5- Decay

PC USA collapse picks up speed

PCUSA membership chart 2014

The PCUSA is a church made up of vibrant congregations doing their best to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities and in the world. Membership declines continue, but on a whole the denomination is settling into the new thing God is creating.

Gradye Parsons, top official of the PC (USA)

The PCUSA has announced it’s largest ever percentage decline for the year 2014. The denomination has lost a staggering 645,895 members since 2005, 28% of the denomination’s members.

Every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.

UPDATE: It's not all bad news for the Presbyterians...

The Rob Bell show continues . . . on Oprah

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Ever wondered what happened to Rob Bell?

In 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.

Now, the man who built a church of an estimated 10,000 people isn’t even attending an organized church. Instead, he surfs the waves near Hollywood and has teamed up with the goddess of pop theology, Oprah Winfrey.

“The Rob Bell Show” will premiere Dec. 21 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, a one-hour show that features Bell and is co-produced by him. He also recently toured the country with Winfrey on a “Life You Want Weekend.”

In many ways, some elements of typical evangelicalism are a good fit for Oprah’s lineup of public confession and personal transformation, said Kathryn Lofton, author of “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.” The difference, however, is that The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

“I think an interesting way to think about Bell and Oprah here is to observe how easily she incorporates him into her pantheon of spiritual advisers. She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,” said Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale.

“One way of looking at this is less a merger of two equal powers than it is the acquisition by one large corporation of another small business.”

“She [Oprah] has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life,” Bell said.

Last year Rob Bell described conservative evangelicalism as a “dying subculture.” 

Quite the contrary, Bell represents a form of religion that defines itself by what it rejects. In a previous generation is was known as theological liberalism. Today it’s known as progressive Christianity or Emergent. The outcome will always be the same. It always leads to the decline and decay of Christian movements. 

TS Eliot’s critique applies equally to this new generation of progressives.

In religion, Liberalism may be characterized by a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous or obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and nowhere to go.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Is 40:8).

 

The Rob Bell show continues . . . on Oprah

NewImage

Ever wondered what happened to Rob Bell?

In 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.

Now, the man who built a church of an estimated 10,000 people isn’t even attending an organized church. Instead, he surfs the waves near Hollywood and has teamed up with the goddess of pop theology, Oprah Winfrey.

“The Rob Bell Show” will premiere Dec. 21 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, a one-hour show that features Bell and is co-produced by him. He also recently toured the country with Winfrey on a “Life You Want Weekend.”

In many ways, some elements of typical evangelicalism are a good fit for Oprah’s lineup of public confession and personal transformation, said Kathryn Lofton, author of “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.” The difference, however, is that The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

“I think an interesting way to think about Bell and Oprah here is to observe how easily she incorporates him into her pantheon of spiritual advisers. She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,” said Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale.

“One way of looking at this is less a merger of two equal powers than it is the acquisition by one large corporation of another small business.”

“She [Oprah] has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life,” Bell said.

Last year Rob Bell described conservative evangelicalism as a “dying subculture.” 

Quite the contrary, Bell represents a form of religion that defines itself by what it rejects. In a previous generation is was known as theological liberalism. Today it’s known as progressive Christianity or Emergent. The outcome will always be the same. It always leads to the decline and decay of Christian movements. 

TS Eliot’s critique applies equally to this new generation of progressives.

In religion, Liberalism may be characterized by a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous or obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and nowhere to go.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Is 40:8).

 

The free fall of Progressive Christianity

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Is there any limit to how far Christian progressives can fall from Jesus' teaching on sexuality?

Apparently not.

What amazes me is not their fall, but the reluctance of those to uphold the teaching of Jesus, and the whole of Scripture, to resist them. We are damned by our silence. We are damned by our support of denominational structures and theological institutions that are unfaithful to a Biblical view of sexuality.

Every movement that accommodates itself to the spirit of the age is headed for decline and decay. No exceptions.

Prime Minister Rudd vs Jesus on same sex marriage

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Australia is in the middle of an election campaign and one of the issues is same sex marriage. Until a few month ago Prime Minister Rudd was opposed to same sex marriage. Now he has change his mind.

Here's a well written and biblically sound response from Sandy Grant, senior minister at St Michael’s Anglican Cathedral in Wollongong.

Last night, on a serious Australian current affairs program, Q&A, our current serving Prime Minister, a self-professed Christian, grossly caricatured the Bible.

A pastor questioned the PM’s change of mind on same-sex marriage, pointing out that Jesus says, “A man shall leave his father and mother and be married”—summarising Matthew 19:4-6—and asked why someone calling himself a Christian does not believe the words of Jesus in the Bible.

The PM replied,

“Well if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.”

This received the most enormous applause of the night, which incidentally seems to indicate both the depth of biblical illiteracy and the hostility to Christian morality.

Keep reading and understand why the Bible and Jesus have never condoned slavery or same sex marriage.

Unfortunately, our Prime Minister is a progress Christian who places current social trends above the authority of Jesus and the Scriptures. Every Christian movement that goes down this path is headed for decline and decay. There are no exceptions.

From hope to decline: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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Robert Benne tells the story of the decline and decay of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA provides a glimpse into the future of a new generation of progressive evangelicals who are wandering down the same treacherous paths.

Like most American denominations, membership in all the Lutheran churches peaked at about 1965. Optimism about the future of Lutheranism in America abounded. That is, until the last merger produced the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988.

Its foundation was characterized by a strong attempt by radicals to start a “new church.”

Increasingly the theology of Protestant liberalism crept in in three key areas—the nature of salvation itself; the decisiveness and uniqueness of Christ as Savior; and the familiar sexuality issues. One need do nothing to be saved, for God loves you unconditionally, just as you are, by virtue of your creation. Repentance and amendment of life are beside the point. Christianity and the other great religions are on different tracks to the same destination; evangelism is replaced by dialogue. Christian moral requirements in sexual life are outdated and need sharp revision. Inclusivism, universalism, and revisionism became the leit-motifs of the ELCA at its elite levels. Slowly they have filtered down to the parish level.

The trouble is, such a lax vision hardly inspires one to become a serious member of the church.* If God loves you just the way you are and all will be saved, why bother? Enjoy cultural libertarianism rather than struggle with difficult moral standards. Join the quasi-religious social movements such as militant environmentalism directly rather than filter ones concerns through the church. So the young are drawn to the culture rather than the church. Alarmed intense believers go to other churches or join dissident Lutheran bodies. Many in the local parishes that remain in the ELCA try to seal themselves off from the controversies provoked by the ascendance of liberal theology and ethics.

The results have been devastating. Rather than being exceptional in their promise for renewing American Protestantism, mainstream Lutherans have become exceptional in the rapidity and extensity of their decline. The National Council of Churches reports that the ELCA has “the sharpest rate of membership decline” among all mainline Protestant denominations.

more…

The coming collapse of the PC (USA)

PCUSA_logo The Presbyterian Church (USA) has released a report on the “Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2011.”

The report reveals that the PC (USA) is old and white. 94% of the randomly selected members reported their race as “white or Caucasian.”

The racial-ethnic makeup of the denomination has remained virtually unchanged in the last forty years. This discontinuity makes the future of the denomination untenable since it has not reached either immigrant communities or people of color in any meaningful way.

The denomination also continues to age. The median age of members rose from 60 to 63 between 2008 and 2011.

This is the same PC (USA) that recently banished the wrath of God from their hymnals.

The PC (USA) is just another example of the demise of mainline churches that have wandered away from the faith that gave them life in the first place.

Meanwhile a new generation of "progressive" evangelicals is repeating the same mistake today.