Study Finds Conservative Churches Growing in Canada!
Posted by Steve Turley ● May 14, 2018 5:06:12 PM
I am sure you all know, I analyze current events in light of conservative trends so that you can personally and professionally flourish. For example, with the recent elections in Italy, we see nation after nation turning away from secular globalization and more and more towards nationalism, populism, and traditionalism as the basis for a sustainable social order. And so, we confidently assert that the world is moving into a new conservative age, or the age of the Right, as we like to call it. More and more scholars in the university, who are committed liberals and globalists, are recognizing that nationalist populism is the new normal; the corporatist globalist world order simply cannot be saved; it is beyond repair.
But then, every once in a while, I get a comment or email or Facebook message asking, “That’s all fine and dandy, it is great to hear the world is becoming more and more conservative. But what about Canada? What is wrong with Canada? Why does our wonderful nation to your north seem so resistant towards these conservative trends?”
Well, that is a hard question to answer. There is a number of viewpoints on that. And of course, the one true hope for Canada in all of this is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been making a total and complete fool of himself of late, most especially with his utterly disastrous trip to India; embarrassing does not even begin to describe it. We shall see how long the liberals hold on to power with this clown at the helm. And of course, we have just seen what many are calling Canada’s Trump win the leadership position for the Progressive Conservatives the other day, and may very well be elected the premier of Ontario; the current premier being an extremely unpopular liberal, we have to keep our eyes on how things develop there.
Besides that, there is some genuinely good news coming out of Canada of late, especially for those of us who are interested in the retraditionalization of society. A university study came out recently that found that Canada’s conservative churches are actually growing significantly in stark contrast to their liberal counterparts. And I want to share with you why I think that is such good news for Canada’s conservative potential in the hopefully not too distant future.
The study, which was published in the academic journal Review of Religious Research, focused on 22 mainline Protestant congregations in southern Ontario and found that without exception, the churches that were experiencing growth were the ones who took their historic Christian faith very seriously. They believed and taught the Bible as the inspired word of God, affirmed the resurrection of Christ as the foundation of the church, the moral uniqueness of a Christian worldview, and the importance of prayer as the means of engaging the presence of God on a daily basis. And the important point in the study was that there were no exceptions to this. All the growing churches in the study had conservative theology; while by contrast, all the declining churches all had liberal theology.
The research actually was conducted partly at least to see why churches in Canada were declining. It is long been recognized that the church in Canada is similar to Europe, both see a significant decline in its membership and affiliation. The researchers looked at four denominations in Canada: Anglican, United, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches, and interviewed the clergy and members of the congregation to see what their doctrine was like, and the extent to which they affirmed or deviated from traditional confessional orthodox Christianity. Again, without exception, those churches that basically threw away orthodox Christianity were – surprise, surprise – being themselves thrown away. They threw away the entire rationale for any identifying reason to be called a Christian. We have seen the same thing here in the United States. The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, they are all losing hundreds of thousands of members every single year. One statistic pointed out that the United Methodist Church loses the equivalent of a 300-member parish PER DAY. The PCUSA lost nearly a hundred thousand members in 2014. They are nearly half a million short from their numbers just three years ago, when they were at about 2 million. They’re on track to lose another half a million by 2020. In fact, I would be surprised if the PCUSA still existed in the next ten years. These churches are literally hemorrhaging membership.
However, these researches found that if the congregation was conservative, the clergy actually believed and practiced historic traditional Christianity and the congregants believed it and lived it, guess what? their membership was growing. It was increasing, on average about 2 percent per year. And again, here is the key, without exception! Theological conservatism is the key to congregational growth without exception.
Why is this? Well, the researchers have a number of theories. One of them is the significant difference in birthrates among conservative Christian families and their secular Canadian counterparts. It is no secret that the Canadian birthrate has been in decline, as it has been for all highly secular nations. In 1971 the average woman gave birth to 3.2 children. In 2011, that figure dropped dramatically to 1.6 children, well below the 2.1 replacement level. Now of course there’s a birthrate differential in terms of regions; the Atlantic Provinces are still rather high, whereas British Columbia and Quebec represent some of the lowest birthrates…………….. But by contrast, conservative Christian families consistently exemplify a birthrate well above the replacement level of 2.1 and, as a consequence, significantly higher than their secular counterparts. We are finding that the more conservative theologically the family is, the more the children retain their faith when they become adults. In fact, we have statistics that suggest that liberal Christians are far more likely to convert and become conservative than the other way around, something like 21 percent to 15 percent differential. This is very good news for Canada. The London-based demographer Eric Kaufmann, who is himself Canadian by birth, has argued that by 2050, we should be seeing a significant shift in Western populations towards a far more conservative culture and society. And this is simply because secular liberals are failing to reproduce at levels that can match their conservative religionist counterparts; and the conservative religionists are growing and indeed retaining their faith multi-generationally.
Currently, conservative Christians make up about 10 percent of the Canadian population, it may be a bit more than that. But the important point here is that we can expect to see this number grow over time, and with it, an increase in the percentage of Canadians who have very socially conservative beliefs. For example, studies have found that the vast majority of conservative Canadian Christians disapprove of same-sex marriage and abortion and no-fault divorce. And the majority of Canadian evangelicals, it is small compared to US evangelicals in terms of its percentage, but a clear majority of Canadian evangelicals vote for conservative political candidates.
Indeed, as one of our VIP Patrons, Jacki Dykstra pointed out as I was preparing this, the youngest MP ever elected to the House of Commons in Canada is 20 year old Sam Oosterhoff, who’s a classically homeschooled, socially conservative, committed Christian, who was elected when he was only 19 years old. Of course, he is already being condemned as homophobic and bigoted and hateful – but he is hardly intimidated by this; just the guy you want representing you. In fact, that is another very positive indicator; in Canada, homeschooling is growing, it continues to increase as a percentage of the population each year. A recent study by the Fraser Forum found that even though the percentage of the population between the ages of 6-18 declined over the last few years, and as a result, public school enrollment showed decline in every province in Canada, homeschooling numbers are up; the percentage of students getting homeschooled as well as attending independents schools increased during the same period. That is a very, very positive sign because educational reform is, I believe, at the heart of a new nationalist populist age.
And so, as it turns out, yes, even in Canada, our dear sister nation to the north, there are indicators that the future is going to be more conservative. It is certainly going to take longer than it will in other parts of the world, but there are clear signs that traditionalism and conservatism are flourishing in certain areas of Canada, all the while liberal progressivism is dying and depleting in those very same spaces; and so it does appear that the Canadian church may in fact be Canada’s last best hope for a more conservative and flourishing future.