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Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

That is one of  the takeaways from the American Enterprise study by Lyman Stone that we’ve been discussing this week:  Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

 


In addition to giving us something of a three-dimensional profile of the extent of religion in the United States and Western Europe, the study gives data about why religions decline but also what brings religions back.

As we reported from that study, the lowest level of church membership and church attendance in the history of the United States was in the 1780s, when only a third of Americans belonged to any church body and only a fifth of the population was in church on any given Sunday.  That’s far worse than today’s supposedly “declining” numbers, of 62% membership and 35% attending.

But after that religious low point at the very outset of our nation came the Second Great Awakening, which began in the 1790s and soon made our forebears the strong Christians we have always assumed them to be.

What changed?  Researchers have cited sociological factors.  For example, as we blogged about, the American Enterprise study says that the heavy-handed, politically powerful colonial churches created a backlash against faith, whereas their disestablishment and America’s new religious liberties created a climate for faith to flourish again.

Click here to read more from Dr. Gene Edward Veith.

Be Informed

Hosted by LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission, the Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, will presents a free webinar on “Religious Freedom in our PC Culture” from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Seltz will provide insights and strategies to winsomely witness to our world as the Christian faith becomes less “PC.” Learn more here!

Be Equipped

Rev. Christopher Thomas discusses when Christians must disobey government’s restrictions on gathering in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.

Be Encouraged

Dear Father, you sent your Son, who left His powerful position in heaven to be born in a lowly stable, to live life in our place, to die a death that is the recompense for this world’s sin, and to give us eternal life as a gift now and forever. May that motivate our prayers and our service to our friends and our enemies, to our brothers and sisters in the faith and our neighbors in the community, and all who are in authority to lead and to serve. Give us strength to be a people constantly in prayer, available for service, and bold in our witness of the God who is at work in the world to save. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

 

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