Generation Z: Update – Dr. James Emery White’s Christian Blog


In coordination with the Barna Research Group, the American Bible Society’s 2021 “State of the Bible” has been released.

In what can only be called an understatement, the report says that “Gen Z – especially young Gen Z – have an insecure relationship with the Bible.” You think? According to the report, 66% do not use the Bible. What is the definition of a “Bible user”? You use the Bible three to four times…wait…a year. A year? Yes, a year.

Let’s go on. Only 9% are “engaged in the scriptures” (interacting with the Bible and having an impact on their spiritual life). Quick calculation: 91% are not.

And what about the pandemic? “The turmoil of 2020 has not sparked more Bible use among teens. Gen Zers are more likely to… say they have decreased their use of the Bible in the past year.

Even the Bible as a notebook took a hit. A third of Gen Z said they neither agree nor disagree that the Bible, Quran, and Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.

The most troubling, yet telling, statement in the report? “If Gen Z follows the same path as Millennials – and research suggests they will – they could continue to move towards these ideas rather than age.”

When I wrote The rise of the nunsthere were a number of people who wanted to spend their time saying that wasn’t really the case.

When I wrote Meet Generation Zthere were a number of people who didn’t want to see Gen Z as significantly different from Millennials.

My friends, I get no satisfaction from reading cultural tea leaves and finding them burdensome. I don’t want Gen Z to be the first truly post-Christian generation on American soil. I don’t want the rise of none to continue to rise.

But I am a cultural student. More specifically, I am a missiologist. I want to reach the mission field to which I have been assigned. So let me say this as loud and clear as possible:


We live in a post-Christian world.
The no’s are increasing and will continue to increase.
Generation Z is the first post-Christian generation.

And for the remaining 5%,

… the digital revolution has also taken place.

Why the refusal?

Own the world we live in, the mission field we now face, the radically changed nature of communication….

Let’s admit “the state of the Bible.”

And don’t make it a minority report.

James Emery White


“State of the Bible: American Bible Society Research,” read online.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founder and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the assistant professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His last book After “I believe” is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore. To take advantage of a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on TwitterFacebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.

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