BY Richard Bledsoe, The Western JournalJanuary 31, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | January 31, 2023
1 year ago

Is an American Revival Coming? A New Study Gives Christian Leaders Hope for Next Generations

There is good news and bad news about the future of the United States.

The bad news is our nation is in peril like never before. We’ve had crises but none have taken this form. The political class seems hell-bent on undermining the security, prosperity, and freedoms of America.

At the same time, fewer in the United States acknowledge God. This is tragic in difficult times because those who turn away from faith are cut off from the support and comfort God and a community of fellow believers can provide. Hell is an appropriate word to associate with these cultural drifts.

The good news for America revealed in recent polling is a reflection of the folk wisdom that “It is always darkest before the dawn.” Or maybe it’s the more modern, therapeutic version of the same idea: the necessity of hitting rock bottom before recovery can truly begin. Both ideas present the opportunity for positive growth can happen even after catastrophe.

In 2020, Christian research company the Barna Group released polling that showed what they defined as practicing Christians declined. “Practicing” meant the respondent identified as Christian, attended church within the past month, and agreed strongly that faith is very important.

In 2000, 45 percent of all those sampled qualified as practicing Christians. That share consistently declined over 19 years. In 2020, only 25 percent, one in four, of those surveyed were practicing Christian. The share of practicing Christians nearly dropped in half since 2000.

The president of Barna Group, David Kinnaman, commented, “More than two and half decades’ worth of tracking research shows that Americans are softening in their practice of Christianity. These stunning changes raise questions and suggest urgent implications.”

On Monday Fox News host Harris Faulkner discussed both the negative reactions to Christians and potentially uplifting new data. Starting with the bad, Faulkner shared clips showing famous Christian actors who’ve experienced anti-Christian bias in both Hollywood and society at large.

In a clip from 2020, Matthew McConaughey described, “People, some people, in our industry, not all of them, there’s some that go to the left so far, that is so condescending and patronizing to 50 percent of the world, that need the empathy, that the liberal side gives, and should give.”

Actor Kirk Cameron wanted to book a reading tour for his new children’s book, “As You Grow,” which is based on Christian values. Over 50 libraries rejected his request, even citing being a “queer-friendly library” as a reason.

Faulkner invited the hosts of the podcast “Coffee and Bible Time,” Ellen Krause, Ashley Armijo, and Taylor Krause to talk about affirming Christianity even while being pressured by an increasingly secular society. “Standing strong in what we believe in is important, and not being ashamed in what we believe in is important, and standing in the word of God is very important," Armijo said.

Faulkner is the author of the book “Faith Still Moves Mountains,” which addressed the power of faith. In the Fox News segment, Faulkner seemed to encourage the empowered stance of the “Coffee and Bible Time” hosts. “There is a river right now of hope seekers, people who just want to change the message from all of the division and all of the hate we’ve gotten into.”

This hope endures despite cancel culture efforts to shut it down. What many reject is the establishment media's straw man portrayals of Christians, instead of having genuine experiences with those who live a life of faith.

Fox News reported on data showing a changing spiritual outlook in America. In January, Barna Group released a more current survey which supported Faulkner’s claim. Barna noted 80 percent of Americans believe in a spiritual or supernatural dimension to the world. A strong majority, 77 percent in their survey of adults, believed in God or a higher power. Almost as many, 74 percent, wanted to grow spiritually. Even the pandemic made 44 percent more open to God.

Openness to spirituality is overwhelmingly the belief of the younger generations, the millennials and Gen Z, both of which groups rated desire for spiritual growth at 77 percent.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to share Jesus," Kinnaman wrote.

A study by Springtide Research Institute also found that 73 percent of religious young people felt a positive mental health impact from their religious and spiritual practices.

This spiritual hunger shows promise for the future, but only if evangelical Christians step up to fulfill the needs of these seekers. Faulkner understood the importance of speaking out and living as advocates of Christianity, now more than ever.

God’s message of love, grace, forgiveness and service, which Jesus as the Son of God manifested in this world, is what is needed to heal a culture battered by the power grabs and manipulations of leftism.

An American Christian revival is not only a possibility now. It is an urgent need, and there is an overwhelming portion of the population that could be open to it. America can only be saved by placing God back into the center of personal and public life.

Even if only a portion of all those yearning for spiritual renewal found Christ’s message, it could create a significant jump in the Christian population and change the tone of the national discourse.

Christians, this is our time to lead by example, so more can know the peace and joy of God.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Richard Bledsoe, The Western Journal

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