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The Mainline vs. Evangelical Paradigm Doesn’t Work

Taking issue with the longstanding conception that American Christianity can be neatly divided into liberal mainline and conservative evangelical Protestant camps, the Rev. Mark Williamson argues that the categories don’t work, and probably never did. To say evangelical is not to speak of something distinctly non-mainline – there are liberal evangelicals and there are rather conservative mainline Protestants. Furthermore, many strains of Protestantism, such as the African American church, never fit the categories. The Protestant waters are muddy, and the needs of the 21st century are such that false distinctions need to be replaced with a common interest in reaching out to the growing numbers of Americans who claim no religious affiliation. Read Williamson’s full argument, “The Categories Aren’t Working Anymore,” on the Forum for Theological Exploration’s website. 



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