Rob Schwarzwalder: Decline of Mainline Protestantism Presents a New Opportuntiy to Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Nearly one-quarter of Americans identify as Evangelical Protestants. Those affirming Catholic faith are roughly another quarter. And about one-third of us say we have “no religion.” These are the findings of recent General Social Survey data presented by Eastern Illinois University political scientist Ryan Burge.

What a great opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! So many who need Him, and so many ways to share the good news with them.

The news about the rise of the unaffiliated has overshadowed something buried a bit further down in the survey’s findings: The collapse of “mainline” Protestantism.

Only 11 percent of our fellow citizens now identify as members of the “mainline.” This is a decline from 28 percent in 1972.

What are these churches? The seven “sisters” of American Protestantism include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the American Baptist Churches, the Disciples of Christ, and the United Church of Christ.

The news for these denominations is getting worse. “Given current trend lines, mainline Protestantism will be closing up shop by 2039. The numbers keep dwindling in both those who attend a ‘mainline’ church regularly and those who identify with a mainline denomination,” reports journalist Bill Brady.

With every respect for those believers who persevere in the old-line Protestant groups in the hope of bearing witness to the living Savior, this decline should come as no surprise. Why bother attending a church where the sum total of the theology can be summarized as:

  • Believe in an undemanding, all-succoring deity;
  • be nice to people;
  • question or deny every tenet of historic Christian theology:
  • affirm all manner of sexual behavior for everyone at pretty much any time; and
  • support left-wing social and political action.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rob Schwarzwalder