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At their convention this week, not only did Episcopalians remove a moratorium on consecrating more openly self-affirming and practicing homosexual bishops, but also authorized the blessing of same-sex unions. Story.

These actions put further pressure on the relationship with Anglicanism world-wide, where African and Asian bishops--the growing part of Anglicanism--already regard their American kin as heretical.

Episcopalian leadership seems to have redefined "God" into a cosmic Barney, with love and hugs for all, no wrath, and no firm standards, except for "I'm OK, You're OK."

Theologically, there seem to be two basic errors in Episcopal thinking here: 1. there is no conception that the Fall has lasting effects on humanity such that we are born with problems--from physical birth defects to abnormal brain chemistry affecting our mentality to the impulse to sin, so that to say "God made me this way and that's OK" is at best naive; 2. there seems to be no conception of God's holiness, righteousness, and wrath, so that God is fine with us however we are.
Buzz Aldrin, a Presbyterian elder, took communion bread with him to the surface of the moon, eating it in thanksgiving. Story here from Voice of America.
Episcopalians, the U.S. branch of world Anglicanism, recently told the rest of Anglicanism to take a flying leap.


The Episcopal House of Bishops has, with minor amendment, adopted a resolution (D025) essentially repealing a moratorium (B033) on the consecration of gay bishops. The resolution, D025, had previously cleared the Episcopal House of Deputies on Sunday and was quickly picked up by the Bishops on Monday afternoon. It passed the House of Bishops 99-45 in favor, with two abstentions.
This brief article surveys the recent research and comes up with 14 factors cited by various "experts" to explain why some Christian congregations grow. Link from The Layman Online.

Here is a summary of the 14 factors which I document fully below: (1) witnessing, (2) strictness, (3) high fertility rates, (4) caring for children and youth, (5) high involvement, (6) welcoming new people, (7) leadership, (8) prayer, (9) being a church of 1000+ attendees or under 50 attendees, (10) being located in rural counties, (11) being in rapidly growing zip codes, (12) being in a tradition that is altering worship practices slightly but not too much, (13) churches that offer “intimacy and choice” and (14) attractive worship style, senior pastor, and church reputation.

(10)"Rural counties," above seems to mean exurban counties rather than the middle-of-nowhere counties, and so would overlap (11) rapidly growing zip codes. (9) Under 50 attendees would naturally reflect larger percentage changes with fewer numbers, also, many new church starts would be in this group. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 often overlap with theologically conservative beliefs. And, (9) over 1000 attendees (not just members) often would be conservative churches rather than theologically liberal.
For those who like dates and charts, 2007 can be regarded as significant in the decline of the former Mainline Christian Denominations, and the rise of the (formerly)Sideline groups. According to the most recently available data, in 2007 the Presbyterian Church, USA, declined to 2.9 million members, while the Assemblies of God increased to 2.9 million members.

Interestingly, denominational declines were not limited to the Mainline (read Liberal) groups. The Southern Baptist Convention declined slightly, as did the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. So did Roman Catholics. The only large Christian denominations growing are the Assemblies of God, and the Church of God-Cleveland, Tennessee. (There are several groups calling themselves "Church of God," so they are differentiated by the location of their headquarters.)


Both the Assemblies of God, and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) are charismatic--emphasizing personal experience of the miraculous.