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America’s Religious Future ‘Looks a Lot Like’ Secular Australia, Wheaton Dean Says

Written by on March 21, 2023


A Wheaton College dean says the future of America’s religious landscape will likely be similar to secular Australia – and that means Christians must be bold in sharing the love of Christ.

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center and dean of the college’s School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership in Illinois, made the comments in a social media post while visiting Melbourne. Stetzer posted the video moments after delivering a sermon at a local church, City on a Hill.

“Melbourne is a remarkably livable city – one of the most livable cities in the world. It’s also multicultural. It’s diverse. It’s all the things that you see in a modern megalopolis, but it’s also remarkably secular, and like much of the western world, is growing more secular,” Stetzer said.

Although the United States has been a “standout” to the west’s growing secularization, “that’s no longer holding,” he said.

“I think we’re seeing the United States follow the trajectory, not jumping to where France is, but following the trajectory of where Canada is, and the U.K. and then Australia, with growing percents of people who are secular, moving away from nominal Christian belief and practice – people saying they’re Christian, but not necessarily practicing. So in a sense, Melbourne, Australia is kind of the future in a lot of ways for the Western world.”

Stetzer, in the post, encouraged Christians to be bold in their faith. He noted that the church he had visited that day met in a movie theater.

“So when I’m preaching and sharing, you can actually hear explosions from some action film,” he said. “As the world becomes more secular, Christianity is going to become more peculiar. But peculiar doesn’t mean that we need to step away from the marketplace. I get that it’s getting harder. And yet, in the midst of the challenges that we’re walking through, we can step into that secular marketplace, showing and sharing the love of Jesus and equipping people to be effective in doing the same.”

Stetzer wrote on Twitter, “If current trends continue, America’s religious future looks a lot like Australia’s current secularism. And that means that Christians need to be bold [in] engaging the public square.”

Stetzer will assume the role of dean of the Talbot School of Theology in California on July 2.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Photovs

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.


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