UPDATED: A race for irrelevance

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It's really sad to watch the Protestant denominations race to see who can become the most out of touch with their own parishoners. The Presbyterians and especially the Episcopalians are at it again.

UPDATE:

I'm still not sure if the Episcopalian leadership is listening, but it's a small step in the right direction.

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7 Comments

Sophrosyne said:

I cannot believe the Presbyterian church would even consider moving away from (at least in practice with the new language) the cornerstone of Christianity in the understanding of the Trinity. Wow...

Moderate 5-19 said:

Changing the words “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to say anything else may just be the single most SHAMEFULL AND STUPID thing I have ever heard. If the Church does not stand for Jesus and the Trinity as the Holy Bible describes it, what is the point of a church at all?

Singleton said:

That's a good question, Moderate, a very good question.

There is a surprisingly wide range of beliefs within the "Christian" community, so broad in fact that I wonder why we don't just substitute the word "Church." In many cases, that is all they have in common.

If you remove the distinctive aspects of Christianity - inerrancy of the Bible, the divinity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, and free gift of grace - you can still have a full fledged "religion," and that is exactly what many of the mainline churches seem to have done.

Once you downplay the elements that comprise orthodox or "evangelical" Christianity, it opens the door to pretty much anything.

People have the freedom to believe whatever type of spiritual doctrines best suit them. For the mainline churches, the move away from orthodoxy has resulted in a growth line-chart roughly approximating the Olympics downhill course. (or as of about 2001 it did; I haven't checked the statistics lately)

The reason for this decline, I believe, is because a church promoting a lowest common denominator version of Christianity doesn't really stand out from many other cultural institutions that teach you to, basically, "behave and play nice with others," including non-Christian religious groups, social welfare organizations, and NPR.

The institutional functions of the mainline churches give them something of a built-in longevity - for a while. Sunday school, social opportunities, charity and other programs, and the positive experience for members of having an edifying place to go each week, can go a long way in keeping the church viable.

Once they dilute the essentials of Christian belief, however, they are just another organization trying to do good in the world, and there is a lot of competition in that area.

James Young said:

It's absolutely fascinating that people from the so-called "main-line" churches continue to marvel over the fact that they are shrinking. What is surprising about that fact?

stay puft marshmallow man said:

NPR

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