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I find myself moving the other direction. I was raised in the mainline with infant baptism as part and parcel of that experience (and serve in it now), but only grudgingly accept my denominations practice of baptism. I see myself largely agreeing with John the UCC pastor - I can make peace with the practice if I believe the family intends to keep the vows faithfully. However, I have not baptized my own daughters and will wait until they openly profess for themselves, which of course I hope is sooner rather than later!
Can the mainline denominations come alive? I don't see your post exactly offering an opinion on that question other than saying there are certainly faithful people in the mainline denominations, but that is different from answering whether or not they can come alive. I presume you would not be in the mainline RCA / ELCA unless you held out hope for it (by the way, I appreciated your description of the mainline, and I especially found helpful the example of the Mennonites not being in that category and the reasons why). In the United Methodist Church (my denomination), if you consider it globally, I would say it is very much alive on the African continent. However, too much of what passes for being alive here in North America is church-growth strategies and doctrinal posturing along the basic evangelical / liberal divide. Can the mainline denomination come alive without working through these divides? Or will they always linger as distractions that prevent them from moving forward in any truly unified manner?
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May 26, 2010