Figures were released this week from the national census taken last year. They indicate that Australia is becoming less religious, and less Christian. 43.9% now claim adherence to the Christian faith, down from 60% in 2011. The question is what exactly does this mean?….
It may mean that many who have had only a nominal attachment to Christian faith (i.e., because their family traditionally identified with a particular church) just decided to be more honest and indicate that, no, they don’t have a real relationship with the Christian faith or God.
It may indicate that people are turning away from God. However, the Bible shows us that people’s resistance to God’s truth is because it is real and present in the world, not because it is declining (Ro chpt. 1).
However, the statistics certainly indicate that the majority of Australians are not connecting with the Christian Church’s message – i.e., that a faith relationship with Jesus Christ offers real healing and wholeness for our lives, our community, and for the world. The lack of connection here may be the churches’ failure, or it may be the resistance of people. Actually, to one degree or another, it is always both.
Christian faith and life do go through periods of decline (just as they have persistently renewed throughout history), but the Lord Jesus Christ, and His truth, do not decline. This encourages and calls us to continue to hold fast in faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and confidently hold out that same good news to all Australians (…and visitors).
Grace and Hope, Jonathan.