Where Is the Protestant Mainstream?

  • J. Philip Wogaman


Interpreting the “Protestant mainstream” is a formidable task. In the first place, how is one to define the term? Usually the denominations making up the National or World Councils of Churches are intended when commentators refer to the “mainstream,” and yet it is more than questionable whether those churches are any longer at the center of contemporary American or world church life. Such churches certainly are not the fastest growing at least not in the United States. That honor now seems to belong to evangelical denominations and independent congregations. Moreover, the evangelicals seem to enjoy unprecedented (for them) political influence with mainstream churches relegated more and more to the sidelines.


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    Paul Tillich, The Protestant Era, trans. James Luther Adams (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), xii.Google Scholar
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    Ray H. Abrams, Preachers Present Arms ( New York: Round Table, 1933 ).Google Scholar
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    Paul A. Carter, The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel: Social and Political Liberalism in American Protestant Churches, 1920–1940 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1956 ), 44, 92–95.Google Scholar

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© Michael G. Long and Tracy Wenger Sadd 2007

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  • J. Philip Wogaman

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