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Mainline ChristianityThe Past and Future of America's Majority Faith$
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Jason S. Lantzer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814753309

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814753309.001.0001

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A Mighty Fortress in Decline

A Mighty Fortress in Decline

(p.49) 3 A Mighty Fortress in Decline
Mainline Christianity

Jason S. Lantzer

NYU Press

This chapter demonstrates how the facade of Mainline Protestantism eventually cracked beyond repair by the 1960s and 1970s, what outsiders called the “Mainline decline.” Post-World War II America was in the midst of forging a national consensus based on the importance of religious expansion. That feeling of consensus, if not conformity, was reflected in theological trends that sought to leave the modernist-fundamentalist debates behind the Mainline. For much of the 1950s, churches were growing; it was a flourishing period for theologians. But during the 1960s and 1970s, various issues threatened to rip the Mainline apart. The external challenges of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War left the Episcopal Church and many of the other Seven Sisters divided and uncertain about the place of Christians in the world, as well as what the church's role would be in such divisive times.

Keywords:   Mainline Protestantism, Mainline decline, Seven Sisters, Episcopal Church, post-World War II America, civil rights movement, Vietnam War

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