Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity
by Dave Shiflett
Sentinel, 196 pages, $23.95
Dave Shiflett, described by Chuck Colson as "one of the most astute culture watchers and writers I know," has written Exodus to explain the phenomenon summarized in the subtitle: "Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity." An accomplished journalist and long-time contributor to this and other conservative publications, Shiflett writes in a breezy and personal style from a perspective that fairly represents the liberal churches but clearly favors religions that don't consider "dogmatic" a dirty word.
Why is his book important? Over the long term, a people's health can be measured by whom they worship, how they worship, and what difference it makes in their day-to-day lives. Today, Christianity is growing like wildfire in Africa and Asia, while its influence is rapidly diminishing in Europe. We will have to see whether Pope Benedict and his youthful troops in the new ecclesial communities can pull off a miracle, but the intermediate prognosis is grim.
That brings us back to Shiflett's America. A recent survey shows that the United States, unlike Europe, continues to hold steady as a nominally Christian country, with over 80 percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christians. Given the drastic decline in public and private morals since 1960, the obvious question is: How can this be? Imagine a 1950s American mother waking up in 2005 and turning on the television or the radio, or picking up a popular magazine. She would probably suffer a fainting spell, if not cardiac arrest, from the assault of deeply immoral attitudes toward marriage, family, and sexuality. The reason this can happen in a nominally Christian country is that the definition of "Christianity" in America has changed, and this is the story that Shiflett's book tells. The great culture clashes that divide our country presently are at their root theological: They pit those who acknowledge religious authority (either biblical or exercised by a divinely guided inspired church) against those who ground their principles on the unencumbered moral right of each person to create his own personal religion, regardless of objective morality and doctrinal belief.
Read the entire article on the American Spectator website (new window will open).