Dr Aune, co-author of Women and Religion in the West, said: “In short, women are abandoning the church.
“Young women tend to express egalitarian values and dislike the traditionalism and hierarchies they imagine are integral to the church.”
She said many women found it difficult to make time for church while juggling work and family.
“With the pressures women face, churches must adapt to make themselves more accessible.”
She added that while the issue of the ordination of women was being discussed, “we have taken our eyes off the pews, where a shift with more consequences for the church’s survival is under way”.
I know there are activists in both the Pentecostal and Anglican worlds on this subject, and I’ve read the resentment out there in my own church that women are not permitted to be ordained bishops. But I think the issues of women in ministry and the whole authoritarian bent of Evangelical Christianity these days are linked, and this study shows just that. (With Anglicanism, authoritarianism is more “built into the system.”)
If we focus only on whether women can be ordained bishops and forget the whole issue of the role of laity, the success in the former will be negated by the failure of the latter, because without the laity there is no church.
And, in the end, I think that men will find a less authoritarian church a better place, too. Who likes to spend all of their time being told what to do?