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The Truth about Conservative ChristiansWhat They Think and What They Believe$
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Andrew M. Greeley and Michael Hout

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226306629

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226306759.001.0001

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The Religion of Conservative Christians

The Religion of Conservative Christians

A Return to the Reformation?

(p.11) Two The Religion of Conservative Christians
The Truth about Conservative Christians
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes survey data to organize a sketch of Conservative Christianity as a religious system. It concludes that the Conservatives and Afro–American Protestants both embrace a systematic religious heritage, one that they can legitimately claim is an authentic updating of the Reformation. The central issue is the Bible as sole rule of faith. Once Mainline Protestantism began to equivocate about Genesis it compromised with modernity and lost its authenticity. Most elements of faith and practice that have been considered here point to differences between Bible religion, as espoused and practiced by the Conservative and Afro–American denominations, and the Bible-liturgical hybrid that is Mainline Protestantism. Over and over it was found that a scale composed of the three solas—scripture, faith, and grace—accounted for between 60 and 99 percent of the differences between Conservative and Mainline Protestants. Conservative Christians and their Afro–American partners in faith are the real dissenters in America—some, no doubt, more than others. Dissent permeates their core beliefs, their worldviews, their morality, their relationships with God, and their devotions. It is not a fashionable dissent but rather a stern, consistent, and determined dissent.

Keywords:   Christianity, religious beliefs, Afro–American Protestants, Conservatives, Reformation, religious system, Mainline Protestantism, Bible, dissent

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