You absolutely must read Charlotte Allenâ€™s opinion editorial from Sundayâ€™s Los Angeles Times: â€œLiberal Christianity Is Paying for Its Sins.â€ Here are some highlights:
You want to have gay sex? Be a female bishop? Change Godâ€™s name to Sophia? Go ahead. The just-elected Episcopal presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is a one-woman combination of all these things, having voted for Robinson, blessed same-sex couples in her Nevada diocese, prayed to a female Jesus at the Columbus convention and invited former Newark, N.J., bishop John Shelby Spong, famous for denying Christâ€™s divinity, to address her priests.
The Presbyterian Church USA . . . was turning itself into the laughingstock of the blogosphere by tacitly approving alternative designations for the supposedly sexist Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Among the suggested names were â€œMother, Child and Wombâ€ and â€œRock, Redeemer and Friend.â€ Moved by the spirit of the Presbyterian revisionists, Beliefnet blogger Rod Dreher held a â€œName That Trinityâ€ contest. Entries included â€œRock, Scissors and Paperâ€ and â€œLarry, Curly and Moeâ€ . . .
When a church doesnâ€™t take itself seriously, neither do its members. . . When your religion says â€œwhateverâ€ on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, itâ€™s a short step to deciding that one of the things you donâ€™t want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church.
It doesnâ€™t help matters that the mainline churches were pioneers in ordaining women to the clergy, to the point that 25% of all Episcopal priests these days are female, as are 29% of all Presbyterian pastors, according to the two churches. A causal connection between a critical mass of female clergy and a mass exodus from the churches, especially among men, would be difficult to establish, but is it entirely a coincidence? Sociologist Rodney Stark (â€The Rise of Christianityâ€) and historian Philip Jenkins (â€The Next Christendomâ€) contend that the more demands, ethical and doctrinal, that a faith places upon its adherents, the deeper the adherentsâ€™ commitment to that faith. Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, which preach biblical morality, have no trouble saying that Jesus is Lord, and they generally eschew womenâ€™s ordination. The churches are growing robustly, both in the United States and around the world.
(HT: Al Mohler)