One often hears the term "Mainline Protestant," which refers to specific Protestant denominations which have, for a long time, occupied a central place in American religious life. Those who are currently included in that designation are the United Church of Christ (historically known as the Congregationalists), the American Baptist Church (northern Baptists), the Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Disciples of Chirst.
These "mainline" Protestant denominations are characterized a generally progressive theology and an openness both to other churches and, at times, even other religions. They have concerned themselves with not simply their own religious beliefs, but also American society as a whole. In recent decades their membership has dwindled, apparently due to their lack of attention to fundamental and doctrinal matters. In their place, fundamentalist churches have sprung up and become very popular.
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