Another definition of “Christianity”……

 The following is taken from this non-Mormon web site:

 It is interesting that this site claims that there are over 1,200 different Christian denominations just in North America……Imagine 1,200 different ways to worship Jesus Christ…….I can’t imagine that He is very happy with man right about now.

 Check out some of their links here also……makes for some interesting reading. I like their definition of Christian…….

What is a Christian?

To avoid confusion, we repeat here our site’s simple definition of “Christian:”

“We accept as Christian any individual or group who devoutly, thoughtfully, seriously, and prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian.”

Other individuals and groups have much narrower definitions of the term. They often believe that their faith group is the “true” Christian religion, and that others are in error. That is certainly their right, but it does cause a great deal of confusion, frustration, anger, and conflict.

horizontal rule

Sorting Christian faith groups:

Except perhaps for a few years between the execution of Yeshua of Nazareth (circa 30 CE) and the start of Paul’s ministry (circa 36 CE), the Christian religion has never been unified.

bullet Throughout the second half of the first century CE, the Christian religion was divided into three main main religious movements: the Gnostics, Jewish Christians, and Pauline Christians. Gnostic Christians still survive today. All of the rest of today’s Christian faith groups trace their history back to the Pauline Christian movement.
bullet Currently, there are over 1,200 Christian denominations in North America. 1
bullet According to David Barrett et al, editors of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. 2

Sorting them into categories is a difficult task. Six ways of classifying them are into:

  • Many hundreds of denominations:
  • bullet There are on the order of 1,200 Christian organizations in North America.
    bullet Their names range from the Amish to The Way.
    bullet We have essays describing some of them.

  • Four to eight meta-groups: Most of the Christian denominations and sects in the world can be sorted into about eight segments or branches:
  • bullet Roman Catholicism,
    bullet Eastern Orthodoxy,
    bullet Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Churches,
    bullet Protestantism
    bullet Restorationists
    bullet Anglican Communion
    bullet Pentecostals
    bullet Others

    Unfortunately, there is no consensus about which faith groups should be embraced by the term “Protestantism.” For example:

    bullet Some theologians split out the Anglican Communion from Protestantism.
    bullet Others consider Pentecostalism to be separate from Protestantism.
    bullet Others separate the European Free-Church Family out as a separate group.
    bullet Some include the Restorationist denominations, which includes the Mormon church (a.k.a. LDS) within Protestantism. Some consider them to be a separate Christian group. Still others consider them to be non-Christian.

    The organization Christian Churches Together (CCT), a broadly based, inclusive, Christian ecumenical movement, suggests still another classification of U.S. faith groups. They group Christian denominations into five families” Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, Historic Racial/Ethnic, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic.

  • Two or three “wings”: Like in the area of politics, Christians and Christian groups can be divided into conservative and liberal wings, according to their belief systems. Their teaching on abortion access, origins of the earth and the rest of the universe, equal rights for gays and lesbians, and same-sex marriage, are four indicators of their location on the liberal- conservative continuum.
  • bullet Fundamentalists, other Evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodoxy, and such varied groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Unification Church, etc. generally form the conservative wing;
    bullet The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Progressive Christianity, Evolutionary Christianity, United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada and others form the liberal wing.
    bullet Often, a third, mainline wing is added, composed of such denominations as: American Baptist Churches in the USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, etc.

  • Fifteen religious families:
  • bullet Denominations can be sorted into 15 families, according to their historical roots. 1
    bullet Examples are the Adventist, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian families.

  • Theological beliefs:
  • bullet There are many systems of theological beliefs within Christianity.
    bullet They often cut across denominational boundaries.
    bullet Members of an single congregation may hold conflicting belief systems.
    bullet Examples are Arminianism, British Israelism, Calvinism, Christian Identity, Universalism, etc.
    bullet The Barna Research Group, arguably the most important polling group working in the religious and spiritual area, sorts individuals into five faith segments according to their theological beliefs.

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