The Demise of Mainline Religious Denominations in America
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I have written earlier of what I believe is a direct correlation between the decline of America and the "great falling away" of her people from the religious faith, which historically was a part of the foundation of the country.
Deny it, if you like, but it does not change the facts, the TRUTH.
Since the Second World War, when returning GI's brought something called "moral relativism" from Europe to America, there has been a struggle between the secular side of America and the religious side of America. The secular side -- the side that rejects religion and religious considerations has been consistently gaining ground. Sad to say, ofttimes their advances were made with the assistance of many in the clergy.
Today we recognize moral relativism as "political correctness." Since creation, there has been no greater evil spawned by Satan and delivered upon earth from the deepest bowels of Hell itself.
The very definition of deception, political correctness has saturated American society.
It is easy enough to understand how our government would instantly adopt any form of deception that might aid their lying and scheming. But, when the cornerstone denominations of the Christian faith in America embraced political correctness, its hellish properties became apparent ... at least to some of those religious denominations that insist upon hewing close to the grain of the Holy Scriptures from which they draw their bearings. The evangelicals railed against political correctness while the mainline denominations drank it in much as a thirsty man at a cool spring in a desert oasis.
Decades ago it became clear to many observers that America was headed for trouble.
And today -- America is IN trouble. BIG TROUBLE! The crisis of which I speak is a crisis of the soul of every individual American. And the blame for this endangerment of the souls of Americans can be laid at the feet of the hierarchy of the mainline religious denominations in America.
This nation, whether you choose to believe it -- or not -- was founded as much on biblical scripture as it was on common law. America used to be a “God-fearing” nation filled with people who KNEW they relied upon the kindness and the grace of an omnipotent God to guide them through any troubles they/we as individuals, and as a nation, faced. That is no longer the case. The result of switching America’s fealty from God to man is plain for all to see. We are today – a pitiful nation in decline.
America resembles nothing less today than a once powerful, muscular, man whose body is riddled by cancer and has shrunken to a shell of its former being.
When America was young and vital the ministers of the mainline denominations took to their pulpits to preach from the Scriptures. They told their parishioners of the story of God’s benevolence, his faithfulness, and they told us of his jealousy. They reminded Americans that God Himself said: “I am a jealous God!”
Those of us perched in the pews knew there was a price to be paid for willfully disconnecting oneself from the power source that is God. Equally as important, I think, we Americans knew, in those days, that America was no accident. We KNEW that America was to us as the Promised Land had been, and remains, to the Jewish people.
The extreme importance the ministers, priests, and rabbis of the churches and synagogues cannot be overestimated. It was they who shepherded the huge flock known as America in the way they should go. And America was so much better for it.
The bitter truth is, in my opinion, the church has turned its collective back on the One it purportedly serves and now it serves, instead, its own interests, its own politics, its own politically correct philosophy of what God OUGHT to be, and, in so doing, they have created God in their own image. And what a pitiful god they have created!
Moral relativism (political correctness) has no place in the pulpit. When God, Himself, refers to some action, or inaction, of man as a sin, then it is not left to the ministers to equivocate. They are bound to pass God’s pronouncement on to the sheep of their flock. For a pastor to do less cannot be defined as being honest with either man or God.
There was a time, not so long ago, when ministers were the pillars of their community, both the religious community and the secular community. They were solid citizens. They could be looked up to, relied upon, and trusted. In many cases they were role models for youngsters who would later join their ranks as pastors, priests, and rabbis. That was then. This is now.
Those members left in the congregations of today’s mainline churches are growing older as the rolls continue to shrink. Attendance at services is very low. In some of the denominations there seems to be an on-going struggle of wills between the membership and the hierarchy of the churches. Such an atmosphere is not conducive to worship. Sniping? Maybe. Worship? No.
So what has happened? It has been my personal observation that the hierarchy of the mainline churches went left and adopted so much of the philosophy of the political left that many of their members left. I don’t mean the membership went left, also. I mean they LEFT as in: They went away. In fact, many of them went right. That is just another way of saying they began to associate themselves with churches that still believe, preach, and practice the scriptures. That explains why the evangelical churches in America are growing by leaps and bounds.
Look, churches cannot claim to be representatives of God on this earth, a Christian church, and then teach a congregation a lifestyle that is not Christian and certainly not in keeping with what the scriptures tell us God/Christ taught us -- and demands of us. It is as simple and as uncomplicated as that.
Somehow, the mainline denominations have made a turn away from God, away from those age-old lessons He has taught us through the authority of the scriptures, and now they find themselves blindly stumbling down the road to complete oblivion. And the really sad thing -- they don’t understand why.
I know this is not the popular explanation for what has befallen those shrinking denominations – I DO But when you clear all the smoke away, get past all the excuses, and really, REALLY, look at how the churches got into this fix, there is only one answer.
Look, I am a refugee from one of those churches. I saw this coming. I fought it for about five years, or so. I argued my way up the hierarchical ladder to the top – only to have my national bishop tell me I didn’t know what the dickens I was talking about (in a kindly and gentle fashion, of course). It was then that I decided to cut my losses and hit the door. I did so amidst numerous accusations that I would not stay and fight from within the church. My answer was that I was following the teachings of the scriptures in getting myself “OUT from among them.”
I hold that the collapse of the mainline denominations not only will have, but already HAS had, an extremely negative effect on America. All one has to do is consider our society today, our government, our education system, practically every facet of American life which was so carefully influenced by the church in the early days of America. Observe how it has all become so crass, so unkind, and so angry. It is obvious that something is missing. The churches in America once provided that missing thing.
There was a time when the church not only set the standards for American society, often times it WAS the standard for our society. They spoke with the authority of the scriptures. When the mainline denominations turned their backs on the scriptures they began losing their authority… and their followers who, naturally, sought green pastures and still waters in the flocks of the evangelicals who still believe that being biblically correct rather than politically correct is the path to righteousness and the guarantee of eternal rest.
Why is this so difficult for our mainline denominations to understand?
© J. D. Longstreet
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