Skip to comments.Liberal Churches Are Dying. But Conservative Churches Are Thriving.
Posted on 01/04/2017 5:45:31 PM PST by marshmallow
A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.
Mainline Protestant churches are in trouble: A 2015 report by the Pew Research Center found that these congregations, once a mainstay of American religion, are now shrinking by about 1 million members annually. Fewer members not only means fewer souls saved, a frightening thought for some clergy members, but also less income for churches, further ensuring their decline.
Faced with this troubling development, clergy members have made various efforts to revive church attendance. It was almost 20 years ago that John Shelby Spong, a U.S. bishop in the Episcopalian Church, published his book Why Christianity Must Change or Die. It was presented as an antidote to the crisis of decline in mainline churches. Spong, a theological liberal, said congregations would grow if they abandoned their literal interpretation of the Bible and transformed along with changing times.
Spongs general thesis is popular with many mainline Protestants, including those in the United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian (U.S.A.) and Episcopal churches. Spongs work has won favor with academics, too. Praising Spongs work specifically, Karen L. King of Harvard Divinity School said in a review of Spongs book that it should be required reading for everyone concerned with facing head-on the intellectual and spiritual challenges of late-twentieth-century religious life. Harvard Divinity professor and liberal theologian Harvey Cox said Bishop Spongs work is a significant accomplishment, and indeed, Cox himself has long been at the task of shifting Christianity to meet the needs of the modern world. Thus, liberal theology has been taught for decades in mainline seminaries and preached from many mainline pulpits. Its enduring appeal to embattled clergy members is that it gives intellectual respectability to religious ideas that, on the surface, might appear far-fetched to modern.....
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Few if any of the souls that adhere to these "churches" are saved. Being a member of the American Legion doesn't accomplish the salvation of one's soul.
When I was attending St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, prior to becoming Catholic, I’ll never forgot Rev. Andrews, the vicar (now retired), saying from the pulpit during one of his sermons: “Spong is wrong.”
Popular amongst unbelievers - not Christians.
Spong denied the virgin birth and Resurrection. He wasn't a Christian, and the Episcopalian Church advanced their extinction by allowing him to remain in their ranks.
Typical Compost re inventing reality to push their liberalism.
Below is the real story without the Compost pushing liberal churches.
Researchers looked at 22 Protestant churches in Canada
A study of Protestant churches in Canada has found that growing churches tend to be more orthodox, while shrinking ones are theologically liberal.
Terry Mattingly, author of the Get Religion blog, covered the findings of the study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religion Research.
The researchers, David Millard Haskell, Kevin N Flatt and Stephanie Burgoyne, looked at 22 mainline Protestant churches in Canada. Nine of the churches were growing in attendance, while 13 were declining.
The researchers found that when other factors were controlled for, the theological conservatism of both attendees and clergy emerged as important factors in predicting church growth.
In the growing churches, 93 per cent of clergy and 83 per cent of the congregation affirmed that Jesus rose from the dead, leaving an empty tomb. In the declining churches, only 56 per cent of clergy and 67 per cent of the congregation affirmed this.
In growing congregations, all the clergy interviewed said it was crucial to encourage non-Christians to convert. In declining ones, only half the clergy agreed.
The study found that, in growing churches, pastors were even more orthodox than their congregations. In declining ones, the pastors were even more liberal.
Growing congregations were likely to be younger and have more children.
Haskell told Mattingly: If you believe that Jesus is THE path to the best life in this life, and eternal life in the next, then youre going to practice your faith differently than someone who believes that all religions are basically the same. As it turns out, doctrines really do have consequences.
“Churches” that reject God’s Word are dying.
Churches that believe and teach God’s Word are growing.
Therefore, for more growth to occur, we need more Bible-rejecting churches.
I guess that logic makes sense in academia and in the lefty churches, where up is down, good is bad, and truth is a lie, but God won’t be buying it.
Liberal churches? Are those the ones where the lesbian preacher takes the Sunday School class to Planned Parenthood to fight for $15/hour minimum wage?
The Bible naturally aligns with the values this rag and others like to deride as ‘conservative.’ Anything less shouldn’t be so bold as to call itself a church.
That's a fact, and if it's just a social club, there are plenty of other options that offer better music, food, entertainment, etc. A so-called church with no eternal value is of no value whatsoever.
Revelation 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me
That's not Jesus knocking on the door of our hearts, as many incorrectly teach it. That's Jesus knocking on he door of the Laodicean church - a church like many of these - and there is not a soul inside who is opening the door for Him.
I go to Redeemer Presbyterian (PCA) in the UWS of Manhattan. Four services every Sunday, all of them packed. And this is just one of three congregations in Manhattan.
I don't agree. In fact, I think that MORE souls are saved by escaping from the liberal churches who have forsaken the clear teaching of God's word and substituted a false gospel disguised as "modern" thinking. Genuine faith is produced in the hearts of those who diligently seek God rather than having their itching ears filled with nonsense. Such churches SHOULD decline and fade away because they wanted the praise of men more than the praise of God.
“Spong is wrong” - churches in the South and flyover country, and people in the pews elsewhere, believed “Spong is wrong.” But most seminaries and urban churches went along with his thesis. And it took hold.
the problem of the churches that are dying is that serval false theology’s are being preached. When the minister is unwilling to talk about sin because he is scared of the reaction of the congregation that church has no future.
It wasn't a bit counter-intuitive or surprising to me, and I am a skeptic. (Changed my category from atheist to skeptic after consideration of the words' meanings.)
So-called liberal churches and synagogues are mostly dying because their “product” is self-destroying. These churches almost always don’t preach much moral law — or even preach against it. They think this appeals to people. Well, yes, epicurianism including “if it feels good, do it” -— has always had an appeal. But people who decide to live that way quickly determine they really don’t need much validation - and particularly not from a God they mostly don’t believe in (or who they think doesn’t have anything to say about their lives) anyway. In short, the lib churches are dying because they offer nothing anybody wants beyond perhaps for a transient moment in their lives.
The only true liberal church is a “Planned Abortionhood” clinic.
Strange. Catholic or Catholicism is not even mentioned in the article.
I confess to attending a Methodist “church” for many years in the 80s and 90s. Wow, it just got zanier and zanier. Raised Methodist, I was reluctant to depart. Finally did when the last two years I attended a new parson arrived that not once in those two years was ever heard to utter the name Jesus Christ. Christmas was songs about animals and I noted increasing numbers of apparent non-normal women in attendance (of course that is ok, and welcomed, but just odd). Internationally the Methodist church supported every Marxist proposal to come down the rails. The local church congregations had not a clue how their values were undermined. I departed too late, and it did harm to my family. Better late than never I suppose.
If a church abandons its core and becomes liberal secular culture plus some religious rituals and holy threats, people are attracted to liberal secular culture to be free of empty rituals and the guilt trips.
The church provides a refuge when it deals with absolutes and long term stability in a rootless, shifting public culture. And it provides strong community and strength of purpose when it fills the needs of a people who are counter to that liberal secular culture.
No wonder these "churches" are dying.
If you're just fine with sin, you might as well watch football, or sleep in.