Book: Why Is “Christianity” Failing in America?


Has Christianity’s Decline Encouraged

Aberrant Religious Expression?

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            As demonstrated by this booklet, there is a growing consensus that Christianity in America is rapidly losing its effectiveness, even becoming irrelevant. Young people in particular are becoming "unaffiliated"—they "believe" yet remain detached from the church community. But even more alarming is the fact that many "Christians" are increasingly becoming nonreligious, secular. They are abandoning Christianity itself. Some turn to ideologies such as atheism, and all too often they adopt some alternate form of religion—usually one with "new age" or Eastern ideas.
            Meanwhile, there is a growing movement underway to associate Christianity itself with other religions—a kind of homogenization of faiths. We see hints of this trend in a number of unlikely places. For example, at a recent opening ceremony for the Iowa House of Representatives, a Wiccan priestess was invited to give the closing prayer at the invocation.1 The move sparked considerable outrage in the churchgoing community and several Christian lawmakers declined to attend the ceremony. Some who attended the event turned their backs to the priestess in silent protest.
            Why would a normally conservative legislative body allow someone from an occult religion to participate in their opening ceremony? What kind of thinking is behind such a move? Undoubtedly, it is the multiculturalist idea that all faiths are equal and that the blending of divergent religions is somehow a good thing.
            But why should we be surprised? Today, in the Presbyterian religion, you can be an oxymoronic atheist Christian. In Beaverton, Oregon, John Shuck, pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church, says he doesn't believe in God—nor does he require his members to believe in God.2 "I … invite people to bring their own God," he wrote. "Or none at all."
            Shuck proudly proclaimed himself an unbeliever in 2011, generating controversy as to how one could serve as a church pastor and not believe the Bible. He wrote: "The concept of 'God' is a product of myth-making and 'God' is no longer credible as a personal, supernatural being. Jesus may have been historical, but most of the stories about Him in the Bible and elsewhere are legends." Shuck insists that "belief-less Christianity is thriving." He adds, "Many liberal or progressive Christians have already let go of or de-emphasized belief in heaven, that the Bible is literally true, that Jesus is supernatural, and that Christianity is the only way [to salvation]. Yet they still practice what they call Christianity."
            In many places in America, "Christianity" is no longer Christian. Indeed, the growing trend in religious fusion has rendered many churches unrecognizable. Front and center of this movement is the inclusion of Islamic elements in Christian worship. Across the pond, the Church of England—which already performs special services for parishioners in "civil partnerships" and same-sex marriages—has broken the ice by holding a prayer service for Muslims. Giles Goddard, a Church of England vicar at central London's St John's Church, arranged the Islamic service based on the following line of reasoning: "We are offering a place for people to pray, so it made absolutely perfect sense," he claimed. "It is the same God, we share a tradition." The service included a traditional Islamic call to prayer that involved dozens of Muslims. Goddard participated as well, giving thanks to "the God that we love, Allah."3
American Chrislam

            In America, this trend—aptly called Chrislam—is quietly gaining acceptance among "Christian" churches. As the name suggests, Chrislam is a hybrid of Christianity and Islam.
            With its roots in the 1970s, Chrislam recognizes both the Bible and the Koran as holy texts. For decades the movement grew slowly and boasted of few followers. But in recent years, the idea of merging Christianity with Islam has grown considerably in the West, particularly in the United States where numerous bridge-building programs have been implemented to bring the two religions together.
            Notable Chrislam organizations include Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), which is devoted to discovering common ground between the two religions, and Bridges of Faith, an evangelical Christian-Muslim dialogue group.
            In 2009, the Islamic Society of North America, which champions terrorist organizations and disseminates extremist literature, organized a national convention in Washington, DC. Some 8,000 Muslims attended. A key speaker was Rick Warren, the highly influential evangelical author and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Subsequently, Warren has been involved in an ongoing bridge-building initiative called The King's Way, a partnership with a number of West Coast mosques that seeks to discover and promote the so-called "shared principles" of Islam and Christianity. A key argument includes the false declaration that both faiths worship the same God.4 Warren and his efforts have been repudiated by numerous other evangelical pastors.
             The central truth of Christianity is that there exists a single path to eternal salvation—Jesus Christ. But while Muslims may look up to Jesus as a prophet, they regard it as blasphemous to view him as God's son and the savior of the world. Islam holds the firm view that eternal damnation awaits those who do not earn salvation by submitting to the requirements of the Koran. Thus, Chrislam requires the rejection of biblical truth and the denial of Jesus as the Messiah. Ultimately, the result of attempting to merge Christianity with Islam is that the Christian faith gets watered down while Islam continues to thrive.
            Some, however, see a clearly sinister motive behind Chrislam—at least from the Muslim perspective. Christian author Bill Muehlenberg warns that Muslims are all too happy to use such religious syncretism to gain entry into Christian circles—for the purpose of ultimately debasing Christians. He says, "Islam always wins in such attempts, while Christianity always loses. The truth is, the two religions are fully incompatible."5
            Moreover, according to author Richard Mather, Chrislam is an anti-Semitic ploy designed to unite Muslims and Christians against Israel.6 He writes that Chrislam is an attempt "to neutralize Jewish identity and history." Mather contends that Chrislam is dependent on the removal of the Bible from its Judaic context. By stripping the Bible of its Jewishness, Chrislam seeks to neutralize the prophetic significance of the Jewish people and the land of Israel.
            Indeed, Christianity and Islam may seem to be similar—both have Abrahamic origins, both are monotheistic, etc.—but the differences are quite insurmountable. A Christian simply cannot fuse his or her faith with that of Islam and remain a biblical Christian—one who wholly follows Christ. We are reminded of this principle in Deuteronomy 12:30, that we are not to attempt to blend pagan worship practices with the worship of the true God. The apostle Peter warned of just such heretical ideas finding their way into the church: "But there were also false prophets among the people, as indeed there will be false teachers among you, who will stealthily introduce destructive heresies, personally denying the Lord who bought them, and bringing swift destruction upon themselves" (II Peter 2:1).
            While no one seriously believes the Chrislam movement will make significant inroads into traditional Christianity, it is symptomatic of the sad state of religion in America. Are Christians so desperate for acceptance—so desperate to appease the world—that they are willing to allow their faith to be fused with a divergent religion?

The New Syncretism
            Not surprisingly, modern Christianity's willingness to embrace the world has led to a new syncretism. Indeed, all over America, "radically inclusive" churches are now beginning to pop up. These churches, while "Christian" in appearance, welcome all religions and all lifestyles. Their pastors and leaders focus on being inclusive—a virtual open-door policy to any teaching or standard of conduct.
            The buzzword for this movement is tolerance—that we are all to coexist regardless of differences. In her book Distortion, Chelsen Vicari warns that there is a new "Christian Left"—a "liberal movement cloaked in Christianity." Embraced by evangelical churches as hip and progressive, this growing movement emphasizes that tolerance is "more marketable" to the rising generation of young churchgoers.7
            According to Vicari, today's younger evangelicals fear being dubbed "intolerant or uncompassionate." Desperate for acceptance but unable to navigate today's "spiritual haze," such Christians are highly susceptible to what she calls "feel-good" doctrines that focus on how we make others feel.
            Of course, loving others and not wanting to offend—it all sounds quite biblical. But in terms of on-the-street application, it means primarily one thing—tolerance. It means we are to nonjudgmentally accept others regardless of their faith, beliefs, or lifestyles. In particular, we are to coexist when it comes to religion. The popular "Coexist" logo—with its seven religious icons—says it all:

C         Islam                           (crescent moon with star)
O         Peace                           (universal peace symbol)
E          Male/Female               (male and female symbols conjoined)
X         Judaism                       (star of David)
I           Wicca/Paganism         (the I is dotted with an occult pentagram)
S          Eastern religion           (yin-yang symbol)
T          Christianity                 (cross)


            Researcher Michael Snyder writes that so-called "Christian" services that "incorporate elements of Hinduism, Islam, Native American religions, and even Wicca are becoming increasingly common. And even if you don't believe anything at all, that's okay with these churches, too."8
            For example, Snyder references The Spirit and Truth Sanctuary, founded in 2012 by D. E. Paulk. The church welcomes everyone from Wiccans to atheists and Hindus to Muslims—and recognizes all gods and prophets, including Mohammed. Paulk established his church based on one principle: "Christ cannot be, and will not be, restricted to Christianity."
            Snyder writes: "A stained glass window looming over the pulpit captures the spirit of the church. It's a design that contains a Christian cross, ringed by symbols from Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. In the middle is a dove, which symbolizes the spirit of peace that binds them all together."
            Other "Christian" churches are being more "inclusive" by embracing alternative lifestyles. For example, San Francisco's City Church—one of the largest evangelical churches in the area—has ended its policy of banning gay members who are unwilling or unable to take a vow of celibacy. Fred Harrell, senior pastor, explains: "Our pastoral practice of demanding life-long celibacy—by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your [gay] sexual orientation in any way—was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing." So, now you can be a Christian and a practicing homosexual.
            But, as Snyder asks, if these churches don't really stand for anything at all, what is their purpose? And what does the popularity of such churches say about the state of Christianity in America?
            In today's culture, it has become trendy to "choose your own path" while being extra careful to not "offend" someone else's sensibilities. And today's so-called Christianity has certainly followed suit. But if Christians can just believe whatever they want, what is it that actually makes a person a Christian?
            One "Christian" seeking a more tolerant path said, "After years of spiritual reflection and inquiry, I am at a place where I don't want to feel guilty, hypocritical, judgmental, closed-minded, or arrogant."9 Countless pastors today accommodate this desire among their congregants. They never talk about sin because they want people to feel good about themselves; they never preach on anything controversial because they dare not interrupt the flow of donations.
            So they preach "smooth things" (Isa. 30:10) and remind us of how wonderful we are and tell us how much God loves us. And they promote syncretism—cloaked as tolerance. But as the apostle Paul wrote, a Christian cannot be unequally yoked with anything that is contrary to the faith once delivered: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what union does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols?" (II Cor. 6:14-16).
            For Christianity to be genuine, it must be true to Christ, true to the faith of the early church. It cannot be repackaged with elements of other religions and still represent the Bible.

Recent Growth of Secular Atheism

            As we have seen, an alarming number of "Christians" are becoming nonreligious, often turning to secular ideologies. With the decline of communism, coerced atheism has fallen rapidly. But voluntary atheism and other forms of voluntary non-belief are clearly on the rise—particularly in America and the UK. According to Gallup, more than 9 in 10 Americans still answer "yes" when asked the basic question, "Do you believe in God?"—a statistic virtually unchanged from the 1940s. But when asked about the absolute certainty of their belief, the number drops to the 70-80 percent range. A 2015 Pew Religious Landscape survey showed that atheists and agnostics together make up about 7 percent of the U.S. population.10 Another way to view this is to consider that almost half of the adult population of America—some 114 million—is now unchurched, meaning they have not attended a Christian church service in the past 6 months. Of this number, one quarter are identified as skeptics, meaning they are either atheist or agnostic.11
            The question is, has the decline of Christianity contributed to a rise in atheism? It appears so. According to a 2008 ARIS study, Christianity in America (and the UK) is not greatly threatened by other religions, but by a growing denial of religion in general.12 This would suggest that atheism's growth is to some degree based on the ongoing decline of Christianity. As demonstrated in this booklet, there is a growing perception that Christianity has lost its effectiveness; increasingly, former Christians are becoming nonreligious—and at least some are "converting" to atheism. However, research indicates that most atheists are not "converts" from any religion; rather, they have always rejected religion in general because of its insistence on a Supreme Being.
            Interestingly, a number of studies reveal that many atheists deny the existence of God while actually indulging in some kind of formal religious practice—usually Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, or a related philosophical worldview. Many do so as a way of connecting with their culture—all while being atheist.13
            This suggests that there is an intrinsic need in humans to connect with "something spiritual." Such an "inherent longing" may explain the recent growth of "atheist churches" in the UK and America.
            This bizarre movement—wherein adherents are obviously intent on satisfying a vague but discernable spiritual need—is typified by the recent introduction of "Sunday Assembly" meetings held in several major cities in America, Canada, Britain, and Australia. The gatherings, about three dozen in all, have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the fellowship of a "church" without religion or ritual. The inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles, for example, attracted several hundred people bound by their atheistic belief in non-belief. As one observer put it, the meeting included an hour of rousing music (renditions of "Lean on Me," "Here Comes the Sun," and other hits took the place of gospel songs), an inspirational sermon, a reading, and some quiet reflection. "The only thing missing was God."14
            According to organizers—who say they "just want to celebrate life and help people live better without all that God stuff"—Sunday Assembly taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the sense of community church once provided. The meetings evoke the experience of a traditional church without being centered around a deity.15

Transhumanism as Religion

            A variant among secular groups is the emerging Transhumanist Church. Tripper McCarthy, president of the movement, writes in the introduction to the group's Statement of Beliefs: "We are a religious organization that brings together the ideas of Humanism, Transhumanism, Cryonics, and Universal Immortalism into one all-encompassing belief structure. We are a small movement, in the infancy of our development, but feel that there is a need for our message."16
            McCarthy stresses that transhumanism should be rightly placed in a "religious context." He cautions, however, that this position "does not mean that we must resort to metaphysical or supernatural foundations for our faith. Reason and rationality guide our positions. We are an ever evolving organization, shaped by new ideas and discoveries. Ultimate truth is a moving target, and we hope to come closer to it with each passing day."
            Transhumanism (sometimes called post-humanism) is a futuristic idea revolving around human enhancement. "Basically, it's a sort of re-genesis, [the] altering [of] human bodies—genetically, mechanically, or both—to make them better than they've been for thousands of years, affording them Superman-style abilities in both brains and brawn. Futurists describe it as being 'post-human,' the next step in what they believe to be the evolutionary process."17
            This perspective is well explained in Arizona State University's Templeton Research Lectures: "Humanity stands now on the precipice of a new phase in human evolution, referred to as 'post-humanism' or 'transhumanism.'… In the trans-human phase, humans will become their own makers, transforming their environment and themselves. Proponents of transhumanism believe that advances in robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and genomics will liberate humanity from pain and suffering. Presumably, in the trans-human age humanity will conquer the problems of aging, disease, poverty, and hunger, finally actualizing happiness in this life."18
            The movement's Statement of Beliefs goes on to describe some of the philosophical ideals behind transhumanism: "We embrace the ideals of Humanism…. We are our own saviors. We cannot rely on supernatural or external forces to guide us on our journey…. By coming together as one, in an informed and rational manner, we can arrive at the solutions to the problems that face us.... Reason, rational thought, and the scientific method are our tools in reaching our goals. We reject divine inspiration and other metaphysical approaches to arriving at truth. Instead, we rely on reason, rational thought, and the scientific method as our tools to guide us along our path…. With time on our side there should be no limit to what we can achieve. Our physical form will continue to evolve, through our own efforts, to keep pace with our ever-growing soul." (Transhumanists define the soul as a composite of one's thoughts, memories, and emotions.)19
            A bleak religion, indeed. Proponents of transhumanism have no clue as to the true purpose of life. Like all atheists, secularists, and humanists, their creator-less approach prohibits them from answering the one question that preoccupies man, What is the purpose of human life?

*        *        *

            Ultimately, we must all ask, "To what degree has the failure of modern Christianity led to the development and growth of aberrant religious ideas?" At the very least, a robust biblical Christianity is a strong deterrent to God-less belief systems. But when Christianity ceases to have sufficient relevance in a nation's culture—as it has in America—the result is akin to opening up a religious Pandora's Box.


1. Julia Duin, Quitting Church, p. 18
2. "Do you really know why they're avoiding church?";
10. "Religious 'nones' are gaining ground in America, and they're worried about the economy";
11. "Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—And Why They're Unlikely to Come Back";
16. Drew Dyck, "The 'Leavers': Young Doubters Exit the Church";
17. Duin, p. 37
19. Duin, pp. 20, 32
20. David Kinnaman, "Why young Christians are leaving the Church … and rethinking faith"; In Part (summer 2012);
21. David Kinnaman, You Lost Me, p. 11
22. Kinnaman, You Lost Me, pp. 12, 21
23. Dr. Alex McFarland, "Ten reasons Millennials are backing away from God and
24. Chuck Baldwin, "Ear Tickling, Entertainment, and Irrelevant Exposition";;
25. Baldwin, "Ear Tickling, Entertainment, and Irrelevant Exposition";;
27. Baldwin, "Pastors Deliberately Keeping Flock In The Dark";
29. Kinnaman,
30. Jared Wilson, Your Jesus Is Too Safe, pp. 6, 14
31. George Barna, Revolution, p. 31
32. Barna, pp. 32-33
34. Tyler Charles, "(Almost) Everyone's Doing It," Relevant, Sept. 2011
35. Charles, "(Almost) Everyone's Doing It"
36. Dyck, "The 'Leavers': Young Doubters Exit the Church"
37. David Kinnaman, unChristian, p. 46
38. Kinnaman, pp. 46-47
39. Kinnaman, p. 47
40. Kevin Swanson, Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West, pp. 25, 31-32
41. Swanson, p. 13
42. Dyck, "The 'Leavers': Young Doubters Exit the Church"
43. Kinnaman, pp. 75-76
44. Kinnaman, p. 74
45. David Kupelian, The Marketing of Evil, pp. 235, 239
46. Swanson, p. 29
47. Duin, p. 116
48. Kupelian, p. 226, quoting The Great Evangelical Disaster by Francis Schaeffer
49. Kupelian, p. 228
52. Swanson, pp. 10, 15
53. Swanson, p. 271
54. Swanson, p. 33
55. Swanson, p. 283
56. Kupelian, p. 240


4. Richard Mather, "The Rising Dangers Of Chrislam";
6. Mather, "The Rising Dangers Of Chrislam"
7. Chelsen Vicari, "How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel";
8. Michael Snyder, "New Trend: 'Radically Inclusive' Churches That Embrace All Religions And All Lifestyles";
9. Snyder, "New Trend: 'Radically Inclusive' Churches That Embrace All Religions And All Lifestyles"
12. www.americanreligionsurvey­
18. Arizona State University Templeton Research Lectures: "Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism";