USA (MNN) — The American Religious Identification Survey says
religion in America is declining.
According to the results, of nearly 55,000 Americans
surveyed: Christianity is losing ground, more and more Americans claim to have
"no religion," and the number of Muslims has doubled (Islam is one of the
fastest-growing religions in the world, reinforcing what mission agencies have
been saying in the last decade).
Orthodox Jews seem to be disappearing; evangelicals are
increasing their numbers as the mainline churches continue to shrink; and new
religious communities like Wicca continue to grow in popularity.
Evangelist Sammy Tippit says population shifts may have
skewed some of the results. There's also a difference between religion and
faith, with the definition of religion being a ‘governing' force and faith being a ‘decision-making'
However, he doesn't deny that as a body of Christ in
America, "We've been lulled to sleep. We have not been focused on reaching
out to those who do not know Christ."
With only an external set of rules to guide, when a crisis hits, people often find
themselves disillusioned with the shell. This has been suggested by several ministries working in Iran. It has been seen among India's Dalit population, and now, in the United States. Those who reject religion find themselves in a search for truth to fill the vacuum.
This is where Tippit says the current problem is
two-fold. "We've lost some of our credibility
because of some of the past scandals, and I think the general population has
become somewhat turned off with us. That's one front. The other front is
that we have got to get out of the box. We have got to go into areas that are
needy, and we've got to reach out to those people."
American believers have been cloistered for too long. Other statistics point to the fact that a
majority of people who call themselves Christians are biblically illiterate,
many never having read the Bible all the way through.
Training, discipleship and accountability are what
ministries like Tippit's have been preaching around the world to church leaders
Now, it's time to concentrate on our own backyard and ask
the Lord for revival. Tippit's team is
focusing on this specific need. "I feel it's so critical at this moment
that the church in America wake up and be revived and be renewed and catch this
vision of what God wants to do in this country. We're starting a conference called 'Pray now, America.'"