A clear and concise description of what has happened to mainstream Protestantism in the late twentieth century and an agenda for reform and renewal. Solid research based on the combined study of over sixty researchers provides insights into the decline of the historic mainline denominations and ways to reverse the decline. Essential for pastors, church leaders, concerned members and students.
Three noted historical theologians and sixty researchers provide landmark study on the decline of the mainline church and the steps needed for transformation.
Vital Signs summarizes the research on American mainstream Protestantism in the twentieth century and assesses the significance of that research for these denominations as they confront the twenty-first century. Written primarily for church members and pastors or priests, this book is a valuable resource for congregations and denominations, helping them to understand the trends of the past, the realities of the present, and the opportunities for renewal in the future. A must read for those interested in both the reasons for the decline and in ways to grow both spiritually and in number.
Originally released in 1996, this revised and updated 2002 edition includes a new introduction, updated denominational statistics and the results of the 2000 census.
A summary of the six volume study: The Presbyterian Predicament, released by Westminster/John Knox based on the Lilly Endowment funded study on the decline of the mainline church.
“The bewildering wealth of research certainly justifies a summary, and this one is both useful and timely. It is both a summary of exhaustive research and a collection of pointers that should make the whole body of research more accessible to students of religion.”- Booklist
“The past two decades have not been easy ones for mainstream Protestant denominations. This book, more than any other, will help people who care about these churches to understand why. It will also help them to look toward the future with hope, aware of the promise of mainstream Protestantism’s witness to the gospel in our rapidly changing world.”- Dorothy C. Bass, Valparaiso University and author of Practicing Our Faith (Josey-Bass).
People Who Will Benefit From This Book:
Pastors and Church Leaders
Denominational Bodies and Leaders
Seminaries: Teachers and Students
About the authors:
Milton J Coalter is library director and professor at Union-PSCE in Richmond, VA and Charlotte, NC. He is a former professor at Louisville Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
John M. Mulder is currently Vice President for Development and Communications at The Healing Place in Louisville, KY and past President of Louisville Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.
Louis B. Weeks is President and professor of historical theology at Union-PSCE in Richmond, VA