All Is Forgiven
The Secular Message in American Protestantism
Marsha G. Witten


In recent years mail deliveries have included a new kind of invitation to Protestant Christianity: slick brochures enumerating the social and psychological advantages of church attendance--with no mention whatsoever of spiritual striving, suffering, or faith in God. Does this kind of secularity prevail not only in direct-mail Christianity but also in mainline Protestant churches? Finding the sermon to be the centerpiece of Protestant worship, Marsha Witten looks for the answer to this question in an in-depth analysis of preaching on an important New Testament text: the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Marsha G. Witten is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Franklin and Marshall College.