Mainstream Christianity in USA is dying (survey)

Athanasius

Pelican
HermeticAlly said:
The problem with a lot of big churches is that they don't want to be seen as serious. They think levity, emotional incontinence, and sillyness are virtues - which make them superior to those stuff, old-fashioned churches.

I could see that with Boomers. These are people who often grew up sitting in mainline churches that were rapidly liberalizing and just rotely going through the motions. There's a period in the life of a declining denomination where it is in limbo, a house divided between the faithful and apostates. Evangelical fervor wanes but there is not enough liberalism for it to go as crazy as the mainlines have gone today. Also, the greatest generation was a more serious, staid generation. The Jesus movement of the 60s and 70s was a reaction to this decline and the dearth of excitement. I have a charismatic Boomer relative who to this day simply associates godly worship with "the feels" -- praise songs, raised hands -- and he considers liturgical worship "dead worship."

However, with millennials, how many of them have even been to a traditional church? Maybe when grandma dies. For a generation "the feels" has been the predominant church situation.
 

Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
When I was a kid I was forced to attend a non-historic Christian church and it was awful. Later I was reintroduced to Christianity via the C-Rock scene and felt nothing for it. Even at age 18 it was an obvious farce. Shitty bands playing loud, crappy music and adding Christ to the lyrics as an excuse to lose their higher senses to speaker-volume induced mindlessness.

When you see a preacher shouting through a bank of mega-speakers remember what's in play. Loud noise robs you of your highest mental faculties, which is why Catholic and Orthodox mass are quiet events while televangelists want you to twist the volume knob to 11.

Meanwhile every time I attend mass in my quaint little local church I walk away feeling like my soul has just had a shower.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
infowarrior1 said:
@Athanasius
Interesting. It seems no traditional high church is immune from subversion.
Even the SSPX community that is advertised recently full of traditional catholics I believe wouldnt be immune either.
Subverters like locusts continously look for said communities to subvert. The more visible the more of them there are.

Gary North clued me in on something in "Crossing Fingers:" Liberals and subverters go after money. They can't grow churches on their own, because a church that believes in nothing supernatural is pointless and people eventually abandon them. Non-denominational churches and megachurches sometimes come from bad motives like a desire to kingdom-build free of denominational oversight, but on the other hand one driver toward non-denominational, independent churches has been to prevent subversion. Wealthy, endowed seminaries are also attractive to subverters and liberals. In a sizable denomination, it's nearly always true that local church bodies are much more conservative than bishops/episcopates/hierarchies and those in the seminaries. I have to imagine that's true in EO and the RCC as well. Once liberals fully poz a wealthy church, they slowly suck out the marrow and then retire to a decent pension. This is the story of nearly all mainline denominations: the ELCA, the UCC, PCUSA, ECUSA, etc.

Excerpt from Crossed Fingers follows. I realize we have people here from different denominations, but I think you'll find it amusing how it captures the issues if you can look past that element (read: I love my non-calvinist brethren). Note: When North talks about these liberal pastors being well-educated, he doesn't mean wise and thoughtful. If you've ever conversed with these people you'll know what I mean.

America in the twentieth century has offered a three-fold ecclesiastical development.
1. Theologically conservative, creedal, hierarchical denominations grow more liberal as they grow larger and wealthier, thereby attracting the services of pastors who have been educated in state-funded and state-accredited colleges and universities.

2. Theologically liberal hierarchical denominations grow smaller as their members discover what their well-educated pastors actually believe.

3. Theologically conservative, non-creedal, non-hierarchical churches enjoy most of the growth. Their lack of formal academic requirements for the ministry inoculates them against the worst features of liberalism. Their freedom from hierarchical control allows the members to fund the theology they prefer, which is rarely liberal.

This has created an institutional dilemma for the leaders of theologically conservative, creedal, hierarchical churches. To grow, they apparently have only three choices: to go soft creedally, to go independent, or both. ...

Are you a well-catechized Presbyterian? If so, you are the member of a tiny minority group. People such as you have been in one of the following situations since 1960: (1) members of a large, wealthy, but shrinking denomination that has been taken over by liberals; (2) members of a medium-sized, officially Calvinistic, and growing denomination that has been taken over at the top by people who are more concerned with Church growth than theology, and who do not make it sufficiently difficult to penetrate by Arminians, neo-evangelicals, Scofieldians, and Baptists who happen to sprinkle babies and who want in on the deal; (3) members of a tiny, hard-pressed Calvinist denomination that Arminians and liberals do not regard as worth the effort to take over. ... It boils down to this: you've been sold out to liberals; you're being sold out to neo-evangelicals who will later sell you out to liberals; or you're not yet worth buying.
 

kel

Ostrich
HermeticAlly said:
The problem with a lot of big churches is that they don't want to be seen as serious. They think levity, emotional incontinence, and sillyness are virtues - which make them superior to those stuff, old-fashioned churches.

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Churches leaned hard into the "get with the times, gotta modernize and be hip to pull people back in". It just ends up being cringe and empty. Someone who's looking for an empty-calorie religion that puts no responsibility on them and merely tells them their fine just how they are, that whatever is popular in society right now is good, is not someone you should want to attract to your religion and not someone who'll hang around long, anyways, before running off to the next shiny thing. And trying to appeal to this 90% of the population drives away the 10% who are looking for a meaningful, transcendent religious experience and the faith community around it. Why would I want to go to a church that tells me it's all good, whatever reddit has updooted lately is moral and righteous? Why should I bother showing up for that?
 

Athanasius

Pelican
The kind of people who lead these liberal churches rarely have charisma. They tend to be relatively well respected, short haired women, the kind of people who, when you tell a joke and everyone else laughs, goes "You're funny." I have never figured out what motivates them or why they bother pretending to believe something they deny (1 Cor 15:17-19), but I suspect it's a desire to mold minds. If I go to another liberal church for a funeral or something, I do plan to start asking. These churches are nearly always dwindling and generally have an age 60+ demographic. There's no younger generation. That's why most of them will likely be gone in 25 years.

Liberal church leaders are functionally Unitarian. Unitarianism is a catch-all umbrella religion that invites anyone who denies real Christianity or conservative politics. The men don't tend to be manly, the women don't tend to be feminine. A milder stridency is the norm over this type of craziness. These are the kind of people who like Elizabeth Warren. They recycle and they mention their pet's name in their bios.

I tell everyone in these churches who'll listen to leave them and go to a real church. Machen had it right 100 years ago: Christianity and liberalism are separate religions.
 
@Athanasius

Not to mention that women leaders are a distortion or inversion of the image of Jesus and his flock.

With the pastor representing Christ the shepherd.

And the symbolism that it represents.
 

MichaelWitcoff

Ostrich
Orthodox
The first church I ever attended, a Protestant church to which I still owe a tremendous debt in terms of learning what Christianity is and who the people in the Bible are in the first place, had a "female pastor" program running towards the end of my stay there. I didn't know anything about it at first, but eventually I of course came across the Bible passages which strictly forbid having women "instruct" grown men in matters of faith, at least in the way which caused St. Paul to write against it so fervently in order to correct the behavior. I asked one of the female "pastors" about the verse, from a place of genuine curiosity and not even one of real confrontation, and her response was "that was written a long time ago."

When women desire to be "pastors," they should recognize said desire as prideful rebellion and work with their spiritual father in order to quell that particular passion so as to better align with what Christianity has always taught. Even if they mean well and want to help teach others about the faith, they should recognize that there is an appropriate way and inappropriate way to do so - and, of course, that by insisting on becoming "pastors" while overtly ignoring sections of the Bible they feel are "outdated," they are disqualifying themselves from the right to ever be listened to on these topics in the first place.

If a woman insists on being a "pastor" and derides parts of the Bible that forbid it, who could ever trust her to lead them faithfully into Christian truth? Her mere position has already told you that she has no respect for that truth in the first place, and that she chose her pride over submission to Christ. That conversation I had with her was one of the final nails in the coffin for me before I started to explore more traditional denominations, which is ultimately what led me to find Orthodoxy.

At the end of the day though, of course, it is up to the men in the church to maintain tradition and tell women who want to be pastors that they will have to choose a different vocation instead. As I'm fond of saying, most of the world's problems are caused by men who failed to say "no" when they should have.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Athanasius said:
Liberal church leaders are functionally Unitarian. Unitarianism is a catch-all umbrella religion that invites anyone who denies real Christianity or conservative politics. The men don't tend to be manly, the women don't tend to be feminine.

Unitarianism used to be a Christian denomination. Harvard University originally began as a Unitarian seminary. Even back in the 17th and 18th century it was already known as one of the most liberal denominations. All the liberalization that's been seen with other mainline Protestant denominations in the last few decades was already going on with Unitarianism long before. Decades ago the Unitarian Church dropped any pretense of being a Christian denomination and no longer identify as one so props to them for honesty. Currently they are just a generic religion for people who want to have the church experience and to have the trappings of religion - the ministers in the church still have uniforms that resemble Christian minister uniforms and the services still vaguely resemble Protestant services - but who don't actually want anyone to tell them what to believe or to impose any sort of spiritual discipline on them. I would say this and Paganism/Wicca are the two religions that match the spirit of these times the best.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
Wutang said:
Athanasius said:
Liberal church leaders are functionally Unitarian. Unitarianism is a catch-all umbrella religion that invites anyone who denies real Christianity or conservative politics. The men don't tend to be manly, the women don't tend to be feminine.

Unitarianism used to be a Christian denomination. Harvard University originally began as a Unitarian seminary. Even back in the 17th and 18th century it was already known as one of the most liberal denominations. All the liberalization that's been seen with other mainline Protestant denominations in the last few decades was already going on with Unitarianism long before. Decades ago the Unitarian Church dropped any pretense of being a Christian denomination and no longer identify as one so props to them for honesty. Currently they are just a generic religion for people who want to have the church experience and to have the trappings of religion - the ministers in the church still have uniforms that resemble Christian minister uniforms and the services still vaguely resemble Protestant services - but who don't actually want anyone to tell them what to believe or to impose any sort of spiritual discipline on them. I would say this and Paganism/Wicca are the two religions that match the spirit of these times the best.

Harvard actually began as a Christian college, founded by Puritans in the 17th century, then was infected by the enlightenment. The Divinity school started in the 19th century and was Unitarian, as Harvard had been fully corrupted by then.

Unitarianism has always been heretical, as it denied from the beginning that there are 3 persons in the Godhead (denies Christ's deity). Long ago, Unitarianism had a more strict doctrinal basis, but today the UU is an umbrella under which any liberal may shade under... New Agers, tree worshippers, atheists... just not orthodox faith. They care about stuff like climate change.

 

Athanasius

Pelican
By the time a church is putting women in the pulpit, it's demise has been in motion for decades. Before that it was issuing divinity degrees to women, it began talking about how the ladies need more of a leadership role, there were study committees to study things the Bible obviously prohibits, then there was push to ordain women deacons and elders, etc. And not all the time, but most of the time, well before all THAT it was denying the authority of Scripture ("Has God really said?").

And that's what it really comes back to. If you argue with feminists, they'll give you some standard arguments to fool the undiscerning, but by the time you talk about the order of creation, how God sought Adam when Eve sinned, the clear prohibitions in Paul's epistles, passages saying elders are the husband of one wife, the fact that no Biblical leaders in history (eg. the Levitical priesthood) were women except in exceptional circumstances, that all the disciples were men, that this was the universal practice of the church until the 19th century, the submission passages, etc... Eventually these people will usually say that Paul was a product of his time and reveal their own disregard for the Bible.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
MichaelWitcoff said:
The first church I ever attended, a Protestant church to which I still owe a tremendous debt in terms of learning what Christianity is and who the people in the Bible are in the first place, had a "female pastor" program running towards the end of my stay there. I didn't know anything about it at first, but eventually I of course came across the Bible passages which strictly forbid having women "instruct" grown men in matters of faith, at least in the way which caused St. Paul to write against it so fervently in order to correct the behavior. I asked one of the female "pastors" about the verse, from a place of genuine curiosity and not even one of real confrontation, and her response was "that was written a long time ago."

When women desire to be "pastors," they should recognize said desire as prideful rebellion and work with their spiritual father in order to quell that particular passion so as to better align with what Christianity has always taught. Even if they mean well and want to help teach others about the faith, they should recognize that there is an appropriate way and inappropriate way to do so - and, of course, that by insisting on becoming "pastors" while overtly ignoring sections of the Bible they feel are "outdated," they are disqualifying themselves from the right to ever be listened to on these topics in the first place.

If a woman insists on being a "pastor" and derides parts of the Bible that forbid it, who could ever trust her to lead them faithfully into Christian truth? Her mere position has already told you that she has no respect for that truth in the first place, and that she chose her pride over submission to Christ. That conversation I had with her was one of the final nails in the coffin for me before I started to explore more traditional denominations, which is ultimately what led me to find Orthodoxy.

At the end of the day though, of course, it is up to the men in the church to maintain tradition and tell women who want to be pastors that they will have to choose a different vocation instead. As I'm fond of saying, most of the world's problems are caused by men who failed to say "no" when they should have.

God cares the most about people.

Therefore, giving birth and raising kids is actually the most important job of all.

Women won't realize this on their own being, as they are, deep in the grip of SPIRITUAL FOMO.

It is up to men to constantly remind them that what they are doing is the most important thing of all, and they should be less worried about who gets to say what.

Anyway, one of my personal heuristics for judging the sincerity of someone who claims to be Christian is how well they listen, not how well they talk.

Women, as usual, are completely missing the boat and wallowing in envy instead of valuing what they have.

It is up to us to set them straight, and mean it. Raising children is the most important thing, and everything else serves that.
 

Isaac Jordan

Kingfisher
Gold Member
MichaelWitcoff said:
As I'm fond of saying, most of the world's problems are caused by men who failed to say "no" when they should have.

It's probably not due to chance that the very first story in the Bible involves a woman sinning and a man failing to put her in her place.
 

kel

Ostrich
If you want some rage-bait about the clown world situation of religion, the short and now defunct WokeReligion twitter handle collects some of the cringeist of this phenomenon. It was run by the owner of the now-banned WokeCapital handle, which was even better and much more active. Press F.
 
Athanasius said:
Harvard actually began as a Christian college, founded by Puritans in the 17th century, then was infected by the enlightenment. The Divinity school started in the 19th century and was Unitarian, as Harvard had been fully corrupted by then.

Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown has written that Harvard's subversion had to do with their desire to be "nonsectarian" throughout all of America's interdenominational squabbling. They made a habit of not taking a stand on any issues, and eventually ended up where they are today, with atheists teaching at the divinity school.

Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
The Seven Principles of Unitarianism

https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles

st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

I don't see how this differs any at all from secular humanism. It's basically secular humanism but for people who want to LARP as churchgoers.
 

Athanasius

Pelican
< Right.

There are a whole lot of mainline "Christian" churches that are every bit as bad as the UU. The worst are the ones who make a big thing of being inclusive.

If you have that, then your service may be more like this one. This church appears to still have membership in the ELCA (Lutheran mainline denom). Most ELCA churches aren't this crazy, but it doesn't say much for a denom that allows a church like this to remain in good standing. (I'm guessing at least 80-90% of mainline church pastors would deny cardinal Christian doctrines like the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, etc.)

 
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