From studies conducted by Robert Putnam, the sociologist from Harvard; to surveys taken by the Barna group: a Christian organization that collects demographic information that can then be used by churches to reach out to their communities; and from countless other sources, we hear this staggering statistic:
Approximately eighty percent of people in the United States identify themselves as “Christian”. Eighty percent! EIGHTY! Eight out of ten people!
So, what gives! What’s going on! Why are all the churches dying? Why aren’t we having to make it standing room only in here? Why is every church facing budget crises? Why isn’t there this great movement of ethics and morality? Why isn’t our society one of love and compassion and accountability?
Why is it that African and Asian nations are sending missionaries HERE? Don’t they know that the VAST majority of us are Americans already?
What is going on here?
Well… what’s going on is simple. Statistics can lie.
You see, one of the main thing that this neglects is the definition of a “Christian”.
You see, if I call myself a Christian, but I don’t believe, for example, that Jesus Christ is God, then I’m not a Christian at all. If I call myself a Christian, but don’t believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, then I’m not a Christian.
If I call myself a Christian, but I just believe that Jesus is one god among many, and that everyone can pick whatever god they want because they’re all the same and it’s all just a personal preference…
… then I am not a Christian. I think we would have just lost about fifty percent of our “80” right there.