Analysis of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a case study in the crisis of mainline Protestantism: Planning grant

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 07/01/1985
End Date: 
Thu, 07/31/1986

Milton Coalter, John Mulder and Louis Weeks of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary collaborated on this planning grant to examine the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a microcosm of the issues facing mainline Protestantism. They organized two conferences that crystallized the framework for the full study. The first conference sustained interdisciplinary discussions that clarified the problems in mainline Protestantism. Significant leaders within the PCUSA gathered for the second conference to focus on the Presbyterian Church in particular. They decided upon these seven issues to guide the full study: 1) mainline Protestant identity, particularly Presbyterian denominational colleges; 2) the effects of curriculum particularly through the decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s; 3) the interrelation between the Presbyterian Church and ecumenicism; 4) the impact of communicating religious and theological experiences in psychological and sociological terms; 5) ethical shifts from the congregation to the individual; 6) effects of the Presbyterian Church’s restructuring in the 60’s and 70’s; 7) the effects of political liberalism.(MG)