CHURCH GROWTH & Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving say researchers.

A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.

By David Haskell, The Washington Post, 1/4/17. David Millard Haskell is a professor of religion and culture at Wilfrid Laurier University.

…Over the last five years, my colleagues and I conducted a study of 22 mainline congregations in the province of Ontario. We compared those in the sample that were growing mainline congregations to those that were declining. After statistically analyzing the survey responses of over 2,200 congregants and the clergy members who serve them, we came to a counterintuitive discovery: Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline. The results were published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religious Research.

We also found that for all measures, growing church clergy members were most conservative theologically, followed by their congregants, who were themselves followed by the congregants of the declining churches and then the declining church clergy members. In other words, growing church clergy members are the most theologically conservative, while declining church clergy members are the least. Their congregations meet more in the middle.

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