Picture a broad battlefield. Arrayed on one side are the big mainline denominations. They are undisciplined, hemorrhaging members, and theologically starving.

TURNING AROUND THE MAINLINE: How Renewal Movements Are Changing the Church
by Thomas C. Oden
Baker Books
272 pp.; $17.99

On the other in newfound coalition are the Confessing Christians from within these mainline groups. With growing numbers and accomplishments, they plan to hold their ground and win back even more.

Tom Oden, a self-confessed former Bultmannian, has long been setting up the command structure and marshalling the Confessing troops. Here he is a combination of herald, troubadour, and chronicler of the gathered forces as they engage the entrenched mainline hegemony.

Oden is blunt, pulling no punches about the "implosion" of mainline churches. He is confident, almost verging on triumphalism. He is comprehensive, showing readers a broad array of renewal groups, theological statements, and battle tactics. And he is encouraging, rallying the evangelical troops.

Related Elsewhere:

Turning Around the Mainline is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.

The book began as a CT cover story.

Articles by Tom Oden include:

Pope 'Broadened the Way' for Evangelicals and Catholics | Theologian Tom Oden sees continued cooperation ahead. (April 5, 2005)
Death Watch | One of the world's earliest Christian cultures totters on the edge of extinction. (January 1, 2003)
The Not-So-New Ecumenism | A recent initiative is structured to exclude evangelicals in the mainline (August 5, 2002)
Mainstreaming the Mainline | Methodist evangelicals pull a once 'incurably liberal' denomination back toward the orthodox center. (August 7, 2000)
The Real Reformers are Traditionalists | If there is no immune system to resist heresy, there will soon be nothing but the teeming infestation of heresy. (February 9, 1998)
Blinded by the 'Lite' | Dying modernity is into spirituality. What does this trend portend? (September 12, 1994)
Surprised by Orthodoxy | My story is living evidence of how a life can be radically reversed by meeting the saints of classic Christianity. (January 1, 2005, Christian History & Biography)
Weeds in the Garden | The Methodist pursuit of holiness has, over 200 years, branched off in some startling directions. A conversation with Tom Oden. (January 1, 2001, Christian History & Biography)

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