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Author Topic: Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are Losing Members  (Read 1711 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 12, 2011, 10:04:59 PM »

So much for all the hype about more fundamentalist churches growing by leaps and bounds. It looks as if all religion is declining and American may be headed down the same road as Western Europe.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/12/southern-baptists-fewest-baptisms-since-1950s-losing-members_n_875472.html?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk2%7C215809


Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are Losing Members


Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, have dipped to their lowest point in 60 years, according to a new report.

Last year, there were 332,321 baptisms in the church, which is 17,416 less than 2009, according to the report from Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources. There was only one baptism for every 48 Southern Baptists in the country in 2010. Sixty years ago, there one baptism per every 19 church members. In eight out of 10 years, the number of baptisms performed have declined...
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 10:07:07 PM by Robb » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2011, 10:29:07 PM »

So much for all the hype about more fundamentalist churches growing by leaps and bounds. It looks as if all religion is declining and American may be headed down the same road as Western Europe.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/12/southern-baptists-fewest-baptisms-since-1950s-losing-members_n_875472.html?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk2%7C215809


Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are Losing Members


Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, have dipped to their lowest point in 60 years, according to a new report.

Last year, there were 332,321 baptisms in the church, which is 17,416 less than 2009, according to the report from Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources. There was only one baptism for every 48 Southern Baptists in the country in 2010. Sixty years ago, there one baptism per every 19 church members. In eight out of 10 years, the number of baptisms performed have declined...


I'd almost say that Orthodoxy is one of the few Christian Churches that isn't in decline...
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2011, 11:03:48 PM »

Don't forget that non-denominational churches are growing
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 11:48:53 PM »

And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 12:02:19 AM »

And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.

Although I know that many Southern Baptists are Freemasons I do know that the SBC does not openly allow its members to be part of that particular fraternity - I could be wrong here, but spending my life growing up Southern Baptist I remember many a sermon denouncing Freemasonry and  how evil it is. It's more like an open secret if that make sense; a member might be a Mason, and people will know about it and nothing be done, but I have known of a few cases where people were asked to leave or were "churched" for being Masons.

However, the Methodists I have run into do not seem to have a problem at all with Freemasons and I even know of one Methodist church that actually had a Masonic lodge as its second story in a town not to far from where I live. And a military funeral I gave honors at the man was a Methodist Mason as were all of his "brothers" and the preacher.

And to stay slightly on topic... I do know some of the numbers for the SBC have gone to Orthodoxy over the years to include my past and present priests, myself and a number of other converts I have run into at my parish.
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 12:25:11 AM »

Although I know that many Southern Baptists are Freemasons I do know that the SBC does not openly allow its members to be part of that particular fraternity - I could be wrong here, but spending my life growing up Southern Baptist I remember many a sermon denouncing Freemasonry and  how evil it is. It's more like an open secret if that make sense; a member might be a Mason, and people will know about it and nothing be done, but I have known of a few cases where people were asked to leave or were "churched" for being Masons.
http://www.equip.org/articles/the-masonic-lodge-and-the-christian-conscience
Quote
A committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, concluded in its two 1993 publications, A Study of Freemasonry (hereafter Study) and A Report on Freemasonry (hereafter Report) — and at its annual convention the same year — that it cannot frankly state it is wrong for a Christian to join the Masonic Lodge.1 In so doing the Southern Baptists are perhaps the only conservative Christian denomination in America not to warn their constituents that membership in the Masonic Lodge is not compatible with biblical teaching.
The statement may have been overturned or something. I don't know if it has been, but I'm not surprised some resist it, it even contradicts other official publications.

However, the Methodists I have run into do not seem to have a problem at all with Freemasons and I even know of one Methodist church that actually had a Masonic lodge as its second story in a town not to far from where I live. And a military funeral I gave honors at the man was a Methodist Mason as were all of his "brothers" and the preacher.
I didn't know that.
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 12:35:50 AM »

Although I know that many Southern Baptists are Freemasons I do know that the SBC does not openly allow its members to be part of that particular fraternity - I could be wrong here, but spending my life growing up Southern Baptist I remember many a sermon denouncing Freemasonry and  how evil it is. It's more like an open secret if that make sense; a member might be a Mason, and people will know about it and nothing be done, but I have known of a few cases where people were asked to leave or were "churched" for being Masons.
http://www.equip.org/articles/the-masonic-lodge-and-the-christian-conscience
Quote
A committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, concluded in its two 1993 publications, A Study of Freemasonry (hereafter Study) and A Report on Freemasonry (hereafter Report) — and at its annual convention the same year — that it cannot frankly state it is wrong for a Christian to join the Masonic Lodge.1 In so doing the Southern Baptists are perhaps the only conservative Christian denomination in America not to warn their constituents that membership in the Masonic Lodge is not compatible with biblical teaching.
The statement may have been overturned or something. I don't know if it has been, but I'm not surprised some resist it, it even contradicts other official publications.

However, the Methodists I have run into do not seem to have a problem at all with Freemasons and I even know of one Methodist church that actually had a Masonic lodge as its second story in a town not to far from where I live. And a military funeral I gave honors at the man was a Methodist Mason as were all of his "brothers" and the preacher.
I didn't know that.

As I said, I could be wrong, but that was the impression I got from all the SB churches I went to. A few of the men were Masons, but it was generally understood that one was not to join... As to the decision being overturned, that I have no knowledge of in the least.
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 12:38:42 AM »

And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.

I'm sorry, but after seeing this, those people seriously give me the willies! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNfL6IVWCE
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 12:52:16 AM »

Yeah. There's actually a lot of anti-America fundamentalists as well who seem to relish the thought of New York City writhing in agony.
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 02:34:25 AM »

A major reason for the decline in many denominations is a lower birthrate.  This is often overlooked, in favor of over-analyzing "spiritual" reasons.  It would be interesting for someone to do a study where they simulated the same birthrate of the 40's and 50's in the here and now, and how that would impact current church membership and attendance. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 05:41:16 AM »

And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.

I'm sorry, but after seeing this, those people seriously give me the willies! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNfL6IVWCE

Creepy
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 10:17:17 AM »

Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are Losing Members


Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, have dipped to their lowest point in 60 years, according to a new report.

Last year, there were 332,321 baptisms in the church, which is 17,416 less than 2009, according to the report from Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources. There was only one baptism for every 48 Southern Baptists in the country in 2010. Sixty years ago, there one baptism per every 19 church members. In eight out of 10 years, the number of baptisms performed have declined...

I am not going to piss all over the Southern Baptists -- after all, they gave me my baptism -- but this does not surprise me. Through life and circumstance, I am attached to a college that is loosly affiliated with the SBC, and the direction it and the denomination have taken is not one that will appeal to the average prole -- it's a weird mish-mash of Evangelical fervor, culture war and semi-intellectual Calvinism. While that has a certain appeal to a certain subset of Baptist culture, the next generation of the SBC will be both substantially different and smaller. I do not know that they will ever see their former level of baptisms again, precisely because religion is increasingly irrelevant in the lives of the common man.


And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.

I'm sorry, but after seeing this, those people seriously give me the willies! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNfL6IVWCE
To be fair to the Southern Baptists, let's point out that a). "Jesus Camp" is not about them, and b). it was a hit piece produced by someone who found an extreme example and then painted evangelicals with a broad brush based on that example.
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011, 10:31:55 AM »

Through life and circumstance, I am attached to a college that is loosly affiliated with the SBC, and the direction it and the denomination have taken is not one that will appeal to the average prole -- it's a weird mish-mash of Evangelical fervor, culture war and semi-intellectual Calvinism.
So basically a bunch of little John Pipers (I don't mean that as an insult)?

While that has a certain appeal to a certain subset of Baptist culture, the next generation of the SBC will be both substantially different and smaller. I do not know that they will ever see their former level of baptisms again, precisely because religion is increasingly irrelevant in the lives of the common man.
Interesting. I was involved in a discussion of this on another board. We were discussing in the wake of the Love Wins debacle whether Baptists and US Evangelicals in general are going to trend liberal and more Rob Bell-like over the next generation or are they going to go for a "circle the wagons" conservatism? If you don't mind my asking, what's your take?

To be fair to the Southern Baptists, let's point out that a). "Jesus Camp" is not about them, and b). it was a hit piece produced by someone who found an extreme example and then painted evangelicals with a broad brush based on that example.
True.
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2011, 10:48:45 AM »

Through life and circumstance, I am attached to a college that is loosly affiliated with the SBC, and the direction it and the denomination have taken is not one that will appeal to the average prole -- it's a weird mish-mash of Evangelical fervor, culture war and semi-intellectual Calvinism.
So basically a bunch of little John Pipers (I don't mean that as an insult)?
Bingo. These guys eat up everything that Piper has to say.

While that has a certain appeal to a certain subset of Baptist culture, the next generation of the SBC will be both substantially different and smaller. I do not know that they will ever see their former level of baptisms again, precisely because religion is increasingly irrelevant in the lives of the common man.
Interesting. I was involved in a discussion of this on another board. We were discussing in the wake of the Love Wins debacle whether Baptists and US Evangelicals in general are going to trend liberal and more Rob Bell-like over the next generation or are they going to go for a "circle the wagons" conservatism? If you don't mind my asking, what's your take?[/quote]
They -- I speak of the SBC here -- will trend "liberal" in the sense that they will continue to shed a lot of cherished Evangelical practices/teachings (altar calls, patriotic services, aversion to private consumption of alcohol, etc.), but they are very much firming up a new little-o orthodoxy for themselves that is still very theologically conservative, at least for those in the Baptist tradition.

Evangelicals as a whole will continue to become more and more of an amorphous community where one cannot discern the theological differences between ecclesial communities (to borrow a term from the Latins) by simply attending. Already, we see significantly less emphasis on the secondary issues that divide them. Music has and will continue to become the primary sacrament of the Evangelical movement, and will serve to render former theological barriers null.

The theologically liberal Evangelical element will continue down the emergent church road (a la Bell, McLarin, Lamott, Kimball, etc.), but will eventually be absorbed into high church mainline denominations. This is happening more and more as the emergent faction starts to embrace the -- and I shudder to use this wretched term -- smells and bells of "ancient" liturgical worship.
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2011, 10:49:38 AM »

And the really big fundamentalists tend to become Independent Baptists or Pentecostals-one reason being that the SBC is dominated by Cessationist Calvinists and super fundies tend to be more into Free Will and faith healings.

The SBC also has its fair share of scandal and the the distinction of being one of the only denominations (if not the only) to openly allow members to be Freemasons, a turn off to many.

I'm sorry, but after seeing this, those people seriously give me the willies! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNfL6IVWCE
To be fair to the Southern Baptists, let's point out that a). "Jesus Camp" is not about them, and b). it was a hit piece produced by someone who found an extreme example and then painted evangelicals with a broad brush based on that example.
Yeah, Jesus Camp has nothing to do with Southern Baptists -- more like evangelical churches.

And while I haven't attended a lot of evangelical churches throughout the U.S., the few that I did attend were a lot like the church portrayed in the movie, sans cardboard President Bush. My husband even went to a camp that was very much like the one in the movie (He was raised Pentecostal). Yes indeed, it is scary stuff, especially when you're watching it happen to children.  Sad


On topic, this was my "favorite "part of the article:
Quote
"I do find encouragement in the increase in the number of churches," Rainer said. "Hopefully a church-planting trend in our convention will lead to the gospel of Christ being shared with more people than ever before."

Yeah, the increase is happening in my town. There are 19 Baptist churches in my area (I'm really not exaggerating). I really don't understand what the reasoning for that is. The congregations are a nice size, but the churches are not filled to the seams. I always wonder why the churches don't team up and focus on attending to a congregation, rather than just splitting off. I guess everyone just wants to do their own thing!


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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2011, 10:53:08 AM »

Quote
"I do find encouragement in the increase in the number of churches," Rainer said. "Hopefully a church-planting trend in our convention will lead to the gospel of Christ being shared with more people than ever before."

Yeah, the increase is happening in my town. There are 19 Baptist churches in my area (I'm really not exaggerating). I really don't understand what the reasoning for that is. The congregations are a nice size, but the churches are not filled to the seams. I always wonder why the churches don't team up and focus on attending to a congregation, rather than just splitting off. I guess everyone just wants to do their own thing!
Only 19? What are you, some kind of yankee?

Seriously, I have heard one pastor explain that he felt it was OK to plant a church in an area saturated with non-capacity churches because he wanted to be able to offer a seat to every single person in the metro if everyone decided to start attending church.


[/quote]
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« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2011, 11:01:15 AM »

Only 19? What are you, some kind of yankee?

Seriously, I have heard one pastor explain that he felt it was OK to plant a church in an area saturated with non-capacity churches because he wanted to be able to offer a seat to every single person in the metro if everyone decided to start attending church.


[/quote]
Hah, love it! No, I am not living in a Yankee area, but it's just slightly north of the Bible Belt. How many are in your area?
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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2011, 11:04:51 AM »

They -- I speak of the SBC here -- will trend "liberal" in the sense that they will continue to shed a lot of cherished Evangelical practices/teachings (altar calls, patriotic services, aversion to private consumption of alcohol, etc.), but they are very much firming up a new little-o orthodoxy for themselves that is still very theologically conservative, at least for those in the Baptist tradition.

Evangelicals as a whole will continue to become more and more of an amorphous community where one cannot discern the theological differences between ecclesial communities (to borrow a term from the Latins) by simply attending. Already, we see significantly less emphasis on the secondary issues that divide them. Music has and will continue to become the primary sacrament of the Evangelical movement, and will serve to render former theological barriers null.[/quote]Yeah, I tend to agree (so weird to talk about Casting Crowns and Lincoln Brewster with the word "sacrament"  laugh)

The theologically liberal Evangelical element will continue down the emergent church road (a la Bell, McLarin, Lamott, Kimball, etc.), but will eventually be absorbed into high church mainline denominations. This is happening more and more as the emergent faction starts to embrace the -- and I shudder to use this wretched term -- smells and bells of "ancient" liturgical worship.
So basically the ECUSA/ELCA/PCUSA will swell in rank. Do you think this means these denominations will develop a hyperpreterist contingent? It seems like McLarin especially openly flirts with it.
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« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2011, 11:12:04 AM »

I know that sometimes churches split over certain dogma or theological issues, or the behavior of the pastor. This can cause multiple churches of the same denomination in the same town. In fact, in the small Mississippi town I grew up in we had two Baptist churches (we had more but I am only referencing two). At the first one the pastor had an affair with his secretary and much of the congregation wanted him gone; he left with a small part of the congragation and started his own Baptist church a few miles down the road.
This reason, and that of others preachers turf stealing is a big reason as to why there are so many of any given denomination in the same town... I believe so any way.
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2011, 11:15:49 AM »

I know that sometimes churches split over certain dogma or theological issues, or the behavior of the pastor. This can cause multiple churches of the same denomination in the same town. In fact, in the small Mississippi town I grew up in we had two Baptist churches (we had more but I am only referencing two). At the first one the pastor had an affair with his secretary and much of the congregation wanted him gone; he left with a small part of the congragation and started his own Baptist church a few miles down the road.
This reason, and that of others preachers turf stealing is a big reason as to why there are so many of any given denomination in the same town... I believe so any way.
Yeah, or disagreements about church funds, strictness of discipline, I've even heard of churches splitting over things like pre-trib vs. post-trib rapture.
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« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2011, 11:17:11 AM »

I know that sometimes churches split over certain dogma or theological issues, or the behavior of the pastor. This can cause multiple churches of the same denomination in the same town. In fact, in the small Mississippi town I grew up in we had two Baptist churches (we had more but I am only referencing two). At the first one the pastor had an affair with his secretary and much of the congregation wanted him gone; he left with a small part of the congragation and started his own Baptist church a few miles down the road.
This reason, and that of others preachers turf stealing is a big reason as to why there are so many of any given denomination in the same town... I believe so any way.
Yeah, or disagreements about church funds, strictness of discipline, I've even heard of churches splitting over things like pre-trib vs. post-trib rapture.
I figured as much. We attended a Baptist church very briefly before I finally took the plunge into Orthodoxy. We tried pressing the pastor and asking about his opinions on theological issues, but he just kept saying that they believed everything the Bible said. Sigh.  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2011, 11:18:17 AM »

Only 19? What are you, some kind of yankee?

Seriously, I have heard one pastor explain that he felt it was OK to plant a church in an area saturated with non-capacity churches because he wanted to be able to offer a seat to every single person in the metro if everyone decided to start attending church.


Hah, love it! No, I am not living in a Yankee area, but it's just slightly north of the Bible Belt. How many are in your area?
A page and a half in the yellow pages. That's not counting the listings of "missionary baptists" or "independent baptists."
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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2011, 11:24:25 AM »

So basically the ECUSA/ELCA/PCUSA will swell in rank. Do you think this means these denominations will develop a hyperpreterist contingent? It seems like McLarin especially openly flirts with it.
I think there will be a few people who think about that sort of thing, but the crowd I have in mind is more interested in feeling spiritual rather than believing anything other than perhaps the usual DNC canard about Jesus being a [just like them] liberal who wanted you to be nice.
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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2011, 12:02:33 PM »

So basically the ECUSA/ELCA/PCUSA will swell in rank. Do you think this means these denominations will develop a hyperpreterist contingent? It seems like McLarin especially openly flirts with it.
I think there will be a few people who think about that sort of thing, but the crowd I have in mind is more interested in feeling spiritual rather than believing anything other than perhaps the usual DNC canard about Jesus being a [just like them] liberal who wanted you to be nice.
Ah. Yeah.
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2011, 02:23:09 AM »

Once I was driving a long road trip on the back roads with a friend, and every little hamlet we passed through had a Baptist church. After about # 16 he sighed and ,"Oh look there's another 'First Baptist Church" I looked at him and said "Great, when will we see our last Baptist church?"
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2011, 09:35:48 AM »

Yeah, it's about like that... So many Baptist churches, so little area.
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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2011, 04:23:21 PM »

The theologically liberal Evangelical element will continue down the emergent church road (a la Bell, McLarin, Lamott, Kimball, etc.), but will eventually be absorbed into high church mainline denominations. This is happening more and more as the emergent faction starts to embrace the -- and I shudder to use this wretched term -- smells and bells of "ancient" liturgical worship.
So basically the ECUSA/ELCA/PCUSA will swell in rank. Do you think this means these denominations will develop a hyperpreterist contingent? It seems like McLarin especially openly flirts with it.

McLaren is so anti-institutional that I cannot imagine him ever moving into a mainline church; a lot of the emergents think that way.

The emergents dabble in liturgy but the crucial bridge to cross is if/when they start thinking about the sacraments, well, sacramentally. When they reach this point, the typical response is to go over to one of the sacramental churches because when one starts to think of the ministry as a priesthood, one needs to be grafted into the tree. I don't know how many go over to the Catholics, but of course Gilquist's group went to the Antiochians and there have been any number who have gone over to the Anglicans, including one of my former rectors. The other tradeoff is having to do theology within a tradition; someone like Bell or McLaren probably wouldn't be all that happy within even the relatively free-wheeling Anglicans.

The mainlines certainly do look enviously at the emergents. The question again is what they actually can pick up. There are emergent-like parishes within ECUSA, for example, Church of the Beloved in Charlotte, NC. Exactly what makes them "emergent" is something to be argued about, as for instance the parish I just mentioned does basically an ECUSA Rite II guitar service. Theologically they hardly make a ripple, first because the people doing this sort of parish are more interesting in church-building than theology, and second because there's that established theological base. There's only so much finger-crossing that is going to get a preterist of any stripe through the Nicene Creed, and there's lots of other material that puts Anglicans in the position of awaiting the second coming.
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2011, 04:26:16 PM »

Once I was driving a long road trip on the back roads with a friend, and every little hamlet we passed through had a Baptist church. After about # 16 he sighed and ,"Oh look there's another 'First Baptist Church" I looked at him and said "Great, when will we see our last Baptist church?"

LOL! Nice.
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2011, 04:27:57 PM »

In my city at least, the mega-churches are still on the boom. Even with the Latino migration the RC is on the decline as Latinos go fundie.

One of the mega-churches in my city I think will soon have its own zip code.
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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2011, 04:41:50 PM »

In my city at least, the mega-churches are still on the boom. Even with the Latino migration the RC is on the decline as Latinos go fundie.

One of the mega-churches in my city I think will soon have its own zip code.

We may be in "decline", but we are not defeated for sure.  These trendy "mega" churches are a passing fad. 
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« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2011, 04:43:47 PM »

In my city at least, the mega-churches are still on the boom. Even with the Latino migration the RC is on the decline as Latinos go fundie.

One of the mega-churches in my city I think will soon have its own zip code.

We may be in "decline", but we are not defeated for sure.  These trendy "mega" churches are a passing fad. 

I hope you were not taking that as some sorta insult. Just a statement of fact around here. Old RC churches are being sold and turned into trendy clothing stores, which is probably apropos our time, consumption is the American religion.
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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2011, 04:51:04 PM »

good news, that means fewer sectarians.
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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2011, 04:54:05 PM »

In my city at least, the mega-churches are still on the boom. Even with the Latino migration the RC is on the decline as Latinos go fundie.

One of the mega-churches in my city I think will soon have its own zip code.

We may be in "decline", but we are not defeated for sure.  These trendy "mega" churches are a passing fad. 

I hope you were not taking that as some sorta insult. Just a statement of fact around here. Old RC churches are being sold and turned into trendy clothing stores, which is probably apropos our time, consumption is the American religion.

Oh no, I was just being hopeful angel

If I could ask, where do you live?  I'll admit that the RCC in America is on a decline.  I blame it on the bishops, priest, and their crappy leadership for the past several decades, more so then the "tide has turned against us" stuff that you hear from time to time.  we RC's used to have no problems getting converts and keeping churches open.  What did we do then that worked so well and why aren't we doing it today?
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2011, 05:01:04 PM »

In my city at least, the mega-churches are still on the boom. Even with the Latino migration the RC is on the decline as Latinos go fundie.

One of the mega-churches in my city I think will soon have its own zip code.

We may be in "decline", but we are not defeated for sure.  These trendy "mega" churches are a passing fad. 

I hope you were not taking that as some sorta insult. Just a statement of fact around here. Old RC churches are being sold and turned into trendy clothing stores, which is probably apropos our time, consumption is the American religion.

Oh no, I was just being hopeful angel

If I could ask, where do you live?  I'll admit that the RCC in America is on a decline.  I blame it on the bishops, priest, and their crappy leadership for the past several decades, more so then the "tide has turned against us" stuff that you hear from time to time.  we RC's used to have no problems getting converts and keeping churches open.  What did we do then that worked so well and why aren't we doing it today?

That is the million dollar question! If any one church could figure that out they would be much better off. But I don't think it's about "What did we do then"* as much as it is "what do we need to do now" since the focus of Americans has changed so drastically in the last hundred years.

*This includes RC, EO, and Protestants in context of church attendance and converts/retention.
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2011, 05:14:10 PM »

What did we do then that worked so well and why aren't we doing it today?
Catholicism, for better or worse, used to be a cultural ghetto. Ghettos -- and especially the Catholic ghetto -- have a way of getting into people and keeping them around, making them, as it were, loyal to the tribe.

That started to change in the 1960s, and when Catholicism stopped being a unique cultural identity, it became less important to many of those born into it.

I think this pretty much applies to all religious groups (and hence the decline in religious adherence all over), but it is altogether more evident in Catholicism because it is a more unified institution than, say, the Southern Baptists.
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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2011, 01:49:49 AM »

good news, that means fewer sectarians.

And more "religion just isn't for me" types.
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2011, 01:59:39 AM »

There's only so much finger-crossing that is going to get a preterist of any stripe through the Nicene Creed, and there's lots of other material that puts Anglicans in the position of awaiting the second coming.
I agree with your other points but what do you mean by this? Not all partial preterists (I agree in terms of hyperprets) deny the immanent return of Christ, though I do know one who seems to almost think it's a heresy.

It seems to depend on whether in addition to their partial preterism they're amil or postmil. In fact, a friend of mine is an Orthodox amil partial preterist, and he isn't the type to just hide things from his priest or something.
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« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2011, 02:40:47 AM »

Believing that the prophecies of the Scriptures, like Revelation, found their first fulfillment in the 1st century is not heretical, IMO. Saying that these first fulfillments are the ultimate antitypes of said prophecies is where it becomes heretical.

(IMO)
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