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Friday, July 16, 2004

Sheesh Lewis. I am just en fuego today. And I haven't even checked my "religious news" sources today. Here's another link, this one to a story from Ekklesia concerning a potential "ad war" between Protestant denominations.

I found the article interesting for two reasons. First of all, it gave quite a bit of play to the UCC's "God Is Still Speaking" campaign:

The UCC's ads are especially edgy. One shows a pair of bouncers manning a rope line outside a church, admitting a white heterosexual couple but barring gays and racial minorities. "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we," the ad says.
So far, the GISS program has been fairly productive for the UCC; I'll say more when the nationwide ad campaign starts in the fall.

The article also points to the competiveness of evangelism these days. Ekklesia contrasts the UCC approach with that of the Southern Baptists:
The 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, which opposes gay marriage and has urged wives to "submit" to their husbands, is laying plans for an ad blitz starting in late 2005. Baptist leaders said it probably would be much larger than any of the campaigns they have run every five years since 1985.

Although the Southern Baptist Convention has not decided on the content for its ads, "we will stand on what we understand the Scripture to teach," said Martin King, spokesman for the Baptists' North American Mission Board. "We're proud of the fact that we're not going to shy away or try to make it an easy message."

One of the dirty little secrets about American Christianity is that it's thoroughly failing to win new converts. That is to say, the church has done a pretty miserable job of taking people from "no belief" or "no affiliation" and turning them into Christians. This leaves the church to essentially recycle the same population through various denominations, hence the ad wars. Given that the Southern Baptists have lately realized that they're not growing, we should be in for an interesting couple of years here.
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