Christianity is on the decline in America. The Pew Research Center has released the results for a new survey which found that religion, particularly Christianity, is dropping among the American population. Nearly 23 percent of all respondents claimed no religion—that’s up from 17 percent in 2007. In the last seven years, the number of self-described Christians fell from 78 percent of the population to 71 percent. “Nones” (people who do not claim any religion) are second only to evangelicals in terms of demographic size, as evangelicals saw a slight drop in numbers ... Discuss
Saddleback Church pastor and author Rick Warren issued the opening statement at the Senate’s hearing on Global Health Problems this week. Warren not only provided biblical support for continuing to provide assistance for people in need around the world, he also explained why he believed it could lead to greater peace in the future:
It’s far more cost effective, far cheaper, for Americans to send medicine to make friends now, than to send troops to fight enemies later. Medicines cost less than tanks.
Warren also encouraged continued partnerships between the faith community and the public and private sectors to fight poverty and provide international medical assistance: “The Church invented the hospital. And if we’re going to absolutely eradicate these diseases, we’ve got to do a combination of the public sector, the private sector and the faith sector: The three legs of the stool” ... Discuss
At one point in time, boxer Mike Tyson was one of the richest, most famous athletes in the world. But after being convicted of rape and serving a stint in prison, Tyson struggled with substance abuse and eventually suffered from major financial issues. One of the strangest vestiges of the boxer’s former empire is a massive, abandoned mansion in Ohio where he lived to be closer to a trainer in the ‘80s and ‘90s. For years, the mansion has sat completely abandoned, being sold in various bank and police auctions. Now, it’s going to become a church.
The most recent owner of the Tyson mansion donated the property to Living Word Sanctuary, a Christian church that plans on converting the mansion into a ministry center. (You can a hear a pastor talk about the plans here.) The church recently invited a photographer to the grounds to take pictures of the house before renovations begin. According to photographer Johnny Joo, the church even hopes that Tyson will attend the first service at the new church when it is completed later this year ... Discuss
This week, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officially amended its church constitution to expand its definition of marriage as a more inclusive “commitment between two people,” allowing for gay marriage. The new wording also includes the phrase “traditionally a man and a woman.” The move isn’t entirely surprising. Last year, the church’s general assembly granted approval for the change, but a vote among local leaders was still necessary for it to be ratified. Since last fall, the church says, “members of congregations elected to serve as ruling elders have come together to pray, discuss, and try to discern the mind of Christ” on the issue.
Yesterday, the church announced that it had the votes among presbyteries (local districts) to ratify the measure: “While the Office of the General Assembly is still awaiting official tallies, it appears that a majority of the 171 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have approved a change to the current description of marriage in the PC(USA)’s Constitution.” The announcement also said, “The General Assembly also included in those changes clear language that no teaching elder or session can be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony if they do not believe it is appropriate.” The change goes into effect this summer ... Discuss
According to the 2014 General Social Survey, which was released last week, 7.5 million Americans have abandoned their religion since 2012. The findings also reveal that nearly a quarter of Americans classify as “nones”—those who claim no religion at all. As RNS notes, “If this growth continues, in a few years, the largest ‘religion' in the U.S. may be no religion at all.” The study also found that the number of people in the U.S. who do not attend church, 35 percent, is at an all-time high. Considering that church attendance and religion in general are on the decline, the survey’s other finding may be somewhat surprising: Just 17 percent say they never pray (though that number too, is a new record high) ... Discuss
Hillsong Church has just signed a deal with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor, in what The Hollywood Reporter describes as “the first known instance of a major agency working on behalf of a church itself.” The magazine said that WME will be used to “expand [the church's] TV viewership of more than 10 million globally.” Though Hillsong, which brings in more than 100,000 attendees every Sunday morning in its campuses around the globe, is the first actual house of worship to work with WME, the group is no stranger to Christian audiences. The agency already represents Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and LightWorkers Media, the faith-focused production company of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey ... Discuss