Thank you for your two fine articles, “Mainline decline” and “What’s the future?”
It’s encouraging indeed to learn that someone who has the ear of the
presiding bishop is knowledgeable about this urgent issue. When you
consider the demographics of church attendance, the numbers are even
more alarming than those shown in the growth/decline chart. Those
gray-haired women and balding men who now occupy the pews are the same
innocent young children who attended Sunday school, vacation Bible
school and church camp in the ’50s and ’60s.
Margery S. Johnstone
San Diego, Calif.
The sociological explanation for the decline in mainline denominations, according to The Churching of America
by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, is that mainlines do not ask much and
do not promise much (mainline churches and ELCA clergy are, more or
less, universalists) and so they really are not different from the
world. A prophetic interpretation might be, mainline churches are more
in line with the spirit of the times (or at least spirit of the
educated, liberal class) than the Spirit of God, of Christ and of the
Scriptures. I pray and work for the ELCA to return to justification
through faith in the crucified, to holy living and to serving those in
need, as the Lord, his apostles and the prophets direct us.
Green Bay, Wis.
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