The Most Dangerous Thing a Christian Can Do

By Tim Challies - Posted at

It was one of those little pieces of information that helped clarify so much in my mind, that described through data what I had seen with my own eyes and experienced in my own ministry. It is a piece of information we all ought to be aware of and one we all ought to consider. It warns us that one of the most innocent things a Christian does may also be one of the most dangerous.

Ryan Burge and Paul Djupe spent two years conducting a large and comprehensive study of people who have “dechurched”—who once faithfully attended church but now no longer do. The results were published in The Great Dechurching and were widely reported in a host of media outlets. In one article, the authors list some common misconceptions about dechurching, and it was the very first one that especially captured my attention.

The misconception is this: People leave primarily because of negative experiences with the church. Our assumption as we consider people who have left the faith is that they had a negative experience within the church—that they observed or even faced abuse, or that they grew tired of scandals or politicking in the name of Jesus. Or we could assume that they began to critique their faith, perhaps under the tutelage of the many YouTube or TikTok deconstructionists. Then, as they began to doubt the faith, they began to distance themselves from it.