We hear a lot about percentages and statistics. For many they are of great importance. People keep a close eye on their portfolio and rate of return. Sports fans are interested in the statistics of the game. When we hear of the chance of dying from a particular disease our interest is elevated. During election season we keep a close eye on the percentage points of potential votes for the various candidates. I could go on and on describing our interest in statistics.
I recently read a statistic that seems alarming in some ways. Among Millennials the percentage of those claiming to be Christians now stands at 49%. This is the first time in the history of our nation that the majority has not professed Christianity. This is truly disturbing. We’ve known for a while that we are a thoroughly secular nation, but to see it in black and white is grievous to consider. It is far worse when you consider that among those who profess Christianity, only a fraction are truly regenerate. This means the number of Christians in our nation is quite small.
What does this statistic mean to us a Christians? How are we to interpret it? On one hand it means living in this world as Christians is continuing to be difficult. It is hard to live in a world where most hate Christ. But, there is nothing new about this. This is the condition every generation of Christians has faced.
What about the impact upon evangelism? Doesn’t this make our work much more difficult? With so many people denying the claims of Christ should we be smitten with fear? Actually, this statistic offers greater opportunities for the Gospel. How is this true? What if 90% of Americans claimed to be Christians? We know that our nation is thoroughly pagan so it would mean that we would spend much of our work in evangelism describing the nature of genuine Christianity and laboring to explain to many that they do not actually know Christ. A person has to be lost before he can be saved. But if less than half profess Christ it gives us a clean slate. Our great work is to tell lost sinners the good news of the Gospel of Christ.
The truth is, statistics mean nothing in our Gospel work. The command of Christ is still, “Go make disciples.”