Non-denominational Christians have been increasing in numbers since the 1950s. They join non-denominational churches of Protestant Christian backgrounds or completely independent religions that follow the teachings of the Bible instead of decrees by a particular denomination.
Here are six important events in the history of autonomous churches:
Political events during the 20th century coincided with an increase in Evangelical non-denominational churches. Scandals following the 1960s, including the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, made many people distrustful of authority. Some historians believe the 1925 Scopes Trial, in which a teacher was charged with teaching evolution in a public school, had a gradual effect on people who became suspicious of the dogma under religious institutions.
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Getting back to the basics of the Bible became the goal for many ministers and accelerated throughout the 20th century. Evangelicals noticed they were not able to practice the spiritual nature of the Bible, but had to follow certain principles from a particular denomination. Revivals and ministries focused on the teachings of Christ instead of church rules that often divided congregants. The Wall Street Journal reports,
independent Protestant Christian and non-denominational churches began to explode by the end of the 20th century.
The appeal of non-denominational churches had been occurring since the 1800s, but became more noticeable by the 1960s, says Deseret News.
Rapid population growth throughout the country had increased memberships in major churches, but the percentage of members compared to the population had actually dropped.
The numbers of non-denominational Christians soared by the 21st century. Between 1990 and 2008 the number of Americans who listed non-denominationalism as their religion dramatically increased from fewer than 200,000 to more than 8 million.
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Megachurches were a phenomenon occurring after the 1950s. The Wall Street Journal says, churches defined as having more than 2,000 people in a worship service now number between 850 and 1,200 and many of them are non-denominational megachurches.
Non-denominational churches benefited from televised programming putting them in the spotlight locally and nationally. While many followers join a local church after viewing services on a local TV station, they also become part of nationally known churches, such as the Lakewood Church in Houston with Senior Pastor Joel Osteen. Non-denominational Christians accept ministers who don't necessarily obtain a traditional degree but have knowledge of the Bible.
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