Rev. Oliver Thomas is simply one in a long line of terribly misguided clergy who believe the best thing for the church is to stop being Christian.
Stop accepting the Bible as true and admit Christianity has gotten it terribly wrong on homosexuality. This is the advice Rev. Oliver Thomas gives in a recent opinion article in USA Today for how the church can stop “hemorrhaging members” and see brighter days.
He warns that “the church is killing itself” because it has painted itself into a corner by actually believing what the Bible says. He contends that Christians should just admit that the Bible gets it wrong on so many important issues and that “reason and experience” should be our new guide, as if this is a new idea. He says the church is terribly wrong about sexuality, particularly homosexuality, and would do very well to wise up, lest it find itself reduced to a warehouse for cobwebs.“ Churches will continue hemorrhaging members and money at an alarming rate until we muster the courage to face the truth: We got it wrong on gays and lesbians,” he says.
We don’t have to wonder whether Thomas is correct. Not only is he wrong, but an impressive body of very strong data and experience demonstrates the precise opposite of what he claims is true.
Ironically, those rainbow flags you see flying outside some churches proudly announcing “We welcome all!” are not appealing to the very people they are intended to attract. It’s the churches that so many on the left mistakenly and irresponsibly accuse of “hating the gays” that are actually where many gay people find what they’re really looking for.
Yes, many churches are hemorrhaging members, and have been since the early 1970s. But anyone who studies these things carefully will tell you this is happening almost exclusively in the more politically and theologically liberal mainline churches. These are the same churches that are doing exactly what Thomas calls for: rejecting the credibility and authority of Scripture.
This same research shows the churches he says must change or else are holding rock-solid steady in attendance. These are the more conservative congregations that unapologetically take the Bible at its word, including on homosexuality. His advice here is not just ill-advised, but the equivalent of telling any retailer that the way to growth is to stop being helpful to your customers and jack up your prices. Let’s see how true this is.
Theological Liberalism Is a Death Knell
Research done jointly at Harvard and Indiana universities makes this clear, reporting that the number of adults attending liberalizing mainline churches has tanked precipitously from 35 percent of the American population in 1972 to 12 percent in 2016. This decline of the mainline churches began in the early 1960s when they started to question and officially change their positions on historic Christian basics like the deity of Christ, the existence of miracles, the reality of sin, and the atoning death of Jesus and His resurrection, as well as jettisoning biblical convictions about sex, gender, and abortion. People started running for the doors of these churches with every new compromise, and this exodus continues en masse today. It could hardly be worse if these pastors asked their parishioners to leave and never come back.
The Harvard/Indiana University research also shows that the churches that take the Bible as the reliable word of God are doing very well. Compromising on biblical truths was, and is, a devastating church-growth strategy. Holding fast to these truths and preaching them boldly is a very effective one. Let’s look at some real numbers from the folks at the Pew Research Center showing the same thing.
Continue reading at No, Christianity Doesn’t Need To Endorse Homosexuality To Grow