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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sad Stats

In recently perusing the September 2006 JTO article, I Am No Mathematician, I was reminded of a few very tough facts. The Orthodox Church is losing the race for the souls of men on the North American Continent. The concerns about the decision to alter the role of Bishops in North America are varied, but the most important concern may be easily missed amidst the political maze that can become the focus of such a jurisdictional decision. We can lose sight of the the fact that we are the body of Christ under His jurisdiction and that the Church's chief role is to,

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..."

If Doctor Phil were Orthodox, he might ask the question of us,
"So how's that working for you?" Given that there are less than 500,000 Orthodox Christians of any Jurisdiction in North America, the true statistics of Church growth on this continent should shame us. Contrast that with the 529,000,000 people who live in North America. How does Orthodoxy compare with other religions?

Did you know that

1. Unitarian Universalism
2. Hinduism
3. Buddhism
4. Islam
5. Judaism

each have more practicing members in the United States alone than Eastern Orthodox has in all of North America? Eastern Orthodoxy is not even included on major lists of religions in the USA due to its statistically insignificant numbers.

Did you know that the Wicans/Pagans/Druids have more practicing members in the United States than does the Eastern Orthodox?

"So Antiochian Archdiocese of North America," asks our hypothetically Orthodox Dr. Phil, "how's it working for you?"

Given that there are less than 55,000 members of the Antiochian Orthodox jurisdiction in all of North America, did you know that ALL official religions in the United States have more active participants than the Antiochian Orthodox Church has in all of North America, with the exception of the cultist 60's era Eckankar? While the Antiochian Orthodox Church boasts of its 33% growth under Metropolitan Philip's pastorate, other heterodox and heretical groups have far exceeded that with growth upwards to 400% in the same time frame.

So when concern comes over the major restructuring of the Bishopric on this Continent it is not simply a question of personalities, control or ulterior motives, it is a real concern that the little progress the Orthodox church has made on this continent will be set back for years. Sometimes it seems we are attempting to preserve the Syrian church through containment rather than promote the cause of Christ. In any case, the Orthodox Church is losing the race for souls and these Sad Stats are the proof.

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