One Constant in Christianity, Individuals Need Their Own Theology

Today it is widely believed “conservative” churches are thriving and liberal ones are not.  According to this link, that is not true.  So called conservative churches are suffering declines as well.

There is a catagory of U. S. Christianity that is growing, it is called Pentecostalism.  Broadly defined, it is a belief each person has his own relationship with God and Jesus.

But, Pentecostalism taps into a notion that has been in all of Christianity since the beginning, empowerment.  If you make people believe they are important and your faith can further success in their lives, you have the makings of a growing church.  This is Pentecostalism.

One might take note, the successful message is not about peoples’ sins or that there is some super natural person being providing a pass on sins.  That is not important in this branch.

The irony is pentecostalism is closer to the liberal branch than the conservative.  In liberal Christianity, there is less emphasis on dogma passed down from the church hierarchy and more on the individual’s efforts to plot their own path to faith.  This is a form of empowerment that might bode well for its future.

Empowerment can be seen in the long pattern of church support.  People in occupations that have uncertainty, like agriculture in rural communities, has always been more attracted to the empowerment message of religion than their urban counterparts.

The question, “What’s in it for me?”, decides what and how much religion people choose.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/05/08/3754700.htm

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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19 Responses to One Constant in Christianity, Individuals Need Their Own Theology

  1. Brad says:

    Based on my own observation, the Pentacostal church services are more lively than many of the traditional churches. Some churches put me to sleep with their repetitive rituals, whereas the Pentacostal services are more engaged and animated. That being said, I’m still more attracted to outwardly liberal or progressive churches such as the Unitarian or UCC.

    • Henry says:

      Brad:“That being said, I’m still more attracted to outwardly liberal or progressive churches such as the Unitarian or UCC.”

      Go for it. Talk is cheap.

    • Michael Ross says:

      ” I’m still more attracted to outwardly liberal or progressive churches such as the Unitarian or UCC.”

      In other words you prefer those that do not believe in anything but “do your own thing.”

      • Brad says:

        No, I prefer churches that don’t use guilt and fear tactics to control my life.

        In any case, I have no need for any religion. I am able to have a spiritual life just fine without it, probably better in fact.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          Agreed!

        • Michael Ross says:

          You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and if we meet, its beautiful.

          What a wonderful world view. Sounds like that will prevail at the Mn capitol today.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          One thing that has bothered me… If God has no need for money or well, needs nothing, then, why is it in God’s best interest to have a steady income?

          I do believe in giving as I’ve learned first hand that many blessings occur and I am not going to be any happier by keeping everything for myself than giving away to others in need. I don’t believe I need to fund a pastor to do this, nor do I need to fund the executive that makes millions off of United Way or Red Cross.

          I want to know that what I give or do is going to genuinely help someone.

  2. Kevin Flanagan says:

    Unitarian is the free lunch church.

  3. entech says:

    One Constant in Christianity, Individuals Need Their Own Theology I have said before it seems to me that in America everyone has their own god as well as their own theology. To save confusion almost everyone calls their personal god jesus.

  4. Wanna B Sure says:

    Re….”need their own theology”; To a certain degree, that may be a factor, but the “method, practice, and ritual,” or the lack of it, seems to be of more importance than the actual theology these days. I would go so far to say there is very little theology in today’s up and commers. Production crews/ teams orbiting around a central charasmatic figure have replaced the theologians.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Indeed, Just last week, the head of a production company was asked why Osteen was so successful. He said that Osteen always had the best cameras, lenses, and lighting. My initial thought was; “I’d bet if he farted into a microphone, it would come out as a hymn. I could be wrong.

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