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CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS

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why are there so many denominations in Christianity?

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Christian denominations

The denominations includes the Catholic Churchthe Eastern Catholic Churches affiliated to the Catholic Church and its relevant breakaway groups the Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox Churches with some recognition and their spin-offsthe Protestant denominations and the provinces of the Anglican CommunionA Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity.Divisions between one group and another are defined by doctrine and church authority. Issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy often separate one denomination from another.Other groups that are viewed by non-adherents as denominational are highly decentralized and do not have any formal denominational structure, authority, or record-keeping beyond the local congregation; several groups withinRestoration Movementfall into this category.Some groups are large (e.g. Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans or Baptists), while others are just a few small churches.Modern movements such as Fundamentalist Christianity, Pietism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and the Holiness movement sometimes cross denominational lines, or in some cases create new denominations out of two or more continuing groups RESTORATION MOVEMENT: "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament. oldest ecumenical movement in America. "Members do not identify as Protestant but simply as Christian.History:The first, led by Barton W. Stone, began at Cane Ridge, Kentucky and called themselves simply "Christians". The second began in western Pennsylvania and Virginia (now West Virginia) and was led by Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander Campbell; they used the name "Disciples of Christ". Both groups sought to restore the whole Christian church on the pattern set forth in the New Testament, and both believed that creeds kept Christianity divided. In 1832 they joined in fellowship with a handshake.

The Restoration Movement has been characterized by several key principles:Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one church.Creeds divide, but Christians should be able to find agreement by standing on the Bible itself.Ecclesiastical traditions divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by following the practice of the early church.Names of human origin divide, but Christians should be able to find common ground by using biblical names for the church (i.e., "Christian Church", "Church of God" or "Church of Christ" as opposed to "Methodist" or "Lutheran", etc.).

CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM:Christian fundamentalism began in the late 19th- and early 20th-century among British and American Protestants as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines, especially biblical inerrancy, that they viewed as the fundamentals of Christian faith. A few scholars regard Catholics who reject modern theology in favor of more traditional doctrines as fundamentalists.

Biblical inerrancy, as formulated in the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy", is the doctrine that the Bible "is without error or fault in all its teaching"; or, at least, that "Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact".

PIETISM:Pietism (from the word piety) was a movement within Lutheranism that began in the late 17th century, reached its zenith in the mid-18th century, and declined through the 19th century, and had almost vanished in America by the end of the 20th century.While declining as an identifiable Lutheran group, some of its theological tenets influenced Protestantism and Anabaptism generally, inspiring Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement and Alexander Mack to begin the Brethren movement. The Pietist movement combined the Lutheranism of the time with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life.

EVANGELICALISM:Evangelicalism is a world-wide Protestant movement maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ's atonement.The movement gained great momentum in the 18th and 19th centuries with the emergence of Methodism and the Great Awakenings in the British Isles and North America.PRESBYTERIANISM:Presbyterianism is a branch of Reformed Protestantism which traces its origins to the British Isles.Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of grace through faith in Christ. Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707.The Presbyterian denominations in Scotland hold to the theology of John Calvin.

The British Isles are a group of islands off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. Two sovereign states are located on the islands: and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

PURITAN:The Puritans were a group of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries, including, but not limited to, English Calvinists.Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England.

PENTECOSTALISM:Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit.The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion that enables a Christian to live a Holy Spiritfilled and empowered life.This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healingtwo other defining characteristics of Pentecostalism.

HOLINESS MOVEMENT:The holiness movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from 19th-century Methodism, and to a number of evangelical Christian denominations who emphasize those beliefs as a central doctrine in the late 19th century. The pioneering founder of the International [Apostolic] Holiness Church (IHC) is Martin Well Knapp (1853-1901).The movement or the Holiness Church is distinguished by its emphasis on the four-fold or Full gospel: Regeneration, Baptism with Holy Spirit as the entire sanctification and holiness experience.

JEWISH CHRISTIAN:Jewish Christians, also Hebrew Christians or Judeo-Christians, were the original members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity.In the earliest stage the community was made up of all those Jews who accepted Jesus as a venerable person or even the Messiah, and was thus equivalent to all Christians.As Christianity grew and evolved, Jewish Christians became only one strand of the early Christian community, characterized by combining the confession of Jesus as Christ with continued adherence to Jewish practices such as Sabbath observance and observance of the Jewish calendar, observance of Jewish laws and customs, circumcision, and synagogue attendance, and a direct genetic relationship to the earliest Jewish Christianity.

Protestantism - 800 millionHistorical ProtestantismBaptist churches LutheranismReformed churchesPresbyterianismMethodism Modern ProtestantismSeventh-day Adventist Church New Apostolic ChurchChinese Independent ChurchesRestoration MovementPlymouth Brethren

Catholicism - 1.2 billionCatholic ChurchLatin Church Eastern Catholic ChurchesBreakaway Catholic Churches LARGEST DENOMINATIONS IN THE WORLD :Early Christianity is often divided into three different branches that differ in theology and traditions, which all appeared in the 1st century AD. They include Jewish Christianity, Pauline Christianity and Gnostic Christianity. All modern Christian denominations are said to have descended from these three branches.PAULINE CHRISTIANITY:Pauline Christianity is the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. Orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others perceive in Paul's writings teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James.CHRISTIAN GNOSTICISM:Gnostics often considered pre-Christian figures to be among their important early teachers and leaders.Adam and his son Seth were especially important.Several figures appear in Gnostic versions of Old Testament stories who do not appear in canonical versions, such as Norea, who saves the Gnostics from the flood in the time of Noah.The three companions of Daniel are called by many names in Gnostic texts, and often invoked.John the Baptistis sometimes claimed as an early Gnostic leader for example, by theMandaeans.Other figures are more difficult to locate in time, such as the Prophets Barcoph and Barkabbas, mentioned by Basilides and Epiphanius.

Eastern Orthodoxy - 225300 million

Oriental Orthodoxy - 86 millionAutocephalous churches Autonomous churchesNon-universally recognized churchesOther separated Orthodox groupsAutocephalous churches in communionAutonomous churches in communionChurches not in communion

Anglican CommunionContinuing Anglican movement and independent Anglican churchesAnglicanism - 85 millionLatter Day Saint movementIglesia ni CristoJehovah's WitnessesOneness Pentecostalism La Luz del MundoRestorationism and Non-Trinitarianism - 41 millionUnitarian UniversalismChurch of Christ, ScientistFriends of ManChristadelphiansAssyrian Church of the EastAncient Church of the EastChurch of the East - 0.6 millionSome of the problems we are faced with today as we look at denominationalism and its more recent history:

Denominations are based on disagreements over the interpretation of Scripture. An example would be the meaning and purpose of baptism. Is baptism a requirement for salvation or is it symbolic of the salvation process? There are denominations on both sides of this issue and have used the issue to separate and form denominations.Disagreements over the interpretation of Scripture are taken personally and become points of contention. This leads to arguments which can and have done much to destroy the witness of church.The church should be able to resolves its differences inside the body, but once again history tells us that this doesnt happen. Today the media uses our differences against us to demonstrate that we are not unified in thought or purpose.Denominations are used by man out of self-interest. There are denominations today that are in a state of self-destruction as they are being led into apostasy by those who are promoting their personal agendas.The value of unity is found in the ability to pool our gifts and resources to promote the Kingdom to a lost world. This runs contrary to divisions caused by denominationalism.

REFERENCES:

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations.htm

http://undergod.procon.org/view.background-resource.php?resourceID=87

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations.htm

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/charts/denominations_beliefs.htm

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations/comparison_charts.htm

http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/a/denominations.htm