What’s the Difference between Christian Denominations?

, , 16 Comments


(music) – We look around, and we see that there are so many different denominations, and it is confusing when
you just look at that. But there are historical reasons for why various denominations
came into existence, and there are different,
several different kinds of causes that resulted in that. One of the fundamental sources
of those denominational differences is the form
of church government. Church government really is
about who has responsibility under God to determine what is
the shape of the Word of God, that is, what does the
Word of God actually teach? What is theology, true theology? And so those areas, theology,
biblical interpretation, worship, ordinances,
fellowship, and governance are the areas that someone
has to take authority for, and the different, different Protestants have had three different answers for that. Some Protestants have said
that Christ has invested authority for those things,
responsibility for those things, in the bishops, bishops who are pastors over an entire array of
churches within a region. So, the Episcopal Church,
the Church of England, the Anglican Communion,
invents authority in bishops, though shared somewhat with laypeople. The United Methodist
Church in North America, Methodist churches generally,
historically, have invested that authority, that
responsibility in bishops, and Lutherans, in most
cases, have also done that. Another group of Protestants said, no, Christ has invested responsibility
for these church matters in the pastors jointly, the
elders, in Greek, presbuteros, and so the name Presbyterian
is the name that most commonly has been used to identify
this group of Protestants. And so it’s the elders
or the pastors jointly who have responsibility
for all those things. And then finally, one group
of Protestants said no, according to the scriptures,
Christ has invested responsibility for those
things in the congregation, the local body of believers,
jointly administering that authority and that responsibility. And these have been
the Congregationalists, sometimes called Independents,
and the Baptists. Another fundamental source of difference between Protestant
denominations has to do with who are the proper subjects of baptism. And most of the early
Protestants believed, as the Roman Catholic church believes, that infants should be baptized. That is part of God’s command,
that Christian parents should have their children
baptized in the church, and therefore, that they should become church members through baptism. But even from the earliest
days of Protestantism, there were some who disagreed with that, who held that the scriptures do not teach the baptism of infants, but rather teach that baptism is for those
who profess their faith. So, believers baptism is what
that’s traditionally called. And today we call this group
of churches who hold this view Baptists, although there
are many other denominations that have arisen, especially
in the last 100 years or so, who have accepted Baptist views. For example, many of
the Pentecostal churches practice believer’s baptism. Another important source of
difference among Protestants over the last hundred years
has to do with the nature of the supernatural gifts,
the extraordinary gifts, or the sign gifts, speaking in tongues, working of miracles, and the like. Protestants traditionally
with Catholics have held that these were gifts given
by Christ to the apostles, generally, in the apostolic age, in order for the establishment
of the Scriptures and of the church of Jesus Christ, but which he then no longer bestowed, because the church and the
word of God were established. In the early 20th century,
a number of Protestants began to look for a renewal
of these extraordinary gifts in the church, and several
different episodes occurred in the first 10 years of
the 20th century in America in which people experienced
what they believed was speaking in tongues
of one sort or another, that they believed were gifts of healing, and gifts of working miracles. And this began what we now
call the Pentecostal Movement. And the Pentecostal
Movement originally held that Christ indeed had
removed these sign gifts from the church after the
apostolic age, but that he had also promised to
renew them, to restore them to the church, just
before his second coming. And so Pentecostals, when they believed that were experience, the Christians who became Pentecostals,
when they began to experience these things, they believed that this was the beginning of Christ’s return. And so, they spread not just their views on the re-initiation, reestablishment of the sign gifts in the churches, but also on the imminent
second coming of Christ. Some Pentecostals today
have rejected the connection between the gifts and the second coming, and so there are many
now who are Pentecostals one way or another who believe that Christ never took away the extraordinary gifts; the church merely refused to use them. One of the enduring sources of
differences among Protestants is based upon nationality and
language, and this is natural. It’s been this way at least
since the third century, that as churches grew up,
as people became believers, they tended to organize themselves into groups of churches based
on the natural identities that they had, of language
and society and politics. In the 17th, 16th and 17th
century, as Protestantism became so prominent in
many parts of Europe, many of these Protestant
churches became state churches. And so, the Lutheran church was
the state church of Germany, Anglicanism, the state church of England. Now, these churches sometimes
had other little differences, but as they immigrated to the New World, to North American in
particular, they retained their identities as
Lutherans or as Anglicans. And so these differences
upon national lines also help explain why many
Protestants who otherwise have very similar theology,
Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans, yet still have tended to retain their separate organizational identities. There’s one other important difference among the denominations
within Protestantism, and that has to do with
the movement that began about 130 years ago in North American known now as Protestant liberalism. Fundamentally, liberal
thought put human reason in the seat of authority over scripture. So scripture came under the
judgment of human reason, and that caused a reinterpretation of the Bible from beginning to end. And in that reinterpretation,
liberal thought did away with miracles, did away with that which seemed harsh, that
seemed somehow hard to explain, that seemed like superstition. Anything that was offensive to reason could not be held to be true, and so by putting reason
first, liberal theology undid most of what the scripture
actually teaches. This led in the early 20th
century to a fundamental division within most Protestant
denominations where many of those who held to the traditional
evangelical convictions were either forced out or
withdrew to form new organizations of churches,
effectively new denominations. And so in the 20th century,
you have a rise of a movement that’s sometimes called fundamentalism, more broadly evangelicalism,
that looks new because you have many new denominations, but in fact, it’s not new. It’s a response to this
new liberal theology. But it is actually in continuity
with the traditional faith of Protestantism and
with the early church. And so, liberalism has
introduced a fundamental divide, and in many respects, the
most fundamental divide that now exists within Protestantism, and it’s a difference that
goes right to the heart of the gospel and how we’re saved. And that helps explain why we have this group that we now call evangelicals. It’s important to recognize
that although Protestants have all of these different
organizations, they are not deeply divided on the
fundamentals of the faith. They in fact are agreed, those of them that we generally
identify as evangelicals, they are agreed that the
Bible is authoritative, that it is inspired,
that it has no errors. They are agreed that salvation
comes through repentance and faith in Christ
alone by his shed blood. He suffers for our sins, that
everyone who believes in him may be forgiven, may be redeemed and spend eternal blessedness
with God in heaven. And so, although you have
these different organizations, we call them by these
different denominational names, nevertheless, they recognize
that they are one, that they are brothers and sisters
through faith in Christ Jesus and share a blessed and
joyful unity in the gospel. (music) Thanks for watching Honest Answers. You can submit your
questions by email, Twitter, or in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe
to find out the answer to next Wednesday’s question.

 

16 Responses

  1. William Mabatuan

    August 19, 2019 12:23 am

    THE BIBLE IS AN IDOL

    THE BIGGEST IDOL OF MANKIND HISTORY

    THE BIBLE IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST
    Here's why:

    IS THE BIBLE GOD’S WORD? NO!

    When Jesus Yeshua speaks a word, it is Spirit and it is Life.

    He can say “peace be still” and the wind will stop blowing.

    When the words Jesus Yeshua spoke are written down in a book that Satan is using, then the bible becomes the word of Satan.

    So in reality the bible is the word of the devil. Because Satan can use the bible to deceive the masses but he cannot use the Holy Spirit.

    The devil had two evil rulers compile and authorize the bible to usurp God’s authority for his own use.

    Emperor Constantine (1st beast) the sun-god worshiper had it compiled and his wicked bishops determined which books were allowed in it.

    Then King James the 2nd beast’s 66 book authorized version is used by the devil to control and keep people out of the control of God through the Holy Spirit.

    An image of God’s word made to speak “the bible says”

    The gospel is not written with ink, but by the Spirit of the Living God.

    There are 41,000 bible denominations full of evil and confusion.

    Jesus did NOT promised to send us a book, He sent the Holy Spirit.

    Ask Jesus Yeshua for the Holy Spirit and quit looking to the bible so you can overcome the mark of the beast.

    Then when you do read the bible, read it only as history because that is all it is.

    THE BIBLE IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST

    Reply
  2. Michelle Morrow

    August 23, 2019 5:14 am

    Thanks for that. It was a helpful explanation without a lot of cessationist bias (just a little bit).

    Reply
  3. DAVID FILER

    August 26, 2019 3:17 pm

    "What's the Difference between Christian Denominations?" None, they all believe in total bollocks. Ah! Men.

    Reply
  4. Brian T Parent

    September 3, 2019 4:53 am

    Rome was full of Pagans during Jesus's time. When Jesus was tried in court, wasn't he tried by a Roman Pagan Governor where Jewish Rabbis called Jesus a Blasphemer? The call it The Rise of Christianity. It didn't happen overnight. What if Rome tried to stop people from baptizing their children before Constantine The Great who came out with The Roman Catholic Church? Of course, Roger Williams came out with The Separation of Church and State which was to prevent governmental power from influencing scripture. Of course, many say that Ana-Baptist is the opposite of Baptist, yet Ana is a Greek word meaning "again" or "re." Baptists existed since the time of Jesus. Basically, Baptists are the same as Christians. Of course, Roger William's great grand daughter, Susannah Holmes, married Reverend Valentine Wightman, and his brother was Reverend George Wightman. What about Edward Wightman (Encyclopedia), the last man burned at the stake in England by King James for heresy? Wouldn't that be considered as a connection between Baptist and Ana-Baptist? Many fought for The Separation of Church and State long before Roger Williams enacted The Separation of Church and State. Of course, he was persecuted by The Roman Catholic Church for creating the 1st Baptist Church and so was Reverend Valentine Wightman. When you look back at Constantine The Great, they say he ushered in The Christian Movement, yet he refused to become baptized up until before his death. Of course, Rome fell, yet The Roman Catholic Church still exists. What if Constantine The Great set out to infiltrate The Rise of Christianity instead of supporting The Rise of Christianity? He was, after all, a Pagan Roman Emperor.

    Reply
  5. God Bless! God Bless!

    September 8, 2019 4:50 am

    Francis of Assisi: The Eucharist. … For Francis, then, the Eucharist is the primary way in which he sees Christ's continuing Incarnation in the world. It is the sign of the presence of Christ with the Church in his continuing salvific role.

    Reply
  6. Mark Robinson

    September 10, 2019 6:12 am

    Bible has holy authority over man no one is above the Bible Genesis to revelation it's true long as you read the King James version like the Catholic if you read a UPC a man above the Bible what's wrong homosexual is abomination abortion is bad is murderer

    Reply
  7. Jose Hernandez

    September 11, 2019 8:21 pm

    its simple logic… try to stay as close as possible to the orignal(oldest) denomination and forget these new modern (convinenent) ones that digress fromt he original apostols. For now in my investigation im between baptist and Pentecostal. Another trick is see their fruts. Also take the bible litraly not like the liberals interpretations. also wiht proper dispensationlisim because even thoug literal dont do everytihng old testament says dosent apply to us any more as per literal new testament says

    Reply
  8. todd smith

    September 13, 2019 3:20 pm

    What's the Difference between Christian Denominations?………NO SUCH THING IN THE BIBLE…Denominations ARE FROM MAN, NOT GOD…

    Reply
  9. Ferdz Araga

    September 14, 2019 5:51 pm

    Jesus sent his disciples with the the Holy Spirit and they performed wonders and signs in his name. Denominations teaching christian principles sound good but many are deceiving….the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ is the best proof.

    Reply
  10. Sierra Swafford

    September 15, 2019 5:01 am

    I do not claim a denomination. I’m a bible believing Christian. Okay this made me so sad. So I told my sister that I was going to wear my catholic T-shirt to my Baptist church and so she said “no don’t do that” I look at her in hurt and I ask “why” and she said “fine go ahead and do it, get yourself in trouble” I slowly walk away thinking why does it matter what denomination I’m at shouldn’t I be accepted?!?! What has man done? Why do, we Christian, separate our selves from each other?

    Reply
  11. Rick Pettey

    September 19, 2019 8:44 pm

    I am sorry, but this man, though well intended and undoubtedly sincere, misses the core of the issue entirely.  The reason for all the vast denominations is sin.  Paul explains, "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that
    there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that
    those who are approved may be recognized among you." [ 1 Corinthians 11:18-19]                   Differences arise due to how one reads the Bible.  Most of modern Christianity read the Scriptures through the lens of mysticism, emotionalism and/or reason.   As proof of what I am stating, first a direct quote from a Methodist Church pamphlet regarding John Wesley and how he approached Scripture.  The second quote is from a man who was a Baptist pastor for 40 years but turned confessional Lutheran at age 60 and why he did so.  This underscores the truth that the differences are about one thing: What do you confess?                             "Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified ("made alive, real, etc.") in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.  Scripture is primary, revealing the Word of God "so far as it is necessary for our salvation."  The Christian witness, even when grounded in Scripture and mediated by tradition, is ineffectual unless understood and appropriated b y the individual.  To become our witness, it must make sense in terms of our own reason and experience. . . . Wesley looked for confirmations of the biblical witness in human experience, especially the experiences of regeneration and sanctification, but also in the "common sense" knowledge of everyday experience. . . . Experience authenticates in our own lives the truths revealed in Scripture and illumined in tradition, enabling us to claim the Christian witness as our own."And,                             "Evangelicalism seemed so earnest, yet dependent on flimsy human efforts and beset with a thoroughly moralistic orientation; fervent in its desire to experience God, yet stunningly shallow in its theory of how to do it; proclaiming to be "Bible-centered," yet forced to practice hermeneutical gymnastics in order to reconcile the witness of the biblical record with our teaching, particularly our non-sacramental interpretations. Evangelicalism as practiced in America suffers from moralism, mysticism and rationalism.              Coupled with the moralism, evangelical practice eschews the biblical means of grace in favor of immediacy in the experience of the divine. Revivalism and the Second Great Awakening helped create the modern American mind; and yet the American mind, with its voluntarism and individualism, powerfully defined and shaped the modern religious experience of Americans as well. The resulting direction is one of a faith turned inward and inveterately individualistic. Rather than expecting to meet God in the objectivity of the Word and the Sacraments, evangelicals seek an audience that takes place in the subjectivity and inner recesses of the human heart. In place of a mediated means of grace, evangelicals crave an immediacy of a mystical sort."[From Baptist Minister to Lutheran:  My Six-Decade Journey on the Wittenberg Trail!  by Dennis McFadden!]                      In all humility, I must say to all, we have all these traditions because of heterodoxy.  If these church bodies would read Scripture without imposing they own reason or emotions in doing so, these denominations would not exist.  Though many "Protestant" churches publicly adhere to the "Solas" of the Lutheran Reformation (including some "Lutheran" church bodies) they do not practice them in their hermeneutics or casuistry.  The first and true Protestants were the Lutherans who were called that by Rome due to their protesting at the Diet of Speyer in 1529.  Lutherans were also called "Evangelicals" by Rome as a slur meaning there go those "gospelers" (i.e., those who insisted on Gospel, Gospel, Gospel!)  Today, confessional Lutherans are neither Protestants nor Evangelicals due to what these words have come to represent.                  It is as Martin Luther stated in his commentary on Galatians, "We are surely prepared to observe peace and love with all men provided that they leave the doctrine of faith perfect and sound for us.  If we cannot obtain this, it is useless for them to demand love from us.  A curse on the love that is observed at the expense of the doctrine of faith, to which everything must yield – love, an apostle, an angel from heaven, etc.! . . . Doctrine is heaven; life is earth. . . . Therefore, there is no comparison at all between doctrine and life.  ‘One dot’ of doctrine is worth more than ‘heaven and earth’ (Matt. 5:18); therefore we do not permit the slightest offense against it.  But we can be lenient toward errors of life.  For we, too, err daily in our life and conduct; so do all the saints, as they earnestly confess in the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed.  But by the grace of God our doctrine is pure; we have all the articles of faith solidly established in Sacred Scriptures."                  Kyrie eleison!  Pax.

    Reply

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