New book on Church: News of our death has been greatly exaggerated

Friday, September 20, 2019
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (

church pewsA new book claims not only is the looming, pending, certain death of the Church an exaggeration, it’s not close to true.

“This idea that we are seeing the darkest days of the Church today,” says author Glenn Stanton, “and that the glory days are in the past, is not only bad sociology, it's bad theology.”

Stanton, who researches, writes, and speaks about marriage and family at Focus on the Family, tells OneNewsNow he is well aware of the opposite view: studies pointing to plummeting numbers of young people attending church, and reports that liberal college professors are wooing three-quarters of young people from the faith of their parents.  

“None of those things are true,” insists Stanton, whose book is entitled, “The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity is Actually Thriving in America and Around the World.”

Stanton says he was well aware of numerous competing views but pushed ahead with his own research that studied the findings of leading sociologists. What he found was that more Americans, in raw numbers and percentage, attend church today than at any other time in our nation's history – including colonial days.

children praying in churchDrilling farther down into the research, Stanton told Christian apologist Sean McDowell in a June interview that America is not headed in the direction as post-religious Europe, which is the accepted view of many as the country becomes more affluent and more people identify as non-religious.

Stanton said he looked at findings from two secular-based studies, from Harvard and Indiana University, in which the two sociologists quizzed church attendees not just about Bible reading and prayer life, but how often they read the Bible, and how often and why they pray.

“And what they said was,” Stanton told McDowell, “that the United States absolutely is contrary to the secularization thesis.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Stanton seemed to blame the “fake news” for much of the public perception, telling McDowell that sloppy headlines pick up a few facts from a Pew Research Center study then conclude that Christianity is on the decline.

Bible study group 2“They're basically doing journalism off a press release,” Stanton complained. “But when you dig into the actual study that Pew put out itself, you see that no, what's been reported is not the case.”

In the case of the Pew study, Stanton pointed out that lead researcher Greg Smith told Christianity Today that it was untrue to suggest their study shows the decline of Christianity.

“There's nothing in these data to suggest that Christianity is dying,” Smith told the publication in 2016, a statement that Stanton accurately quoted in the McDowell interview and includes in the book.

empty pews in churchElsewhere in that interview, Stanton says it is true that some mainline denominations all but collapsed after moving away from orthodox Christianity, but he says evangelical churches, according to Pew’s own numbers from 2007 to 2014, grew by at least 2 million while the liberal churches plummeted by 7.3 million during the same period.

After being advised of certain death, what should the Church conclude from Stanton’s study?

“The gospel is moving on and God's Word is not returning void,” he says. “It is pushing through history like a freight train."


We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details





Should the U.S. Senate allow witnesses for the impeachment trial?





Pro-gun rally by thousands in Virginia ends peacefully
As trial nears, Trump lawyers call impeachment case 'flimsy'
Illegal crossings plunge as US extends policy across border
2 dead, 15 injured in Kansas City bar brawl
Iraqi officials: 3 dead, dozens wounded in Baghdad protests


California tells ranch owners, 'Your land is our land'
Frederick Douglass vs. MLK: Competing visions for social justice?
All nonprofits should be terrified of this new court decision
Watch Adam Schiff tell three laughable impeachment whoppers in less than 90 seconds
Apple is right to refuse to help the FBI hack into iPhones. The federal government can’t be trusted with additional surveillance powers


Cartoon of the Day
Missing in action: Civility in evangelicals' political discourse

angry woman at town hall meetingA survey finds that a majority of evangelicals want civility and unity when it comes to political discourse – but that seems to be in short supply, even within the group that sponsored the survey.