Dr. Bill Leonard Lecture

Date(s) - 03/18/2014
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Bass Conference Center

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Stalcup icons_EventJoel Osteen, “Nones,” and the Non-Denominationalizing of American Religion

Osteen and Lakewood Church set the scene for a discussion of the non-denominationalizing of American religion, a trend long present in American religious life, but with significant expansion in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This trend suggests that denominations, once the primary way of organizing religious life in the United States, are in a state of permanent transition, realigning, reassessing, reconfiguring and coming apart in a variety of ways.  If some speak of this as a post-denominational era, they surely mean that religious communities are rethinking their identity, reorganizing responses to their society, and re-forming their theological outlooks, even as most lose or cannot find significant numbers of members. Denominations remain on the scene, but are only one of a growing number of options for organizing and experiencing the life of the church in American society. Yet all these ecclesiastical options–denominations, mega-churches and emerging movements–now find themselves impacted by the dramatic rise of the ‘nones,’ those one in five Americans (1 in 3 under 35) who claim no religious affiliation and/or engagement.  Those issues are worth exploring, and soon.

Bill J. LeonardBill Leonard, James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and Professor of Church History at Wake Forest School of Divinity

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Offered in partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Texas