Thursday, September 27, 2012

Again With the Divorce Clarification

For about a year, Glenn Stanton with Focus on the Family has been posting an article about divorce on several different evangelical websites.

He seems intent on debunking what he perceives as a myth about churched people divorcing at roughly the same rate as unchurched people.

In case you saw his recent blog on the Gospel Coalition's website, let me once again provide a more rational counterpoint to Stanton's fuzzy math on the subject:
(each link is a different essay I've written just on this subject)
Some of the discrepancies come from different terminology, such as "Christians" and "churched people," which I view as two separate entities.  Churched people don't necessarily need to demonstrate faith in Christ, while many of us assume - however erroneously - that "Christians" should.  The problem with "churched people" is that the outside world assumes that many of them are Christians of an orthodox evangelical faith, when it's quite likely they're not.

Stanton also relies on statistics which appear to inflate the divorce rate among unchurched people - at up to 60% - while in reality, many experts believe it hovers in the low to mid 30's.  That clarification alone puts divorce rates for churched folk squarely in the same ballpark. 

I have not posted links to these three essays on the feedback portion of Stanton's current article on the Gospel Coalition's website because I'm trying to respect his authority as a leader in America's evangelical movement.  I did e-mail my first essay to his office, which obviously didn't change his mind about anything.  I'm hoping it's because one of his underlings couldn't find it in the volume of mail they undoubtedly receive, and not that it's simply because he's a big Somebody in American evangelicalism, and I'm not.

Still, truth is truth, no matter who writes it.  So as many times as I see Stanton continuing to post his aging arguments for his flawed conjecture on the Internet, I'm going to quietly post the reality of the situation, and trust that the Holy Spirit guides the people who need to read the truth to my corner of the World Wide Web.

Eventually, I hope that as statistics chronicle an evolving improvement in marriage rates among churched Americans, through such successful ministries as Focus on the Family, this topic will become irrelevant anyway.  I imagine Stanton would heartily agree with me on that.
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