Controversy

How to Shrink Your Church Attendance in One Easy Step

Here’s the premise media by Alexander Griswold: Every major American church that is taking steps toward liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership. Griswold writes:

By now, we’ve all heard the refrain that U.S. churches need liberalize their teachings on sexuality and homosexuality or rapidly decline. The logic behind the argument is simple: more and more Americans are embracing homosexuality and same-sex marriage, including growing numbers of religious Millennials. So long as churches remain the face of opposition to gay marriage, those churches will shrink into irrelevancy when gay marriage (inevitably, we are told) becomes a settled political issue.
These arguments often see church acceptance of homosexuality as a carrot as well as a stick. It isn’t so much that denouncing homosexuality will drive people away from church, but that embracing it will also lead people into church. LGBT individuals and their supporters, many of whom hold a dim view of religion after a decades-long culture war, will reconsider church if denominations remove their restrictions on gay marriage and ordination.
But a number of Christian denominations have already taken significant steps towards liberalizing their stances on homosexuality and marriage, and the evidence so far seems to indicate that affirming homosexuality is hardly a cure for membership woes. On the contrary, every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.
What do you think? Does Griswold get it right? Or are there other reasons for these denominational downfalls in recent years? And how important do you see the issue of sexuality and changing sexual norms at your church? Will this be a big issue in the next decade? Will your church have to choose to lose some people because of your stand bisexual issues? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.  Read Alexander Griswold’s thoughts here. Todd