Friday, August 3, 2012
The stickiness of our faith and confession. . .
This graphic presents an interesting picture of the "stickiness" of our faith. To put it bluntly, of those raised in the Lutheran faith, 6 out of 10 will remain Lutheran. Now the bad news is that 4 of 10 will not but let us not minimize the good here -- better than most denominations but not as good as our Roman Catholic and Orthodox brethren. Key here is catechesis and liturgy -- as we embed the apostles doctrine (teaching) and Eucharistic life together as source and summit of our faith, we equip our people with the resources to live out that faith both now and throughout their lives.
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I think the Orthodox and Catholics have a couple of other things that makes retention a little more easier. Both teach their young that they are "the Church" and that it is a grave matter, indeed an eternal matter, to leave "the Church". Both encourage their youth to marry within the faith and certainly have an expectation planted that if they do marry outside of the faith the children of that marriage will be brought up within the faith. Lutherans can't do the same because they don't believe that they alone are "the Church"). And this then influences whether or not the kids marry a fellow Lutheran and/or raise their children Lutheran. I think the Lutheran retention is remarkable considering they do not have the additional aspect to their theology. My surprise is was how difficult it is for atheist parents to keep their kids atheist in this country! :)
And how much utility is there in a study in which being in the ELCA and LCMS are treated as identical or the PCUSA and OPC? If I had family in the ELCA I'd want them to leave. Immediately.
How about looking only at unity in The Divine Service (worship)?
One can attend a Roman Catholic Mass at a Cathedral or a tiny church in Rooster Poop Junction. The attendee will use the very same liturgy. Imagine the unity when Latin was the language used throughout the world. All one had to do was to use their own Missal to follow along.
Too many churches, today are losing sight of any obligation to their sheep and lambs, and are focusing on how to be attractive to the general population.
I, as an LC-MS layman thank God for the Internet, when I travel. I steer clear of any congregation that practices two or more 'styles' of services, such as traditional (liturgical), contemporary, or the horrid 'blended' service. Such a congregation has no unity within the walls of its own building.
The graph comes from survey data (p. 31) included in U.S.Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Affiliation: Diverse and Dynamic (The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, February, 2008).
The survey sampled 35,556 people, including these Lutheran Groups:
Lutheran in the Evangelical Tradition = 736, Approximate Margin of Error = +/- 4.5%
Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod = 583
Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod
Church of the Lutheran Confession
Apostolic Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
Lutheran, not further specified (if born again)
Lutheran, ambiguous affiliation (if born again)
Lutheran in the Mainline Tradition = 1182, Approximate Margin of Error = +/-3 %
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) = 867
American Lutheran Church
Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran, not further specified (if not born again)
Lutheran, ambiguous affiliation (if not born again)
Of interest is the survey is the question (p. 174) of whether "My religion is the one, true faith leading to eternal life" or "Many religions can lead to eternal life"
More details are given in
Appendix 1: Detailed Data Tables (p. 72)
Appendix 2: Classification of Protestant Denominations (p. 101)
Appendix 4: Survey Methodology (p. 113)
Appendix 4 noted:
"The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey completed telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 35,556 adults living in continental United States telephone households. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source, LLC (PDS), and Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI), from May 8 to Aug. 13, 2007. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies."
"The vast majority of the interviews (n=35,009) came from standard list-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) sample."
But the Mormons are doing even better than the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. Shouldn’t we look into the reasons for their success and see if we can learn something? Or maybe we could come to the conclusion that fear is the common factor in all three of those being ahead of us in the numbers game? We can resort to using fear to keep our numbers up, but do we want to? Not without doing violence to the Gospel. Romans 8:15, “15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart
Interesting that something like only 26% of those raised atheists remained atheists as an adult.
74% or so realized the foolishness of thinking there is no god.
read the graph wrong...
should have been 30%/70%....
still very interesting.
Any congregation that practices two or more 'styles' of services is actually a church building comprised of two or more "unofficial" congregations. People who attend the contemporary service do not get to know too many people who attend the traditional service. It must be more than a matter of scheduling that the two groups do not interact much.....
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