Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, in her discussion of the new findings about how Americans are always changing their religious affiliations, offers some provocative insights that we have posted over the last few days. She is, of course, utterly liberal in her own theology. She considers people changing churches not as a matter of belief or spirituality but as mainly finding “a better cultural fit”:
The shift in religious affiliation, or away from religious affiliation, has the most correlation, in my view, with that range of religious cultural assumptions than with any specific doctrine. And when people move from one affiliation to another, they are choosing a better cultural fit.
I would say that cultural Christianity is, indeed, what the liberal mainline Protestants are pursuing, as are, unfortunately, many culturally-conforming evangelical ones. A person should, however, look for a church that teaches what is TRUE and where CHRIST can be found.
And yet, “cultural fit” is surely a factor, with people raised back in the woods in a little country church becoming Episcopalians when they go to the big city and become rich. Should this be? Is there a legitimate search for “cultural fit” in a church?