What happens when churches go vague on theology and detailed on politics? With the National Council of Churches (NCC), currently celebrating its 75th anniversary, we have the answer.
Have you ever heard of the NCC? If you are under age 60, likely not. But for decades it was the premier liberal voice for Protestant Christianity in America. In 1958 President Dwight Eisenhower laid the cornerstone on the new building in New York that would house the NCC and other Protestant agencies, in a tribute to their wide influence. Newspapers boasted that the new 19-story Interchurch Center, built with help from the Rockefellers, would house 37 Protestant denominations representing 40 million Americans and 144,000 congregations. Occupants included the Methodists, Presbyterians, Reformed Church, and American Baptists, and a host of mainline Protestant agencies.
For decades, the NCC had hundreds of employees and large budgets, and the council commanded respect as a pillar of American civil society. It was for public religion what the American Bar Association was for lawyers. It still has 37 member denominations. But, like those denominations, it is a shell of its former self, with a small staff and budget. What remains of the NCC is nestled in a small suite in the Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. What happened?
— @markdtooley (@markdtooley) July 26, 2023