There is no doubt that Evangelicalism is exhibiting some of the same trajectories that have decimated the mainline denominations – American Baptists, PCUSA, the Episcopal Church, United Methodists, etc. What do these churches all have in common demographically? Their theology has led to them being white, old and small.
Now American Evangelicals must grapple with their destiny and either intentionally reverse their downgrade or drift into a an irrelevant blip on the global screen like the mainlines. Mark Tooley has a very insightful piece at Juicy Ecumenism. It seems to cover the territory to me.
I grieve for the increasing signs of instability of Evangelicals. They are too susceptible to theological fads and loose definitions. The skill of defending orthodoxy while rejecting anti-intellectual fundamentalism is diminished. They (we) must seek the middle ground between the safe ground of NeoPuritanism which seems to offer a place of rest in its High Calvinism but which exhibits too many traits of sectarianism and “Christ against culture” tendencies and the mega-church indifference to moral issues and holiness and innate unwillingness to work in a serious theological milieu. The former leads to isolation and decreasing ability to speak to culture while the latter so diminishes the line between the church and the world that a good bit of what it has to offer is already offered by the world.
Why make this effort to right the Evangelical ship of state? Because the options left to us are no options. Historic orthodoxy blended with confessional faithfulness that allows for Evangelical ecumenism is the essential road. No retreat into sectarianism and no surrender to liberalism!!