Religions and Mainliners

In this world we have many sorts of religions and in each religion many subdivisions may be found. In Christendom there are groups which for good reason would prefer to speak of Christendom and Christianity and would prefer to say the world we are living in has also a Mainline Christendom instead of a Mainline Christianity.

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christendom is full of “Tradition” and has embraced the world whilst Christianity would prefer to stay disconnected from traditional worldly matters and though living in this world would not like to be “of this world”. In Christianity you also may find different groups or churches, which all want to honour God the Divine Creator. They would consider the main churches like the Catholic Church (Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Charismatic Catholics, Latin Catholic Church, etc.) Anglican Church, Church of England, Reformed Church, Calvinist Church, Lutheran ChurchBaptist Church, Episcopalian Church,  and Methodist Church, with the various Presbyterian groups.

English: Major branches within Protestantism (...

English: Major branches within Protestantism (excludes Restoration movements): Diagram of Protestant denominations and movements; see also Image:ChristianityBranches.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some might have been in a certain time of history bigger groups or not been considered out of mainstream, like the smaller denominations, such as the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers. Others like the Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and Pentecostals may have been at first very small groups, but have gained a firm place in certain countries and have even become the main church in a country.

The Charismatic protestant churches and certain Evangelical churches could be seen as separated from Mainline. Some people, like Joel L. Watts who is building up a (sorta) response to Thom Rainer’s 20 Influential Evangelicals list. Unsettled Christianity company wants to  include mainline Christians, but in asking the question on Facebook, the administrator was equally struck by the conversation about who and what is a mainliner.

Calvinist church

Calvinist church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conspicuous is that many many consider ‘Mainline Protestants’ having a different perspective. By many they are considered to have a more modernist theology. So, for instance, they would read the Bible, not as the inerrant word of God, according to Joel L. Watts, but as a historical document, which has God’s word in it and a lot of very important truths, but that needs to be interpreted in every age by individuals of that time and that place.

We would consider “mainstream religions” those which adheres to the orthodox standard teachings of the five major religions of the world. Those being the groups in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism which follow their biggest groups their core teachings. In those groups can be groups which do not want to belong or to take their mainstream teachings. In Christianity we can find the groups who stayed in the line of the Jewish thinking Jeshua, better known today as Jesus Christ. They believe like most Jews that there is only One God of gods Who is the Divine Creator of everything. Though the difference with the Jews, except with the Messianic (non-trinitarian) Jews is that they accept the Master Teacher Jeshua to be the son of God who has brought not only the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, but who also by the Grace of God brought Salvation for all humankind. In those groups or churches who want to distantiate themselves from mainstream church are the non-trinitarian Baptist which became nearly extinct by the strong hold of the Baptist Unions who pressured the trinitarian teaching on their members. In the 1980-90ies most non-trinitarian Baptist went over to other non-trinitarian churches, like the Bible Students, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of God, The Church of Abrahamic Faith, Assemblies of God, the Nazarene Friends, the Restoration Church or to the Christadelphians.

Those non-trinitarian believers worship the God of the Hebrews, Whom they consider to be an Eternal Spirit Who is universal and indivisible. This God Who can not be seen by man, or they would die, also ordered not to make any image of Him. Like Jews and Muslims they would never create image of God because it is in His Law and because the infinite cannot be expressed in a mere image. They, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, all exhibit practices and/or teachings that are not among the more “traditional” practices and teachings of the mainstream churches.

The majority of mainstream Jews do believe a Messiah will one day come. In the contemporary movement we can find Jews who do believe that Jeshua is the send one of God who is going to bring salvation and going to break all human ruling. By those messianic Jews to groups can be found; the ones who believe Jesus is the son of God and an ordinary person, not a divinity like the Christian trinitarian Jesus; and a group who strangely enough take Jesus also to be God, and do not consider it braking with the rules and regulations nor in contradiction with all the words said to the prophets, like Abraham, Isaac and Isaiah.
Those non-stream Jews and Christians, like the Muslims have a similar belief concerning the unity and infinity of God. They do believe in Jesus, and even believe he will return in the end times, but once again he is considered a mere mortal, just like any other prophet, brought back entirely through the Will of God, not through any power wielded by Jesus himself.

Lots of Christians take offence of those who do not believe in a trinitarian god. Several of them are as fundamental as we can find fundamentalists by the Muslims, who hate those who do not think and follow the rules they are following.

It is this hate between believers in a god or in the God, that made non-believers in a divine creature or Supreme Being, make to consider religion the base of all the violence in this world. But we do think in case God would not have been there as Divine Creator and several people following him, people anyhow would have created religions, because all those things they could not understand or explain were transposed unto gods, like the god of light, the god of thunder etc..

The thinking of man, philosophies, system of ethics, cultural norms, etc.would have in any case created the syncretism or the formation of new religious ideas from multiple distinct sources, often-contradictory sources.

Some neopagan religions are also strongly syncretic. Look for example at Wicca which consciously draws from a variety of different pagan religious sources as well as Western ceremonial magic and occult thought, which is traditionally very Judeo-Christian in context. However, neopagan reconstructionists such as Asatruar are not particularly syncretic, as they attempt to understand the recreate Norse beliefs and practices to the best of their ability.

Many mainstream religions created smaller groups of which some became quite big. From Islam came the Baha’i faith which recognizes Krishna and Zoroaster as prophets, though it really doesn’t teach much of Hinduism or Zoroastrianism as being Baha’i beliefs.

English: A colour-coded world map showing the ...

English: A colour-coded world map showing the state religions of applicable nations. Buddhism Islam Shi’a Islam Sunni Islam Orthodox Christianity Protestantism (in England: Anglicanism) Catholicism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Believers and non-believers should come to see that in a way all religions possess some degree of syncretism. It’s how humans work. Even if you believe God (or gods) delivered a particular idea, if that idea was completely alien to the listeners, they would not accept it. Moreover, once they receive said idea, that belief can be expressed in a variety of ways, and that expression will be coloured by other prevailing cultural ideas of the time.

Those who stand strong in their shoes, should not have to fear of others and should be able to go to others to give them their hand offering them peace. It are those who are afraid of their own believes that they or others around them could loose it that bring fear to themselves and others. They create a fertile ground for problems and more than once also of hate and negative attitude to others.

Non-believers may accuse the God or the gods as responsible for all trouble in this world. Because many Christians advocate their God is behind all that is good in the world, they think God should also be responsible for all the badness there is in the world. What they do not seem to understand that when God allows human beings to be free and to make their own choices, people themselves can make good or bad choices which will have their consequences for others in their environment as well.

It is not because in the Bible God gives His Word and tells us that He creates light but also creates darkness and that He makes peace, and creates evil, that it is God Who makes that badness or war in the world. It means that God allows it to be there because man has chosen to go his own way (in the Garden of Eden).  The God and the bad are in this world, created by God, but what can be bad for some one or something can be good for someone or something else. Certain plants are poisons for certain animals and people but for others they are necessary to survive. God claims not responsibility for wars, diseases, smallpox, bacteria, etc.; but He claims to be the One Who allows it to exist, and that is a big difference.

Those who want to call themselves “Children of God” do have to follow God His rules. He has given humankind His Laws which would make the best of the world and which would bring peace all over the world. In case much more people would follow the Laws of the Divine Creator there would be much more peace in the world.

Christianity Today

Christianity Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who call themselves Christian should have the Spirit of God in them which imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty. All Christians should in a way have the same aim to bring others to the narrow gate of the Kingdom of God and to show others the peace we all can have because Jesus nailed the agony, pains and troubles on the wooden stake (‘the cross‘). They all should Love and cultivate that which is pure. they should not be afraid to show Tenderness and kindness because they are not signs of weakness and despair. They should try to Work together with joy and pray with love, and Guard well within themselves that treasure, kindness.

First on the agenda of a Christian should be Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word. They all should consider themselves as part of the Body of Christ, all being as part of the same family of God. United people under Christ. We all, believers and non-believers or different believers, should try to Sow and harvests in the garden of our heart.

Some years ago you could find everywhere running on the streets people “speaking”, “running”, and coming up for Christ? Perhaps it is high time we could see again such runners or Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace.

Trying to bring peace, there has to be peace at first in the own heart. Also the person has to have respect for others their beliefs. No matter what they might believe they should be fully recognised as worthy humans deserving full attention and love. Every human being should come to the understanding that it has to respect any other human being, animal and plant. We should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. In case a person wants to have a religion to feel himself good or to be at ease, he should be able to do so, whatever religion that person may choose. We never may impose our beliefs on others. We should leave everybody the freedom to choose which way they want to go, what to believe, and how to build up their own life. Any religious matter should be an option for private belief, without any pressure from others, be it by reason, science or rational argument. But it would not have to mean we may not discuss it. Any argument should be made in a peaceful manner and with respect for the other person his way of thinking.

Be it adherents of main religions, smaller religious groups or no religion at all, all people should come to strive for the same peace, being able to live one next to the other, in peace and tranquillity.

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  4. Only one God
  5. God is One
  6. God of gods
  7. A god between many gods
  8. Sayings around God
  9. Attributes of God
  10. God is Spirit
  11. The Divine name of the Creator
  12. God about His name “יהוה“
  13. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  14. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  15. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  16. Christianity without the Trinity
  17. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  18. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  19. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  20. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  21. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  22. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  23. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  24. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  25. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  26. Experiencing God
  27. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  28. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  29. Faith
  30. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  31. Christian values and voting not just a game
  32. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  33. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  34. God’s Salvation
  35. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  36. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  37. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  38. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  39. Who was Jesus?
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. Jesus and his God
  42. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  43. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  44. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  45. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  46. On the Nature of Christ
  47. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  48. Jesus Messiah
  49. A man with an outstanding personality
  50. One Mediator between God and man
  51. One mediator
  52. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  53. The wrong hero
  54. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  55. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  56. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  57. Christ’s ethical teaching
  58. Christianity is a love affair
  59. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  60. The task given to us to love each other
  61. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  62. Church sent into the world
  63. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  64. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  65. Are Christians prepared to Rejoice in the Lord
  66. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  67. Men of faith
  68. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  69. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #2 Roots of Jewishness
  70. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  71. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  72. The builder of the Kingdom
  73. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  74. The hands of God’s wrath
  75. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  76. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  77. Faith related boycotts
  78. Right to be in the surroundings
  79. Many churches
  80. Breathing and growing with no heir
  81. A Society pleading poverty
  82. Casual Christians
  83. Quakertime
  84. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  85. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  86. Roman Catholic Church at war
  87. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  88. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  89. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  90. Mormons again gaining some attention
  91. Mormons, just an other faith
  92. Myanmar imposing population control on Muslim minority
  93. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  94. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  95. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  96. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  97. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  98. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  99. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  100. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  101. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  102. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  103. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  104. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  105. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  106. Let me saw beliefseeds
  107. Bringing Good News into the world
  108. The Involvement of true discipleship
  109. Testify of the things heard
  110. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  111. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  112. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  113. A Voice to be heard
  114. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  115. Blogging for Jesus…
  116. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  117. Words to push and pull
  118. Good or bad preacher
  119. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  120. How should we preach?
  121. Breathing to teach
  122. Bringing Good News into the world
  123. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  124. Holland Week of billing
  125. Trying to get the youth inspired
  126. When discouraged facing opposition
  127. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  128. Who are you going to reach out to today
  129. Praise the God with His Name
  130. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  131. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  132. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  133. Belonging to or being judged by
  134. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  135. Preparedness to change
  136. Knowing where to go to
  137. United people under Christ
  138. Fellowship
  139. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  140. Pastorpreneur Warren
  141. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  142. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  143. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  144. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  145. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  146. Choose you this day whom ye will serveIt is a free will choice
  147. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  148. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

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Further reading:

  1. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. We Have the Best Home
  4. Understanding faith for our salvation
  5. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  6. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  7. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  8. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  9. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  10. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  11. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  12. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  13. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  14. The Unholy Trinity
  15. God, the Trinity
  16. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  17. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  18. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  19. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  20. Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    Simply put a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ.
  21. Cult or True Religion
  22. The Whore of Babylon? (inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com)
    Baal-vs-The “Catholic” God
  23. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  24. Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
    +The Roman Catholic Church for example has been around ever since Constantine. He was a Roman emperor who used Christianity, which was a small cult at the time, as a means to impose his belief systems on the bishops; so he promulgated the council of Nicaea and thereby gained control of the populus. Now, over 1500 years later, people in Catholic churches today still recite the creed set down by Constantine.
    Many people question the Catholic Church and other religions, seeing them as some of the biggest cults in the World today: they are viewed by many as man-made constructs which have the potential to lead millions of people astray. Religion in its current form has become divisive due to it’s many man-made and dualistic doctrines which continue to divide, separate and cause wars.
  25. Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult
  26. Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list
  27. Is the Mormon “god” of Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck, the True God or a False “god”? Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?
  28. Can A Cult Member Be President Without Cult Influence?
  29. Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
  30. Billy Graham’s group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon ‘cult’ reference after Romney meeting

    +
    The removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.
    +
    When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

  31. Billy Graham’s Truce with Mormonism; Scrubs Cult Reference (crooksandliars.com)
    The Christian right has cried uncle and issued a truce on Mormons to try and help elect Mitt Romney.
    +
    During the Values Voter Summit in October, sponsored in part by the influential Family Research Council and the American Family Association, it caused quite a stir when Pastor Robert Jeffress, after introducing Rick Perry as a genuine Christian, called Mormonism a cult.
    +
    Christian political operatives are willing to throw away any trace of their contempt for Mormonism during the election cycle. This shows how much hatred they have for the left. They’d rather help elect a ‘cultist’ to the highest office in the land rather than stick to their alleged principles. Typically sickening.
    +
    To distinguish between a cult and a religion is to distinguish between influence and impotence. Both are, in fact, spawns of a smarmy fakery.
  32. ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  33. Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?

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  • Who is God? (richlewis3.wordpress.com)
    El Shaddai means God Almighty, God of the mountains.
  • “The God of Of Salvation, The Lord Of Death” (settledinheaven.wordpress.com)
    The God that we can call our own, is “the God of salvation” or, in other words, He is “the Mighty One that controls the deliverance of His people.”  Here, once again we can see a physical and spiritual aspect to this text…
  • Bush Era to Blame for Renewed Interest in Mainline? (religiondispatches.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
  • How America’s Endless Civil War Between Protestant Sects Is at the Heart of American Identity (alternet.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.

  • Make your pick: Do Mainline Protestants need a new name? (religionnews.com)
    Mainline Protestants  made up 18 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. Fifty years ago, its members were the church of the Establishment.
    +
    Forget labels: Everyone and his brother, left or right, calls himself an evangelical. No one will admit to being a fundamentalist since its original religious meaning was overtaken by crazies like David Koresh. It takes Pew Research experts 20 minutes to delineate who is a Jew and they still offer a definition matrix. So let the branding go.
  • Are there dividing lines between Mainline and Evangelical? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    There is a great move towards social justice in many Evangelical (sub)groups and for that, I thank God. Do you think the view on Scripture and Tradition (Scripture is infallible in all things, Tradition is near to worthless) is a good start for a line?
    +
    But the dividing line between Mainline (which seems not to be something negative) and Evangelical (some people use this correctly, others not) is not so easy to grasp. I’m guessing because “Mainline” means, for a lot of people, a dying breed of Christianity. Evangelical means… well, it seems for Mainliners it means those who go and witness/serve for the Gospel. For Evangelicals, this term helps to codify something different.
  • MainlineDecline, Decline-Talk, and Decline-ism — Sightings (Martin Marty) (bobcornwall.com)
    You have heard it many times Mainline Protestant churches are in decline, but then so are most other forms of religion.  Attendance has not kept up with growth in population, etc.
    +
    Why point out decline among the religions when Sightings’ role is to spot and explore religion in outstanding events? What goes on here with “decline?” A fad? Maybe “decline” is not occurring. This claim is hard to support. Maybe headline writers are concentrating on the wrong aspects of religion. Maybe they are exhibiting the old “be-the-first-kid-on-your-block” syndrome, seeking to be a jump ahead, to get a scoop. Maybe enemies of religious institutions of all sorts are enjoying mass Schadenfreude, enjoying the misfortunes of others. Whatever else is going on, noticing this phenomenon should be liberating: we are henceforth allowed to yawn when one more headline-writer tries to play catch-up.
  • When the Christian Global South Heads West (juicyecumenism.com)
    Between 1910 and 2010, the global center of Christianity shifted from Spain to Timbuktu. As far back as 1980, there have been more Christians living in the Global South than in the first world. On any given Sunday, there are more Christians attending church in China than in the United States or Europe.
    +
    Hanciles also noted, with some disappointment with how the financial and political power in US mainline denominations remains in West, even when Africans outnumber them. “We might have to challenge the term “Anglican”, which of course means English,” he said. Hanciles spoke approvingly of African churches in the United States, which he claimed were very little-e evangelistic in their outlook.
    +
    Professor Virginia Garrard-Burnett of the University of Texas-Austin spoke at length about the religious tendencies of Latino migrants, including the often overlooked Protestant Latinos. Roughly 1/4 of Latino immigrants are Protestant, most of which are Pentecostal. Catholic Churches in the US that cater to these immigrants often take on charismatic forms of worship, she noted, often causing friction with existing native Americans. Latin-American Protestant churches take part in almost “reverse missionary” work, where churches in the Global South send people to minister to those in America. She cited the example of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the third-largest denomination in Brazil, whose presence in the US is mostly mission work to Latin-American migrants.
  • Inoculated Against Christianity? (thelittleredblog.typepad.com)
    “The post-Christian world has been inoculated against Christianity because, over 1500 years, we never managed to give it true Christianity. ‘Found difficult and left untried,’ indeed. And this is to our demerit. There are also many, many things over these 1500 years to be proud about, and Christendom, for all its flaws, was probably better than the alternatives. But now we’re reaping what we’re sowing. We created this generation of post-Christians whom we vaccinated against Christianity. Thankfully, viruses mutate and occasionally beat vaccines.  In the meantime, if our aim is a fantasy of Christendom rather than Christ and His Cross, we are being idolaters.”I’m not sure that “probably better than the alternatives” is much of an endorsement.  Mr. Gobry’s point, however, is to distinguish between Christendom, Christianity, and following Jesus: a dilemma yet to be resolved for some 2000 years.  I await Gobry’s further insights with genuine interest.
  • The Coming Schism (wmbriggs.com)
    Maybe it’s not a schism but apostasy which I mean. Doesn’t matter. Continuing in our Curmudgeon Series, here are my guesses of the course of Christianity in the West over the next twenty years. Each point below deserves its own essay: these are rough points.
    +
    Since elites of secular institutions only truly care about elites at other institutions, the leadership of these churches won’t want to fall behind the CofE. They’ll issue cheerful press releases boasting love and then arm wrestle for who gets to perform the first homosexual ceremony. Most denominations already allow homosexual clergy.Theologically, since going to a service at a mainline Protestant church will increasingly be no different than reading the New York Times or Guardian op-ed section, which is more convenient and saves on gas, those willing to make the trek will dwindle and die off. If you’re in the market for an old church (aren’t they quaint?), look to the Methodists and Presbyterians. Besides, members are tired of being called stupid and irrational by the culture.
  • Stuart Murray on Christendom (abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com)
    Anabaptists identify the “Christendom shift” in the 4th century as the time when Jesus began to be marginalized.
    +
    Anabaptist are convinced that, whatever its undoubtful benefits, the Christendom system seriously distorted Christian faith: the price the church paid for coming in from the margins was allowing Jesus to be pushed out from the center to the margins – Stuart MurrayThe Naked Anabaptist, Herald Press, 2010, p 52
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  • Why converting Muslims is taboo in the Catholic Church (catholicherald.co.uk)
    What are they talking about at the Synod for Evangelisation? This article by Sandro Magister tells us that the Bishops have broached the taboo subject of conversions from Islam to Christianity. It makes interesting reading, despite the rather ponderous translation, (read the original here ) and I was particularly struck by this section of it, which I beg readers to consider carefully:“The Muslims do not see the difference between Christians and Westerners, because they do not distinguish, themselves, between what is religious and what is political and social. What precedes the Westerners is perceived by the Muslims as preceding the Christians. Now, Western behaviour, especially on the cultural and political level and in a general way, harms the religious and national sensitivity of the Muslims, their values, their ethics and their culture. Consequentially, this forms an obstacle to their openness to Christianity and to their possible evangelisation.”
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    Sociologists of religion use cult to refer to a religious group that does not regard itself as exclusively true yet has negative relations with the surrounding society. Those two factors—exclusivity and societal relations—form the basis for sociological definition of religions into four kinds of groups: church (exclusive with good relations), denomination (inclusive with good relations), sect (exclusive with bad relations) and cult (inclusive with bad relations). Yet almost no one uses these terms in the way sociologists of religion use them.
    +I think what is really meant by cult in most modern Evangelical parlance is “bad/weird religious group.” And of course perhaps such a definition is right in its own way.
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
    The election-year embrace of Mitt Romney by some evangelical Christians now borders on a bear hug, given a series of moves by Billy Graham and his family that appear to say it’s OK to vote for a Mormon.
  • Billy Graham website admits scrubbing ‘Mormons’ from ‘cult’ list after endorsing Romney (rawstory.com)
    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed all references to Mormonism as a “cult” from its website after their founder announced his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Why I Am a Christian. (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    I have to admit that it’s not always the most simple and straightforward answer to give, because there are many reasons that have led to my faith in Christ.  However, I guess the first place to start is with my parents.  I am a Christian because of my parents.  There may be nothing remarkable about that, and often times I, or many other Christians, would not like to admit that truth.  I am a Christian because my parents are Christians, and that’s what they raised me to believe, just like Jesus was a Jew because His parents were Jews.
  • Christ didn’t come to help us, He came to Include us (melwild.wordpress.com)
    a surprising few resonate so much to the more important fact that the Father’s plan was to substitute Christ for us and place us in Him. I think this is unfortunate.
  • Jesus Christ was an Anarchist (blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com) > Jesus Christ was an Anarchist
    Jesus came along to lead his followers out of this ungodly Roman system, preaching an alternative form of government. He spoke of a jurisdiction outside of the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbors. He unified the early Christian church in a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person love thy neighbor as thy self in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
    +
    Jesus was showing a way to untangle people from the captivity of the social contracts they had made with the state of Rome and Judea, and the tribute and obligations they had become snared by. He proclaimed to call no man “Father”, as they called their Roman benefactors, but stated that “thou Father art in heaven.” The perfect law of freedom indicated that man’s unalienable rights stemmed from God and nature, and not governments of men. This was a system of anarchy, by strict definition, without the complex system of tribute that led to the decadence and decline of society, and the corruptible force of the state to back it up.The early Christian church was not persecuted for their belief in a different God or a Kingdom in Heaven, but for their opting out of the mutual taxation system and seeking to live apart from the kings and overlords, the gods many, who demanded their tribute.
    +Today, most of us find ourselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for our benefit. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. We have traded our inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Our churches are not ordained by God, but are 501(c)(3) corporations granted status by the state.As we head into what is certainly going to be a volatile 2014, we are going to need to dig down deep and find that anarchist in all of us, with a little more loving thy neighbor as thy self to boot.
  • Fanatic hindu who hated christians is an evidence of Jesus (pciniraj.wordpress.com)
    I never liked Christian missionaries. I used to speak against Christianity and was organising people near the temples against the evangelism activites.“But Lord Jesus mightly fighting for His children, if anybody persecuting Christians, for which I am a clear evidence”, now I am witnessing this every corner to corner by holding the Holy Bible in one hand and showing my terrific stomach to the public. “I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant”. This is my testimony.
  • Pouring Into Others (comeawake.org)
    If you are a Christian, you are a disciple of Christ. You know Him, but what have you done to make Him known to others? And I’m not just talking about evangelism. I’m talking about how you can use your time, your energy and most importantly, your knowledge about who Christ is to help out a fellow brother or sister.The purpose of our lives is simply this: To know Christ, and to make Him known.
  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
    +
    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
    +
    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Are Esoteric Teachings Missing from Christianity? (jesusweddingthebook.wordpress.com)
    In my opinion, Christianity is the only tradition that openly celebrates both spiritual paths. I can agree that there is no secret teaching, because both spiritual paths are out in the open for everyone to see. However, by definition, the esoteric teaching is the second leg of the spiritual journey. The esoteric teaching does not have to be “secret” in order to maintain its mystery. The mystery of the esoteric path can only be revealed when the exoteric path or first leg of the spiritual journey is fully completed.
  • Discovering the Truth (cosmicmacduff.wordpress.com)
    for me it has been and is the walking that is important, not any place that I might arrive at or achievement I might accomplish.  I think that I have discovered  a lot since I started, but do not consider myself “enlightened”,  just aware of who  I am.  For me this primary truth, a recognition that there was/is something  more to me (my soul)  than my physical body, is what allowed me and still allows me, to find meaning and purpose in life.
  • Am I A Religious Person? (elephantjournal.com) + But is it my religion?
    I’ve heard it said that religion is having someone else’s spiritual experience and spirituality is having your own. It’s certainly true that some Buddhists venerate the Buddha or other teachers to such a high degree that they are just having the Buddha’s experience and not their own. I don’t do that. The Buddha warned us against doing that. He said, “Don’t worship me,” and right after his death, people started doing it.
  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    Atheism is my own personal belief and I understand and respect everyone else’s religious beliefs. I simply want to talk about the idea of religion shaping a person.
    +
    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and should live so accordingly!
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
    +
    Religion lies outside science and evidence, so you can’t prove it wrong. Why can’t you just accept this and that people want to live with a belief in a greater being?
    +
    I could believe whatever I want if it made me happy. But in all other ways, except for a religious conviction, the believer of a claim unprovable by science immediately pays a social price.
    +
    The absence of a belief is never a motivation, and while Communism may be a secular ideology, this does not mean that all atheists or secularists are communists and it certainly does not mean that we would wish to kill or destroy religious people or religious infrastructure.
  • All BEings are Divine (amuseinharmony.wordpress.com)
    all beings, including human beings are divine manifestations of Creator Source on the physical earth plane materialized in various forms for the purpose of expansion. the earth is mother to us all. we are organisms formed from her womb. as she ascends, so shall we. the mother loves her humans as she does all creatures or our existence would no longer be. our love and unity with her and all her inhabitants is our duty as earth walkers.
  • Dalai Lama speaks on harmony to religious followers at Tokyo temple (japandailypress.com)
    The famous leader went on to explain that most of the problems humans encounter are of their own making, and thinking that they are all different from one another. This kind of thinking has a tendency to separate people instead of uniting them. His speech centered on the essential “oneness” of all people and emphasized on the divisiveness that comes with focusing on the “them” and “us,” rather than on the “we”, as a whole. Religious harmony is one thing that His Holiness has committed himself to, and hopes that it is something that Japan can contribute to as well.
  • what is the happiest person in the world saying? (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
  • How to Argue for the Existence of God (omigassplus.wordpress.com)
    Anyone who feels God, can see and feel God inside them. They live inside God. God lives inside them. They see God as an energy that penetrates them and fills them up inside. They feel God as an energy around them and within them. They feel God touch them in their special places. They realize that God is a higher faith, a greater presence. They crave Him. They want to feel his love fill them up inside. Without God, they feel empty, unloved, lonely. Only with God inside them can they feel whole again.
  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’
  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.
  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.
  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown.

 

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18 responses to “Religions and Mainliners

  1. Pingback: October month of witches and spirits | Stepping Toes

  2. Pingback: Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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