Liberal Theology Empties Churches


The Episcopal Church in America reached peak membership in 1959, with about 3.5 million baptized members, rising from just over one million in a decade. Since the population of the USA also rose during this period, another way to put it is to say the Episcopal Church had in 1959 about 19.4 members per every 1,000 citizens, rising from 17 per 1,000 in 1949. Total church membership has since fallen, with membership about 1.8 million in 2015, or 5.5 per 1,000, and dropping none too slowly.

Liberal versus Conservative

Similar rapid decreases are seen among the Presbyterian (PCUSA), United Methodist, and Lutheran (ELCA) churches. Episcopalians, Presbyterians (USA), Lutherans (ELCA) and United Methodists represent historical or mainline Protestant Churches in the USA,


The much more evangelical Southern Baptist Convention, because of its age, is similarly situated. Numbers are better in the large Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) than in the Mainline. But membership in SBC congregations has not been keeping track with population increases.

In contrast, evangelical denominations, such as for example the Assemblies of God, while still individually smaller than mainline Protestant congregations, have seen significant growth. The Assemblies of God had only about 300 thousand members in 1950 (about 2.1 per 1,000), swelling ten times to 3.1 million last year (9.8 per 1,000).

Broadly speaking, and using the colloquial understanding of the terms, conservative Protestant churches have had increases this past half century, and liberal churches have had decreases. It is, of course, of interest to shore up these loose expressions and discover just what “conservative” and “liberal” mean in this context.

Enter the paper “Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy” by David Millard Haskell, Kevin N. Flatt, and Stephanie Burgoyne in the journal Review of Religious Research. The trio asked questions of the clergy and congregations of 22 Protestant churches drawn from the Anglican Church of Canada (5), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (4), the Presbyterian Church in Canada (8), and the United Church of Canada (4) all centered in southern Ontario. Of these, 13 had declining populations from 2003 to 2013 and 9 had increasing populations.

Now this isn’t an especially large or necessarily representative sample of churches outside Canada; however, as the survey questions will show, there is still much that can be learned.

Congregations in Growing and Declining Churches
Several questions were asked of the congregants, and many answers showed wide disagreement between the Growing and Declining churches.

For instance, 79% of Growing congregants agreed strongly with the statement “Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God provided a way for the forgiveness of my sins,” whereas only 57% of Declining congregants thought the same. About 19% of Growing congregants strongly agreed that “the beliefs of the Christian faith need to change over time to stay relevant,” whereas 31% of Declining congregants thought so.

Three questions in particular were revealing in the conservative-liberal gap. Only 7% of Growing congregants strongly agreed that “the Bible is the product of human thinking about God, so some of its teachings are wrong or misguided,” whereas over 15% of Declining congregants strongly agreed.

About 13% of Growing congregants strongly agreed that “all major religions are equally good and true,” but more than twice as many Declining congregants, or 25%, thought so. On the fundamental basis of the Christian religion, 66% of Growing congregants strongly agreed that “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh and blood body, leaving behind an empty tomb,” but only 37% of Declining congregants did.

Not surprisingly, about 29% of Growing congregants thought their church’s mission was evangelism, and 16% thought it was social justice, whereas the numbers in Declining congregations was 9% and 31%.

Clergy in Growing and Declining Churches

Questions were also asked of the clergy, and the differences between Growing and Declining congregations was starker.

The largest difference was in the statement “Jesus was not the divine Son of God,” where it might be expected no clergy member could agree. And, indeed, no Growing clergy member agreed in any way. Yet 13% of Declining clergy agreed at least moderately.

Likewise, no Declining clergy strongly agreed that “it is very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” but 77% of Growing clergy did. The statement “The beliefs of the Christian faith need to change over time to stay relevant” could not get any Growing clergy to agree in any way, but 69% of Declining clergy at least moderately agreed.

Some 70% of Growing clergy strongly agreed that “those who die face a divine judgement where some will be punished eternally,” but only 6% of Declining clergy moderately agreed, and none strongly agreed. On that same fundamental question asked of the congregation, 85% of Growing clergy strongly agreed (and none strongly disagreed) that “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh and blood body, leaving behind an empty tomb,” yet only 38% of Declining clergy thought so (and 19% strongly disagreed).

Has the call for liberalization failed?

Writing in the Washington Post, one of the authors of the study (Haskell), reminds us of the 1999 book by Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong Why Christianity Must Change or Die. “Spong, a theological liberal, said congregations would grow if they abandoned their literal interpretation of the Bible and transformed along with changing times.”

The Episcopal Church followed this advice. They have female priests and bishops. They allow “the ordination of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender clergy.” They even had a practicing homosexual bishop in a (government-defined) “marriage” to another man, a “marriage” which was further liberalized into a “divorce.”

Yet, even though Haskell says Spong’s theory “won favor with academics” and was “praised” at no less eminent a place than the Harvard Divinity School to assist in “shifting Christianity to meet the needs of the modern world,” the Episcopal Church’s membership dropped precipitously, with no sign of slowing. The Church even splintered, with the Anglican Church in North America forming from former Episcopalians who could not countenance Spong’s liberal theology.

As for the anti-climatic conclusion of his study, Haskell blandly writes, “Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline.”

Apparently theological liberalism empties churches. (For more from the author of “Liberal Theology Empties Churches” please click HERE) http://joemiller.us/2017/01/liberal-theology-empties-churches/

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ALERT ALERT!!

Nuclear Official Says Hillary Clinton Engaged In Extortion
Secret FBI Informant Is Set To Blow Open Uranium-One Scandal


According to “Clinton Cash,” author Peter Schweizer, then Senator Hillary Clinton extorted a Kazakh official involved in the Uranium-One deal. It is possible Schweizer misspoke and meant to say Secretary of State Clinton.

The Breitbart News editor-at-large did not go further into detail, merely alluding to the fact that the secret FBI informant’s testimony on the Uranium-One scandal next week will be “very interesting.”

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Transcript via Grabien:

SCHWEIZER: “Well, I have to say upfront, I have not met him. I don’t know him. But, what I understand by looking at legal documents involving this case. This guy was an insider’s insider. He was being paid by the Russian company $50,000 a month to serve as a lobbyist. And in the legal filings, what you find is his job was to basically carry the flag for this entity in Washington, D.C. And that job included setting up meetings with high ranking administration officials.

This would have been the Obama Administration. People on Capitol Hill. And other elite influence, you know, makers. So, he was working in a very, very high level. And what has leaked out seems to indicate he has got a lot of information that relates specifically to uranium one. So, it’s going to be very exciting and I think it’s important to point out, judge, also, remember, we already have a foreign government official saying that involving uranium one that he and his fellow government employees were extorted by the Clintons then senator Hillary Clinton.

This comes from the head of their atomic agency saying that Senator Clinton refused to meet with officials unless and until they granted uranium concessions to ended up giving more than $100 million to the Clinton Foundation. So we have got that testimony. We have got this new witness coming out. It’s going to get very interesting here in the weeks ahead.

William D. Campbell has come forward as the secret FBI informant in the Uranium-One deal. The informant revealed he is eager to testify because of his “concerns about Russia’s activities in the United States, but declined to comment further,” reports Reuters.

“I have worked with the Justice Department undercover for several years, and documentation relating to Uranium One and political influence does exist, and I have it,” Campbell told Reuters.

According to a report by Andrea Noble, Campbell personally bribed a Russian businessman working for state-owned energy giant Rosatom. The informant then attempted to recoup the money — but failed.

Washington Times reports: A FBI informant who gave the government information about a Russian bribery plot implicated in the sale of U.S. uranium rights tried unsuccessfully last year to recover upwards of $700,000 in bribes he said he was authorized to pay as part of the FBI investigation.

William D. Campbell has emerged now as the key figure in a congressional probe into Russia’s 2010 purchase of U.S. uranium rights and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in approving the deal.

His identity had been shielded for weeks, but court records obtained by The Washington Times, as well as a report by Reuters, identified the man.

Mr. Campbell has not returned calls from The Washington Times seeking comment, but his civil suit, describing his involvement in the FBI investigation, matches details of the criminal case brought against Vadim Mikerin. Mikerin, who was the head of U.S. operations for Tenex, a subsidiary of Russia’s atomic energy giant Rosatom, was convicted of money laundering and other crimes and in 2015 sentenced to four years in prison.

As The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft reported on Thursday evening, Investigative reporter John Solomon told Sean Hannity that the Campbell has video of briefcases full of money in the bribery of case on Hillary Clinton.

Solomon says the Reuters report today downplaying the informant is completely inaccurate.

The informant says he is in fear for his life since he was outed by the Sessions DOJ.
Campbell will reportedly testify on Monday.

The informant will testify next week before Congress.

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