Sold-Out Wisdom Conversations Community Event Presented by Cornerstone University Spurs Audience Toward Boldness in Christ
On Thursday, Oct. 5, Cornerstone University welcomed nearly 1,000 attendees for its fourth signature Wisdom Conversations community event. Entitled “Christianity in America: Declining Toward Insignifiance or Resurging Toward Revival?” Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, president of Cornerstone, moderated the two-hour panel discussion featuring three nationally acclaimed guest experts: Eric Metaxas, a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, speaker, national radio host and founder of Socrates in the City; Tara Beth Leach, an author and writer for Missio Alliance; and Derryk Green, a political commentator, writer and member of Project 21. Together, they earnestly examined the state of the Christian church in the present historical moment and shared evidence that gave them hope for the future of the church.
As a preface for the conversation, Dr. Moreno-Riaño cited numerous data points demonstrating shifts in the Christian population in America. In particular, he noted two startling trends published by the Pew Research Center:
- The number of Christians has declined by 12 percentage points over a decade, and the population of “nones” — individuals who identify as religiously unaffiliated — increased by almost 10 percentage points during the same time period (Pew Research Center, Oct. 17, 2019).
- Some forecasts indicated that the Christian population is projected to decline from 64% to 35% of all Americans by 2070 (Pew Research Center, Sept. 13, 2022).
In contrast to this data and brief remarks on two potential causes — including individuals making the decision to switch faith traditions and a lack of emphasis on the transmission of faith beliefs to children and young adults, Dr. Moreno-Riaño asked the audience to consider if the country will see a renewal of faith. To date this year, the nation has witnessed a number of recent events which point toward revival such as the Asbury Outpouring, the celebration of the 200th Collegiate Day of Prayer and more than 200 young adult baptisms at the University of Auburn.
For the evening’s expansive dialogue, each panelist provided specialized knowledge in subject areas ranging from religious history and church leadership to spiritual formation and discipleship. The specific topics examined included the crucial role of the family unit and community in faith formation; the long-term effects of syncretism as a worldview; the need for increasing Biblical literacy among lay people; the role of adaptation and relevance in relation to the church; various approaches toward involvement in politics without the idolization of politics; and the available opportunities for more synergy between the work of Biblically based educational institutions and the missional focus of the local church.
At key points throughout the conversation, Metaxas compared the German church of the 1930s and the American church today, charging listeners to embody Biblical truth and clearly communicate its countercultural tenets in every aspect of their lives.
“If you don’t live out your faith, it means you don’t believe,” Metaxas stated. “I think we have been fooled by the enemy into just having this cerebral faith which is actually no faith. You have to live out your faith in every sphere, and you will bring it to every institution. If you’re a believer, you’ll speak against corruption and against lying and against anything that is not of God. That’s your job.”
When the discussion considered the involvement of Christians in politics, Leach challenged attendees toward lives as engaged citizens with recognition of their true source of citizenship.
“We’ve got to get our kingdom theology straight. And I think that a lot of the issues that we are seeing today is that our kingdom theology is slightly out of whack in that the kingdom of God is an alternative society,” Leach commented. “We are citizens of the kingdom, and there’s but one King. And the kingdom of God is in us as it is in heaven — that’s the calling. And I think that somewhere down along the line, we got the idea that the kingdom of God can only be legislated, and we’ve gotten it backwards.”
In closing, Green, along with his fellow panelists, implored the audience to live lives of boldness as Christ followers.
“As Christians, we have to get a little bit more bolder,” Green said. “We should defend the faith because … it’s true, it’s right, it’s in God’s Word. Nothing can take that away.”
Register for the Upcoming Wisdom Conversations
On March 14, 2024, the next Wisdom Conversations community event will examine “The Global Impact of American Christianity.” Advance registration is open now. RSVP today!