Book Discussion: The Downfall of American Christianity

The first police cruiser pulled up in front of the park, followed by another police officer striding across the lawn. Two men lay beneath a tree, curled around their belongings, on top or near their own human excrement. I sat on the park bench across the way with the book, Hope of Nations opened in front of me, distracted by the scene unfolding. At the encouragement of both police officers, the two men eventually stumbled off in two different directions. It’s not exactly Mayberry here.

Every day there are real-life illustrations of Hope of Nations’ sentence on page 24, “A post-truth society is the only logical end of a post-Christian society.” Some of the points he brought up so far:

  • American college professors prefer not to hire Christians.
  • Journalists are not reporting news through the lens of ideologies.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans are struggling in a “truth-based war of ideologies” within their own parties.
  • Experts say America is 70% Christian. His sources indicate there are actually only 7-20% of meaningfully active Christians in America.
  • Most people don’t know the history of Christianity.

But, it was his chapter of 1938 Germany that struck me the most. On November 9, 1938, the Night of Crystal exploded in Germany. Formerly peace-loving Germans burned 260 synagogues, destroyed 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses, and mobs of architects, professors, brick-layers, etc murdered dozens of individual Jews. Wilhelm, Corrie Ten Boom’s brother saw Nazi Germany coming because he understood the power of ideas. Christians need to understand the power of ideas and see what they read through the lens of ideologies. 

At this moment in time, the power of ideas stream through your social media, manipulated by people schooled in marketing and communication. All have an agenda, even the groups we agree with politically. However, Christians can take back that power by making the Christian ideology more important than their own agendas through online sharing of the hope we have in Christ with people who don’t have a relationship with Him.

But first, are we someone people can trust? Are we discerning in what we post? Do we exercise self-control in how we respond or react online? Are we researching what we post before we post? Don’t take this lightly. If we always post or send information that later becomes disproven by other websites, how can people trust what we say when we talk about Bible verses and Christ? This went through my mind as I sat in the park, reading this book.

Watching the second man stumble away from the tree, a slave to his next high or his next drink, I wondered what decisions and circumstances brought him there? If Hope of Nations says only 7-20% of Christians are measurably active in their faith, and growth of Christian ideology in the future will be the result of births, not conversions, it’s urgent the Church body step up in this age of social media and technology. Thom Rainer said it on his blog that real church growth happens when a church is focused on evangelism. Otherwise, he said, it’s just a recirculation of the saints going from church to church.

Let’s change this. 

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