Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Does Affirmation = Church Decline?

I've had this argument used against me many times. It goes something like this: Conservative evangelical denominations and churches are growing, mainline and affirming churches are dying, thus God must be against the affirmation of gay people. So having dealt with this before it was nice to find an article pointing out the errors in that line of thinking:
"The big losers among mainline denominations are United Methodists, who shed nearly 20% of their members between 1990 and 2008, according to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). The Methodists do not ordain gays and lesbians. Presbyterians and Lutherans each lost about 5-6% of their members. Episcopalians went down 20% as well, but on a much lower scale than Methodists: in 1990, there were about 3 million Episcopalians in the US. In 2008, there were around 2.4 million. Not chump change, to be sure, but nothing like the staggering 3 million Methodists who disappeared in the same period."
Of course in the end I don't put much stake in the numbers game anyways, but it's interesting data nonetheless.

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