Why Are There So Many Divisions Within the Church Today?

SharePinEmailEvery Christian worldwide believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the trinity of the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the authoritative Word of God in the scriptures. Even so, there is an unfathomable number of Christian denominations across the globe that have split from the Church. The differences between each denomination range…

Every Christian worldwide believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the trinity of the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the authoritative Word of God in the scriptures. Even so, there is an unfathomable number of Christian denominations across the globe that have split from the Church. The differences between each denomination range from their style of worship to their interpretation of theology. Here are 18 denominational divisions prevalent in Christianity.

Roman Catholic Church

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The origins of the Roman Catholic Church can be found in the 1st century after the death of Jesus Christ, led by the Apostle Peter. The Roman Catholic Church was officially formalized with a recognized elected Pope centuries later. This denomination is traditionally Latin-speaking and is based in Vatican City. Around 18.7% of the population of the U.S. identify as Roman Catholics today, totaling around 62 million people.

Eastern Orthodox Church

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The first division in Christianity occurred in the Great Schism of 1054 when the Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church disputed the authority of the Pope and promoted a collective consensus of Bishops. Other differences include the use of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s leavened bread as well as their use of Greek text. There are between 1 and 6 million members of the Eastern Orthodox Church in America.

Church of England

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Formed in 16th-century England, the Church of England was the first major Protestant denomination of Christianity, tied to the reign of King Henry VIII. This division inspired many people across Europe to break away from the Roman Catholic Church.

Puritanism

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In response to the formation of the Church of England, the Puritanism movement began in the late 16th century. Puritans wanted a simpler form of worship, refusing to take part in rituals and promoting personal piety and the need to lead a holy life, living simply, frugally, and working hard. Puritanism influenced American colonies substantially due to immigration.

Lutheranism

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The first Protestant denomination to break away from Catholicism was Lutheranism, a Reformation movement in Germany’s 16th century. This division was created due to the overindulgence of some aspects of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, with the German monk Martin Luther believing this contradicted true Christianity. Today, there are 3.3 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Presbyterianism

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Inspired by the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, Presbyterianism was founded by the teachings of John Knox and John Calvin, forming a system of elected elders in the Church. Worship is simple, with followers focusing on missionaries and addressing social injustice. There are over 1 million Presbyterians in America today.

Baptism

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Baptism was formed in England in the 17th century and was inspired by the Puritanism movement. The Southern Baptist Convention is a key denomination in America. This denomination believes in the complete immersion of an individual when they are baptized to wash away all sin. There are 50 million Baptists in America, making up 15.3% of the country and a third of all American Protestants.

Methodism

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Founded in 18th-century England by John Wesley, Methodism projected itself as a “renewal movement” in line with Anglicanism. The United Methodist Church is a key denomination in America. Wesley inspired working-class people who were often overlooked by other Churches and focused on salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. There are 6.5 million Methodists in America today.

Mormonism

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Also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, Mormonism is an early 19th-century division of Christianity, founded by Joseph Smith. This denomination believes in the Book of Mormon in equal weight to the Bible. Today, there are around 6.5 million Mormons in America.

Episcopal Church

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Referred to as an American branch of the Church of England, there are around 1.5 million Episcopalians in America today. This denomination shares some practices with the Anglican Church and maintains the Nicene Creed as a statement of faith, as used in the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.

Seventh-Day Adventist

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This denomination was founded during the 19th century and observes the Sabbath on Saturdays, in line with the Fourth Commandment. This is a significant difference to other Christian denominations which follow Sunday as the day of rest. Seventh-Day Adventists promote vegetarianism and abstain from alcohol and tobacco. There are over 1 million Seventh-Day Adventists in America today.

Jehovah’s Witness

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With around 2.5 million members of the Jehovah’s Witness denomination in America, this denomination is growing day by day. Founded in the late 19th century, Jehovah’s Witness followers believe that Jesus Christ is the highest creation of God and that we are living in the final days.

Church of the Nazarene

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There are around 650,000 members of the Church of the Nazarene in America, forming one of the smaller Christian denominations. Founded in the late 19th century, the Church of the Nazarene is committed to spreading the Gospel and pursuing holiness.

Pentecostalism

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Christianity’s Pentecostal denomination was created in the early 20th century and has amassed a staggering 65 million followers across America. This denomination focuses on experiencing the Holy Spirit with many followers “speaking in tongues” and witnessing practices of divine healing.

Assemblies of God

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There are 3 million members of the Assemblies of God denomination in America with over 13,000 churches. Founded in 1914, this denomination is quite new and is influenced by Pentecostal Christianity.

Quakers

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Also known as the Religious Society of Friends, this Christian denomination promotes simplicity, pacifism, and silent worship. Quakers act with morality, without materialism, and with full equality for all people. Quaker women were at the forefront of the movement from the beginning, with all Quakers outspoken against slavery and the bad treatment of Native Americans. Today, there are around 75,000 Quakers in America.

Christian Science Church

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Founded in the late 19th century, the Christian Science Church promotes the idea that sickness, death, and sin are illusions that can be tackled with spiritual empowerment. Spiritual treatments are provided for people who need healing. There are around 300,000 members of the Christian Science Church in America.

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