During a recent presentation to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, Kristine Stache, the interim president of Wartburg Theological Seminary, warned that at its current rate of decline the Episcopal church will cease to have Sunday services in 30 years.
The Episcopal Church is the American equivalent of the Anglican Church and is a member of the Anglican Communion. It came into being shortly after the American Revolution when the Anglican churches in America formed a separate denomination.
In 2011, it was the fourth largest denomination in the US but has been in an attendance free fall since 2008. Stache noted that between 2008 and 2018, the denomination saw a 24.9% decline in Sunday attendance.
And what is equally disturbing is that the rate of decline seems to be increasing. In 2018, the Episcopal church saw a greater drop in membership than it did in 2017. In 2017, the church reported a membership decline of 32,500 over the previous year and that decline rose to 36,000 in 2018.
In an interview with Episcopal News, Stache said that these numbers depict “a church that appears to be dying.”
Of course the decline in numbers is largely due to the denomination’s rejection of Biblical faith. It does not believe in the Bible and it does not believe in the Jesus portrayed in the Bible.
And with the rejection of Biblical faith it has essentially become a social club and if the declining attendance numbers are any indication, not a very good one.
Unfortunately, the decline in the mainline churches is so rapid, that overall it has left the impression that Christianity is on the decline in America.
However, I do not agree. First I do not consider the Episcopalian denomination as a church. To be classified as part of the Bride of Christ, it needs to believe in the death and bodily resurrection of Christ. It needs to believe in the Biblical faith.
I believe the Episcopalian denomination left the Biblical faith decades ago. Now, within the denomination there are individual churches that still hold to Biblical faith, and individually they are part of the Body of Christ.
This leads to an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Thank God, American Churches Are Dying — As thousands close across the U.S., lively new congregations are taking their place.”
In her article, Ericka Anderson noted that while Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Catholic churches are seeing their numbers fall, the same can’t be said about non-denominational Evangelical churches that have seen their churches grow an incredible 55% between 1998 and 2012.
These numbers were confirmed by Pew Research Center that reported in October 2019, that the number of Protestants declaring themselves to be born-again had risen between 2009 and 2019 from 53% to 56%.
Now I know that many end-times writers have repeatedly warned of a looming apostasy in the church based on the Apostle Paul’s warning of a great falling away before the second coming of Christ:
Many end-times writers believe the falling away will take place in the Evangelical church. However, I am increasingly convinced that this great falling away that Paul warned about has already taken place in the dramatic rejection of the Biblical faith and resulting free fall in attendance in the Liberal mainline churches.
But along with this, the Bible also seems to suggest, there will be a great end-times revival that will see millions come to faith in Christ.
In Joel 2:28-32, the prophet Joel speaking of the end-times — marked by increased volcanic activity, blood moons and a darkened sun — will include a powerful outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit:
This second outpouring of the Holy Spirit, similar to what happened on the Day of Pentecost, will take place as we enter the end-times.
And as part of this, the Apostle John, in his vision of the end times, saw an Angel of God preaching the gospel in the mid heavens (Revelation 14:6).
Why would an angel preach the gospel in the mid heavens if it wasn’t a part of a great end times revival that I believe will see millions of people from every nation and tongue turn to Jesus?
And along a similar vein, in her Wall Street Journal article, Ericka Anderson noted that because of the rapid growth taking place among the independent Evangelical churches:
- WSJ: Mainstream Christian Churches languish, but Evangelicals thrive: Breitbart
- Thank God, American Churches Are Dying: Wall Street Journal
- Episcopal Church will cease to have Sunday worship attendance in 30 years, seminary pres. warns: Christian Post
- Episcopal Church sees greater drop in membership in 2018: Christian Post