headline was eye-catching: “Christians lose ground, ‘nones’ soar in new
portrait of US religion.” The article’s first line was even more
alarming: “The United States is a significantly less Christian country
than it was seven years ago.”
That Religion News Service article, reporting on a recent Pew Research Center report
regarding the state of religion in America today, was meant to shock
and awe. And it did, because the numbers don’t lie. The percentage of
atheists and agnostics in the United States is growing. Persecution of
Christians is on the rise. Christian morals and values are increasingly
denounced in the public square.
This shouldn’t scare us, and frankly, it shouldn’t surprise us. The
Church has always been in the minority, because the Word of God has
always been a stumbling block to those who don’t believe it. We are
witnessing today what the apostles, the church fathers, the reformer and
our LCMS forefathers all observed in their lifetimes as well.
The good news? The Word of the Lord endures, regardless of public
opinion and irrespective of cultural whims. Our Lord is timeless and
unchanging. His love endures, despite polls and statistics.
That’s why it’s important for Lutheran Christians to continue
focusing on parish education, on teaching the faith in our homes,
schools and churches — regardless of what the popular culture says.
It’s important that we set aside time each day — as families or
singles, grandparents or confirmands — to spend in God’s Word and to
pray. It’s important that we know our catechisms, our hymnals and, most
importantly, our Scriptures. It’s important that we commit Bible verses
and hymns and prayers to heart. It’s important that we teach. It’s
important that we study.
This month, let’s rediscover together the rhythm of that learning and
teaching, of ordering our days around Christ and His Word, despite the
Let’s focus again on daily devotions, whether done alone, in your
congregation or with your family. Let’s recognize that our Lord has
given us the ability to share His Gospel with “nones” and with all
others, putting His Word in our hearts and on our lips.
And let’s study together what He has to say, so that we aren’t scared
or surprised. Instead, let’s live in and by His mercy and forgiveness,
day in and day out.