Are Evangelical Christians one of the most hated groups in America?
Is the divorce rate the same amongst those who attend church and those who don’t?
Is the evangelical church on the verge of collapse?
Do 90% of teenagers who were active in youth group in high school abandon the faith in college?
Apparently the answer to all of these question is, NO!
Bradley Wright, an associate professor of sociology, takes on a series of frequently quoted statistics about Christianity in America. Wright looks to academic statistics to find out the truth about the state of Christianity.
Each chapter of the book tackles a frequently cited statistic in either mass media or Christian circles. Ironically, Christian pastors and authors tend to be drawn to painting the church in America far worse than it actually is. Where as we all know the media is drawn to sensational statistics, we don’t realize just how much pastors are drawn towards statistics which indicate a problem. Preachers (such as myself) then offer a solution to the problem.
I loved this book.
For years I had heard many of these doomsday statistics, but they never sit right with me. I looked at the churches I attended, and fifty percent of the marriages weren’t ending in divorce. While students did leave the faith in college, the numbers weren’t nearly what the statistics indicated. Foolishly, I then repeated those bogus statistics in sermons.
Finally a book appears which explains the origin of these statistics, why they’re so far off, how they spread, and how they were distorted.
This book works because it’s well researched.
Each chapter starts off with an often sited claim about Christianity. Wright then examines the origins of the statistic which led to the claim.
What most of us don’t pay attention to when reading statistics is that not all statistics are equal. Wright puts statistics into three categories.
- Random Polls – Think when your favorite website takes a poll
- Professional Non-Academic Survey’s – Think Barna or Gallup polls
- Academic Studies
I don’t actually have anything bad to say about the book.
However, this book is not for everyone. I personally am fascinated by statistics and raw data. So this book is extremely interesting to me. As I was reading the book, I would give my wife summaries of each chapter. She remarked about how she couldn’t imagine reading a book of statistics.
I can not recommend this book enough.
If you are a pastor, read this book.
If you are in ministry, read this book.
If you hate Christianity, read this book.
If you read this book, tell others about it!
I can honestly say, I can’t recall ever reading a book and immediately wanting to tell others about it.