6 ways mainline churches should respond to decline

Ben Irwin

empty-pewsChristianity is dying!

No it’s not.

Yes it is.

It’s just a flesh wound!

Anyway, it’s mostly liberal mainline churches that are doomed.

Evangelicals are in trouble too.

All right… we’ll call it a draw.

That basically sums up debate over the Pew study on America’s changing religious landscape.

The rise of the “nones,” those who claim no religious affiliation, can be partly explained by the collapse of cultural Christianity, as Ed Stetzer argues. Mainline churches have been hit the hardest because we had the greatest share of “nominals”—those affiliated with the church for reasons other than a deep-seated commitment to Christ. Our churches once enjoyed disproportionate cultural influence, wealth, and privilege—which is why half of America’s presidents were either Episcopalian, Methodist, or Presbyterian.

Those days are gone. Christianity’s cultural dominance is waning, so there’s little reason left to be part of the church other than a deep-seated commitment to…

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