It’s a different world today.
I probably don’t need to tell you that in this post-pandemic-but-still-kind-of-COVIDy time. (Yes, I just made up that word.) But the 2021 census data on religious diversity is out, and that just confirms that we live in a different world than even 10 years ago.
A helpful chart based on these census figures has been prepared by Waybase. It notes that while 53% of Canadians still identify as Christian, that figure is down 14% since 2011. And, other than Quebec, the steepest decline in Christian identification among Canadian cities appears to be taking place in what was once a bastion of traditional values, the Maritimes.
It would be easy to read statistics like this and throw up our arms in defeat (or maybe just throw up!). But that’s not an option for followers of Jesus, because we believe that Jesus is not finished with Canada, nor with any other part of the world.
Here’s the deal: there may be churches closing in Canada at an unprecedented rate (which is true); there may be fewer and fewer Canadians identifying as Christian (which is also true). But the Lord will preserve his church!
If you’ve read the book of Revelation (and you should), you’ll see that what was going on in the first century among the seven churches of the province of Asia to which Revelation was first written looks eerily similar to what’s going on today in our neck of the woods. And if you read to the end of the book, guess who wins?
The Roman empire was a great threat to the early Christians, but it was no threat to God’s agenda for his church. And while the Roman empire faded into history almost 1600 years ago, the church has continued, and even flourished, in the many centuries since. What evidence is there to lead any of us to believe that’s going to change?
That doesn’t mean we should sit back and let history take its course. No: God has a plan for his church, and it includes all faithful followers of Jesus! The Lord has entrusted us with the important task of building a strong, biblically faithful, Christ-centred church for a new time – for a different world…the one in which we live.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit, and roll up your sleeves. It’s time to serve.
“[T]he Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3.3, NLT).