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Garbage In, Garbage Out


Tom LundeenMay 15, 2022

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There is a lot of bad data being shared around causing many to be "Chicken Little" followers of Jesus. This message examines the true stats of the divorce rate of Christian couples as well as good news about young adults thriving in churches today. 

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Garbage In, Garbage Out

Pastor Tom Lundeen


Repeat a  often enough, and it becomes truth.

When wrong data is being used, wrong  will be reached. 


It's bad enough when  of the Christian faith/Church/Jesus followers make untrue allegations based on bad statistics; but it's even more painful when pastors/leaders/just normal Jesus followers make statements/claims/posts on social media that are always doom and gloom, but are based on bad data and paint a false picture of . 


Dr. Bradley R.E. Wright (Professor of Sociology at University of Connecticut... Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other  You've Been Told)


1. Christians Divorce at the Same Rate as Non-Believers


For years we have been told that the overall divorce rate in the USA for everyone is %. 

The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn = data shows the actual divorce rate is about % (some other studies show at the high end % at most).


When determining the divorce rate for genuine Jesus followers (not ...), the divorce rate was between %-% lower than for non-churchgoers.


Dr. Brad Wilcox (Director of National Marriage Project) = genuine Jesus followers are % less likely to divorce as those with no religious connection. 

Feldhahn = % of all married people are still married to their first spouse, and  out of 5 are happy!


So the actual divorce %-%.

And for practicing, committed Jesus followers the divorce rate is closer to %.

It's because Jesus followers  God's institution of marriage (note Matthew 19:3-6; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; Hebrews 13:4).


Note Ephesians 5:22, 25, 33


2. Christian Young People are Leaving the Christian Faith in Record Numbers


  • (Stanton) - It depends on what churches we're talking about. Yes:
  •  Churches. Young people are running for the exits, just like adults. 
  • Church attendance always slows at college age. Young adults have slowed (not abandoned) their attendance in young adulthood since the  (new independence, college life, etc.). They return to regular attendance after this stage, when they marry and have kids. No:
  • Solid Bible-teaching Churches. These are growing , even among young adults. 
  • High Faith Continuity. Kids raised in faithful, believing, practicing home - even  so - are highly likely to retain the faith of their parents. This is evidenced in two large, longitudinal academic studies (conducted at UNC and USC).
  • Pew reports that only % of young adults who left the faith said they had a strong faith as a child. The other % reported no real faith. 
  • Switching Lanes, Not : Much "leaving" is found among youth simply changing faith lanes, typically from mainline or their family tradition to their own identities such as non-denominational or even more liturgical Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox communities. This is a normal part of maturing. Pew explains that nondenominational churches gain  members for each  it loses through switching.  is moving toward biblically serious churches. 
  • Nones: Those claiming no religious identity - the nones - are indeed growing. But the vast majority of these are not abandoning a meaningful faith. They are simply identifying themselves differently. Most of these are merely  Christians, people who identify with a particular faith due to family identity. They are just no longer using that identity which meant little to them anyway. As Ed Stetzer says, "It doesn't mark a change as much as a ." This growth of nones does not so much represent a new, growing category of disbelief. 
  • The Sky is Not Falling: Christian Smith of Notre Dame, the uncontested leader in this field, reports an overall stability of young peoples' faith through the last decades. He explains that "...emerging adults today appear no less religious than those of ...when it comes to daily prayer, Bible beliefs and strong religious affiliation."
  • More young adults attend biblically faithful churches today than attended 50 years ago. According to some of the best sociological data, the percentage of young adults regularly attending evangelical and nondenominational churches has roughly  between 1972 and today.

Note Daniel 1:3-4a, 6; Jeremiah 1:6; 1 Timothy 4:12



  • People don't want to embrace genuine data because we are more attracted to  news...
  • ...and people point out ...
  • Understand that most church "statistics" are bad and can only survive because they are . (Wright)
  • Let's not be  Jesus followers...

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