27 August 2010

The End of Christianity in America?

The End of Christianity in America? By Soong-Chan Rah (Patheos, 6 August 2010)


As many lament the decline of Christianity in the United States in the early stages of the 21st century, very few have recognized that American Christianity may actually be growing, but in unexpected and surprising ways. Let's take for example the Northeastern city of Boston in a region of the country that Mohler believes we have "lost." In 1970, the city of Boston was home to about 200 churches. Thirty years later, there were 412 churches. The net gain in the number of churches was in the growth of the number of churches in the ethnic and immigrant communities. While only a handful of churches in 1970 held services in a language other than English, thirty years later, more than half of those churches held services in a language other than English.

Between 2001 and 2006, ninety-eight new churches were planted in the city of Boston. In a city the size of Boston, ninety-eight new church plants in a six-year-time period is not spiritual death, it is spiritual life and vitality. Of the ninety-eight churches planted during that six-year-time period, "76 of them reported the language of worship. Of those 76 churches, almost half of them . . . [have] non-English or bi-lingual [services], 19 worship in Spanish, 8 in Haitian Creole and 9 in Portuguese." The perception nationally was that Boston was spiritually dead, because there was noticeable decline among the white Christian community. In contrast, there has been significant growth among non-white Christians and churches.

Link: The End of Christianity in America?

For more information, visit Soong-Chan Rah's official website.

Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary and author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (InterVarsity Press, 2009) and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody Publishers, 2010).