Every week, it seems, the Pew Research Center publishes a new discouraging, maybe even terrifying report on religion in America. We’ve been told, for example, that all the major Christian denominations are in decline, at greater or lesser rates. We’ve been told that fewer and fewer Americans hold to the traditional doctrines of the Christian faith, be they theological or ethical. And perhaps most disturbingly of all, we’ve been told that these trends are most pronounced among millennials, who are seeing an unprecedented rise of “nones,” people who went asked to identify their religious tradition, respond none—N-O-N-E. All this adds up to the apparently unavoidable conclusion that this country will be, like Western Europe before it, post-Christian.
I don’t know many Christians of any stripe who aren’t made at least a little uneasy by these developments—but maybe there’s a better stance. Our guest on this episode is Lee Beach, an assistant professor of Christian ministry and the director of ministry formation at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario. He’s the author of The Church in Exile: Living in Hope After Christendom.