October 20, 2017

IM Book Review: Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…And Other Lies You’ve Been Told

Reviewed by Michael Bell

The title of Bradley Wright’s Book, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, certainly grabs your attention. The book itself does a pretty good job of keeping that attention. If you are looking for a book that gives an easy to read, yet comprehensive assessment of the status of Christianity in America, then this book is for you. While many statistical based books cause my eyes to glaze over, Bradley explains what is happening to Christianity in America in easy to understand language, and with a sprinkling of humor, that made for an enjoyable read. Graphs and figures are displayed liberally throughout the book which I found helped me quickly understand many of the concepts that Bradley was discussing.

So why did Bradley Wright write this book?

The purpose of this book is rather simple. Using the best available data, I will describe how Christians are doing in six areas: church growth, what we believe, our participation in church activities, family and sexual issues, how we treat others, and how others see us. In each of these areas, there are various myths floating around about American Christianity and I want to examine if these myths are true.


As someone who has more than a passing interest in statistics, I found that his data, and presentation of it was rock solid. Most of his analysis is based upon large reputable survey samples, and when he uses smaller data sets, he is careful to make that clear to the reader.

His book begins and ends with an explanation and caution about how statistical reporting can easily be distorted. In short, bad news sells better than good news, and so it is the negative statistic that tends to get the press. It is only when an airplane crashes that it tends to make the news, yet it might have had thousands of successful flights that didn’t get a single news story.

Chapters two and three, Is American Christianity on the Brink of Extinction, and Are we losing our young people, are chapters that certainly should get the attention of Internet Monk readers. In fact he opens chapter two with a quotation from Michael Spencer:

We are on the verge – within ten years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. Michael Spencer—Internetmonk.com

Bradley Wright does not believe this to be the case and ends chapter three with this statement.

…there seems to be no compelling evidence – based on the data we have about our young people – that the church in America is on the verge of collapse.

Obviously I have some bias in evaluating these claims. The reason that I started writing for Internet Monk was because Michael Spencer was being pilloried for his initial claim and I could see that there was sufficient statistical support to back him up. So why do Bradley and I differ on this matter? I agree with Bradley that the church has grown significantly since independence. The data to support that is rather astonishing. The religious affiliation of people today is much, much higher than two hundred years ago. There are however, three primary factors that would make me disagree with his conclusions. (Note: I don’t disagree with his data, just his conclusions.)

  • Bradley’s own data shows that the church affiliation peaked in about 1990 (pg. 38).
  • The evangelical church faces the same generational horizon now that the mainline church faced forty years ago before it began its own significant decline.
  • The ratio of attendance to membership in groups like the Southern Baptist lead me to believe that they will experience the same sort of declines as we have seen in the mainline churches.

You can read my full arguments in support of Michael Spencer, here, and here. Note the change in the maps in the second link that occur over just 10 years. I would encourage you to read Bradley’s book to get his full perspective on the issue, which I could not hope to encapsulate in a short review. Like the global warming debate, the next forty years will tell who is right, but by then it may be too late to do anything about it.

The next chapter asks the question: Are Evangelicals All Poor, Uneducated, Southern Whites? There was one statement that jumped out at me that added to my feeling that Bradley is maybe painting a sunnier picture than reality.

Nationwide, 27% of all adults have graduated from college… Evangelicals are somewhat below the national average. The religious unaffiliated are just slightly above average in levels of college education.

Doesn’t sound too bad does it? But what if it had been stated this way:

On a per-capita basis, the religiously unaffiliated graduate from college at a rate 45% higher that Evangelicals, and Hindus at 350% the rate of evangelicals.

Both statements are based on the same set of data. Both are true. The first is a glass half-full interpretation, the second glass half-empty. Here are the actual numbers. 75% of Hindus graduate college in the U.S. 29% of the religious unaffiliated, and 20% of Evangelicals. Are these numbers of concern? Is it a myth that we are uneducated? You be the judge.

Bradley’s numbers show that we are certainly predominantly white, and have our strength in the southern States. He also notes that we are becoming significantly more integrated, and less regionalized over time.

I want to deal with Chapters 6, 7, and 8 together. Have Christians gone wild? Do Christians love others? What do non-christians think of us? The first two chapters really influence what we find in the third. I would like to focus in on a few select statistics. Pastors, look out over your evangelical congregation. On average 46% of the adults are divorced or separated (38% among weekly attenders), 20% of your youth have had premarital sex, one in six of your women (who attend weekly) have had abortions. How does this make you feel? Consider that some of these numbers are glass half-full perspectives. What if I told you that at by age eighteen 36% of your youth had had sex, and that of those youth who were between the ages of 18 and 23, in a relationship, but not married, 80% were sexually active. The first set of numbers come from Bradley’s data source, the second set from a data source that I used. They are not inconsistent, but looking at a different subset of ages. Bradley cautions us in his introduction that our standard of measurement cannot be perfection, because then we would all fail, but that we should look for differences between us and society at large. He writes:

… becoming a Christian doesn’t make people good, it just makes them better. In other words, Christians believe that the Christian faith should, in fact, change how people live their lives, but this change isn’t necessarily instantaneous… Our expectations, therefore, should not be that Christians are blemish-free, but rather that they are different than non-Christians when it comes to various measures of morality – specifically those “rights and wrongs” that the Bible and churches teach about. And, lo and behold, the research seems to bear this out.

How different do we have to be though? In all these measures, I think we look way too much like the society around us, and not nearly enough like Christ. If we say that Christ changes lives, and then we look not a whole lot different, then are we not being hypocrites?

The key finding of chapter seven that I wanted to focus on has to do with inter-racial marriage. Bradley acknowledges that our attitudes about race is probably the Evangelical church’s greatest weakness. 34 percent of Evangelical whites would oppose a close relative marrying an black/African-American person. This is more than three times higher than the response of those not affiliated with a religion! Among our youth, 28 percent would oppose the marriage. On the positive side, the rate among all evangelicals has dropped from a level of 77 percent only 20 years ago. When Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, our response in this area should be so much better than those who have no religious affiliation. I believe that it is attitudes like this have given us the reputation of “Hate-filled Hypocrites”, and it is going to take a lot of attitude changing, and a lot of time for us to shake that reputation. Again Bradley concludes with what I consider to be very positive spin on the situation.

Is there still room to improve? Plenty, but it appears that society in general, including Evangelical Christians, is making progress on an almost yearly basis.

People’s opinions of evangelicals has been improving over the past twenty years. This may be because we have been improving in areas like that of race mentioned above. Bradley thinks that becoming less political has helped us, a view that matches my experience here in Canada.

[The 1990s] was the heyday of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. But now the figureheads of Evangelical Christianity are much less political, for example, Rick Warren, and the Willow Creek Association. So quite possibly, non-Christians (and Christians as well) think more favorably of Evangelical Christianity now because they are much less political as a group.

Bradley Wright concludes his book with an interesting score card of the various issues that he has covered in his book. One score that jumped out at me was the one dealing with non-Christians’ attitudes towards us. He gives this category a score of “B” and notes that there are “Mixed feelings, but getting more positive over time. May not interfere much with mission.” In my next post, which will come in about a week, I will be writing about the topic of “Canadian Perspectives on American Patriotic Christianity”. In it I will discuss how non-Christian views of Evangelical Christianity has had a definite negative impact on our mission, so on this point we will have to disagree with Bradley as well.

While I do have areas in which I have disagreed with Bradley, almost all of them come down to interpretation. Bradley, I think, would be okay with that, because most of all he wants us to be thinking about these issues, and drawing our own conclusions. He concludes his book by encouraging us to “do the following with any statistic about Christianity:”

  • Question whether it’s accurate
  • Question the motives of the person writing
  • Disagree with the conclusions
  • Judge the statistic in light of your own experiences
  • Not believe it for any reason, including just being in a cranky mood.

I took those encouragements to heart when writing my review, and even though I did disagree at points with Bradley Wright, I still found it an excellent book that will help many Christians understand both themselves and their place in the society in which they find themselves. Understanding where we are in regards to issues that we face will help us move towards finding solutions. Reading Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told would certainly be a good first step.

Disclaimer
I contributed the graph “Religious migration changes” on page 102 of the book. Bradley Wright, recognized this contribution in the books acknowledgments, footnotes, and on page 101. He also sent me a free copy of the book.

Comments

  1. “On average 46% of the adults are divorced or separated (38% among weekly attenders), 20% of your youth have had premarital sex, one in six of your women (who attend weekly) have had abortions. How does this make you feel?”

    Makes me feel like at least some of the folks in the church are lying to the poll-takers! I would seriously question the 20% of youth have had premarital sex. Divorce rates are probably closer (and harder to lie about / disguise). I also wonder if the “abortions” are only “selective” abortions. I know several women who have had medically-necessary / doctor-prescribed abortions.

    But I agree wholeheartedly that the public view of Evangelicals has gotten better since they have become more distanced from the political groups.

    • I would seriously question the 20% of youth have had premarital sex.

      Do you think it is too low or too high? I am not sure of his age range here, but if it encompasses those as young as 15, it fits quite well with my number of 36% at age 18.

      • I’m obviously not JAy, but from what I’ve read on George Barna’s site, as well as elsewhere, those numbers seem about right. Over the years Barna’s research has emphaticilly demonstrated that there are no significant differences between non-believers and those considered to be born again.

        • Depends on how you define significant. Statistically significant, yes there is a difference. Bradley Wright proves that point quite well. Different enough to matter? Well that is entirely a different question.

  2. dumb ox says:

    “Both statements are based on the same set of data. Both are true. The first is a glass full interpretation, then second glass empty. ”

    There has been a lot of criticism of evangelical cultural warriors regarding how they spin data to favor their positions. The other side is guilty of this too, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Enough with truthiness already!

  3. >>We are on the verge – within ten years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. Michael Spencer—Internetmonk.com<>…there seems to be no compelling evidence – based on the data we have about our young people – that the church in America is on the verge of collapse.<<

    Unless I'm misreading this, these two statements seem to be saying different things. iMonk's is specific to evangelicals while the other seems a more general statement about all Christian church affiliations.

    • The book is clear that he is rebutting Michael’s statement.

      • I can only speak anecdotally. If my sisters, cousins and friends are close to a typical, the evangelical movement is in serious trouble. We all grew up Southern Baptist. We are all 50-ish now. At least half do not attend church at all. However, if asked by a pollster I suspect they would identify themselves as Christian or spiritual. A few might even say Baptist.

        Funeral Baptists would be closest to reality – that being the only occasion they attend a service.

        I always thought Michael was right on target.

  4. >>On a per-capita basis, the religiously unaffiliated graduate from college at a rate 45% higher that Evangelicals<<

    I can't help but wonder what percentage were raised evangelical, but considered themselves unaffiliated by the time they finished college.

    • That is a very perceptive question Sarah.

      • FollowerOfHim says:

        Of course, it still wouldn’t utlimately say anything reassuring, as we all no doubt understand. It would simply be saying: “Of course evangelicals have lower numbers of educated people: their best and brightest have already left by the time the go to college!”

  5. Sounds like Bradley Wright is saying that because the data does not yet support the conclusion that Michael was wrong. But based both on Michael’s observations on the current status of evangelicalism, and your comparison with historical data and observations from the mainline denominations, I think I have to go with Michael’s conclusions rather than Mr. Wright’s.

  6. On average 46% of the adults are divorced or separated (38% among weekly attenders), 20% of your youth have had premarital sex, one in six of your women (who attend weekly) have had abortions.

    I also wonder what the numbers are for adults who are in the process of divorce or being separated, how many youth are having premarital sex, and how many women are having abortions. Paul wrote to the Corinth after all, And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. It might also be misleading when youth are included in these sorts of statistics; having worked with youth in the local church, it’s not accurate to assume that youth at the church are youth in the Church.

  7. as a guy who likes numbers and statistics i will let the data speak for itself. like a statistics professor once said, “in God we trust, everyone else bring data.” i would be interested in knowing where i could get the raw data from these studies. the raw data would allow “indpendent” people to access the claims and provide additional analysis as to trends, significance, etc. an example is that my Bishop in the North Alabama conference of the United Methodist Church reported that the last 2 years baptism were up and were higher than the average baptisms for the last 10 years. He concluded that we were heading in the right direction. When i looked at the data and performed a more indepth analysis the numbers from the last 2 years were not statistically significant and if you look at a best fit curve/line the trend is flat, professions of faith were actually trending downward. my conclusion was that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and can give you a false sense of security. my experience is that Michael is right, but i sure would like to get the raw numbers…

    blessings..

    mason

  8. FWIW, here’s my attempt at speculative prophecy: Michael Spencer was right: Evangelicalism will decline. Wright is right: Christianity will do just fine. My prediction is that people will get sick of the “non-denominational denominations” and head back toward the mainlines seeking more roots and depth. And many more will continue to be won to Rome and Orthodoxy. As a protestant I think we have good news to look forward to: People will get sick of looking for Jesus in the latest trends and either look at the broader Christian tradition, or just quit. And more of the former. Just guessing. As the SBC is declining the PCA is swelling, from what I hear. I think these conservative groups breaking off the mainlines will be serious contenders. I believe groups like the ACNA, LCMS, PCA, etc… will have an increasing influence that will begin to replace Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Willow Creek, etc…. But I could be wrong. I may even be projecting my own journey onto reality. It will be interesting to see…

    • You can check out my graph as to how people have been moving. (It is the one quoted by Bradley Wright.) Of course what has happened in the past is not a predictor of the future, but it does give you an idea of how movement has happened between denominations and religions.

      • That chart is awesome. I remember when you posted it last time. I think if that is done in 50 years from now, Orthodoxy will be in need of it’s own section. I also am wondering if there may be a need to distinguish more clearly between mainline and evangelical. For example, the PCUSA is considered mainline, but the PCA is considered evangelical. Some baptist denominations are considered mainline while others are considered evangelical. I’ve heard the ANCA described as “evangelical Anglicans.” In the 2060 chart, which section will they be on? Is it really accurate to classify two sets of Presbyterians differently based merely on a few harmitological and gender issues when both hold so much in common with their confessions?

      • Michael, does the Other category include New Age?

  9. I am sure this book does not contain a ‘pretty picture’ of Christianity in America – if it does, which I am certain it would not, it is a lie.

    I just finished spending time watching Patrica King from “Xtreme Prophetic” , along with that false teacher Joshua Mills – and what a vile thing that was. Sadly, that is the “typical” these days….

    But the LORD knows those who are His!

  10. On a related topic: If you are interested in how Christianity looks different between the U.S. and Canada, a dual citizen friend has written an interesting post on the topic.

  11. ” FWIW, here’s my attempt at speculative prophecy: Michael Spencer was right: Evangelicalism will decline. Wright is right: Christianity will do just fine. My prediction is that people will get sick of the “non-denominational denominations” and head back toward the mainlines seeking more roots and depth. And many more will continue to be won to Rome and Orthodoxy. As a protestant I think we have good news to look forward to: People will get sick of looking for Jesus in the latest trends and either look at the broader Christian tradition, or just quit. And more of the former. Just guessing. As the SBC is declining the PCA is swelling, from what I hear. I think these conservative groups breaking off the mainlines will be serious contenders. I believe groups like the ACNA, LCMS, PCA, etc… will have an increasing influence that will begin to replace Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Willow Creek, etc…. But I could be wrong. I may even be projecting my own journey onto reality. It will be interesting to see… ”

    You are quite accurate… I’m 17 going on 18, my parents look kinda of a mixture between SBC and Evangelicals, some of my friends are nominal Christians (or simply secular) I while consider myself just a Christian (I don’t like denominational or non denominational either way) I’m a Christian with many ”heritages” — the main ones being Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and Presbyterian among many.

    I read a lot about the early church fathers, history and so forth.
    But I still cherish some things I got out of the evangelical movement such as VeggieTales

    Other things like ”Word of Faith/Prosperity/Health/Wealth/Distortion of God/Distortion of the Bible”/Politics stuff? No thank you

    In politics I’m a hybrid of moderate with conservative with independent

  12. http://eclecticchristian.com/2010/07/21/culture-and-christianity-as-a-dual-citizen-my-experience/

    ” In contrast, proclaiming Christ as The One and Only True Way to God in Toronto is viewed as un-Canadian, narrow, and God forbid even intolerant and American. Discussions of faith initiated by Christian co-workers have been literally muted to almost a whisper while supervisors, colleges and families with whom I work in Toronto make openly Anti-Christian statements. Living out my faith in Toronto Canada feels counter-cultural and indeed subversive as I try to find ways to proclaim Christ in a culture that at best values equality of all religious beliefs in the name of peace and tolerance. ”

    Oh and I forgot… besides Veggietales this is the other only thing I love about my experience with evangelicals 🙂

    Christ is the only way

    • Seems as though you’ve already been through quite a lot, Elizabeth. I hope you’re taking notes, and perhaps we’ll be reading your book review here at IMONK. Glad to have you posting here.

      Greg R

    • Um… I know you didn’t mean it this way, but some of your phraseology could very easily be read in an extremely negative light. I could take the meaning of your words as:

      1. You don’t believe anyone should be allowed to say anything negative about Christianity.

      and

      2. You feel that it is the duty of everyone, nonbelievers included, to help you promote Christianity.

      I presume these are inaccurate.

      • Were those comments directed to Elizabeth? Because she was quoting the blog from Michael Bell’s link. That piece, by the way, provides an interesting contrast in how things are viewed on different sides of the U.S./Canada border.

        • You are correct. Sorry, Elizabeth, for my misinterpretation of the origin. Anyway, the question would still go to the author of the original piece. There really is a nasty strain of, “Boo hoo, we’re so discriminated against and abused because those not of our faith aren’t bowing in supplication to it” running through evangelicalism generally.

  13. Whether Christians are hate-filled hypocrites is not the sort of question that can be answered with statistics–it’s a judgment call (so to speak). Is opposition to homosexuality inherently hateful? Some say yes, some say no.

    Obviously there is going to be great diversity among Christians, or even subsets such as evangelical Protestants. On the other hand, it also matters that they are found organized into a political force with people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as its spokespeople. These guys can phone the president (any president) and get put through; moderates can’t. Even though individual Christians may be nice people personally, the effect of their religion is to support social policies which others regard as evil. Atheists complain that through their religious affiliation, moderate Christians (or Muslims, etc.) do not so much change their religion as provide power and moral support to the extremists.

    • Although Bradley Wright did address the issue of homosexuality, he also pointed out the same issues as you did. I did not raise it in my review, because that topic tends to send people off on tangential issues.

  14. Michael, it seems to me that the statistic about approval or disapproval of “interracial” marriage needs to be treated with a grain of salt. There are many valid reasons for having doubts about such marriages which have nothing to do with racism. I believe, if you look around in the African-American community you will also find lots of people less than enthusiastic about such marriages. Concerns about cultural differences as well as concerns about the prejudice any children of such marriages have to deal with in both communities immediately come to mind.

    We have this problem over here, too, and it is exacerbated by the fact that more often than not people of different skin color actually come from different countries and have family ties to these countries, with completely different sets of expectations, often involving great distances, vast cultural differences, etc.

    Not every parent who encourages his or her child to think twice before entering such a marriage is motivated by racist or white supremacist sentiments or motives.

    • But when our response rate is three times higher than that of the non-affiliated?!?

      Here is an anecdotal story for you. My parents were visiting a church down in Georgia, and someone invited them home for lunch. This lady started talking about her family. Her daughter’s husband was in jail for murder. “But we can still count our blessings, because at least she didn’t marry a black man!”

      I used to hear arguments like yours all the time… when I lived in Rhodesia. I have come to realize that at the very core of all those arguments is an underlying racism. The question here was asked of white Americans referring to blacks who were typically also American.

      • I agree with this point — while people MAY be able to cite some not-explicitly-racist reasons for their opposition, there’s generally some there, under the surface. Most people know not to cite a racist reason and go for ones that sound more loving and practical. And the troubling thing is that the evangelicals have no reason to be any more worried about ‘cultural differences’ than anyone else, yet express reservations at a much higher rate.

        If I had to guess, I’d say that a lot of people have more or less accepted the Civil Rights Movement’s main objectives but when they picture their family members, their mental images do not automatically or easily include people from another group. Its a mental jump for them.

      • David L says:

        It’s hard for people to get over their “raising”. As the people who grew up prior to the 60s and 70s die out these number will continue to decline. Once these are mostly dead the numbers will likely stabilize.

        An age breakdown of these numbers would be most informative.

        As someone who’s 56 and grew up in the south I see a vast difference opinion between people older and younger than me.

        As to the other comment about country of origin, I treat those marriages the same as someone from the SBC trying to marry someone from an orthodox Jewish tradition. They will have a hard time with one or both faiths especially once kids show up. With different countries (cultures) of origin things can get messy once the honeymoon is over.

        • Bradley Wright does provide an age breakdown in is book. Unfortunately I don’t have it in front of me right now, but I believe that opposition to black marriage among whites in Evangelical circles range from 28% in youth to 57%? in older adults.

    • I will say that my (white) daughter’s first boyfriend was African-American and while we were OK with it, they were not. But we are Methodist while they are Baptist, so maybe there’s also an underlying liberal/conservative paradigm. I would not consider them racist although I’m not really sure of their motivations.

    • cermak_rd says:

      concern for prejudice the children may run into is probably moot now in the US given who is POTUS.

  15. Michael, thank you for the thoughtful and thorough review of my book. I appreciate the critical attention that you and your readers brought to it.

    You make a good point that different people can look at the same facts and come away with different conclusions, especially if we’re going to predict the future (which can’t be measured–as long as our flux capacitor is broken). I hope that the people gave us more accurate facts to discuss.

    I also appreciate your readers bringing their own experiences and discernment to the discussion of statistics. That happens all too rarely.

    BTW, I’ll use the “in God we trust, everyone else has to bring data” line in my classes.

    Brad

  16. On substantive point that I would like to engage, and the one most relevant to Internet Monk because it regards Michael Spenser’s prediction. My take on it is that he got a lot of things right in what he wrote, which is why IM was and continues to be an important blog. I just don’t think that he got this one right.

    If you have the chance, perhaps you could look at this analysis:
    http://brewright.blogspot.com/2010/03/religious-affiliation-since-1910.html

    To me, it suggests that Evangelical Christians and Mainline Protestants are on very different trajectories.

    Thoughts?

    Brad

    • My concern with your graph is that it masks several things. For example: If one was to just look at your graph one would say that Catholics are doing well. In reality, Catholicism has experienced steep declines in the North East, offset by immigration in the south.

      Mainline churches have been on a steep downward trajectory, true, but at some point in time that has to level out. The data from Aris 2008 would suggest that it has. Similar to Catholics, Evangelicals when lumped together look like they might be doing OK, but the ARIS 2008 data shows that those who identify as Baptists, the majority group of the Evangelicals are in serious trouble. Admittedly the “Christian Generic” group is made up primarily as Evangelicals, so perhaps what this is showing more is a shift from denominational loyalty. I would be interested in your take on this data Brad.

      Here is the data that jumped out at me from ARIS 2008. Let’s see how well it will format in the comments here.

      Table 8.
      Age Composition of the Religious Traditions 2008

      18-29 30-49 50-69 70+ % Total
      U.S. National Population 22 38 28 12 100
      Catholic 21 38 28 13 100
      Baptist 11 31 37 21 100
      Mainline Christian 18 35 33 14 100
      Christian Generic 25 41 25 9 100
      Pentecostal/Charismatic 16 34 36 14 100

      • How well did it format? And the answer is… not that well. You can find the table on page 12 of the link referenced above. You will also note on page 5 that in 18 years Baptists have gone from 19.3 to 15.8 % of the population.

    • I have to question the value of your data in the link above. I kind of intuitively don’t trust a self-report of affiliation at age 16. In communities with evangelical social dominance, there’s an awful lot of pressure to self-identify as such, and teenagers aren’t exactly known for their resistance to social pressure. Show me at least age 21 (I’d prefer 25) and I’d have a lot more faith in it.

  17. Richard Hershberger says:

    On a side note, I am a non-Evangelical Christian, preferring a more traditional, umm…, tradition. I often note that Evangelical Christians are prone to using “Christian” to mean “Evangelical Christian.” So we get discussions of what “Christians” believe or do which may or may not conform to the beliefs or actions of other Christian traditions. To the extent that Evangelical Christians do this intentionally, it is grossly offensive. To the extent that they do this unintentionally, it is a thoughtless and annoying tic. I just mention this because there is a certain irony to seeing this usage in a book with this title.

  18. Your right, Mike, about there being a big shift among Evangelicals from denominations to non-denominational. That was one of the big findings of ARIS, and they could find it because of their open-ended questions.

    Good point, Richard, about the use of “Christian”. Sometimes I slip into that in my writing, though I hope that the context makes it clear. By no means do I think that Evangelicals are the only Christians. (I grew up in the Catholic Church and still enjoy attending mass + attended an Episcopal church for 9 years).