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SO I SOUGHT FOR A MAN AMONG THEM WHO WOULD MAKE A WALL, AND STAND IN THE GAP BEFORE ME ON BEHALF OF THE LAND (CANADA). THAT I SHOULD NOT DESTROY IT; BUT I FOUND NO ONE.

EZE 22:10

The Growth of the Church

Courtesy: Religion News Service
Study finds churches with conservative theology still growing.
(RNS) Canadian researchers are revisiting a hotly debated sociological question: Why do some churches decline while others succeed Since the 1960s, overall membership in mainline Protestant Christian churches has been dropping in both the U.S. and Canada. But some congregations have continued to grow, and a team of researchers believes it now knows why. It’s the conservative theological beliefs of their members and clergy, according to researchers from Wilfrid Laurier University and Redeemer University College in Ontario.
93 percent of growing-church pastors said they agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb,” compared with 56 percent of declining-church pastors, according to the summary. And 71 percent of pastors at growing churches said they read their Bibles daily, compared with 19 percent of pastors at declining churches. Conservative Christians long have maintained their churches have continued to grow, even as membership in more progressive denominations has declined.
But even studies that agree conservative churches are growing still suggest there is no link between theology and that growth. Some have tied that growth to the age — and birthrates — of congregants or the age of the church itself. In 1972, researcher Dean M. Kelley published “Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion.” More recently, the trend has been noted by former Southern Baptist Convention President Albert Mohler, David Brooks of The New York Times and Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition. But even studies that agree conservative churches are growing still suggest there is no link between theology and that growth, Haskell said. Some have tied that growth to the age — and birthrates — of congregants or the age of the church itself. “The strength of our study is we actually now can explain it: because theology matters,” he said.

Province

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