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An email sent to several friends in 2009.

The blue text are quotations extracted from an article linked at the end of the quotes.

The black text are my own comments.

All embedded hyperlinks are active as of July 3, 2011.

“Over the past thirty years, Mainline Protestantism has crumbled at the base, as its ordinary

congregants slip away to evangelicalism, on one side, or disbelief, on the other

the United Church of Christ declined 14.8 percent


Mainline [Protestants]

Protestant Mainline

only] 34 percent attend religious services at least once a week."

From 1990 to 2000

and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 11.6

Only 17.6 percent of those thirty-one to forty-four [years old] identify themselves as

Less than 8 percent of Americans today belong to the central churches of the

[And only] 16 percent [of] Mainline [Protestants] read the Bible regularly [while


"The Episcopal Church today seems hardly distinguishable from the small portion of America that is the National Organization for Women at prayer. The Episcopalians are hardly alone. Many commentators, analyzing the decline of liberal denominations in recent decades, have pointed to the gains of conservative churches."


"The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has merged itself almost entirely with the other liberal Protestant denominations. Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran—the name hardly matters anymore. The names may vary, but the topics remain the same: the uniformity of social class at the church headquarters, the routine genuflections toward the latest [liberal] political causes, the feminizing of the clergy, the unimportance of the ecclesial points that once defined the denomination, the substitution of leftist social action for Christian evangelizing, and the disappearance of biblical theology. All the Mainline churches have become essentially the same church: their histories, their theologies, and even much of their practice lost to a uniform vision of social progress. Only the names of the corporations that own their properties seem to differ."



more than fifty years

the United Church of Christ can find no theological work to trumpet

Everything since the 1950s of which the church now wants to boast is adversarial: attempts to deploy

Christianity against the 'errors' of the nation

come to an end. And as its numbers catastrophically decline, the ordinary practice of its members has

ceased to influence the culture. The United Church of Christ is left little except its putatively prophetic voice—and a strikingly unoriginal voice, at that. All the issues on which the church opines, and all the

positions it takes, track the usual run of liberal American politics

from the everyday practices of its congregants—the prophetic demands of the United Church of Christ

cash out to nothing. No one listens, no one minds, no one cares

By its own account, the church’s intellectual life has


no influence on the culture

[For those of you who have either forgotten or never knew, I was confirmed at the age of 14 as an unbeliever in the Creator of the universe (Jesus Christ) by the United "Church" of "Christ" (UCC). Since the UCC flatly

denies the veracity of who Jesus

(and in fact only speaks of Him in the past tense -- i.e. who He

was rather than who He is, denying not just His deity but also His resurrection) the vast majority of confirmed

members in that "denomination" -- including its clergy -- are unabashed, anti-Christ-ian idolaters.]


Indeed, the [liberal] churches’ desperate hunger to mean more in politics and economics had the perverse effect of making them less effective opponents to the political and economic pressures on the

nation. They mattered more when they wanted to matter less

congregations dwindle away: funeral after funeral, with far too few weddings and baptisms in between."

The old denominations watch their


"[There is also a] general decline of anti-Catholicism among American believers, particularly evangelicals. Apart from a few fringe fundamentalist elements, anti-Catholicism in the United States today belongs entirely to the political left"

[So I'm a "fringe fundamentalist element?" Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Bottum. I admire your capacity to perceive reality as it actually is.]


"The question, of course, is why it happened—this sudden decline of the Mainline

among Mainline [Protestant] executives [in the 1970s became] that the churches’ primary public role

was social advocacy

orthodox Christian belief, and especially the teaching that a person can be saved only through Jesus


1923 Christianity and Liberalism. [Liberals 'feel'] that it is somehow more Christian not to be a Christian."

the fundamental text of Protestant complaint remains John Gresham Machen’s

A shared opinion

The single best predictor of church participation turned out to be belief --

In America

Well, I guess I don't need to add much to that, Mr. Bottum (how would you, the reader, like to go through childhood with that last name?). It seems to have pretty well called the spade of liberalism what it really is a spade.