It is almost the end of the liberal mainline movement that sprung up in Europe, and England in the late 19th century , then strongly influencing the US theological colleges with its hordes of Higher Criticism theologians for the next 100 years. By the 1950’s they rule Christendom with their ecumenical movements in the World Council of Churches which limited the post colonial evangelism to one of activism and doing social good and equality.
The claims by the Episcopal church Rachel Evans and the Metropolitan Community Church that just about every denomination in America including evangelicals is seeing decline in numbers is misleading at best. But it is good for them to believe in a lie because they can’t stop their own steep decline with an inclusive and social gospel negating much of biblical christianity and faith in the finished works of the Cross.
The recent disinvestment of Israel by the mainline United Churches of Christ shows an increasing move now to the left until it is hardly recognizable as a biblical Christian Church. “Only believe” is the motto rather than “believe in Jesus” as Lord and Savior. Once, you take away Jesus and exalt a Creator God in some mysterious creative works (as they don’t believe in literal creation), the church becomes a metaphorical imagination.
Since, the creation of Israel and the return to Jerusalem in 1965 to 1969 period, the UCC has lost more than 1 million members todate from 2070k members to 998k. Thus, the return of Jerusalem to the Jews, albeit symbolically, has starting a countdown of 50 years of remaining grace for the Progressive/ Universalist churches.
In contrast, the Church of God in Christ grew from 425k in 1965 to 5419k in 2012. The AOG grew from 572k in 1965 to 3030k in 2013. This is not witstanding the phenominal growth of independent evangelical charismatic churches in the last 20 years.
In the 1994, the UCC worship attendance was 28.8% under 50, 32.6% under 100, and 18.5% under 150. In year 2014, this tumbled down to 46.5% was under 50, 33% under 100, and 12% under 150. Once, a church is under 150, they can’t effectively support pastors/deacons and the loans/maintenance for a permanent church without a generous endowments. When the next financial crisis hits and the endowments are reduced, 47% may been in deep strive with a large building and under 50 attendance.
And yet, the mainline churches are living in denial claiming that their decline in part of the overall decline of church going in United States. The percentages of Christians may have declined overall, but the numbers of the evangelical charismatics are sky rocketing, the evangelicals and Catholics stagnant, but the progressives falling off the cliff in terms of numbers.
They tried to progress beyond the finished works of the Cross of Calvary to save and deliver, but ended up in the reverse gear to a religious works of the law no different than the Pharisees. Love is testified rather than Jesus, for when we testify of Christ, in is His love that matters and not love in general. When we testify of love, we will fail because our love is limited. There is no salvation in love per say, except when we accept the love of Christ at the Cross. Denying Christ as the way, the truth and the life, is rejecting Christ’ love even though we may adamantly testify of love.
When we first realize that everyone is equal, only the privileged will boast loudly because there is no such thing as being equal when it is practically defined as wealth and power rather than the liberal binaries of race, gender, and sexual orientation. It will take 1 hour to reach church using public transport versus 15 minutes for the elite in an expensive European car. Equality is only on the surface, and we come back to the harsh realities after church when we see them driving off in their BMW’s to do shopping, fine dining and facial, and travel first class to exotic destinations.
When we attempt to be inclusive, we always end up being exclusive and emphasized our difference eg being gay, lesbian, male, female etc. In straight churches where we are inclusive in Christ completed works on the Cross, we end up losing ourselves. Ironically, when we emphasis on being inclusive without the Cross, the center becomes ourselves and not the other.
We have almost reach a hundred years of the span of mainline churches and their universalist theological colleges. They may be no more in the next 50 years and this is sad for the great role of social progress played by this churches, their endowments keeping them alive.
Jesus is the Savior, both on earth as is in heaven. We are to bring the salvation grace of God in this life, whilst declaring that Jesus is way, the life, the truth for eternal life. It is the life now, and the life eternal. This salvation that we bring on earth should be founded on supplying the needs of food, and healing, whilst baptizing by water and by the Spirit into Christ death and resurrection, following the commission of Jesus to make disciples to continue on the work unto the great harvest of salvation unto life on earth and life eternal.