Is America a Post-Christian Nation?

Several months ago, I read the statement, “America isn’t a post-Christian nation—yet.” Would you agree with that statement?

According to Pew Research, Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, but their share of the adult population was 12 points lower in 2021 than in 2011. Self-identified Christians of all varieties (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Christians) still make up 63% of the adult population.

But wait a minute! Before we think that we’re still a Christian nation, shouldn’t we establish some kind of definition of the term Christian? Did you read the varieties of those identifying as Christians? Who knows how many other “varieties” they included in the count?

How Would You Define Christianity or the Act of Salvation? 

In the mid-80’s we moved to Pennsylvania. One Sunday, we visited a church. A couple of days later, the pastor asked if he and an elder could stop by and say hello. Sure! That sounds nice. Just know we still have boxes everywhere, and our kids go to bed at such-and-such a time.

The Pastor and elder arrived. We enjoyed the visit. Told them about our lives, our faith, how long we had known and served the Lord. Then we said, well, we need to get our kids to bed. They were two and four, and bedtime had already passed. The Pastor then said, “Well, before we go, let me ask you a question. If the both of you were to die today and you were standing before Christ, and he were to ask you what right do you have to be here? What would you say?”

Umm, had this man not heard a word we said for over an hour of us sharing about our faith and lives? Perhaps he didn’t believe us? Maybe he just preferred leaving a home knowing he had dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. The elder with him looked embarrassed. I’m sure the same thoughts were going through his head.

Regardless, the sometimes-sarcastic side of me felt tempted to spurt out some zinger reply at that moment in time. I was familiar with this often-used evangelistic question. Though it was the first time someone asked it of me or my husband. With reluctance, I told him, “This is what I would say to Christ. Lord, we belong here because we trusted in your finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. And therefore, received your gift of eternal life.” That seemed to satisfy him enough to get him out the door.

I’m not a fan of that question. The scenario would never happen. Because the Lord knows my heart and everything about me, since before I was even born. He knows all about you, too.

How Would a Mormon Respond to That Question?

Plus, let’s take, for example, how a Mormon (one of our self-identifying Christian varieties above) would answer the same question. He or she would say, “Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, made a way for all when he atoned for our sins. Through my repentance and belief in Jesus Christ, I am certain to go to heaven.” Sounds right to me! How about you?

But here’s what the Mormon really said. Jesus Christ (the first-born spirit child of God the Father, and spirit brother of Lucifer, Satan), the Savior of the world (this world only, there are other worlds with other gods), made a way for all when he atoned for our sins (all people go to heaven because Christ atoned for our sins, except very evil people). Through my repentance and belief in Jesus Christ (God’s first-born spirit child) I am certain to go to heaven (or at least the lowest of the three Mormon heavens). What heaven you reach is determined by your works and ability to adhere to all the Mormon doctrines.

Unfortunately, Mormons aren’t the only ones trying to earn their way to exaltation (the Mormon celestial kingdom where the God of this world abides). Many people who call themselves Christians also think their works will earn them the right to heaven.

A Good Christian Life Does Not Save You

Living a good Christian life to the best of one’s ability does not save you. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Verse 10 tells us what we were created for, but not how we are saved. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

All to say, defining Christianity depends on which religious hat you wear. I included a Statement of Faith on my website because I want my readers to know what I believe the Bible teaches as the essential beliefs that define the Christian faith. However, believing is more than just doctrinal head knowledge. It is a life lived out of what you believe before a God who sees all and knows all.

If the acceptance and practice of those essential beliefs defines a Christian, I would say America is well past being a Christian nation.

Yes, Christianity is declining in America. We don’t need surveys to tell us that. Just look around you.

Besides the decline, Christians endure intolerance, bias, and hate from among many. How should we respond? We can either respond in a like manner or choose a different path.

The path that begins with our own renewal. A stronger commitment to prayer, an unyielding determination to hold to biblical truths, devotion to Christ alone, and an unwavering practice to love the people Christ died for.

Any kind of renewal in America, in your home, in your workplace, in your church, if one were to happen, begins with your own spiritual renewal.

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