Guest / Limited Access /

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.

More on Mainline Protestants See All

News Feed More

  • When pulpit and pew disagree
    What can Christian leaders do when the official teachings of mainline Protestant churches and the political ideologies of the laity diverge? (Elesha Coffman, Faith and Leadership)
  • The Decline of Decline? Alarming Rate of Mainline Protestants Leaving Church May Be Slowing Down
    Regarding the Episcopalian church's losses, Hadaway told CP that the reasons are "complex" and also "not altogether the result of what Episcopal congregations have done or have not done." "Our members have much higher levels of education on average than the general population. The result is fewer births than deaths among our constituency," said Hadaway. "There is also the legacy of conflict, which although it has abated greatly, remains a source of distraction and undermines the mission of congregations in some communities."

Recommended Resources

Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Christians’ misguided fight for football devotions isn’t working.
CT BookstoreView All

Enter The Vault

Vault

Browse our Full Library of online archives, including past issues of CT magazine.