Christianity is the most popular religion in the USA with over 76 percent of Americans practicing some form of the religion. Approximately 62 percent of these people are members of a church. In today’s guide we shall look at the four most popular Christian churches in the USA.
Roman Catholic Church
The most popular Christian church in the USA is the Roman Catholic Church with approximately 44.3 percent of American Christians being members. Catholicism has a rich history in the USA dating back as far as the earliest days of the European colonization of the Americas.
During the early years of the country’s founding only a small number of Americans were catholic, however with huge numbers of immigrants travelling to the USA it fast became the largest denomination of faith in the country with over 67 million Americans declaring themselves as Catholics – the fourth largest Catholic population in the world.
Approximately 40 percent of Christians in the USA are part of the Evangelical Church. It is a protestant Christian movement that has the key beliefs of a need for personal conversion (being born again), some expression of the Gospel in effort, high respect for the authority of the Bible as well as putting an emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Evangelicalism is often seen as a median divide between fundamentalists and liberals. Some of their beliefs and values are similar to fundamentalists yet they differ in other areas. The relatively liberal stance that Evangelicalism takes on Christianity is one of the key reasons it has become the most popular church in the USA.
Mainline Protestant Church
The Mainline Protestant Church is often described in comparison with evangelicalism – as they are both very different forms of Protestantism. Within mainline Protestantism there are several denominations including Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran churches.
While their values and beliefs differ in many ways between the sub-denominations there are some similarities. Most mainline protestant church denominations believe that the Bible is God’s word in function but they tend to be open to new ideas and societal changes.
The Baptist church is a denomination of both Evangelical and Mainline Protestantism. There are approximately 16.3 million Baptists and it is the largest of the Protestant denominations.
Baptists have existed in the USA since the early seventh century and it is estimated that approximately 70 percent of the global population of Baptists reside in the USA.
Another of the most popular Christian churches in the USA is the Lutheran church. This too is a denomination of the Protestant church – although many consider it a denomination of the Evangelical church or even a separate church entirely. The largest Lutheran denomination is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, followed by the Lutheran Church and the Missouri Synod. The differences between the separate denominations stem from historical and cultural factors as well as some minor theological differences.
Typically the Lutheran Church has very conservative views on theology and ethics in comparison to other Christian churches.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the fourth largest church in the USA. It is a form of Restorationism – a branch of Christianity. Essentially the Latter Day Saints church teaches that it is a restoration of the only true and authorized Christian church. Their beliefs are considerably different to many other popular Christian churches, in particular they reject the view that God is a trinity of three separate beings and instead believe there is just one substance. They also reject the Nicene Creed.
Latter Day Saints are also referred to as Mormons, and they view faith in Jesus Christ as the central tenet of their religion. They are a relatively untraditional branch of Christianity however they still believe in the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ.
There are four scriptural texts within the Latter Day Saints: the Bible – both old and new testaments; the Book of Mormon; the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.