Denominationalism Illustrated and Explained, Russell E. Richey
Russell E. Richey

Denominationalism Illustrated and Explained

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Evidence of mainstream denominational decline virtually throws itself in our faces--growing religious pluralism in North America; the decline over the last half century in the salience, prestige, power, and vitality of Protestant denominational leadership; slippage in mainline membership and corresponding growth, vigor, visibility, and political prowess of conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist bodies; patterns of congregational independence, including loosening of or removal of denominational identity, particularly in signage, and the related marginal loyalty of members; emergence of megachurches, with resources and the capacity to meet needs heretofore supplied by denominations (training, literature, expertise); growth within mainline denominations of caucuses and their alignment into broad progressive or conservative camps, often with connections to similar camps in other denominations; widespread suspicion of, indeed hostility towards, the centers and symbols of denominational identity--the regional and national headquarters; migration of individuals and families through various religious identities, sometimes out of classic Christianity altogether. Denominationalism looks doomed and is so proclaimed. It may be. However, viewing the sweep of Anglo-American history, this volume suggests how much denominations and denominationalism have changed, how resilient they have proved, how significant these structures of religious belonging have been in providing order and direction to American society, and how such enduring purposes find ever new structural/institutional expression.
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440 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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