The Rise of the Nons: Protestants Ditching Denominations

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Christianity Today: The proportion of Protestants in the United States who don’t identify with a specific denomination doubled between 2000 and 2016, according to a Gallup poll released this week. Now, about 1 in 6 Americans are nondenominational Christians.

The growing popularity of nondenominational identity is the result of two trends: the decline in the number of Protestants overall, as more Americans eschew any religious affiliation (becoming “the nons”), and shrinking denominations themselves.

Not only are the major mainline churches continuing to see their numbers fall, the country’s largest Protestant denomination—the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)—has lost a million members in the past 15 years. more …

Opinion: Many Protestant denominations that sprang from Catholicism 500 years ago retained much of what caused the Reformation to begin with.

  • Allegorical interpretation of Scripture
  • Replacement/Covenant theology
  • Legalism

Leaving the Catholic church was one of the most difficult changes Editor and I ever made. We visited church after church where there was no evidence of a cross, a conspicuous lack of reverence, and in most cases, a whole bunch of people that over-zealously greeted you at the front door.

The music was loud, hands were waving, and everything felt very different.

After being Catholic for most of our lives, we were hyper-sensitive in avoiding churches that had a list of do’s and dont’s as a requirement for salvation. We tried to keep our eyes on Ephesians 2:8-9 and not rules and customs.

After 10 or so years, we landed in a small church with a pastor we believed was true to Scripture and we have been there ever since.

The first three chapters of the book of Revelation records 7 churches of Asia Minor, and explains how the church got to where it is today. When viewed in chronological order an interesting teaching emerges.

Ephesus means darling, or beloved. Ephesus represents the 1st century church. The church worked to uphold the Gospel but became too involved in works and neglected its first love, Jesus.

Smyrna means crushed. Smyrna is the 2nd-3rd century persecuted church under the Caesars of Rome. The Smyrna church began allegorizing Scripture and corresponds to the beginning of Replacement Theology, or transferring the blessings of Israel to the church.

Pergamum means mixed marriage, the mix of pagan and Christian beliefs corresponding with the 4th century when it became the official religion of Rome.

Thyatira means continual sacrifice that keeps Christ on the cross corresponding to the Catholic church. It is the first church whose members are divided into two categories: the saved and the unsaved.

Sardis means remnant and corresponds to the Protestant church when Martin Luther led the church out of Catholicism which had distorted Scripture. Sardis also began Covenant Theology declaring that the church is Israel and Israel is the church.

Philadelphia means brotherly love and represents the Evangelical church of the 1800’s. Philadelphia led the church back to a literal interpretation of scripture, pre-tribulation rapture, 1000-year literal reign of Christ on earth, and Israel as separate and distinct from the church in God’s plan.

Philadelphia corresponds with Dispensational theology. It is the church that prepared the way and supported the rebirth of Israel and it is the only church that was shown an open door (rapture) to meet Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Laodicea means the people rule. It is the final apostate church that will form after the rapture. Jesus told this church that because it was neither hot nor cold He would spew it from His mouth.

(See Jack Kelley’s e-book “Understanding Revelation” at www.gracethrufaith.com here)