Mark Twain famously had an out-of-body experience one day – he picked up the newspaper and began reading about his death. Through a mix-up, the newspaper mistakenly believed that Twain had died. He contacted the New York Journal to clear things up, writing, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
I felt the same way while reading a Washington Post story recently with the sensational headline, “The Rapid Decline of White Evangelical America.” Admittedly, fewer Americans seem to be identifying themselves as evangelicals these days. I’m not writing to dispute that but the overall number of evangelicals, not just White evangelicals, is still a sizeable portion of our population.
Evangelical Protestants make up 25.4% of the U.S. population, which represents about 84 million people. Evangelicals still represent the largest religious group in America. So we shouldn’t overreact to these trends and pretend like evangelicalism is disappearing or that it is now suddenly insignificant.
But today there is a more important and more fundamental question: What does it mean to be an evangelical?
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