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Presentation on theme: "CONSENSUS PROTESTANTS IN UNITED STATES Introduction to Religious Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 CONSENSUS PROTESTANTS IN UNITED STATES Introduction to Religious Studies

2 Characteristics  Friendly or at least tolerant relationships with other religions and secular groups  Reliant on births with the congregation to increase membership or focus on converting persons with no prior denominational affiliation (the “unchurched”)  Acceptance that changes in teaching and practices should reflect larger social changes but no consensus on when or how such change should occur (i.e.; role/status of women, gays and lesbians)

3 Characteristics  Tolerance of diversity within the denomination  Worship tends to be more routine than spontaneous; focus on liturgy  Professional clergy must meet specific educational and certification requirements for ordination.  Religion viewed as a matter of voluntary participation.

4 Core Beliefs  Religious life should center on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Bible plays a central role for Protestants; it stands as the only authority for religious faith and practice. All other creeds or doctrine subordinate to this principle  Salvation a undeserved gift from God. Humans can do nothing to earn salvation (salvation through “faith” not works)

5 Core Beliefs  The church is the gathered fellowship of believers. Church perceived more event than institution  Priesthood of all believers. All Christians possess the same responsibilities and authority. No person has an “inside track” to divine authority. All are equal because all have access to the Bible (in theory)

6 Lifestyle  Protestants must live in the middle of the world, not separated from it  God to be glorified (honored) in all aspects of private and communal life  Morality seen as a response to God’s free gift of salvation.

7 Rituals  Two sacraments recognized; Only two acts disciples (according to some gospels) told by Jesus to carry on after his death Baptism  Immersion  Sprinkling  Pouring  Some denominations practice infant baptism, others do not

8 Rituals Lord’s Supper or Communion  Common loaf, common chalice  Intinction  Non-flour wafer and individual cup (shot glass)  Some use wine, some use unfermented juice  Idea of remembrance of sacrifice  As opposed to transubstantiation or consubstantiation  Bread and wine remain bread and wine

9 Rituals  Preaching as ritual Pulpit occupies prominent place in church architecture and liturgy Considered the focal point of worship

10 Organization  Each Protestant denomination is self- governing Congregation form Connectional form Hierarchical form  Ecumenical organizations formed to assist denominations in meeting shared goals National Association of Evangelicals (1942) National Council of Churches (1950)

11 Organization  Most ministers are married rather than celibate; rejection of monastic traditions  Many traditions ordain women

12 Denominational Distinctions  Taken on less importance over the past 20 years and American ideas of individuality and community have changed  About 60% of adults in US self-identify as “Protestant”

13 Denominational Chart

14 Southern Baptist Free Church Movement (church should be adult voluntary organization New Testament can be interpreted by each believer through the Holy Spirit There exists no official creed Advocates the clear division of church and state and freedom of religion Church should consist only of those adults spiritually reborn and sincere in pursuit of the “Christian Life” (regenerate church membership)

15 Southern Baptist Supports freedom on conscience in matters of belief In South, more likely to express a fundamentalist perspective  Inerrancy of Scripture (not myth or allegory)  Bible is scientifically and historically accurate  Rejection of evolution as viable world view  Anticipation of final Judgment Day  Literal Heaven and Hell

16 Southern Baptist Individual congregations may set clear standards of behavior for members Worship tends to be more emotional and evangelical (emphasis on a conscious, personal conversion to Christ) and varies from one congregation to the next Actually observe “ordinances” rather than sacraments

17 Southern Baptist Do not practice infant baptism (requires understanding and personal consent) Baptism by immersion (although some transfer members may be accepted with baptism from other denominations— varies by congregation) Congregational but can come together as a convention

18 United Methodist Founded by John Wesley Emphasis on practical divinity (putting Christian faith into practice) Doctrine of salvation based on grace and assurance, leading to sanctification Non-creedal, like Baptists, but doctrine provides the acceptable guidelines for understanding Scripture (so not like Baptists). Both creedal and non- creedal. Carried by tradition rather than by church law.

19 United Methodist Focus on social dimension of Christian faith Basic principles:  Do no harm and avoid evil of all kinds  Do good of every possible sort to all people  Observe the ordinances of God including worship, Scripture, preaching, participation in the sacraments, family prayer, private prayer, Bible reading, fasting and abstinence

20 United Methodist Practice infant baptism; confirmation acceptance of vows taken on ones behalf when an infant Worship varies widely but liturgical order suggested in Book of Worship Baptism can be by any of the three recognized means Connectional Noted for diversity Religion both a matter of mind and heart

21 Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod Both embrace the basic teachings of Martin Luther Small Catechism and Augsburg Confession Small CatechismAugsburg Confession Unlike Baptisms and Methodism, Lutherans are a creedal denomination (in this regard both Scripture and Creeds are necessary for correct belief) Creeds of value because they assist in revealing the truth of the Word of God

22 Luthern Usually culture affirming in approach to modern world Missouri Synod the more conservative of traditions, advocating a private schooling system and rigid lifestyle Worship formal and liturgical. Hymns written by Luther given prominence. Pulpit and altar of equal importance (unlike other Protestant denominations) Consubstantiation – essence but not literal presence

23 Presbyterian Founded by John Knox, based on teachings of John Calvin Known as reformed movement- reformed theology (emphasizes God’s supremacy over all things, in God’s majesty, holiness and providence) Possesses a creedal faith (Westminster Confession) (also see complete creed set)Westminster Confessioncomplete creed set Congregational in organization Worship tends to be liturgical with the highpoint the sermon (which primarily serves a teaching function)

24 Presbyterian Hymns and prayers should reflect reformed theology Worship perceived as God’s work in the world—one way in which God interacts with the created order Encourage infant baptism Communion as Memorial Many branches of Presbyterianism with largest PCUSA (formed in 1983)

25 Episcopalian Often considered Protestant in theology while Catholic in worship Creedal while stressing the “loyalty in essentials and liberty in non-essentials” Book of Common Prayer Possesses saints/ saints days (like Catholics) Does possess a small monastic tradition

26 Episcopalian Tend to be most liberal among Protestants while reflecting the highest socioeconomic status Sacraments, as “effectual means” of conveying the Grace of God (consubstantiation) Eucharistic service on Sunday often called mass Like Catholics, sacrament called “Eucharist” Believe that confirmation, reconciliation, marriage, ordination, anointing of the sick hold sacramental significance (while still remaining rites). Unique among Protestants. Both Hierarchical and connectional

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