To the Editor:

Long before the onset of the Covid-19 virus in the U.S, an alarming decline was evident in traditional worship in this country.  Several organizations have engaged in an depth examination as to the possible cause and potential remedies.

Tufts University has published the results of its research and found that an astounding 37% of polled clergy stated that they did not, in fact, believe what they preach to their flocks!*   During the same time frame, pollster George Barna reported that 51% of ministers, preachers and pastors disclosed they did not actually believe what they preached from the pulpit.**  The majority of those examined also indicated that they pursued a life in the clergy simply as a career.  Most responding  agreed that one must learn to say what their congregation, “....wants to hear” for job security.   Those targeted for the study all held graduate degrees and were comprised of an equal number of respondents of stated liberal and conservative backgrounds,  Depressing-yet not totally unexpected.  A surprising conclusion arrived at in the Tufts study was that Catholics were not included since,  “....they were unable to find an adequate number expressing an ‘unbelief’ in their faith”!

So, what can this trend be attributed to?  A broad section of the theological community agree that much of the decline can be blamed on our modern day more advanced liberal educational system.  In post-secondary liberal institutions-including some seminaries, students are instilled with a mindset of questioning virtually every value society has embraced previously.    Today, it is commonplace to see institutions of higher learning  influence students to casts doubt on the Christian faith in general.

The numerous studies have all reached a universal conclusion: there is rampant “unbelief” throughout the Christian community!  Yet, as of June 21, 2021, 65% of the Christian community polled professed, “being Christians”, but only 24% saying that they are in church every Sunday!  ** 

How diligent are you in your worship?  Do you value gathering at a house of worship regularly or do you pursue a “laid back, feel good” approach, preferring to lie on the sofa in your pj’s and watch services on the Internet?  

Covid-19 has ravaged our organized worship.   Nevertheless, responsibility and individual accountability rest with each of us personally and God alone as we face eternity. 

James W. Anderson