Michael De Groote

“Everybody knows that the so-called ‘mainline’ is now the sideline,” writes De Groote. “’The United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Methodists and the Episcopalians have been shrinking at a rather prodigious rate. But that isn’t because people left church, it is because people left those churches,’ says Stark. ‘Groups like the Assemblies of God have doubled and redoubled in size in the same period of time.’”

Baylor University’s Rodney Stark

Stark, however, sees the explanation as simple.

“People go to church for religion, not for all these social things. Strange as that may seem. If you get up in the morning and go to a church where religion is not being taken seriously, you go someplace else. I don’t think that is very surprising.”