This is a re-blogged post from prominent Catholic convert, author and certified Holy Land tour guide Stephen K. Ray. Apparently a friend of his forwarded him an article from the Washington Times the details how Evangelicalism in America is on the wane.To this day, many continue to say the same about the Catholic church yet the opposite is true. Vocations here and abroad are booming and attendance is on the rise. The most exciting aspect of this continued growth within the Church is that many of the disenchanted Evangelicals leaving the Protestant denominations are ending up where they were always meant to be – the Catholic Church. I think many hardcore Catholics would agree that thanks to God working through these former Protestants, a fire for the love of God has been reignited within the Church. Heck, we’ve been around for over 2,000 years and will be for 2,000 more all the way up to His return. Now the text:
I find this article interesting because what has filled many Evangelical Churches are people who were previously Catholic. And when I have run into these people they would tell me they “used to be Catholic” and would want to tell me their story.
The number of people attending church services have been down in the Catholic Church and especially in the main line denominational Protestant Churches. And this took place at a time when Evangelical Churches were growing.
Now it appears that numbers of people attending Evangelical Churches are going down at the rate of one million a year. I have also talked to people who said they “used to be Evangelicals” and now it appears there will be more ex-Evangelicals in the world.
Many of these Evangelical drop outs are coming back to the Catholic Church! I spoke with many of them last weekend at my conference!
I have sensed for several years something is not right with church life, especially with evangelical church life. It’s been reported many times that most Americans have fled mainline Protestant churches in the past half century, cutting denominations such as the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church USA by half. But in the past decade, it’s the evangelical churches that are losing ground.These are not the large megachurches on which all the media are fixated. Ten percent of America’s 331,000 congregations have more than 350 members, but more than half of those attending religious services go to those 33,000 or so churches, according to the University of Arizona’s 1998 National Congregations Study.
This is a very important set of numbers. For me, one of the main reasons that Protestants will ultimately fail in their efforts to remake Christ’s “One True Church” is because all of their institutions and many of their traditions and doctrines are the invention of men.Yes, many are truly in love with Christ but many remain disillusioned and in contempt with God because they refuse to acknowledge and even consider the validity of the Church He established so long ago. The result of this fracture is continued fracture. This is evidenced by the number in bold above. This number corresponds with the oft cited 33,000 denominations as found in the Encyclopedia of Christianity (if I recall).
A 1994 Canadian revival known as the “Toronto blessing” livened up some church services for a few years, but by 1997 the biggest spiritual event going was the Promise Keepers meeting on the Mall. And within two years of that, the national men’s group was scraping for funds and downsizing. And then a promising revival in Pensacola, Fla., degenerated into splits among its leaders.
This is an example of what I am talking about. From my experience, Protestant “worship services” hinge on the personality of the pastor plus the personal beliefs of the congregants. Each member is essentially their own pope.Because the Catholic Church is, at her core, a divine institution, she is evidenced by what we term as the Four Marks of the Church:
- One (unity)
- Holy (sanctity)
- Catholic (universality)
- Apostolic (apostolicity)
No other religion, organized or otherwise, can make and meet these marks – including Protestant ecclesial communities.