Tag Archives: evangelicals

Where have all the denominations gone?

In the Wall Street Journal

Are we witnessing the death of America’s Christian denominations? Studies conducted by secular and Christian organizations indicate that we are. Fewer and fewer American Christians, especially Protestants, strongly identify with a particular religious communion—Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc. According to the Baylor Survey on Religion, nondenominational churches now represent the second largest group of Protestant churches in America, and they are also the fastest growing.

More and more Christians choose a church not on the basis of its denomination, but on the basis of more practical matters. Is the nursery easy to find? Do I like the music? Are there support groups for those grappling with addiction?

It’s not all bad news for denominations

Where hymnody once came from the spontaneity of slave spirituals or camp meetings, worship songs are increasingly now focus-grouped by executives in Nashville. The evangelical "Veggie Tales" cartoons—animated Bible stories featuring talking cucumbers and tomatoes—probably shape more children in their view of scripture than any denominational catechism does these days. A church that requires immersion baptism before taking communion, as most Baptist traditions do, will likely get indignant complaints from evangelical visitors who feel like they’ve been denied service at a restaurant.

But there are some signs of a growing church-focused evangelicalism. Many young evangelicals may be poised to reconsider denominational doctrine, if for no other reason than they are showing signs of fatigue with typical evangelical consumerism.

For example, artists such as Keith and Kristen Getty and Sojourn Music are reaching a new generation with music written for and performed by local congregations. Yes, prosperity preacher Joyce Meyer sells her book "Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes," which encourages Christians to "lighten up" by eating cookies and buying shoes (seriously). But, at the same time, Alabama preacher David Platt is igniting thousands of young people with his book "Radical," which calls Christians to rescue their faith by lowering their standard of living and giving their time and money to Church-based charities.


Evangelicals you don’t know

USA Today has a good article on the changing face of evangelicalism on their blog.

Fitting for springtime, we seem to be in a season of change for evangelicalism and the way it shows up in our culture and politics. There’s the “emerging church,” with its evangelical zeal for Jesus but refusal to be bound by the old Christian right’s playing style. There’s the changing dialogue around abortion, with more conservatives realizing that their message does not resonate unless it addresses the well-being of life outside as well as inside the womb. And among all the other change that’s budding, more and more born-again believers are emphasizing their religious calling to care for the planet and the poor.

Christian Conservatives Lament Lack of GOP Candidate

Much lamenting, gnashing of teeth.

Last month in Salt Lake City, a group of conservatives that included Dobson discussed running a third-party candidate if Giuliani is the GOP nominee. Sources said several prominent Christian conservative leaders are planning to meet again this weekend after Giuliani’s conference speech to determine if they need to throw their weight behind another candidate.

Does anyone really think the religious right would basically deliver the presidency to Hillary Clinton and run a third party candidate (I wonder what Ross Perot is doing and what he thinks about abortion?)  Of course they are (I have read some of their books) but by doing this they would make themselves the enemy of the GOP for a generation and hurt their chances for ever making an impact (which may be a good thing).  Of course they may be oblivious to the fact that their influence is in decline which is why the GOP doesn’t pay them the attention they want.

Of course James Carville thinks the GOP nominee will be Jeb Bush in 2008.