Featured Demographics of Reformed Churches

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Bill Duncan, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    Does anyone know of a study relating to the demographic makeup of "reformed" Churches? I know the moniker "reformed" can be defined and applied various ways, so I am not trying to get too specific.

    I find that certain denominations, which are historically reformed, seem to be primarily located in metropolitan, or more wealthy areas. I have my opinion so give me yours, even if you have no specific study to refer to.
     
  2. Shanny01

    Shanny01 Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you including historically reformed denominations that have since plunged into Liberalism?
     
  3. Shanny01

    Shanny01 Puritan Board Freshman

    The Pew Research has done research on income and education in relation to various denominations or religions and have yielded info that members of denominations such as the PCUSA, Episcopal Church, and UCC (historically "reformed") stand as some of the wealthiest members of society. Many of these members descend from the old colonial stock of New England, Middle Colonies, and South who became entrepeneurs, highly valued education, and were very involved in politics. The denominations are also overwhelmingly white and concentrated in the areas from which they originated and spread in the late 19th Century, ergo the Northeast and Midwest for the UCC, generally throughout the nation for the PCUSA but with especial concentration in areas of Scottish and Scots-Irish settlement, and the Eastern Seaboard for the Episcopalian Churches.
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/11/how-income-varies-among-u-s-religious-groups/
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Until the 1940s, it was pretty simple - the churches followed the immigration patterns. Dutch to the midwest, Scots (and Scots-Irish) down the Appalachians. The values taught by each led to a middle class lifestyle - my Presbyterian grandparents might not have had running water or electric lights, but they owned the land they farmed, and on both the Presbyterian and Baptist sides I can find shopowners and small businessmen as well as small holding farmers. Education was valued on both sides.
     
  5. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    There was a lot of truth to the old saying in the 60s - The Episcopalians owned the businesses, the Methodists managed them, and the Baptists worked there. The Presbyterians were the professional class, and the Jews were the shopkeepers.
     
  6. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    This is helpful. Interestingly enough this does speak to some of my own family history. My father was raised by relatives, beginning in 1930. His Uncle an Episcopalian and a banker, was a member of the Southern Presbyterian Church by default. There was no Episcopal church in our town, in 1903 when he moved here, so he joined what I presume was the next best thing, the established and societally advanced Church. His Aunt was Roman Catholic, there was no RC parish and did the same. From a survey of most of their library, I determined they never left their previous system of belief.
     
  7. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, that was certainly true in my area as well. The low country of SC. Land grants were administered through the local Ch. of England parish, so the good land went to their membership. Presbyterians were only given outpost land in return for serving as front line militia to deter Native American raiding parties from advancing on the coastal port cities and plantations. Methodists were later established when the Ch. of Eng. rural parishes were not staffed consistently, as many of the rural parish ministers saw more gain in becoming planters themselves. Many Welsh Baptists were also inland planters and managers of plantations.
     
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  8. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I can't point to a study, but I think it's a fair observation to say that the Reformed churches of Dutch heritage (RCA, CRC) were weakly represented in the cities compared to rural areas where they served a larger share of the population. Although the late 19th-century immigration boom was largely driven by industrialization, many Dutch immigrants came instead to farm or found work on farms, and many rural churches sprang up.
     
  9. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Adam makes a good point that geography is important. In the East and Midwest, historical migration patterns make a big difference and you're likely to find far more rural Presbyterian churches. Generally speaking the men who settled the West weren't particularly churchly, as you would expect of men who went to seek land in fortune in places with no established churches, so P&R churches there are mostly later plants that targeted metropolitan areas. One major reason we moved east was because we wanted a faithful, confessional church to raise our family in but didn't want to live in a big city. Your pickings for that are pretty slim west of the Appalachians other than the northern Midwest.
     
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  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I was just told a few days ago about a failed union between the old PCUS and the RCA. It passed in the PCUS, but was shot down in the RCA--owing to "a bunch of farmers in Iowa."
     
  11. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that Dutch Reformed pastors preached almost exclusively in Dutch until well into the 20th-century, when growing populations of non-Dutch folks forced them to start preaching in English also.
     
  12. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I can't speak for the whole, but our Presbyterian Church has about 100 members, most of which don't have a reformed background. Mostly middle class working families.
     
  13. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    That is true. In fact Geerhardus Vos' wife spoke no dutch and could not even communicate with his parents. This probably had some affect on his leaving Grand Rapids for Princeton.
     
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  14. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, same with mine. My brother and I are the only multiple generation Presbyterians. However coming out of the Southern Presbyeterian Church we were not reformed because the PCUS had not been truely reformed in nearly 75 years.
     

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