Donald A. Luidens is a sociology prof at Hope College and he’s written a provocative and interesting essay in Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (which I think is descended from the old Reformed Journal) in which he argues that loss of confessional orientation is one of the reasons for the decline (and impending fall) of the RCA. He says that the death knell is sounding for the CRC.
Another factor he mentions is the influence of broad evangelicalism. Those in my communion (URCNA) who think that it was “liberalism” that wrecked the CRC are just wrong. It wasn’t “liberalism” at all but rather the very thing that Foppe Ten Hoor and others worried about in the early part of the 20th century: evangelicalism. They called “Methodism” but they meant by that what we call “evangelicalism,” the substitution of religious experience and/or fundamentalism for the theology, piety, and practice of the Reformed churches.
Hmm, someone ought to write a book about that phenomenon.