Mainline Decline, Part 1

Dave Shiflett has written a provocative book about the decline of liberal Christianity in America and the concomitant ascendancy of historically orthodox Christianity.  The book is called Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity (New York: Sentinel, 2005).  It should be noted that Shiflett himself is not a conservative, and his portrait of conservative churches is not always flattering.  The facts are indisputable, though: all of the traditionally liberal denominations are in numeric decline, while conservative churches of various kinds are holding their own or growing.

Shiflett opens his book by quoting something said to a conservative seminary student by a classmate when they were sharing lunch at a mainline seminary: "We have figured out your problem. You're the only one here who believes in God." 

From where I'm sitting, faith in God is a good problem to have.  But the statement shows what is really at stake in the perennial conflict between Christianity and liberalism: the liberal thinks the believer has a problem because, in fact, the liberal has a problem with God.


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