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May 31, 2005

Church growth: Liberalism down; Fundamentalism up

While reported at the Religious News Service as well as the Baptist Press, the National Council of Churches website has more information. Churches (using the NCC's extremely loose definition of the word) that showed the most growth:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and – largest of all – the Roman Catholic Church.

The thing that marks all of them is the high stress on ritual and conformity to the teaching of that church. People want structure.

The Catholic Church remains the largest faith group in the U.S. with 67,259,768 members and a growth rate last year of 1.28 percent. The second largest denomination in the U.S. is still the Southern Baptist Convention with 16,439,603 members and a growth rate of 1.18 percent. The United Methodist Church is third largest with a reported membership of 8,251,175 and a growth rate of .002 percent.

The SBC's growth rate is just a little behind the RCC's. The Methodist Church has been sliding into liberalism for decades now, which would be why it's growth rate is so abysmal.

Churches that declined in membership in 2004 are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,984,925 members, down 1.05 percent; the Presbyterian Church (USA), 3,241,309 members, down 4.87 percent; The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), 2,488,936 members, down .95 percent); American Baptist Churches in the USA, 1,433,075 members, down 3.45 percent; and the United Church of Christ, 1,296,652 members, down 2.58 percent.

All of them, denominations that court or embrace Liberal theology.

Why can't these people ever figure this out?

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 31, 2005 08:54 AM

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» Liberal Theology and Church Membership Decline from DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS
An interesting piece from JackLewis.net "...All of them, denominations that court or embrace Liberal theology. Why can't these people ever figure this out?" Indeed. [Read More]

Tracked on June 1, 2005 04:32 PM


Awesome post!

Posted by: Jay at June 1, 2005 03:28 PM

I enjoy your blog, but just for the record do not confuse the ELCA (evangelical Lutheran Church
in American) with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. As a LCMS member I assure you that sliding or embracing liberal theology, is not the case at LCMS. The ELCA is a member of the NCC I believe. That qualifies them as card carries members of the leaning left demographic. But we Missouri Synod folks are absolutely as conservative as any Roman Catholic parish in America. As to our 1% decline in growth, I believe it is because we still take seriously instruction of adults before confirmation and our vague name that insinuates that you must live somewhere in the St Louis metro area to attend.

Posted by: Marc Higgins at June 2, 2005 03:43 PM

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