I received an e-mail from Charisma News, headlining the article mentioned in the heading. It was offered by Thom Rainer, President of LifeWay Resources, headquartered in nearby Nashville, TN. I know about them as I used to work for the Nashville Rescue Mission that was nearby. I discovered he has a blog and I registered to receive future references to this ministry.
In the meantime, I will list the reasons he has offered and add my own thoughts on the matter.
1. Denominational churches have a negative reputation. Some respondents - referring to the Twitter poll they initiated, used the phrase "negative brand" to communicate this reason.
I laughed! Imagine for a moment, the people who stay tuned in to Twitter polls. I hear a lot about them. You can hardly escape mentions of them if you ever watch the national news broadcasts. Typically, the host will make a claim and immediately, his/her assistants places a question on Twitter and they will receive - often, thousands of almost immediate responses.
I have belonged to very large denominational churches in various cities I have lived in over the years and I can almost imagine the Wesley brothers begging God for an opportunity to return to earth to revive their brand of Christianity - Methodism. Yes, I know of areas in the church I might want to change, but it has survived for years as a tradition for thousands upon thousands of the families who call the Methodist church, their home away from home.
2. Denominations are known more for what they are against than what they are for.
I hear this claim, loud and clear as I live in what some refer to as the "buckle on the Bible Belt' and we have several versions of the same denomination that is prominent in the displays if you will visit a LifeWay book store. I moved to this area some twenty years ago and was stunned to hear so many claims that if one is not "saved" they are destined for Hell. I understand that interpretation, but it was not what Jesus taught - primarily, when He walked among us. I don't blame people for leaving such churches as they only virtue they truly have to offer is more of the same, week in and week out.
3. There is too much infighting and politics in denominations.
Excuse me, but have those pollsters ever visited the non-denominational churches? There is a sickness throughout almost all of our churches that want the rest of us to believe that their political choices go to their State capitols or Washington as Godly interpreters of the legislation they promote, almost daily. I recall the early efforts of politicians to involve churches in their campaigns to get elected and one time in particular, a prominent politico addressed our congregation while armed guards stood in the wings, as if to quell a riot if one broke out.
4. The denominational churches are too, liberal.
Excuse me, again, but it is the advocates of Conservative politics who - by and large, who control the religious vote. Proof of my point will be discovered if a person would count the huge numbers of liberal organization that have sprung up in recent years, realizing that churches have cornered the conservative vote coming from their members.
5. There is a general waning of institutional loyalty in institutions such as denominations.
See the answer for point, number 4
6. Denominations have inefficient systems and organizations. They are too bureaucratic.
Should anyone be surprised? Consider the government entities that are everywhere, in out cities and towns, our schools, our police and fire departments, even our sporting enterprises. Bureaucracy is the name of the game and fortunately, the reason that here are not even more people on the public dole.
7. There are no perceived benefits in belonging to denominations.
That sounds like a typical Twitter question. The Bible teaches that the family is the God ordained answer to life as it was designed to be. It is where we were meant to learn how to love one another and if it were not for organized religion, our crime rates would rise beyond our control. That there are churches, denominational or not, ought to be a matter of respect to say the least.
8. Denominations are not good stewards of their financial resources.
And now we are asked to believe that the average person, even those who attend church regularly, are conscious of what their church, any church, does with its finances - is ridiculous. There ought to be a few who could respond accurately, but very few.
It seems to me - as a lay person, such queries are worse than just a waste of time. The word abomination comes to mind.
If we are to fault the church, any church, or any church system, then it should have nothing to do with the popularity of some churches, compared to the others, but the fact that the average lay person knows very little about loving others, caring for others, doing all that our Heavenly Father has called on each of us, to do, as a gateway to the eternity He has prepared for us.