At some point, one has to wonder why America’s churches are the largest block of irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant institutions in the entire country. And make no mistake about it: when it comes to influencing societal conditions, culture, and the political philosophy of the nation, for all intents and purposes, they ARE irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant.
Think about it: according to the latest available statistics, over 75% of America’s adults classify themselves as Christians. That’s over 159 million people. Over 43% of America’s adults attend the more than 300,000 churches regularly. That’s over 90 million people. Yes, both of these statistics are WAY DOWN from just a few years ago, but those statistics still represent a HUGE block of the American population. So why do these Christians and churches have so very little influence in America’s society, culture, and politics? Asking it bluntly, why is America going to hell in a handbasket with all of these churches dotting the landscape?
There is no mistaking the fact that from before the American Revolution, after the American Revolution, throughout the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, and through the first half of the Twentieth Century, the American Church was a major voice and influence in virtually every facet and sphere of American society. However, with the exception of a temporary resurgence in the 1980s, the influence of the Church in the last half of the Twentieth Century and continuing now into the Twenty First Century is nada. Zilch.
For all intents and purposes, the activist arm of conservative churches, the Religious Right, Christian Coalition, Moral Majority, call it what you will, is clinically dead.
It is not comatose; it is dead. When it comes to influencing the culture and politics of the nation, the modern Church is dead. Pastors are dead. Denominations are dead. Christian schools and universities are dead.
Think of it: 159 million Christians, 90 million churchgoers, and 300,000 churches cannot effectively influence even the smallest change of direction in America’s society, culture, and political philosophy. America is in a societal, economic, and political tailspin, and the Church sits irrelevant and impotent. And don’t forget: we are not talking about an enslaved, oppressed country such as communist China where millions of Christians are forced at gunpoint to submit to the machinations of the state.
While it is true that the underground church in China (the REAL church in China) is seeing great growth, without a revolution such as America experienced in the late 1700s, Chinese Christians will never be able to effect societal and political change in that country. And, of course, the communist government in China has all but guaranteed that such a revolution will not take place by completely disarming the citizenry.
In America, we are talking about a nation in which citizens (including Christians) are able to lobby, redress government, protest, rally, organize opposition, speak, vote, form PACs, march, petition, etc. Christians are as free to influence their societies and governments as are any other group of people in the United States. Furthermore, name the other group in this country that can boast 75% of the population who identify with it in name or 43% of the population who regularly attend its public meetings? What would the country look like if the ACLU could boast these numbers? Or the SPLC? Or labor unions?
Labor unions comprise only 11% of the adult workforce. The ACLU membership is reported to be about 500,000. And, of course, the people who belong to the SPLC could fit in a phone booth. By comparison, these groups comprise a miniscule percentage of the population as opposed to America’s churches, yet their influence is exponentially greater. So, what has happened?