For a practice to qualify as “evangelical” in the functional sense means first of all that it communicates news. It says something particular that would not be known and could not be believed were it not said. Second, it must mean that this “news” is attested as good; it comes across to those whom it addresses as helping, as saving, and as shalom. —John Howard Yoder
Since its apogee in the 1950s, Ameri can mainline Prot estantism has been in decline on many fronts. Its church membership rolls have steadily dwindled. A number of its seminaries are dying. Mainline Protes tantism is a tradition that knows it is in trouble.