An extensive study by the Pew Research Center has revealed that Christians are declining sharply in America in terms of population share, while the religiously unaffiliated are rising, and now make up a larger share than American Catholics. The rise of religious intermarriages was one trend linked to the growth of the unaffiliated.
The report, which was released on Tuesday, stated: "The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately 3 percentage points since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population also has dipped, but at a slower rate, falling by about 1 percentage point since 2007."
Christians remain the largest religious group in America, but their share of the population fell from 78.4 to 70 percent between 2007 to 2014, Pew noted. more >>
I started writing this column a little over four years ago and from day one the comments section has pretty much been a three-ring circus.
Belittlement, narrow-mindedness, attacks on character, and blame for all the world problems have been shot back and forth like flaming arrows from the bows of angry, fearful, judgmental and stubborn men and women. And no, my Christians brothers and sisters, it hasn't just been the "militant" gays and unbelievers spewing hateful words. Everyone has been involved in the warfare – Christians included.
The incessant hostility eventually got so bad that I disabled the comment section on my website for about six months. Nothing fruitful or beneficial taking place in that space. Conversations weren't being held. Reasoning wasn't taking place. It was just a bunch of empty yelling and screaming into the air. And sadly, the comments section on my website is a pretty accurate representation of the type of dialogue taking place in our broader culture when it comes to the issues of homosexuality and religion. more >>
Editor's Note: Please see my more recent column on my conversation with Pastor Stanley as a result of this column.
I really appreciate Pastor Andy Stanley's call last month for Christians in America to live like real Christians, and I absolutely agree with him that if we do, in just one year's time the nation would be positively affected.
But he was way off in his call for Christians to take one year off from the culture wars, as if the only way we could live like real Christians was to refrain from engaging the culture. Quite the contrary. more >>
A plan to add "gender identity" to a Virginia school's nondiscrimination policy has enraged parents and preachers, but leaders of the nation's tenth largest school district say unless they make the change, the U.S. Department of Education could withdraw federal funding.
Critics warn the Fairfax County Public School policy would allow boys who identify as girls to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice – as well as participate on athletic teams of their choosing.
Martin Baker, the pastor of Burke Community Church, warned, "the damage and destruction to our children, teens and impacted adults will be incalculable." more >>
Good news exists in Christian communities ministering to gay communities. New Testament professor Scot McKnight highlights an approach I've experienced in every community I lived in both in America and abroad. In A Fellowship of Differents, McKnight addresses how Christians biblically address "Sexual Bodies in a Church."
As is the case with most theologians, McKnight provides historical context to best understand Paul's letters to new believers. Common sexual practices ranged from same-sex relations, orgies, multiple partners, and only in Jewish communities fidelity and/or celibacy. Paul's teachings about marriage and sexual relations to the Ephesians and Corinthians were radical and contrarian to social norms: Christ followers must be celibate or faithful to one's spouse.
Not only were new believers to conform to these two choices, but Paul also instructed them "not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people" (1 Cor. 5). more >>
On a recent visit to India, my first stop in New Delhi was a visit with my precious grandmother over evening tea. As we caught up on family news and future plans, I was once again touched by her personal interest in every detail and inspired by her graceful authority even though I sometimes had to strain to hear her fragile voice. When I got up to leave, she pulled me aside and whispered something in my ear. "You need to do two things this year," she told me in a tone of concern that was firm but kind. "Get married and join a gym." I laughed and told her I'd try to do at least one of the two. She then sent me off with a hug and a kiss and a Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate candy bar, one of my favorite treats from childhood.
That brief interaction offers a glimpse into the affectionate woman my grandmother is and the sweet relationship I treasure with her to this day.
In a couple weeks, on May 27, my family will celebrate my paternal grandmother's 90th Birthday. Satya Malhotra is truly our family matriarch, and we thank the Lord for His favor and faithfulness in her life over these nine decades. Despite so many growing limitations, the scope and impact of her life is without boundaries. more >>