Major Protestant Denominations in the United States





 Amish Mennonites Founded in Switzerland in the 1500s after secession from the Zurich state church; the followers of Jacob Ammann broke from the other Mennonites in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693; most Amish Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania in the eighteen century when others rejoined the main Mennonite group. 40,000 Amish Mennonites; 180,000 Mennonites The Bible is the sole rule of faith; beliefs are outlined in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632); Mennonites shun worldly ways and modern innovation (education and technology); the sacraments are adult baptism and communion.
Baptists Founded by John Smyth in England in 1609 and Rogert Williams in Rhode Island in 1638. 31 million No creed; authority stems from the Bible; most Baptists oppose the use of alcohol and tobacco; baptism is by total immersion.
Church of Christ Organized by Presbyterians in Kentucky in 1804 and in Pennsylvania in 1809. 1.6 million The New Testament is believed in and what is written in the Bible is followed without elaboration; rites are not ornate; baptism is of adults.
Church of England King Henry VIII of England broke with the Roman Catholic Church; he issued the Act of Supremacy in 1534, which declared the king of England to be the head of the Church of England. 6,000 in Anglican Orthodox Church in the United States Supremacy of the Bible is the test of doctrine; emphasis is on the most essential Christian doctrines and creeds; the Book of Common Prayer is used; the Church of England is part of the Anglican community, which is represented in the United States mainly by the Episcopal Church.
Episcopal Church U.S. offshoot of the Church of England; it installed Samuel Seabury as its first bishop in 1784 and held its first General Convention in 1789; the Church of England, headed by King Henry VIII, broke with the Roman Catholic Church in 1534. 2.7 million Worship is based on the Book of Common Prayer and interpretation of the Bible using a modified version of the Thirty-Nine Articles (originally written for the Church of England in 1563); services range from spartan to ornate, from liberal to conservative; baptism is of infants.
Lutheran Church Based on the writings of Martin Luther, who broke (1517-21) with the Roman Catholic Church and led the Protestant Reformation; the first Lutheran congregation in North America was founded in 1638 in Wilmington, Delaware; the first North American regional synod was founded in 1748 by Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg. 8 million Faith is based on the Bible and the Augsburg Confession (written in 1530); salvation comes through faith alone; services include the Lord's Supper (communion); Lutherans are mostly conservative in religious and social ethics; infants are baptized, the church is organized in synods; the two largest synods in the United States are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Methodist Church Reverend John Wesley began evangelistic preaching within the Church of England in 1738; a separate Wesleyan Methodist Church was established in 1791; the Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in the United States in 1784. 13.5 million The name derives from the founders' desire to study religion "by rule and method" and follow the Bible interpreted by tradition and reason; worship varies by denomination within Methodism (the United Methodist Church is the largest congregation); the church is perfectionist in social dealings; communion and the baptism of infants and adults are practiced.
Pentecostal churches The churches grew out of the "holiness movement" that developed among Methodists and other Protestants in the first decade of the twentieth century. 3.5 million Baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, faith healing, and the second coming of Jesus are believed in; of the various Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God is the largest; a perfectionist attitude toward secular affairs is common; services feature enthusiastic sermons and hymns; adult baptism and communion are practiced.
Presbyterian Church Grew out of Calvinist churches of Switzerland and France; John Knox founded the first Presbyterian church in Scotland in 1557; the first presbytery in North America was established by Irish missionary Francis Makemie in 1706. 3.2 million Faith is in the Bible; the sacraments are infant baptism and communion; the church is organized as a system of courts in which clergy and lay members (presbyters) participate at local, regional, and national levels; services are simple, with emphasis on the sermon.
Seventh-Day Adventist Church Grew out of the teachings of William Miller in the 1840s; formally founded in North America in 1863. 734,527 The Bible is the only creed; the second coming of Jesus is emphasized; members abstain from alcoholic beverages and tobacco; baptism and communion are practiced.
United Church of Christ

Formed in 1957 by the union of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches with the Evangelical and Reformed Churches.

 1.7 million Belief in the Bible is guided by the Statement of Faith (written in 1959); the church is organized by congregations, which are represented at a general synod that sets policy; services are simple, with emphasis on the sermon; infant baptism and communion are practiced.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) Joseph Smith, in the 1820s, found golden tablets with The Book of Mormon inscribed on them; church headquarters were established in upstate New York in 1830, then in Ohio in 1831; after two more attempts to establish a permanent home for the church (the second resulting in Smith's death at the hands of a mob), Salt Lake City, Utah, was founded in 1847 under the leadership of Brigham Young. 4.5 million Faith is based on the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price, all of which are considered scripture; stress is placed on revelation through the connection of spiritual and physical worlds and through proselytizing; members abstain from alcohol and tobacco and believe in community self-reliance; public services are conservative; there is baptism, laying on of hands, and communion; a secret temple holds other ceremonies, including baptism for the dead.
Jehovah's Witnesses Founded by Charles T. Russell in the United States in the late nineteenth century. 893,000 Belief is in the imminent second coming of Christ and the potential salvation of mortal souls during the millennium; all members are ministers who proselytize their faith with door-to-door missionary work; members refuse service in the armed forces, will not salute national flags or participate in politics, will not accept blood transfusions (but will accept all other forms of medical treatment), and discourage smoking, drunkenness, and gambling. The Watchtower
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) George Fox in England in the seventeenth century began preaching against organized churches, professing a doctrine of the Inner Light.  113,000 Reliance is on the Inner Light, the voice of God's Holy Spirit experienced within each person; meetings are characterized by quiet meditation without ritual or sermon; Quakers are active in peace, education, and social welfare movements; they refuse to bear arms or take oaths; earlier schisms are still reflected in three main affiliations of Friends.
 Unitarian Universalist Association The denomination resulted from the merger of the Universalist Church of America (organized in 1779) and the American Unitarian Association (founded in 1825). 171,000 Members profess no creed; strong social, ethical, and humanitarian concerns are manifest in the search for religious truth through freedom of belief; theists, humanists, and agnostics are accepted in religious fellowship; efforts are aimed at the creation of a worldwide interfaith religious community; many members come from other denominations and religions.