As they have for the last 30 years, the so-called "mainline" denominations, especially those identified as liberal or moderate, are losing members while Evangelical and charismatic churches, which are often identified as conservative, are growing.
That trend is enumerated in the latest "Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches," published by the National Council of Churches of Christ.
The Yearbook's statistics show membership declines over the past decade for several major denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, all of which are often categorized as moderate or liberal. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is more frequently labeled conservative, also saw a small decline.
But the country's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, which has received considerable attention for its positions that wives should submit to the leadership of their husbands, and on the inerrancy of Scripture, showed a 7 percent increase between 1994 and 2005, to 16,439,000 members. And the Assemblies of God, the nation's largest Pentecostal (charismatic) denomination, grew by nearly 20 percent in the same period, to 2,729,000.
At the same time the nation's largest single religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church, grew from 59.2 million to 67.2 million, an increase of more than 13 percent.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, grew by 24 percent to 5,503,000.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon