For the previous verses, see this post and links.

Another root cause of Mainline decline: Liberation Theology separated from biblical teaching.

Liberation Theology, in a nutshell, is a way of looking at Christian doctrine that emphasizes God's "preferential option" for the poor. The Old Testament prophets over and over again proclaimed God's watchcare for the widow and orphan, and judged Israel's society on how well the weak got the justice they deserved. On the flip side, the wealthy frequently were castigated and were condemned as oppressors of the poor. See, for example, the prophet Amos. In the New Testament we find Jesus more often among the poor and outcast than among the rich; and he did say that the last shall be first, and that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. The Apostle Paul describes the early Christian church as made up of not many mighty. Liberation Theology emphasizes justice for the poor and weak of society, including the global society. We should not be content to wait for heaven when we die, we should work to make this world now look more like the kingdom.

And, since we tend to understand things, including Scripture, based on our background, Liberation Theology has emphasized the ways in which the rich (individuals and nations) distort the Bible message in order to remain comfortable. Indeed, Liberation Theology(s) teach that the poor and weak have better insight into God's teaching than do the rich.

So far, so good. However, . . . (more below)

Some have pushed Liberation Theology in some bad directions. For example, some have made the simple equation that rich and powerful equals evil and poor and weak equals righteous. Therefore the dominant society (whether of a nation, or considering global society) is evil and weak societies are righteous. Guess who is the richest, most powerful nation on earth? U.S. So in any conflict in which the United States is involved, we are evil and the weaker nation (say, Cuba) is righteous. Isn't simplistic thinking wonderful. Many folks have left mainline churches over just this political analysis from the pulpit or denominational headquarters.

Within a society, like ours, the dominant culture is evil (say, heterosexual) and the weaker minority is righteous (say, ACTUP). The church, then, is to work for the liberation of the weak (for example, same-sex marriage). Notice how the Left (secular or religious) has made saints out of those who have died from, or are suffering from, AIDS.