The Pew Research Center has tracked viable data for years and studied the trends. Their projections are disheartening...
- In 2020, 64% of people of all ages were Christian. This number will shrink to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.
- Over that same period, “nones” (people who are religiously unaffiliated) will rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.
But do not despair! There is hope in the headlines. And while what is happening in the church shocks us, it is not a surprise to God. The falling away of the church is prophesied in Scripture and points to the soon return of Christ. And for His own, the faithful and redeemed, salvation is secure.
The falling away of the church is prophesied in Scripture and points to the soon return of Christ.
• They Fall Away Because They Are Deceived
• They Fall Away Because They Are Disillusioned
• Don't Be Discouraged
Let’s take a deeper look...
This shift away from biblical faith has become so common that the term "exvangelicals" is now used to describe these defectors from evangelicalism. Why is this happening, and what does it mean?
This "falling away" isn't new. Throughout history, many have embraced Christianity, only to abandon it later. Even the first Christians faced this challenge. Demas, a coworker of Paul, initially supported him but eventually left, "having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10).
The Bible's short epistle of Jude, written by Jesus' half-brother, also addresses this issue. Located near the end of the Bible, Jude's purpose is clear: "To contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
Recall Judas, the disciple. He represents the most prominent case of apostasy in the Bible. Judas belonged to Jesus' closest group of followers. He had unparalleled access to Christ during his three-year earthly ministry—conversing and walking with the Savior, observing miracles, and seeing lives change. Despite this, Judas still turned away.
The core issue isn’t that people are falling away from church or even falling away from the faith. We’re talking about falling away as Judas did, from Jesus Himself. We’re talking about branches that cut themselves off from the vine. These are people who have—these words are stark—“trampled the Son of God underfoot . . . treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and . . . insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29 NIV).
How can this happen?
They Fall Away Because They Are Deceived
The Bible very clearly warns that spiritual deception will lead many to fall away from Christ in the end times.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1–2).
Demonic forces work to entice and deceive people into abandoning their faith. Their influence, even within the church, will grow as history progresses.
False teachers, filled with lies and hypocrisy, aim to cause spiritual harm for personal gain, often financial profit. These individuals have lost their moral sensitivity, and their spiritual compasses are flawed. They are present in today's church, promising miracles, seeking power, and twisting the Word of God. Their deceptive efforts will continue to escalate over time.
They Fall Away Because They Are Disillusioned
In Luke 8, Jesus told a parable illustrating why people might fall away from the Gospel. A farmer sowed seeds across various types of ground: pathways, rocky soil, thorny patches, and prepared soil. The seed represented the Gospel message, and each type of ground symbolized different reactions to it.
The devil deceives some people by taking the Gospel message from their hearts before they can believe and be saved (Luke 8:12).
There are those who receive the Gospel with joy but lack a strong foundation. These individuals seek solutions rather than a Savior and want the blessings of belief without fully committing to Christ. During times of temptation, they fall away (Luke 8:13).
The cultural shift in America has made it easier to live as a Christian, but this will change as we move closer to the tribulation. As lifting the banner of Christ becomes more challenging, an increasing number of people with little or no roots in the Gospel will find the cost too high, and they will turn away from Christ. These individuals like the idea of the Gospel but lack a personal commitment to Jesus, ultimately leading to disillusionment and abandonment of their faith.
Don't Be Discouraged
But, don’t despair. There's still hope. God knows those who are His, and He will bring them home safely. Jesus said: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
Paul shares this same confidence that, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Like the biblical author Jude, together let’s offer praise to God for His ability to protect those who are truly His. May the Lord bless you with this benediction:
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Please pray and give today as God leads. Thank you!