"The relevance of a recovery of evangelical Anabaptism becomes all the more clear if one considers current trends in the mainline Protestant churches. The authors of Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers, a recent study of Presbyterians who grew up in the sixties, traced the religious journey of Presbyterian youth who were confirmed in the 1960s, most of whom have since left the church. On the basis of the authors' research, the strongest indicator as to whether these now middle-aged adults would be members of a Christian church was whether they held a strong core of Christian belief and faith and whether they scored high on the "Christ Only" index.
"The authors argued that the decline of the Presbyterians in the last thirty years, after steady growth since colonial times in America, is not a result of the countercultural movement of the 1960s or the influence of higher education. Rather, they concluded that the membership has fallen sharply in recent years because mainline churches have become weak churches filled with "lay liberals." Lay liberals are highly individualistic church members who have trouble saying that Christianity is truer than other religions. They claim only that Christianity is truer for them or that it meets their needs. Bender's question, "What think you of Christ?" could not be more appropriate. Without a strong evangelical Christian base, Mennonites, Brethren or other groups descended from Anabaptism will become weak churches which increasingly elicit weak commitment. Indeed, one key to the survival of these groups will be a reconstruction of evangelical Anabaptism as a living, vital core of their collective history."
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