In this article, I will seek to answer whether theological conservatism and strictness play a vital role in denominational switching, as well as what factors cause churches to grow numerically. In the end, the idea that liberal theologies cause a deterioration in mainline Protestantism, while conservative theologies produce growth, is an oversimplification of the relevant factors that account for congregational development. Though theological conservatism tends to correlate with numerical expansion, it does not do so consistently and in all cases. Nonetheless, correlation does not equate to causation. Conservatism and strictness are merely two among a myriad of other influences that are present among growing churches, including (most notably) higher birth rates, higher youth retention, and a focus on evangelistic efforts.
About Darren M. Slade, PhD
Darren Slade is President of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR.org) and is General Editor of the peer-reviewed academic journal, Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry (SHERMjournal.org). Dr. Slade is a theological historian, systematician, and critical rationalist philosopher from Denver, Colorado. Specializing in historic-speculative theology, theoretical metaphysics, and the socio-political development of religious belief systems, Darren's academic publications include topics ranging from the philosophy of religion, ancient Near Eastern and Second-Temple hermeneutical practices, church and Islamic history, and the psychology of religion.
Get Darren's Newest book, The Logic of Intersubjectivity, at 33% here: