The Evangelical *stridency* has certainly alienated many to the point that it has become wiser to present as a "person of faith" rather than as a Christian until non-christians get to know us; but the stridency did not go public until the mainline churches had so radically compromised with our secular culture that their message was little more than secular humanism cloaked in church-speak.
Even now there is little attempt by either to recover a uniquely Christian response to the challenges of the 21st century in most American churches. Liberal/Progressive churches have subsituted a 50's political agenda and Conservative/Traditional churches a 50's political agenda for a transformative spirituality. Most American christians are more unitarian than trinitarian and their christology lacks the universal appeal of a Cosmic Christ who is Savior of the world, not merely Savior of the Church or of the individual.
The three most common reasons that reflective Christians are leaving their conservative Churches:1. Dogmatic absolutism2. Self-righteous judgmentalism3. Sectarian triumphalism
People are leaving the mainline churches because they have lost their distinctively Christian transformative edge.
Perhaps it is truer to say that the churches have left the faithful than to say that the faithful have left the churches.
In a rare interview in 1967 with Thomas McDonnell, [Thomas] Merton pronounced that the great crisis in the church is a crisis of authority precipitated because the church, as institution and organization, has overshadowed the reality of the church as a community of persons united in love and in Christ. He now charged that obedience and conformity with the impersonal corporation-church are a fact in the life of Christians. “The Church is preached as a communion, but is run in fact as a collectivity, and even as a totalitarian collectivity.~ George Kilcourse, ACE OF FREEDOMS: Thomas Merton’s Christ, Notre Dame Press, 1993
More information about text formats