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March 10, 2009Leadership, Research

Evangelicalism in the U.S.

Discussion continues on the American Religious Identification Study (ARIS) study I mentioned yesterday. One important distinction might be helpful in that conversation.

The Out of Ur Blog has posted data from both that study and iMonk's article in the Christian Science Monitor in a a new post, "Goodbye, Evangelicalism."

They shared some of the ARIS data:

That means that religious people are not simply being redistributed from one religion or denomination to another, but that more and more people are abandoning all faith altogether.

And some of the comments from iMonk (aka Michael Spencer) and his article in the Christian Science Monitor (which you should read in its entirety):

Bleak news, perhaps. But not as bleak, or specific, as Michael Spencer's observations at The Christian Science Monitor. Spencer argues, "We are on the verge--within 10 years--of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West."

I posted this comment at the Out of Ur blog and thought it might be helpful to include that here:

Brandon,

I would add that this study is a well done project that should be disturbing to the church. Thanks for highlighting both the ARIS and the CSM article.

But, it is important to note that although iMonk provided an articulate and provocative case in his CSM essay, the ARIS study actually showed an INCREASE in the number of self-identified evangelicals, with a simultaneous decline in self-identified Christians.

So, the study shows the percentage of self-identified Christians is in decline but that is not the same thing as a great crackup of evangelicals. That may indeed be coming (and I have written on that myself), but the ARIS did not show such a trend.

Thanks for the good writing.

Ed Stetzer

www.edstetzer.com

Be sure to go by the Out of Ur blog, read the whole post, and join in the dialogue there.

Of course, feel free to comment here as well.

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