In this episode of As In Heaven, hosts Jim Davis and Michael Aitcheson welcome Collin Hansen to discuss the historical roots of dechurching. Hansen delves into events like the Enlightenment and the First Great Awakening, biblical criticism, the rise of the internet and technology, and more. You’ll learn how these historical moments can inform how we navigate and understand dechurching in America today.

Episode time stamps: 

  • Episode and topic intro (0:00)
  • Historical factors behind dechurching (1:38)
  • The Enlightenment (5:30)
  • The First and Second Great Awakenings (9:18)
  • The influence of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery (14:48)
  • The “social gospel” and its criticism (19:04)
  • Civil religion in American history (26:00)
  • The rise of the religious right and the decline of Christianity (29:21)
  • Issues and scandals of the religious right (34:51)
  • How have the last 20 years changed the church? (40:19)
  • How to develop a theological vision of the church (46:12)
Editors’ note: 

This episode is part of As In Heaven’s third season, devoted to The Great Dechurching—the largest and fastest religious shift in U.S. history. To learn more about this phenomenon on which the episodes of this season are based, preorder The Great Dechurching by Michael Graham and Jim Davis.