Reasons for Church Decline

Reasons for Church Decline is about churches are in decline across America and the world. The big question is why, and the even bigger question is how do we fix what is causing this? I am reacting to a post I read on the Internet. I didn’t bookmark it, sorry.

Topic: Church Decline Reasons
Commentary by David Cox

Reasons for Church Decline post is very interesting in that it picks up on several very important points. I felt it was important enough to make a commentary post on it. This post is coming from a fact that churches are in decline across America and the world. The big question is why, and the even bigger question is how do we fix what is causing this? In this post I will try to address these issues as I see them (being a pastor and missionary for 30 years).

Let me begin with some of the reasons that the original post glossed over.

Some Reasons for Church Decline are…

Lack of Interest

Now that we are post Covid, we need to see what has happened. In the United States (as well as the whole world), there is a down turn in interest in church and religious things. Actually that is not true though. People have simply changed their religion into politics and politic statements and positions (global warming, save the planet, etc.) INSTEAD OF WORSHIPING THEIR SAVIOR.

While a great many people are now “defined” by their new ecological and political views, those who still remain in standard Christian based religions are apathetic. They simply refuse to argue and be 100% for Christ. That believe what they believe, but their evangelistic spirit has all but disappeared. Every Christian must be so “sold on Jesus” that they are constantly speaking and selling their God to everybody. That is not happening. Few Christians pursue evangelism any more. That is sad.

Some Reasons for Church Decline are…

Church Abuse

There are a lot of false prophets out there, and to add to that problem, there are supposedly good men that do wrong things, that err, that make stupid decisions, and that let Satan influence them into depression, or acting or speaking ill-advisedly with their mouth. But church abuse is a fact of life. I have been on both sides of this question, both under a pastor that was abusing, and being in the position of a pastor when people get disgruntled with me. So I can kind of see things from both sides.

We all make mistakes, and the grace of God seems to go thin or disappear completely when a pastor makes a mistake in most churches. People don’t talk to him sensibly, as adults, and allow him to just say “I’m sorry, but I did wrong”, or even though you don’t see eye to eye with his decisions, they continue with him.

People don’t have the Valor to Leave a Bad Church

Having said that, let me also make the point that the number one serious, grave, fatal problem in our churches is that good people continue attending and supporting financially and with their energy a false prophet when they should vote with their feet and leave. It irks me to no end to see good Christian people stay with a pastor and church that has so many marks of a false prophet that it is pathetic. Abuse in 21 flavors, sexual abuse, financial abuse, control abuse, meddling pastoral control abuse, abuse of doctrinal infidelity, and the flavors continue on and on.

My observation is why do you not understand that this pastor and this church is just wrong? Why don’t you just say no, get out, and find a good church, or start one? (That is a whole another issue, because starting a church and getting enough people to join and support the work is not an easy task at all.) But these false prophets use godly people to draw in more people into their net of deception and spiritual hurt.

Abuse Exists

I study false prophets and systems of control and religious dominion as my favorite topic, so I see horrible things that famous pastors have done in their churches and everybody knows it, and seemingly very few leave it. The people that I have talked to people in bad churches under bad abusive pastors, and after they unload a ton of complaints on me, they say they are going back to stay in that church. It is amazing to me why this happens, like it is as though they cannot leave.

In the end analysis, people have no discernment about what is success in the ministry. They want shiny, bright, glorious churches rather than churches that please God.

In the old stories of yesteryear, there is the concept of sirens. A siren is a beautiful mermaid. Supposedly they would go onto shoals, and they would sing (make the siren sound). Sailors would hear them and draw near to them, and they would see enough of a beautiful naked woman, and they jump into the sea after them. The ships would be destroyed on these sand bars and shoals. But the central idea is that these mermaids somehow could entice the men such that they would ignore the dangers, and later be trapped by them.

Some Reasons for Church Decline are…


What is absolutely scary is that apostasy has risen and people are engaging in this apostasy. Technically according to Scripture, an apostate is somebody who knows the truth of God’s Word, BUT HAVING KNOWN IT, they turn from it. I see Catholics for examine that are constantly turning over the basic concepts of the Bible, Jesus is God, the Trinity, Jesus saves, and yet they reject the essence of these truths to come up with heresy.

Jesus is the Savior, but Mary is the only access to him. God exists as a Trinity, but Mary is over God somehow controlling God. May is posited as the mother of God. So is she the mother of God the Father and the Holy Spirit? Obviously not. So the phrase, “Mary, Mother of God” is heresy. Yet dealing with the very concepts that are biblical, they end up with heresy. How can that be? Willful ignorance. A hate of God and truth.

There is a principle through out Scripture, that doctrine produces conduct. If the conduct is very wrong, it is probably because there are errors in doctrine behind that bad conduct.

Correct doctrine forces people to live for Christ. That is the force of the Holy Spirit working in us. It has to be that way.

Some Reasons for Church Decline are…

The Monetization of Religion

Do not get me wrong. Churches work by money. That is not bad in itself, unless money becomes an idol in people’s thinking and actions. But our modern churches work the Lord’s work not by spiritual things, but by money things. To be a pastor of a large church you either have to be a financial expert or use one. Everything seems to hinge on how much money you can throw at it.

It is amazing to me to study Jesus’ earthly ministry. His treasurer was a thief, and Jesus knew it. Yet as popular as Jesus was, it appears that he and his group had no buildings. They walked about in towns and villages preaching the kingdom of God where the people lived. We cannot seem to make that work today no matter how we try.

While people appeared to give money to Jesus and his group (after all you only need a treasurer if there is money involved), but we never once see Jesus take up an offering or ask for donations. That is a truly remarkable point.

The Pentecostals use miracles and healings to “sell” their religion and get outside people into their group. Yet their marvels are fake, false. They claim that giving to them will bring blessings, financial and healing blessings to them. While they ploy is pure commercialism, Jesus really did heal. Jesus caught a fish and took a coin out of his mouth. Jesus could produce. Yet there is never a claim that his ability to heal and produce wealth will come to his followers which is just modern Public Relations and promotional techniques. Jesus’ appeal was 100% spiritual. Be born again. You are to be transformed into a new creature. These appeals would fail today (in many people’s approach to the ministry), yet that is the pattern we should be using.

Some Reasons for Church Decline are…


Satan uses irrelevance in our world to distract from Jesus, from God. It is not a direct assault to overturn truth, but to distract our energies from that truth so that we do not engage very actively in it.

In today’s world, people have a hard time of it in general. Very few people have it easy, and those that do are rich. The more money they have and handle, the more time and energy is required to keep or grow what they have. These interests overtake a person’s Christianity. Instead of pursuits like studying the Word of God, prayer, witnessing, we are occupied in “life”. Notice how cleanly “life” doesn’t include Jesus or our Salvation? That is Satan’s point, and he is winning this battle. We are slowly leading up to the end with these things.

Jesus wondered if he would find true faith when he returns. We do too.

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Pastor David Cox is a missionary. See my ministry updates here.