Are Evangelicals Repeating The Same Mistakes Of Mainline Liberal Churches?
PNW - Dotting many U.S. main streets are the steeples and towers of beautiful and historic buildings, originally built as houses of worship. From its founding, mainline denominations gave America a kind of Protestant consensus, much of our nation's charity, many of its most prestigious schools, and a significant number of congressional leaders and even presidents.
Today, many of these buildings, especially those draped with rainbow flags, lie empty. On Sundays, only a small number of worshipers, mostly white and grey-haired, sit in the pews.
Back in 2017, missiologist Ed Stetzer made a dramatic prediction in the Washington Post. "If it doesn't stem its decline," he wrote, "Mainline Protestantism has just 23 Easters left." Stetzer blamed the Mainline church's impending extinction on abysmally low birth rates, and the fact that many of them long ago "abandoned central doctrines that were deemed 'offensive' to the surrounding culture."
However, last month a new survey from the Public Religion Institute challenged Stetzer's prediction. Called "The 2020 Census of American Religion," the report claimed that Mainline churches in America have experienced a dramatic recovery.
According to this survey of 50,000 Americans, Mainline Protestants grew from 13 percent of the population five years ago to over 16 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, evangelicals seem to have entered rapid decline, tumbling from 23 percent of the U.S. population in 2006 to just 14 percent in 2020.
Over at The New Yorker, Bill McKibben celebrated the "unlikely rebound" of Mainline Protestantism, and made conclusions that a political shift had happened in American Christianity.
Others joined the celebration. Progressive church....READ MORE
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