A Poor Church-Growth Strategy? (Series on “Minding the Web”)

“That we are taught to confess our sin, particularly during Lent, is not something to which we look forward. We are not at all sure an emphasis on sin is a good idea. We are in a time of a dramatic loss in membership in mainline Protestantism. We need to attract new people. Telling people they are possessed by sin does not sound like a good church-growth strategy. People come to church because they want to be loved, not to be told that their lives are determined by destructive forces. The best it seems we can do is to say things like “when everything is said and done we are all sinners”—a generalization and platitude that is as meaningless as it is destructive. Destructive because the presumption that when all is said and done we are all sinners in effect works as an excuse in waiting, making possible for us to do what we know will alienate us from the love of God.” 1

This is the twenty-eighth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the recently published book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas edited by Robert J. Dean (Cascade).

  1. Stanley Hauerwas, “Sin,” in Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections, edited by Robert J. Dean (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018), 266-267.

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