The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy
In this provocative book, Roger Finke and Rodney Stark challenge popular perceptions about American religion. They view the religious environment as a free market economy, where churches compete for souls. The story they tell is one of gains for upstart sects and losses for mainline denominations.
Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people.
But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited. They explain how and why the early nineteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail
In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A "church-sect process" is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups.
Some observers assert that the rise in churching rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue that religious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.
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Page from 1926 Census of Religious Bodies Showing
The Colonial Era Revisited
Pilgrims Going to Church
Early Settlers on Their Way to Church and The Call
Henry Muhlenberg 17111787 Preaching in a Barn in 1742
George Whitefield 17141770
The Upstart Sects Win America 17761850
Lyman Beecher 17751863
A Methodist Circuit Rider
Charles Grandison Finney 17921875 and His Second Wife
Camp Meeting Layouts
Family Worship at a Plantation in South Carolina 04
The Coming of the Catholics 18501926 7
Methodists Transformed Baptists Triumphant
Why Unification Efforts Fail 97
Why Mainline Denominations Decline
Peter Cartwright 17851872
A Stately Seminary of the Colonial Mainline
Other editions - View all
The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy
No preview available - 1992
adherence rates American Catholic American religion areas Asbury Baptist and Methodist Baptist Convention Beecher Billy Graham Center Bishop broadcasts Brunner camp meetings Cane Ridge Catholic Church census Christ Christian circuit riders clergy colonial mainline Congregationalists congregations culture decline doctrine Douglass early ecumenical efforts England Episcopalians established ethnic evangelical evangelists faith Finke Finney Francis Asbury frontier George Whitefield groups growth historians Holiness Holiness Movement immigrants itinerants laity leaders Lutheran mainline denominations major Meth Methodism Methodist Church Methodist Episcopal Church Methodists and Baptists million ministers mission missionary movement nation nineteenth century odist organizations parish pastors percent Peter Cartwright population preachers preaching priests programs Protestant Protestantism Reformed religious adherence religious bodies religious broadcasting religious economy reported revivals rural churches secular seminaries sermons social South Southern Baptist Southern Baptist Convention spiritual Stark statistics Table theological tion United upstart ratio upstart sects urban worship York