Why the United Church is dying

The United Church in Canada (UCC) is the fastest dying church in the nation of Canada today.  Its membership has declined from 25% to 9% of this nation’s population and originally formed in the 1920s as a merger of Canada’s three churches: Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist.

This was the church my father first got involved with when he immigrated to Canada.  He still remembers when a UCC congregation reached out the the immigrants through the congregation’s outreach ministry: English as a Second Language.  If it wasn’t for this outreach, my father might not have ever gotten involved in church.  My heart sinks as I think about the state of this once-great-church in Canada.

I don’t wish to see the UCC fade away and disappear in twenty or thirty years; but realistically, that’s what I foresee for the not-too-distant future. It seems to have engaged in social activism tied heavily with political issues leaning toward the left side of the political spectrum. Furthermore, its leaders are proud of this fact. They deride conservative evangelicals of leaning toward the right side of the political spectrum, which is also a politicization of the church, and this should also be seen as being equally disdainful.  We have all retracted from the heart of the message of the gospel of Christ! Sorry for being so hard on both mainline and evangelical churches, but that’s just how I feel.

The UCC’s Twenty Articles of Faith as set out in the Basis of Union is something that I, as an evangelical, could agree with.  However, its leaders have apparently forgotten about the heart of the evangelical gospel and what is important for the spiritual health and well-being of it’s parishioners.  The heart of the evangelical gospel is the message of eternal salvation and the hope of the resurrection of God’s chosen people, rather than, the leftist anti-semitic social activism that the UCC has been engaged in.  Social justice and social activism is only a fruit of one’s love for Christ and others, but this fruit of the gospel has now become the church’s idol.  The fruit of social justice should not be the core of the church’s message and mission. The UCC has confused social activism for the core message of the gospel and views evangelism as politically-incorrect. This church has lost its former understanding of the core message of the evangelical gospel and has deceived itself into believing that it is fulfilling the mission of God. The mission of God is to: “Go… and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, NRSV).

Hopefully, God will raise up leaders within the UCC who will be focused on the heart of the mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than on worshiping the idol of politicization of the fruit of social justice. This is the spiritual sin of  idolatry.  As concerned Christian Canadians, we ought to pray for the United Church of Canada that it may turn back to the heart of the message of the gospel.

You can read the entire editorial here: The National Post: “Why the United Church is dying”

For years, the United Church of Canada has been in decline. What once was a popular, mainstream Protestant denomination has largely forsaken its mission of spreading God’s message, and increasingly has become just another left-wing tea-and-biscuit talk shop for supporters of gay marriage, unregulated abortion, and Palestinian rights. As a result, declared membership in the United Church has declined from about 25% of Canadians several decades ago to about 9% today.

This week’s General Council meeting in Kelowna, B.C. exemplified the trend, with four antiIsraeli motions on the agenda. Israel is one of the few places in the whole Middle East where Christians can worship in peace without worrying about some Islamist maniac blowing himself up in the pews. And so the fact that it also happens to be the one nation targeted for boycott by left-wing Christian denominations speaks to the ignorance, moral perversion and — in some cases — outright anti-Semitic bigotry that now informs their agenda.

….Is there hope for the United Church? Probably not. While backing away from its quartet of hateful resolutions, the Church’s leadership still persisted in urging member congregations to launch their own grass-roots campaigns against the Jewish state. Canadian leftists already have plenty of outlets at their disposal if they’re looking to bash Israel and hold bake sales for Gaza or what not. It’s a tired ideological product being sold in a crowded market — which is why the church is dying.

Perhaps the folks at the United Church believe that their church’s extinction is a small price to pay to effect social justice in the Middle East. But Israel’s economy is doing fine these days — despite all the manifestos and boycott calls circulated by Western bienpensants. Which is to say: The boycott movement is not just a moral embarrassment, but pathetically futile as well.

Perhaps rather than trying to tear down Israel, the folks at the dying United Church might want to focus on their own survival instead.

A related article here: Kelowna summit signal to leader, By Ron Seymour, Monday, August 17, 2009

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

7 thoughts on “Why the United Church is dying”

  1. LIberal thinking is largely based in feelings as it is usually logically incoherant and cannot often stand up against close scrutiny. This is simply derisive for most men.

    Where the men go, the church thrives. The UCC has become so feminine in character starting with dis-engendering sermons and prayers and moving away from foundational teaching based in Biblical truth to feelings-based spirituality (or even spiritism in some cases)

    It is chasing the men away and so the church flounders as the determined, goal-oriented, active spirit leaves and the introspective and nurturing spirit thrives. No balance means no growth. The plants are being watered to death and there is no pollen left for fertilization and growth and the sun is growing dimmer with weaker and watered-down sermons aimed at a progressively liberal audience.

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  2. Mike, I see where you’re coming from. The UCC’s denominational predecessors (Presbyterian and Methodists) were stronger in its theology but the preaching that’s coming from some UCC congregations are very anthropocentric and give human solutions rather than Christ-centered solutions.

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  3. The united church of Canada IS DEAD it’s just awaiting burial. It joins the united church of christ and episopalians aka anglicans here in the United States and the almost defunct anglican church of Canada and the Cof E in the UK. They were and are TOOLS of the neo marxist, neo fascist left of the political spectrum. As a Jew I know of their hatefilled propaganda their extreme pro palistinian, pro hamas, pro abortion, fanatic gay aganda, the list go’s on and on and on and on. It’s an old swan song that is bullshit in the ears of most Canadians and they have voted by walking out of that (church) by the millions. i give the United church a decade at best. I also see a huge increase in traditional Catholicism Orthodoxy and Traditional (Orthodox) Judaism. The polar opposite demographics that are occurring in the Rascist United church of Canada.

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  4. Johannim, I know how you feel. It is sad because the church is unrecognizable. The way the church is practicing ministry today has totally changed from how it once practiced ministry in the first half of the 20th century. Where have the people gone to?

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  5. As a UCC member since 1987, I am saddened at the decline of this Church, however, I cannot disagree with anythng that has been printed here.
    The “Holiday Tree” is pure UCC thinking (along with the Three Wise Persons).

    I give the UCC 10 years at most. Do the math – ony an average attendance of around 65 members a week per church? I does not take a genius to figure where this is going.

    WTS, Kitchener, ON

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  6. Tom, I agree with you on where it’s going. Eventhough we may hope for a turnaround my thinking is that it will not likely happen. Its leaders are too engaged in political activism rather than spreading the core gospel of salvation and what Jesus commissioned to us in Matthew 28. That is why God raises up new churches to fill the void.

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