Christian Pastor on Decline of Cultural Influence: ‘Evangelicals are Known for What We’re Against’

By John Dere, Crossmap On July 16, 2013

In a recent discussion on the declining cultural influence of evangelical Christians, Pastor John S. Dickerson shared his thoughts on the current state of American Christianity.

Dickerson, author of The Great Evangelical Recession and senior pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Prescott, Ariz., believes that evangelical Christianity is experiencing a recession.

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“The evangelical recession is kind of a parallel to the financial recession,” Dickerson said. “When we look at a lot of the critical health indicators of evangelical Christianity as a historic movement, what we see is a lot of similar trends.”

While discussing reasons behind the perceived decline of influence from evangelical Christianity, Dickerson pointed attention to the rise of nonbelievers in America.

“We’re not converting unbelievers at the rate that we used to be,” he said. “We’re losing a lot of our young people. Funds are declining.”

“It seems every few months, a new poll is coming out about the increase of the nones, Americans who aren’t affiliated with any religious group,” he added.

When asked about the possible reasons behind a growing cultural disapproval of evangelical Christianity, Dickerson made mention of the way in which evangelicals present their message.

“I think it’s the way that we’re presenting [our message],” he said. “If you ask a typical unbeliever or outsider what do evangelicals believe, what are they known for...they’re gonna say things that we are against. They’re gonna say: well, evangelicals are against same-sex marriage. Evangelicals are against abortion. Evangelicals are known for what we’re against.”

“And when you look at Jesus, he wasn’t ashamed, Dickerson added. “He didn’t shy away from difficult statements, but he was radically known for what he was for. That he came to preach a message of good news. He came to bring forgiveness. He came to bring new life.”

“And that’s ultimately what I’m calling for in a lot of young evangelical leaders. We want to be known again for what we’re for and not what we’re against.”

You can watch the full video interview here.