Barna Study: Churches Going Straight to Helvetica

Breaking news from the Sacred Sandwich

Revealing further evidence that American churches are sinking deeper into apostasy, a new nationwide survey by The Barna Group discovered that almost 23% of U.S. churches are now using Papyrus typeface in their logos and church bulletins.

According to Barna’s polling data acquired by a random sampling of churches around the country: 57% of American churches continue to use the traditional Times Roman typeface, while 23% have succumbed to Papyrus, 15% have abandoned written language altogether and only communicate with YouTube videos, and the remaining 5% use Old English font because “that’s what King James used.”

“I think it’s safe to say that the Apocalypse is very, very near,” said Bob Vincent, spokesman for The Barna Group. “We thought things were bad when our past research showed that a large number of professing Christians didn’t believe in Jesus, but this insidious Papyrus lettering fad is clearly a sign of the end times.”

Remember: you read it here first!

For those unfamiliar with this controversy, the font at issue appears below (PARENTAL ADVISORY: MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY) —

I’m sure that many readers — those who naively don’t keep up with threats to God’s kingdom — fail to see the wickedness in the Papyrus font, but true believers, those who deeply love the Lord and don’t follow the winds of fashion, that is, those who seek to please God rather than themselves — have joined in the fight.

One God-fearing soul has set up a website to warn about the devastating consquences of Papyrus called “Papyrus Watch.” I’m sure loyal readers will want to add this one to their RSS feeds!

Another Godly soul has sounded the warning at “5 Terrible Fonts You Should Not Use in Print Design.” And I quote,

Despite looking like a cheap, gimmicky single-use font, Papyrus has the dubious honour of cropping up everywhere – in the high street, in menus, banners and leaflets. Particularly popular amongst gift shops.

The pernicious nature of the font has been exposed at the “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” site.

Papyrus runs rampant amongst church websites, bulletin handouts, and most particularly with women’s ministries. Papyrus font is to women’s ministries what grunge fonts are to youth ministries.

This is not what we meant by “counter-cultural”!!!!

The “I ? Papyrus” website is, of course, sarcastic. And the wickedness of this font has even been reported in the Boise Weekly.

Please — I BEG you — warn your church secretary that Papyrus is a sign of the Anti-Christ. Do not let your congregation fall to this dreadful abomination. Indeed, recent scholarship has shown that “666” will be written in Papyrus!

(Just show me — book, chapter, and verse — where Papyrus is authorized by Holy Writ!)

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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22 Responses to Barna Study: Churches Going Straight to Helvetica

  1. xray342 says:

    We might as well condemn Comic Sans while we're at it. 😉

  2. Jerry Starling says:

    Surely you jest in this post!

  3. I don't use Papyrus in the church bulletin, but I do use Lithos – in which the original New Testament scriptures were written!

  4. Jay Guin says:


    I've checked. My King James Version is definitely not Lithos. What were you thinking????

  5. Jay Guin says:


    You've made a fundamental error in hermeneutics. Yes, there are those who detest Comic Sans, but their concerns are purely secular. You have to rightly divide the fonts. We are to be separate from the world.

  6. Brent Fox says:

    Papyrpus . . . it's way too sexy. We shouldn't use sexy fonts in church! It might lead to something.

  7. David Baker says:

    Oh dear. I'm in a quandary. Should I print or use cursive? If I print is is scriptural to use only lower case, upper case, or a mixture. Where does italic come into play? Should I even respond to this article as I have to use a keyboard and you don't confess the font style. Maybe we should abandon all written word as evil as the Great Prophet Bradbury suggests in the inspired Fahrenheit 451.

  8. Zach Price says:

    Arial is a font of the devil. You think it is Times New Roman, but it is deceitful.

  9. Todd Collier says:

    You are all way off base. David printed the invitations to the big "Ark moving to Jerusalem" party in Papyrus. When his wife objected he told her he knew it looked rediculous but he would gladly look foolish to honor the Lord. If it was good enough for him why should you limit me?

  10. Zach says:

    we obviously should only print in Hebrew or Greek, but if we do it in Hebrew we should not use a vowel system since that would be adding to the scriptures.

  11. Jay Guin says:


    Th-t's r-ght! -'d n-v-r th–ght -b–t it! H-br-w -s -nsp-r-d b- G-d's H-l- Sp-r-t -s w-itt-n w-th–t v-w-ls! Wh-n w- -ns-rt v-w-ls, w-'r- -dd-ng t- G-d's w-rd!


  12. Jay Guin says:


    Oh, please … the way I heard it, David printed the invitations on Papyrus! You've got it all wrong!

  13. Jay Guin says:


    Times New Roman? NEW???? IN CHURCH??? You've been possessed. Times New Roman replaced the perfectly sound, holy Times Old Roman. Now, there's a font for church!

  14. Jay Guin says:


    The only safe course is to follow the Regulative Principle. What fonts are approved by command, example, or necessary inference? There, that should be more than sufficient guidance.

    PS — Get it wrong, and suffer in Helvetica in Perpetua.

  15. Jay Guin says:


    Someone actually put a font on my computer called Sexy — and it leads straight to Shruti. I'm not sure what Shruti is, but I'm sure I don't want to spend eternity there!

  16. Jay Guin says:

    Jerry (too many responses possible to pick just one),

    "Jest"? Do you jest? We really are going to Helvetica in a handbasket!

    "Jest"? The Helvetica you say?

    "Jest"? Of course. I posted it just for the Helvetica!

  17. Zach Price says:
    vowels weren't added til the middle ages (arabic is the same way), therefore it would be adding to scriptures

  18. Bruce Morton says:

    I, for one, appreciate that the comments have covered the subject from Arial to Zapf Dingbats.

  19. Larry Short says:

    Eveyone get unscriptural sometimes. You are all off base! Paul said, "see what large characters I use", therefore it isn't the font but the size! The only scriptual writing is 20 or above size!

  20. Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote,

    Paul said, “see what large characters I use”, therefore it isn’t the font but the size!

    At last! Someone who understands the full scope of CENI!

  21. Zach Price says:

    Larry, that is from 2 Hezekiah right?

  22. Larry Short says:

    All us good C of Cers do our bcv by reflex Gal 6:11.

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