Faith

Southern Baptists Report Ninth Straight Year of Declining Membership

Citing an “anti-institutional, anti-church age” in which people are turning away from organized religion, America’s largest protestant denomination reported declining membership for the ninth year in a row. From the Associated Press:

The Southern Baptist Convention lost more than 200,000 members in 2015…

Membership stands at 15.3 million, down from 15.5 million in 2014, according to denomination statistics released on Tuesday. Baptisms also fell by more than 10,000 to just a little more than 295,000.

The numbers invite recrimination regarding their cause. Are there actually fewer genuinely devout evangelical Christians? Or do the numbers simply reflect a lowered expectation for cultural Christians to formally associate with a denomination?