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Is American evangelicalism’s influence waning?

Is American evangelicalism’s influence waning?

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life surveyed “2,196 evangelical leaders from 166 countries and territories” – the attendance list for the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization in October 2010. Some of the results:

Seven-in-ten evangelical leaders who live in the Global South (71%) expect that five years from now the state of evangelicalism in their countries will be better than it is today. But a majority of evangelical leaders in the Global North expect that the state of evangelicalism in their countries will either stay about the same (21%) or worsen (33%) over the next five years.

In addition, most leaders in the Global South (58%) say that evangelical Christians are gaining influence on life in their countries. By contrast, most leaders in the Global North (66%) say that, in the societies in which they live, evangelicals are losing influence. U.S. evangelical leaders are especially downbeat about the prospects for evangelical Christianity in their society; 82% say evangelicals are losing influence in the United States today, while only 17% think evangelicals are gaining influence.

…Overall, evangelical leaders around the world view secularism, consumerism and popular culture as the greatest threats they face today. More of the leaders express concern about these aspects of modern life than express concern about other religions, internal disagreements among evangelicals or government restrictions on religion.

…Conflict between religious groups … does not loom as a particularly large concern for most of the evangelical leaders surveyed. A majority says that conflict between religious groups is either a small problem (41%) or not a problem at all (14%) in their countries – though a sizeable minority considers it either a moderately big problem (27%) or a very big problem (17%). Those who live in the Middle East and North Africa are especially inclined to see inter-religious conflict as a moderately big (37%) or very big problem (35%). Nine-in-ten evangelical leaders (90%) who live in Muslim-majority countries say the influence of Islam is a major threat, compared with 41% of leaders who live elsewhere.


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I think the biggest problem for Evangelical Christianity is that those (most loudly) calling themselves “Evangelical”{*} have made the phrase Evangelical Christianity into an oxymoron. They offer virtually nothing but BAD News and the “Turn (Buy Our Product) or Burn” sales pitch ain’t working anymore.

Praise Christ, we can only hope “Evangelicalism” will die!

JC Fisher

{*} I’m not including the ELCA here. They represent a noble effort to reclaim the term.

Kelley Renz

Hopefully evangelical leaders as well as Catholic and Protestant leaders are realizing our real problem: infighting and sin among our own ranks! This outweighs secularism as cause of religious laxity. After I was mistreated by a bishop, two of my children left the church. After a priest dismissed me from ministry, my husband and third child stopped attending. I walk on eggshells at church and am sick of those who present themselves as if they have all the answers. We all need to embrace humility, be willing to see the good in one another, and join hands. It’s not secularism, people; it’s us!

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