Rachel Held Evans writes a lot about her spiritual struggles with the evangelical churches of her youth. Recently, she posted her reasons why she is not a part of a mainstream church (the historical but theologically liberal denominations).
I share a lot of her frustrations which much of evangelical Christianity (a very loose category for all churches and denominations that believe in the authority of Scripture and a need for personal conversion), but if I were not the teaching pastor of an awesome congregation and were looking for a church, I would not consider a mainstream congregation. My reasons are similar to Rachel’s.
In pursuing some kind of extra biblical ideals, the mainstream churches have by and large abandoned the core of what it means to be Christian. They are often so committed to being inclusive that they sacrifice the Scriptures on the altar of a broad appeal.
Many mainstream groups are experiencing an influx of people who are not content with evangelical Christianity, but if I can make a generalization on this, I think it is largely because these people are leaving shallow, emotional and often tradition-bound evangelicalism. To coin a broad generalization: Empty religion is empty religion, whether it is evangelical or mainstream.
Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of faithful believers teaching the Scriptures in mainstream denominations. Particularly, evangelical seem to be invading (probably not the best term) or reinvigorating the Methodists and Anglicans. And to those who are doing that, I say GO FOR IT! It just isn’t for me.
I think much of evangelicalism has become one dimensional and dull. Either they are doing the faddish ministry of decades ago or they are being so innovative that they are rendered impractical and shallow. This is just my opinion.
Personally, I could never worship anywhere that the teachers do not take the Scriptures are authoritative and Jesus as the only path of salvation. Do I think that we in the evangelical realm need to rediscover our core and be what we are supposed to be? Of course. But do I believe the mainstream denominations are a healthy alternative for believers? Generally, no.