Review of Religious Research

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 231–250 | Cite as

Religious Conservatives and Outsiders: Determinants of Cross-Racial Ties Among White Christians

  • Joseph Yi
  • Christopher Graziul


This article analyzes how a congregation’s theology and denominational affiliation influence the racial ties of its white members. We posit two distinct pathways. In the first, theologically conservative congregations generate more embedded social ties (measured by number of friendships) than do non-conservative congregations, and more congregation friendships increase the likelihood of cross-racial ties. In the second pathway, congregations not affiliated with historically major denominational families report higher levels of racial diversity, and high levels of congregation racial diversity increase the likelihood of cross-racial ties. Our key methodological innovation is to divide Evangelical congregations into two categories: those affiliated with the historically major families (Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian) and those not (e.g., Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist). Christian groups that join theological conservatism and outsider (non-major) status generate high levels of friendships and racial diversity in their congregations, both of which contribute to cross-racial ties among white members. Analysis of survey data from a national probability sample of white Christians (2006 Faith Matters Survey) mostly supports our hypotheses.


Christian Evangelical Race Social ties (friendship) Bridging 



This article was supported by Hanyang University Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceHanyang UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Postdoctoral Research AssociateBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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