Largest church denominations in North America
Church Bay, Wales (photo from trekearth.com)
While I was researching my newest article on thekingpin68, I came across this article.
Fastest growing churches
The article is by By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Feb. 20 2008 01:10 PM EST
Here are portions and my commentary. Please leave your own comments, cheers.
The two fastest-growing church bodies in the United States and Canada, according to a newly published report, are ones whose beliefs are known to conflict with traditional Christian teaching.
Although Jehovah's Witnesses currently rank 25th in size with over 1.06 million members, they reported a 2.25 percent increase in membership since the publication of the 2007 Yearbook. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – also known as the Mormon church – grew 1.56 percent and is listed by the NCC as the fourth largest “church.”
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarded by many Christians as cults, reported the largest membership increases in a year, according to the National Council of Churches' 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.
Notably, however, both Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon church are not accepted within many Christian circles as part of the larger Body of Christ over a number of controversial beliefs that the two religions hold. Identification of the former religion as Christian, among other controversies, is debated largely due to their rejection of the Trinity, which most Christians regard as a fundamental doctrine. Latter-day Saints, meanwhile, are often criticized for their belief in “divine” books of scripture, aside from the Bible, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
The Jehovah's Witnesses as discussed in the most recent article on thekingpin68, do reject the Trinity doctrine. Bowman (1990: 12-13). The New Testament teaches the Trinity which is the existence of one God in nature and substance in three distinctions known as Father (Matthew 28: 19), Son (John 1: 1), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5). In the New Testament, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of three distinctions in one nature and essence. Erickson states that each member of the Trinity is qualitatively the same, and they are divine in the same way. Erickson (1994: 337). The essence of the each member of the Trinity is the same, even if one distinction submits to the other at times. Erickson (1994: 338). From Erickson’s point, the triune God is one God in nature and essence, represented in three distinctions and therefore is not a three-part God. A rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity is a rejection of the Christian God.
A primary (but not only) reason most Biblical Christian authorities reject Latter-Day Saint religious movements as Christian is the issue of the nature of God. Latter-Day Saints are typically henotheists. Ronald Clements writes the henotheism is a term describing the exclusive worship of one God, while at the same time the existence of many Gods is held to. Clements (1999: 248). Clements provides the opinion that the study of ancient religion does the not produce the concept that polytheism and monotheism present distinct stages in a progression and development. Instead they indicate a contrast of emphasis in complex patterns of religious traditions. Clements (1999: 249). Latter-Day Saints would also be polytheists for believing in the existence of many Gods.
Isaiah 43 has the Lord stating that there is only one God, and that no God shall be formed after. Isaiah 44 has the Lord stating that there is only one God. In Isaiah 45 the Lord states there is no other like him, and there is no other God. This means that monotheism is true, and henotheism and polytheism are false according to the Hebrew Bible. As already noted the New Testament teaches that God is triune and of one nature and substance. There is only one God.
...Other bodies in the newly published top 25 largest churches list that reported membership increases include The Catholic Church with a 0.87 percent increase; the Southern Baptist Convention with a 0.22 percent increase; the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church with a 0.21 percent rise; and the Assemblies of God with a 0.19 percent growth.
The greatest losses in membership were reported by The Episcopal Church, which dropped 4.15 percent in members, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which decreased by 2.36 percent. Both denominations are currently wracked by theological differences and the issue of homosexuality.
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also experienced large losses in membership, dropping 1.82 percent and 1.58 percent, respectively.
Largest 25 Churches (ranked by membership)
1. The Catholic Church – 67,515,016
2. Southern Baptist Convention – 16,306,246
3. The United Methodist Church – 7,995,456
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 5,779,316
5. The Church of God in Christ – 5,499,875
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. – 5,000,000
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – 4,774,203
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. – 3,500,000
9. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – 3,025,740
10. Assemblies of God – 2,836,174
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church – 2,500,000
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America – 2,500,000
13. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. – 2,500,000
14. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) – 2,417,997
15. Episcopal Church – 2,154,572
16. Churches of Christ – 1,639,495
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – 1,500,000
18. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. – 1,500,000
19. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – 1,443,405
20. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. – 1,371,278
21. United Church of Christ – 1,218,541
22. Baptist Bible Fellowship International – 1,200,000
23. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ – 1,071,616
24. The Orthodox Church in America – 1,064,000
25. Jehovah’s Witnesses – 1,069,530 So, for those of us who are Biblical Christians, what should we make of this report? Should Christian churches be canvassing door-to-door more often?
I could state more, but I will leave it for comments, and it allows this article to be brief.
Perhaps I should gather some blog links and start canvassing on behalf of thekingpin68. We could wear black shirts, shades, and white tags with thekingpin68 written on them. We would of course all carry concealed wood sticks for protection...from dogs as I do.
We could have a slogan: We are not a cult, but you might be in one. Love, Russ.
BOWMAN, ROBERT M. (1990) Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House.
CLEMENTS, RONALD (1999) ‘Henotheism’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.
ERICKSON, MILLARD (1994) Christian Theology, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House.
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