Christians Need To Stop Playing Defense And Go On Offense

Written by Dr. Everett Piper

In 2013, author John S. Dickerson wrote about the troubling condition of the American church in his book “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church and How to Prepare.”

Mr. Dickerson‘s key premise was that Christian orthodoxy in the United States is in rapid decline. The evidence he presented to support what, at first glance, seems to be a terminal diagnosis is multifaceted.

According to Mr. Dickerson, orthodox belief, church attendance and denominational loyalty are dropping precipitously. He argues that, by way of attrition, a transition from the religious homogeneity of the baby boomers to the therapeutic deism of millennials and Generation Zers is leading the church to flounder and lose its cultural influence.

Political division and partisan disagreement is hastening the church’s diminishing voice. There are innumerable intramural splits. Church attendance is plummeting, with over 2.6 million of America’s younger generations leaving the sanctuary and abandoning biblical faith in the past 10 years alone. This trend will only accelerate in the decades to come.

Mr. Dickerson predicts that the number of nonreligious and secular Americans will continue to skyrocket. At the same time, the percentage of conservative Christians — those who believe the Bible and seek to live by its precepts — will decline to less than 7 percent of the population. The days of a Christian majority are over, he warns. The Judeo-Christian ethic is a thing of the past. Even more sobering than this rise of religious indifference will be increased animosity and outright antagonism toward biblical values.

This was over 10 years ago. How has America fared since the publication of Mr. Dickerson‘s book? The evidence supporting his predictions seems replete.

George Barna reports that weekly church attendance has plummeted to just 2 in 10, and that only 4 percent of Americans hold a biblical worldview. In addition, the evidence of postmodernity’s intolerance for and even hatred of orthodox Christianity is now the stuff of the evening news. Consider a sampling of headlines since Mr. Dickerson‘s book was published:

• Two pastors were arrested in California because they were reading the Bible in public.

•  An order of Catholic nuns was taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing to provide abortion-inducing drugs to its sisters.

• The American Psychological Association is considering amending its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to include a diagnosis called “intolerant personality disorder” as a description of any Christian who believes sexual behavior should be reserved exclusively for heterosexual marriage.

New York Times writer David French uses his progressive political platform to castigate conservative Christians for being too political.

Russell Moore, editor of Christianity Today, repeatedly scolds evangelicals for voting for a pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-freedom, pro-borders, pro-Constitution, and pro-sanity political party.

• Hollywood filmmaker Rob Reiner calls Christians who are politically active completely “antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.”

• A Super Bowl ad called “He Gets Us” portrays Christians who stand against killing babies and debauching our bodies through sexual nihilism as guilty of “teaching hate.”

The list of grievances against traditional Christians seems endless. One could fill books with anecdotes calling for the faithful to be “thrown out and trampled underfoot” by those who hate our piety. Conservative Christianity is now considered dysfunctional rather than desirable. Biblical values are now prosecuted rather than promoted. Orthodox followers of Christ are an insult to human dignity.

Instead of deserving respect, we need treatment. We deserve to be punished. We should bow in submission and wash the feet of all those we’ve offended by speaking the truth.

In the midst of this free-fall of respect for Christ’s church, how should we respond? Should we, the remnant, just take our ball, go home, and hunker down and wait for the end?

Jesus himself gives us the answer. His Great Commission demands that we go into every corner of every culture and proclaim the good news. As he assured Gideon’s few that they would see victory, he likewise promises us that the gates of hell will not prevail.

As one reviewer of Mr. Dickerson‘s book said, “There’s no gloom or doom in The Great Evangelical Recession — just an honest assessment of where we are and solid hope for what we need to do to get to where we need to be.”

The solution to the mess we’re in is obvious. Christians need to stop playing defense and play offense. Few though we may be, we are to go and reclaim every inch of creation for Christ and his kingdom. The outcome is guaranteed. We know the end of the story. The Church Triumphant wins.

This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Dr. Everett Piper (, @dreverettpiper), is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” and Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe But It’s Good, both published by Regnery. This article was originally published by The Washington Times.

Dr. Piper has been a featured speaker in dozens of venues including the Values Voter Summit, the Council for National Policy, the Young American Foundation, the National Congress for Families, and the inaugural ceremony for the United States Department of Health and Human Service’s and Office of Civil Rights creation of a new division for religious freedom. Go here to listen and watch these and/or for more info.