Is this the Beginning?

Results from the American Religious Identification Survey 2008 (ARIS 2008) report by Trinity College describes an alarming decline of adult Christian believers in Bible based Christian communities, whereas the percentage of those professing no religious affiliation (atheist, agnostic or don't know) has doubled since 1990. The ARIS 2008 is the third in a landmark time series of large, nationally representative surveys that track changes in the religious loyalties of the U.S. adult population within the 48 contiguous states from 1990 to 2008. The 2001 and 2008 surveys are replicas of the 1990 survey, and are led by the same academic research team using an identical methodology or random-digit-dailed telephone interviews and the same unprompted, open-ended key question "What is your religion, if any?" The survey tap subjective rather than objective standards of religious identification.

This survey may very well be describing the beginning of a biblical prophecy regarding the condition of the world just prior to the Lord's return for His church. The Apostle Paul's second letter to the Thessalonian church was written to resolve the confusion regarding the return of Jesus Christ. In chapter 2 - verse 3, the Apostle describes 3 things which must take place before Jesus returns for His church. These three things are:

  • The falling away from the word of God
  • The man of sin is revealed
  • The man of sin will sit in the rebuilt Jewish temple to be worshiped as God.

  • In this letter the Apostle specifically states that the falling away from God will come first. This passage is rendered different ways in the King James, Amplified, New American Standard, and New International Bibles - each emphasizing the same point - that the majority of the world's population will rebel against Biblical Christianity and the God of the Bible:

    • King James: "...for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first,..."
    • Amplified: "...for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first - that is, unless the [predicted] great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come..."
    • New American Standard: "...for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first,..."
    • New International Version: "...for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs..."

    The word translated for "falling away", "apostasy", and "rebellion" in the Greek is apostasia - Strong's Reference Number 646 - which means a "defection from truth." The Apostle is describing that before Christ returns for His church, there will be a great number of people who will defect, or abandon, the word of God, biblical Christianity, and the identity of the God of the Bible.

    According to the ARIS 2008 report, adult Christian believers in each of the major Bible based Christian communities within the United States has experienced a decline in population whereas the percentage of those professing no religious affiliation (atheist, agnostic or don't know) has doubled since 1990. Christians within the Baptist community suffered the largest decline in population since 1990 among Bible based Christian communities, going from 19.3% of the adult U.S. population to 15.8% of the adult U.S. population, for a 3.5% decrease.

    Chart Christian_vs_No_Religion.jpg

    In addition, within mainline Bible based Christian communities (Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian/Anglican, and United Church of Christ), the Methodist community experienced the greatest decline going from 8.0% of the adult U.S. population, to 5.0% of the adult U.S. population, for a 3% decrease.

     Chart Mainline_Christian_Communities.jpg

    The image of an American apostasy seems more apparent when considering the change in population within the Jewish religion in comparison to other eastern religions in the United States. The origin of Christianity is traced to the ancient Jewish religion of the Old Testament (the Tanakh) of the Bible commonly referred to as Judaism. Although the percentage of people professing Judaism in America out numbered the percentage of people professing other eastern religions in 1990 (Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Bahai, Shintoist, Zoroastrian, and Sikh combined) by a factor of 2 to 1 (3,137,000 vs. 1,214,000), by 2008 the percentage of people professing Judaism had fallen below the percentage of those professing other eastern religion (2,680,000 vs, 3,310,000).

    Chart Judaism_vs_Other_Eastern_Religions.jpg 

    In short, of all the major religions within the United States, only those that professes the God of the Bible (biblical Christianity and Judaism) are experiencing declines in populations while other religions, as well as non religious communities are experiencing increases in populations.

    The Berean Approach Ministry is not affiliated with Trinity College nor had any involvement in the development of the ARIS 2008 report. This information is included in this website to encourage thought, discussion, and exploration of your Bible to "see if these things are so" (Acts 17:11).

    The Berean Approach Ministry would like to thank Trinity College, particularly Dr. Barry A. Kosmin and Dr. Ariela Keysar for making this report available to the public.

    Click here to see the entire ARIS report.


    "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessaolnica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and search the Scriptures daily to prove whether those things were so." Acts 17:11