Friday, November 4, 2011
We FEW, we band of brothers... ah... sisters ah....people?
New statistics from the Episcopal Church show the group's loss of more than 200,000 members and 300 parishes between 2006 and 2010, bringing membership to its lowest since the 1930s. Episcopalianism peaked numerically in 1959 with more than 3.4 million members. Since 1968, however, it has lost over one third of its membership. Meanwhile, 57 percent of Episcopal congregations have seen their typical Sunday attendance decline by over 10 percent since 2006. Fewer than one-fifth of all congregations have experienced an equivalent growth in Sunday worship attendance.
At some point all the fanfare for inclusivity, prophetic presence, social and economic justice, etc., will have to give way to the stark reality that the Gospel is the only thing that grows a church and there is very little Gospel being spoken among these Episcopal congregations... very little talk of the cross, very little call to repentance (except to repent of homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.), and very little belief that the Word of God (Scripture, Bible) has much truth in it...
The ELCA is headed down the same road of mainline Protestantism. You can put a good show on but if you don't believe much and don't speak the Gospel as Jesus defines it (that the Son of Man must suffer, die, rise, and repentance and forgiveness be proclaimed in His name...), well, what difference does it make? We can get ritual and ceremony at nearly any sports event in town. We can get the diversity gospel from any public TV or radio station or the big 3 networks (for that matter). Why would we need a church to tell us we are okay just as we are, that everything will work out in the end, and that the most important thing we can do is to stick up for a socially significant minority?
Sad... Very sad... I spent a good deal of time with a very conservative Episcopal priest while a student in Winfield, KS, and I will always remember his wisdom and counsel for its orthodoxy, faithfulness, and honesty. Where have all the good priests gone? What happened to a once proud Christian church body?
You might think somebody would wake up and return to their senses... at least you could hope...
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Where have all the good priests gone? The ACNA.
Back in Feb. I took the time to look at all LCMS parishes in the state of Florida on the official LCMS website [ included SELC ]. I was doing a survey of how many list contemporary services. I also noted the reported size of the reported attendance of congregations on the website.
What I found was 36 of 56 churches > 200 have a contemporary service now. The > 200 in attendance was about 29% of the listed parishes.
But I also noted that 18% of listed parishes had a reported < 50 in attendance. Another 10% had no reported attendance figure. Here was my result....
56 parishes @ > 200 for 29%
41 parishes @ > 100 < 200 for 21%
35 parishes @ > 50 < 100 for 18%
39 parishes @ > 0 < 50 for 18%
20 parishes not reporting for 10%
Which adds up to 96% so clearly I made a mistake somewhere but the upshot of the finding though remains the same regardless of my mistakes along the way.
The LCMS could very well be 20% or better at < 50 in attendance in the state of FL.
"Where have all the good priests gone? What happened to a once proud Christian church body?"
They followed false teaching. They got off the narrow path and onto the wide (inclusive) path.
I followed the links all the way back to the original NY Times interview in which Ms. Shori says the Episcopals are "better" educated. Got that? Not just more or even different but "better" than the rest of us which is why it is hard to have more members because doncha know, you can't have mass appeal cuz those folks aren't better like the Episcopals are. I mean there are only so many "better" people who are enlightened enough by this world's tyrants to be Episcopals.
The troubles with the Episcopal church have been going on for a long time, and the chickens which are now coming home to roost can be traced back to the liberal, lurid, and unchallenged tenure of one Bishop James Pike. Looking at the numbers may or may not be an indication of apostasy, Joel Osteen's theology is certainly no better than that of Bishop Jeffert-Schori, but his 'church' (for lack of a better term) is always full of sycophants. Though I feel fairly confident I'll live long enough to see Osteen's star fade just like Robert Schuller and the Chrystal Cathedral, we should beware of using their standards as our own.
"Though I feel fairly confident I'll live long enough to see Osteen's star fade just like Robert Schuller and the Chrystal Cathedral, we should beware of using their standards as our own."
Okay, but Osteen at least has the excuse that he isn't "better" educated. What is Shori's excuse? She should know better, what with all her education.
Jefferts-Shori like most limosine liberals, is an elitist. And also like most liberals she gets a pass when it comes to looking down her nose on others because she's of the correct policital bent.
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