Church in Crisis Books: Exodus by Dave Shiflett

Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity by Dave Shiflett

Book Description – Adapted from Amazon (With Further Comments from Roger below)

Why, in this age of moral relativism, are millions of people eager to adopt tougher and more traditional religious practices?

Why are they fleeing denominations that focus on social justice rather than dogma, such as the Unitarians and Episcopalians? Why are they joining conservative churches like the Southern Baptists in record numbers?

Many articles have been written about the decline of mainstream Protestantism— especially since the Episcopal Church confirmed an openly gay bishop, sparking a fierce debate among its own members.

But no author has gone behind the scenes to interview the Americans, liberal and conservative, who are at the heart of this important shift.

Journalist Dave Shiflett reveals why liberal pastors have cast aside tradition and Christian belief as they remake their churches.

He shows why there are so many refugees from the mainline denominations into Roman Catholic, evangelical, and Orthodox churches.

Exodus undermines several stereotypes about conservative believers, who are better educated, wealthier, and more worldly than many assume.

Those who flock to conservative churches don’t necessarily agree with all of their new churches’ teachings on issues like abortion and divorce. They don’t all believe that every word of the Bible is true. Yet they’re tired of being told that nearly anything goes. They hunger for the traditional Christian message of hope.

This is a fascinating book that will shatter many myths about the ‘Religious Right’.

Why Roger recommends this book:

I find this a useful book about a VERY important subject.

The subtitle, however, is somewhat of a misnomer.

For truly, the situation is more like this: Americans (and millions of other people) are indeed fleeing liberal Christianity.

However, most of them are fleeing churches altogether – without turning to more traditional religion.

That being said, Shiflett’s book is definitely helpful in understanding several things:

  • First, why a vague, indistinct liberal Christianity has less and less hold on people’s hearts.
  • And thus, how the denominations of liberal Christianity have been dying – decade after decade after decade …
  • Why more traditional forms of Christianity hold far more meaning for people and why the only hope for Christianity lies in such directions.

Shiflett’s book makes for light, accessible reading, rather than being profound, comprehensive or weighty. It’s the kind of book I like to read, when I’m too tired to take in more demanding material, almost like I might read a magazine.

However, that does not mean that it is without real insight into a real world problem of grave consequence.

Clearly, Shiflet is not a Catholic and the book is not primarily about Catholicism. However, there is a fair amount regarding people who desert liberal mainline Protestantism and turn towards Rome.

However as a Catholic, I find this survey of American religion only confirms my deep fear regarding the slow death of the Catholic Church, a death hastened by the so-called ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ and its attempts to turn the Catholic Church into something very much like liberal mainline Protestantism.

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