Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The dissertation examines membership data for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) from the mid-1970s to the present. It considers the analysis of LCMS decline by two scholars, George Hawley and Ryan MacPherson, who independently proposed that LCMS membership decline was internal in causation due to diminished birthrates and fewer young families. While acknowledging the reality of such internal decline, this dissertation argues that the lack of external growth is a greater cause for LCMS decline. Its lack of external growth is due primarily to the racial and ethnic homogeneity of the LCMS and its failure effectively to evangelize the increasingly diverse American population. This indicates a theological weakness: a failure to teach and emphasize the catholicity of the church adequately in LCMS catechesis and dogmatic theology.
Vogel, Larry, "Behind the Numbers: A Traditional Church Faces a New America" (2023). Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation. 146.
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