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Mainline Protestants

Mainline Protestantism, consisting of the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Episcopal denominations, used to be a dominant force in American life, both in terms of church membership figures and cultural prestige. Since the mid-20th century, however, the mainline has increasingly jettisoned traditional Christian teachings in favor of social activism, with the consequence that both membership figures and cultural prestige have undergone a precipitous decline. Today, mainline denominations are frequently riven by conflict between progressive and traditionalist factions, which battle over property rights, theological and political stances, mission statements, and control of leadership posts.

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  • The Protestant Mainline Goes to Washington | Religion & Politics
    When the Johnson Amendment passed in 1954—the amendment that was the target of the recent Pulpit Freedom Sunday—it was in the context of the political mobilization of mainline Protestants, not evangelicals.
  • The Church Vanishes, Part Deux
    If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist.

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