Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Regular Theosebes readers are well aware of the meltdown of the mainline liberal denominations (a redundancy). Now the LA Times is, too:
When a church doesn't take itself seriously, neither do its members. It is hard to believe that as recently as 1960, members of mainline churches — Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans and the like — accounted for 40% of all American Protestants. Today, it's more like 12% (17 million out of 135 million). Some of the precipitous decline is due to lower birthrates among the generally blue-state mainliners, but it also is clear that millions of mainline adherents (and especially their children) have simply walked out of the pews never to return. According to the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, in 1965, there were 3.4 million Episcopalians; now, there are 2.3 million. The number of Presbyterians fell from 4.3 million in 1965 to 2.5 million today. Compare that with 16 million members reported by the Southern Baptists.

When your religion says "whatever" on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church.

Exactly. Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

susanna in alabama said...

Excellent article! Too bad it's an op-ed by a Beliefnet writer and not by an LA Times staffer, because that might give one a little more hope for the wider world. But the writer's points are devastating.

I really really really don't get these people who ostensibly are devoting their lives to God yet turn their backs on Him at every opportunity. I can only conclude that they think they can remake Him in their own image without repercussions. I pray that they find out before they see Him in judgment just how wrong they are. I don't hold out much hope though.

I do have one burning question for them: Why Sophia?