On Conservative Resiliency


though religious traditionalism may be losing today’s political and legal battles, it remains poised to win the wider war over what Christianity will look like tomorrow.

She adds as proof of this point:

That traditionalist breakaway congregation in Virginia is larger than the one on the legally winning side — as in, much. Membership on the “losing” side, by one estimate, includes some 2,000 souls, as opposed to some 174 in the congregation moving in. And though exact numbers may not always be available, the larger trend is clear: this numerical division between traditionalists and reformers is also seen around the world. It’s the stricter Christian churches that typically have stronger and more vibrant congregations — as has been documented at least since Dean M. Kelley’s 1996 book, Why Conservative Churches Are Growing.

So, for example, the reform-minded Church of England has closed over 1,000 churches since 1980, with some later becoming discos, spas and mosques. The traditionalist Anglican churches of the Global South, on the other hand, are packed to overflowing and still growing fast.