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What is Moderate Christianity?

The 8 Points of Moderate Christianity:

The hallmark of the moderate Christinaity is moderation. Their theologies tend to be moderate and influenced by the Historical-critical method, consciously or not. Ministers and members of moderate Christianity churches generally are comfortable with modern language and inclusive language translations of the Bible .

They tend to be open to new ideas and societal changes without abandoning what they consider to be the historical basis of the Christian faith.[1] This places them to the left of the more conservative fundamentalist and evangelical churches. They have been increasingly open to the ordination of women . They have been far from uniform in their reaction to gays , lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, though less dogmatic on these issues than either the Catholic Church or the more conservative Protestant churches. Mainline churches take a moderate view war but all express reservations about aggressive use of military force for any reason.

Moderate churches tend to be ecumenical in outlook, often belonging to interdenominational and interfaith organizations.


Many believe that the Bible is God's Word, while remaining open to new understanding of it. Moderates question the idea that our modern day translations of the Bible are without error ... verses how the orginal Bible manuscripts were found. That view holds that the Bible as we have it is the result of God's Holy Spirit directly revealing His words to its authors. There is a general consensus that scripture must be interpreted both through the lens of the culture in which it was originally written, and examined using God-given reason. Neither of these methods is believed to diminish the importance of scripture or is an indication that scripture is not the revelation of God's Word.

Most moderate Christians are Trinitarian , but not all. Some subsribe to some form of Biblical Unitarianism , such as Divinitarianism . Basically, there are '3' types of Christianity. Each group embraces the term "Christian", each uses the Bible. But They may each hold different interpretations of the Scriptures regarding such topics as the divine nature of Jesus , the the nature of the resurrection of Jesus , the nature of hell , and views on End Times or millennialism . In edition, these 3 types of Christianity will hold different interpretations of Sciptures regarding such social justice issues as women's equality , abortion, position on war , religious tolerance , and

, and sexual orietation. .

Among the conservative wing, there is general unanimity of belief on the above-mentioned topics. Probably in excess of 90% of the membership oppose the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy for economic reasons. Homosexual behavior is viewed as sinful. Conflict tends to be more often over numerous fine points of theology, like: Under what conditions -- if any -- should a Christian couple be allowed to divorce and remarry, or whether a person who does not speak in tongues has been truly saved.

Within moderate denominations, particularly among Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Methodist faith groups, many intense conflicts are emerging. Such discord is inevitable. The denominations are finding themselves increasingly divided between liberal and conservative factions, each of which has a different vision for the future. Among the liberal wing, there is a wide range of individual beliefs about deity, humanity and the rest of the universe. But these denominations are accustomed to such differences of opinion among their membership.

Conflict in beliefs:

Another level of serious conflict occurs between the clergy and laity of some moderate a few liberal denominations. Generally speaking, many church members have been brought up to believe in the divinity of Jesus and a physical resurrection of Christ. Some believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, and other historical beliefs, and yet many hold differing views on some parts of the scriptures beinng purely symbolic, while others literal. Some clergy may have attended a conservative theological college and many have developed personal beliefs that may reflect a more moderate interpretation of the Biblical or vice versa. This produces a conflict among clergy, between their need to preach the truth as the way they have come to view it, and their need to support the basic beliefs of their denomination even though they may have come to view them as being in conflict with their interpretations of what they believe the Bible actually teaches or may not, to simply avoid controversy or being disfellowshiped.

Use of the term mainline

The term mainline may imply a certain numerical majority or dominant presence in mainstream society that is no longer accurate. The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) counts 26,344,933 members of mainline churches versus 39,930,869 members of evangelical Protestant churches.[3] There is evidence that there has been a shift in membership from mainline denominations to non-denominational churches.

The inclusion of a denomination in the mainline category does not imply that every member of that denomination, nor even every member of their clergy, accept some of the beliefs generally held in common by other mainline churches. All of them allow considerable theological latitude. However, each mainline denomination has within it a Confessing Movement or renewal movement which is more conservative in tone. Some denominations with similar names, and historical ties to mainline groups are not considered mainline.

For example, while the American Baptist Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church USA are mainline, the Southern Baptist Convention, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and the Presbyterian Church in America are too conservative to be regarded as mainline denominations.

Mainline/Moderate denominations

The Association of Religion Data Archives considers these denominations to be mainline/moderate:

American Baptist Churches in the USA 1,442,824 members (2001)

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 804,842 members (2001)

Congregational Christian Churches, (not part of any national CCC body)

Episcopal Church in the United States of America 2,369,477 members

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4,850,000 members (2007)

International Council of Community Churches 200,263 members (2000)

Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches 44,000 members (1998)

Moravian Church in America, Alaska Province

Moravian Church in America, Northern Province 24,650 members (2003)

Moravian Church in America, Southern Province 21,513 members (1991)

National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 65,569 members (2000)

North American Baptist Conference Presbyterian Church (USA) 2,300,000 members (2007)

Reformed Church in America 285,453 members (2001)

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

United Church of Christ 1,359,105 members (2001)

United Methodist Church 8,070,000 members (2006)

The largest U.S. mainline churches are sometimes referred to as the Seven Sisters of American Protestantism.* The term was apparently coined by William Hutchison in reference to the major liberal groups of American Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Congregationalists / United Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians during the period between 1900 and 1960.

The Association of Religion Data Archives has difficulties collecting data on traditionally African American denominations. Those churches most likely to be identified as mainline include these Methodist groups:

African Methodist Episcopal Church

AME Zion Church

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

References ^ The Decline of Mainline Protestantism

^ Crossed Fingers: How the liberals captured the Presbyterian church

^ a b Mainline protestant denominations

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