• Chris Ryan

    Hmmm…Ralph Reed’s a grifter, and Franklin Graham’s insinuations that Obama is a Muslim make him unfit for his father’s mantle. I did appreciate Moore’s comments that Christians are free to be “more authentic” now than we’ve ever been. Shedding our ties to the GOP would be a necessary step toward doing that and I hope we get on with that, and soon. I think the single biggest reason Millenials are fleeing pews is because they believe Christianity is about electing conservative politicians, not about spiritual salvation and helping one another.

    • Ian Shaw

      Like you, I agree that Graham should have refrained from insinuating what President Obama is, when he would have been much more justified insinuating what he is not, based on his voting record, support for organizations and actions.

      I guess I see a bit more of a contrast. I am fortunate enough to go to a very grounded biblical preaching church. I have seen tremendous growth in the millenials coming to our church (especially those with children). As a millenial myself (Gen Y), I think we have grown tired of the puppies and rainbow messages. We want/desire to hear a message that is more ‘meat and potatoes’ rather than just desert. It has to have substance, it needs to make us look in the mirror and constantly check/challenge ourselves and our hearts.

      Solid biblical preaching does that and it gives awesome authenticity.

      • James Stanton

        I agree with this. I haven’t noticed any significant exodus of millenials. As you said, most welcome undiluted, substantive Biblical preaching.

      • Chris Ryan

        Time reports that according to Romney’s poll director 64% of Evangelical Millenials support legalizing gay marriage. I’m not sure what that portends for evangelical churches, but it does suggest that many of them are on board with “rainbow” messages if not messages abt puppies 😉

    • Johnny Mason

      Chris, your statement would be correct if the millennials were fleeing the pews of conservative/evangelical churches to more liberal churches, but the liberal churches (which focus on social justice issues, helping one another, etc) have seen a more rapid decline in membership than their conservative counterparts with no sign of letting up.

      • James Bradshaw

        Popularity has no bearing on whether something is true or not. Fundamentalist Islam is extremely popular, precisely because of its rigid ideology, but is it “true”? I don’t think so, and neither do you. There is a large percentage of the human population that wants and needs certainty in this uncertain life. Offer easy and pat answers to life’s mysteries and you’ll gain a multitude of followers.

      • buddyglass

        I have some thoughts on this. With no stats to back them up, so take with a huge grain of salt. My suspicion is that, in the past, liberal mainline churches were able to replicate themselves almost entirely by their members having children and those children becoming members. Obviously this also happens in conservative, evangelical churches, but my guess is that those churches gain members by way of new converts at a much greater clip than the liberal mainline ones.

        Both liberal mainline and conservative evangelical churches have suffered from the trend of young people leaving the church, but the latter were able to replace them to some degree with new converts, whereas the liberal mainline churches weren’t. Also, birth rates have declined over time, and I have a hunch that the birth rate among members of liberal mainline churches has declined much more steeply than the birth rate among members of conservative evangelical churches. So, in part, liberal mainline churches have “shrunk” (in part) because their members just haven’t had enough babies.

        • Lauren Bertrand

          buddyglass: “I have a hunch that the birth rate among members of liberal mainline churches has declined much more steeply than the birth rate among members of conservative evangelical churches.”

          I’d say that virtually all Mainline churches would agree with you. They’re wringing their hands over this topic, and rightfully so. The “Seven Sisters of Mainline Protestantism” were still the dominant religious/political force in America up until the 1950s, about the same time contraception became widely available. As an attendee of a Mainline church, I can assure that, while some are dominated by the same gray hair contingent that marginally supports the Symphony (more or less the same crowd), the Mainline churches in fashionable yuppie neighborhoods tend to do fairl well. The big difference is that these Mainline liberal yuppies are having 1-2 children after the age of 35, while in the Evangelical churches they’re having 4-5 children before the age of 27. Mainline churches took to birth control like a fish to water, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Many mainline churches have abandoned their Sunday school or children’s programs–they simply don’t have enough children to sustain them.

          I’m not saying there are no other reasons for the decline of Mainline and the (at least occasional) growth of Evangelicalism, but in the end, low birth rates have to be the biggest factor. Mainline America has a profile more akin to Japan; Evangelical America is more like the Philippines (Roman Catholic influence notwithstanding).

      • James Stanton

        Johnny, the differences between Evangelical churches and liberal churches are not over social justice issues or helping one another. All churches strive to do these things in some way or another as they are part of the domain of the church. The difference, as you well know, is over theological liberalism.

  • Curt Day

    The Conservative Christians on the panel avoided answering the question initially asked. They failed to interpret why fewer people are attending churches and the answer is rather obvious. It is because Christianity has what has become an unfavorable track record in playing a vital part in the Establishment. So as people reject the status quo, they reject that which supports it. And as people accept the status quo, they regard some institutions that do not distinguish themselves from the rest as being unnecessarily repetitious and trivial.

  • Bill Smith

    Part of this also is that Christianity has allowed itself to be defined by the media and society and the message has not been largely positive. Part of this is religion’s (not christianity) fault and part of it is also a very biased media defining christians and associating them with many negatives. It is the way it is unfortunately.

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