discussion of it. I am sure most people have dismissed it since "anybody can identify themselves as anything." But let's be serious here - most people don't self-identify as Shriners or Rotarians or Mormons. Why do you think that is? I think we are past the point in the country where you need to be Christian to be socially acceptable, that's not what's driving the identification. People self-identify in this way as opposed to others becasue they see no impediment to such identification - there is no threshold to cross, no bar to get over - or at least none that matters.
In other words, practically speaking, being "Christian" is meaningless.