The Episcopal Church released its 2016 denominational statistics recently. In it researchers found decline of 34,179 in membership. This was an improvement from the decline of 37,669 in 2015. To see the hard data click the 2016 Parochial Report.
Why the hard decline in the US Episcopal Church? I am sure there are a variety of reasons, as it is a complicated issue. But one contributing factor, in my opinion, is their shift toward a liberal interpretation of marriage and sexuality. In 2003 the Episcopal church ordained their first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson. It is a dangerous gamble for any church to redefine what God has established in regarding to sexuality which Christianity has been unanimous on for thousands of years. If the things of this world creep into an individual’s, or an institution’s, priorities, you might find yourself at odds with God.
1 John2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
To be fair, Southern Baptists have their own issues. I admit they too have declined. But the data suggests mainline denominations are declining at a higher rate. (2016: Episcopal – lost 35,000 of 1 million membership = approximately 2%, SBC – lost 77,000 of 15 million membership = approximately .5%) In the article “FactChecker: Are All Christian Denominations in Decline?” the author shows a clear distinction between theologically liberal and conservative denominations. He says, “While conservative churches aren’t growing as quickly as they once were, mainline churches are on a path toward extinction. The mainline churches are finding that as they move further away from Biblical Christianity, the closer they get to their inevitable demise.”
And a powerful reminder that faithfulness to sound doctrine is a key ingredient in the health and mission of the church. Let this be an encouragement for biblically faithful doctrine personally, as well as in the leadership of the church you attended. I did not say “your church” because it is not yours, it is the Bride of Christ, bought with His blood, and His alone.