Only Liberal Denominations Are Declining? The Real, Data-Driven Answer
It's a phrase I often hear when discussing denominational membership data in the United States. “Liberal churches are declining, while conservative ones are holding steady or growing.” This narrative has become deeply embedded in the vernacular of many American evangelicals. In 2005, Dave Shiflett wrote a book called Exodus: Why Americans are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity, which made that point exceedingly clear. At the time of its publication, its subtitle was supported by substantial empirical data. However, in the nearly two decades since its publication, the landscape of denominational Protestant Christianity has changed dramatically. As a result, many conclusions drawn by the author no longer apply.