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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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ELCA: Diversity within unity

A study of ELCA Lutherans showed different beliefs and experiences among members. A typical congregation includes five different groups:

• Literalist group (19 percent): Take a literal view of the Bible, angels, the devil, the virgin birth and Jesus’ physical return to Earth.

• Religious experience group (22 percent): Report an experience of angels, guiding spirits or a miraculous event.

• Church helps group (17 percent): Believe the church is important in helping members keep in touch with a greater power, live a good life, teach children values.

• Corporate group (25 percent): Defined by a high level of overall church involvement, rather than by private practices. Less traditional than the church helps group and considerably less orthodox than the literalists.

• Infrequent attenders group (17 percent): Least orthodox and much less likely than any of the other groups to practice the faith or to have religious experiences.

ELCA Research and Information


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