The PC-USA lost 1.3 million members between 1965 and 1992. But other liberal denominations face similar travails. The Episcopalians, United Churches of Christ, Evangelical Lutherans, American Baptists, and United Methodists all had significant declines during the 1990's.
Meanwhile, more orthodox denominations, such as the SBC, PCA, Alliance churches, etc. all experienced significant growth.
Why has this occurred? I would argue that it has to do with the growing apostasy in liberal denominations. The rejection of the authority of Scripture and the divine and all-encompassing claims of Christian truth is leading to the death of liberal Protestantism.
The PC-USA, for example, has made peace with radical feminism, various strains of paganism, and homosexualism--going so far as to condemn homophobia and "heterosexism." The PC-USA is also a member of the Religious Coalition for
On the issue of homosexuality and the broader matter of the purity of the marriage bed, the PC-USA issued a report called "Sexuality, Spirituality and Social Justice, in which was written the following: "The moral for Christians ought not be marriage, but rather justice-love. ... Where there is justice-love, sexual expression has ethical integrity. That moral principle applies to single, as well as to married, persons, to gay, lesbian and bisexual persons, as well as to heterosexual persons." So shacking up is OK, including with members of the same sex, as long is it is done in the spirit of "justice-love." What?
The same pattern of Biblical infidelity is present in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The "Task Force for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Studies on Sexuality" issued a report last year attempting to avoid dealing with issues of gay ordination and same-sex marriage. The report asked, but did not answer, the fundamental question:
Many people have asked for a simple answer to the question: Does the Bible say that sexual activity between two people of the same sex is always a sin? This question is near the heart of the division of opinion in our church because Christians who are faithful to God’s Word give different answers. Among other responses that could be mentioned, some say the teaching of the Bible is clear and condemns such activities as sinful, while some say that the verses in the Bible usually cited do not apply to a love relationship between two consenting adults in a committed relationship. In this matter the ELCA needs to continue in prayerful study of Scripture with one another.
Boldly on display for all to see is the attack on the authority of Scripture that is at the heart of the homosexualist assault. The equivocation on display reveals a deeper divide over fundamental issues of doctrine, biblical authority, and ecclesiology.
In prior statements, the ELCA defined marriage as "a lifelong covenant of faithfulness between a man and a woman." And the task force itself said that same-sex unions are "quite distinct from and in no way equivalent to marriage."
So marriage is the cleaving together of a man and a woman, but the ELCA needs more time in prayer and study because sodomy might be just dandy as long as it is part of a "committed relationship." How much study is required to figure that out? Didn't anyone have a Bible on hand?