"mainline churches"


I have a very general, non-doctrinal question.

At various times and places, including the Catholic Answers show, I’ve heard the term “mainline churches” used to describe certain Protestant denominations. However, I never hear which churches are being described as “mainline”.

For example, in discussions of the attempts to bring Revelations into the 20th and 21st centuries, with things like the rapture, the EU or other groups being the 10-headed dragon, chips or bar codes being inserted or etched in the hand, etc., I hear that “mainline churches” don’t teach these concepts. But I gotta tell you, as a convert who grew up in western Kentucky, these are ideas taught in every church I ever attended, things you would hear on local radio shows or revivals, and which are believed by every Bible-believing friend I had.

Understand, I’m not arguing about whether the term should be used, or whether mainline churches teach these things. I’m just wondering which churches are being described by that term.



Dear calian,

The mainline Protestant churches would be the older ones which tend to have some form of liturgical life: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Anglican, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ (Congregationalists), Northern Baptists. These tend to be the more liberal Protestant churches and are also the ones suffering a decline in membership. Certainly, there are some local congregations that are not in decline, but these are the exceptions.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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