Churches without Christ

It’s no wonder all of these churches in Minnesota are dying. They have abandoned the Word of God so the Holy Spirit has left the building and people can sense it.

Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations.

La Salle, Minn. — For 100 years, Lutherans in this farming community on the Minnesota prairie have come to one church to share life’s milestones.

They have been baptized, confirmed and married at La Salle Lutheran. Their grandparents, parents and siblings lie in the church cemetery next door.

But the old friends who gathered here early one recent Sunday never imagined that they would one day be marking the death of their own church.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.

St. Paul’s On the Hill Episcopal Church on prestigious Summit Avenue was recently sold to a developer after more than a century of religious service. Bethany Lutheran Church in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis held its “holy closure” ceremony last fall. St. Michael Catholic Church in West St. Paul celebrated its last mass 18 months ago.

Mainline Protestant churches have been hit the hardest. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Minnesota has lost almost 200,000 members since 2000 and about 150 churches. A third of the remaining 1,050 churches have fewer than 50 members. The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in Minnesota, has shuttered 65 churches since 2000.

Once a Christian church goes Churchian, accepts women as leaders, and begins to preach the Gospel of Emma Lazarus and Martin Luther King, it begins to die. Every single time. I find it absolutely astonishing that so few Christians appear able to recognize the very clear and undeniable pattern of church decline and demise.

The blogger at the link notes: La Salle Lutheran Church. It is Lutheran Immigration Services in MN that is largely responsible for the growing Muslim population there. So should anyone be surprised that Lutheran churches are losing congregants.