"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mainline Churchs vs Conservative Churchs - Al Mohler

"A more comprehensive analysis has been offered by researchers Dean R. Hoge, Benton Johnson, and Donald A. Luidens, who conducted a major research project directed at churches affiliated with mainline Protestant denominations. Their work, Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers, acknowledges that the basic dynamic behind church growth and decline is theological rather than sociological or economic.

These researchers argue that the most important factor making churches strong is "the presence of a compelling teaching concerning the ultimate purpose and destiny of humankind." Dean Kelley identified this "compelling teaching" as "meanings." These meanings make demands upon believers, and these believers are far more likely to congregate together, rather than to join more liberal churches. Holding to strong beliefs, conservative Christians are less likely to accept weaker beliefs as being equally valid.

Hoge, Johnson, and Luidens are clear: "Our findings show that belief is the single best predictor of church participation, but it is orthodox Christian belief, and not the tenets of lay liberalism, that impels people to be involved in church."

When these researchers speak of "lay liberalism," they refer to a phenomenon they observed among mainline baby boomers, whose vision of Christianity involves very few definite beliefs or moral obligations. "Although lay liberalism has several different versions," they explain, "its defining feature is the rejection of the claim that Christianity, or any other faith, is the only true religion. Lay liberals have no compelling truth, no 'good news,' to proclaim, and few of them share the views that they do have with their friends and acquaintances."

JB here: I, being a restless type, finding it hard to sit still, be quiet and be somewhat confined, have always found church attendance to be a personal challenge. I believe that if the ancient Scriptures did not call about the followers of Jesus Christ to congregate regularly -- I wouldn't congregate. But it is clear that the assembling of believers is a requirement and must serve an important function. Therefore I try to put aside my restless/hyper-activity and be a regular participant with others who pursue after Jesus Christ. Somehow, it seems the least I can do.
If I had less intense beliefs, I wouldn't attend.

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