Sophie

What exactly are denonimations?

15 posts in this topic

I know that there's Catholic, Lutheran, Mormon...something like that. I definitely know Catholic. But do denominations believe different things or something? So different that there need to be different groups? Are the churches different? Does one follow the old bible and one follows the new one? How do denominations work exactly? And just out of curiosity, which denomination are you?

Would you marry someone who is not from your denomination?

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Fundamentally, the concept of denominations isn't too dissimilar from the various Jewish religious movements, I think. In Christianity, a denomination is essentially a body of churches that choose to interpret the Bible in such a way so as to make their beliefs distinct from other Christians. Sometimes, the distinctions are comparatively major, but more often, particularly in Protestant denominations such as mine, the differences would probably come across as theological hair-splitting to outsiders. Basically, there's a Big Four of Christianity: Catholicism, Eastern Christianity (the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches), Protestantism, and Anglicanism (though Anglicans generally get lumped in with Protestants these days, they're really not the same thing--but there I go splitting hairs again).

branches.png

Here's a large, unwieldy diagram that vaguely illustrates how the various Christian denominations splintered into being. It also sort of looks like the color-coded setup manual for a Mouse Trap board game.

When it comes to marriage, I would actually prefer to marry outside my own denomination, because regardless of what church our children wound up attending, they would grow up with a functioning knowledge of both of our respective denominations. Both of my parents are Baptists, so I didn't really know anything about other denominations until I was already an adult--I'd prefer for my children to be less sheltered, so they could make an informed decision about what their faith means to them.

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A denomination is used to classify one particular Christian sect within the overarching Christian religion (yeah, I borrowed that definition from the internet; it's easier than me trying to put it in my own words...) So different denominations within Christianity (or other religions, for that matter) will be founded by different believers, and they may also have slightly different ways of interpreting Scripture, and different ways of worshipping. Some of them began when their leaders disagreed with the teachings of their church, so began one of their own. This is the case with Henry VIII, for example, who wanted to divorce his wife so he could marry again. The Pope told him he couldn't do that, so the king began a new church, the Church of England, and declared himself the head of it.

Technically, Catholics don't consider themselves as a "denomination" of Christianity, because we never "broke away" from the main Church: we are the main Church, founded by Jesus and St Peter. Up until 1054 A.D, there was only one big Christian Church headed by the Pope, before what was called the schism, where the Eastern Roman Empire broke away from the West, and with it, the leader of the Eastern Roman Emperor severed all ties with the Pope, creating the Eastern Orthodox church, which was the first denomination. Likewise, at other points in history different denominations have broken away from the Church, and we've also had splits within those denominations (and, I assume, there's also been those who begin their own Christian denomination from scratch, too). But they're all still Christian.

Jut in case I'm not explaining it very welll, I'm not trying to offend/demean any non-Catholic Christians here, so I'm sorry if anyone misunderstands me. I'm just stating the history of the Church. Anyone who wants to ask me anything, or who disagrees, or whatever, then you can either PM me, or post a question in my "Ask a Catholic" thread :P (I know, it's a shameless plug...)

Oh, interesting piece of trivia: The term "Catholic" was first used to describe the Church in about 110 A.D, in a letter of St Ignatius, addressing the Smyrnaeans, where he says: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church." ...I don't know, is that interesting? I think it is, so...yeah... :lol:

[EDIT]: Hmm...erasercrumbs' diagram seems to show a couple of earlier denominations in the early Church, so I might be wrong about the Eastern Orthodox one being the first denomination...Although, it seems to be the major one...

xxx

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Everyone so far has done a good job in answering the question of what a denomination is. So I'll just answer your questions relating to being in a relationship with someone outside of my denomination.

I am a non-denominational Christian (Protestant if you want to get technical). Meaning I do not subscribe to any firmly established denomination. I am open to marrying at least most denominations as long as they fall under the Protestant umbrella. I'm somewhat iffy about Catholics and Eastern Orthodox though. As I said in a previous thread, yes we share the same core doctrines but our beliefs surrounding those core doctrines are pretty different. Just one example is that Protestants view the Bible as the sole source for truth. Catholics believe that truth comes not just from the Bible, but church tradition as well. To me that is a very big difference. Honestly, I'm leaning towards no on Catholics, but again I'm not completely closing myself off from that possibility.

Mormonism is not a denomination of Christianity.

You beat me to it, Naturally and you are correct, madame :) In the US, Mormonism is officially identified as a Christian denomination, but their doctrine is so far removed that they are their own religion. As such, I definitely would not marry a Mormon.

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The best way I have ever been told what a denomination is was by my former Youth Pastor, he would say: "Christianity is a story, and denomination is merely a different way to tell the same story."

An example could be worship music. In the church I used to me a member of (Christian-Alliance), we had a live band, and used technology. However, when I would go to my Mom's church, they had a choir (Christian-United). Both churches are singing about God, just in a different way, however, they are both arriving at the same point.

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A denomination is used to classify one particular Christian sect within the overarching Christian religion (yeah, I borrowed that definition from the internet; it's easier than me trying to put it in my own words...) So different denominations within Christianity (or other religions, for that matter) will be founded by different believers, and they may also have slightly different ways of interpreting Scripture, and different ways of worshipping. Some of them began when their leaders disagreed with the teachings of their church, so began one of their own. This is the case with Henry VIII, for example, who wanted to divorce his wife so he could marry again. The Pope told him he couldn't do that, so the king began a new church, the Church of England, and declared himself the head of it.

Technically, Catholics don't consider themselves as a "denomination" of Christianity, because we never "broke away" from the main Church: we are the main Church, founded by Jesus and St Peter. Up until 1054 A.D, there was only one big Christian Church headed by the Pope, before what was called the schism, where the Eastern Roman Empire broke away from the West, and with it, the leader of the Eastern Roman Emperor severed all ties with the Pope, creating the Eastern Orthodox church, which was the first denomination. Likewise, at other points in history different denominations have broken away from the Church, and we've also had splits within those denominations (and, I assume, there's also been those who begin their own Christian denomination from scratch, too). But they're all still Christian.

Jut in case I'm not explaining it very welll, I'm not trying to offend/demean any non-Catholic Christians here, so I'm sorry if anyone misunderstands me. I'm just stating the history of the Church. Anyone who wants to ask me anything, or who disagrees, or whatever, then you can either PM me, or post a question in my "Ask a Catholic" thread :P (I know, it's a shameless plug...)

Oh, interesting piece of trivia: The term "Catholic" was first used to describe the Church in about 110 A.D, in a letter of St Ignatius, addressing the Smyrnaeans, where he says: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church." ...I don't know, is that interesting? I think it is, so...yeah... :lol:

[EDIT]: Hmm...erasercrumbs' diagram seems to show a couple of earlier denominations in the early Church, so I might be wrong about the Eastern Orthodox one being the first denomination...Although, it seems to be the major one...

xxx

I'm compelled to point out that you're coming at history from a very Roman Catholic point of view. When you say, "I'm just stating the history of the Church," you're stating it from the Roman Catholic viewpoint, not a universally accepted viewpoint. I'm not here to say whether or not this view is right or wrong, just to say that it is not a view shared by all. Many denominations of Christianity very much deny that Peter was a pope and that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. That is the Roman Catholic interpretation of that verse in Matthew, not a universally accepted interpretation. Furthermore, people would argue that the Roman Catholic Church is not the same as the original church that was featured in the Bible. They would most likely support that argument by telling of how many Roman Catholic practices are absent from the Bible.

On another note, does anyone else feel the term "Protestant" is very problematic? I feel many Roman Catholics think that there is an entity called the "Protestant Church," when actually "Protestant" is an umbrella term used to describe various denominations of Christianity even though they are not connected in any way with one another (besides, of course, that they are all Christian). There never was and there still is not such thing as the "Protestant Church." If I'm remembering correctly, I had a Religious Studies professor tell me once that "Protestant" comes from the word "protest." So, any denomination that came about as a result of a protest is described as "Protestant" even though these denominations are entirely separate from one another. This is why Mormonism is not always called Protestant because it did not come about because of a protest, but rather came about because of a belief in new revelation. The Church of England and Anglicanism is also not really "Protestant" because it was not a protest of Roman Catholic belief and practices, but rather a political move by King Henry VIII.

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I'm compelled to point out that you're coming at history from a very Roman Catholic point of view. When you say, "I'm just stating the history of the Church," you're stating it from the Roman Catholic viewpoint, not a universally accepted viewpoint. I'm not here to say whether or not this view is right or wrong, just to say that it is not a view shared by all. Many denominations of Christianity very much deny that Peter was a pope and that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church. That is the Roman Catholic interpretation of that verse in Matthew, not a universally accepted interpretation. Furthermore, people would argue that the Roman Catholic Church is not the same as the original church that was featured in the Bible. They would most likely support that argument by telling of how many Roman Catholic practices are absent from the Bible.

True, some Christians don't agree that "You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church" means that Jesus made Peter the founder of His Church, but I'd argue that it's pretty clear that's what He's saying. Now, some argue, "Matthew's Gospel is written in Greek, and there it says, 'You are Petros, and on this petra I will build my Church'. 'Petra' means 'rock', but 'Petros' literally means 'little pebble'". That's true, but remember that in Greek, nouns have different genders. The word for 'rock' is a feminine noun, so when you're naming a man 'Rock', you can't use that noun: you have to masculinise it to Petros. The word has a slightly different meaning, which can't be helped. In the context of the chapter, it only makes sense if you're taking it to mean 'rock':

"Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. . . . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."

If Jesus was saying, "you are a little pebble, and on this rock I will build my Church", it makes no sense.

But when people use the Petros/petra argument, they're overlooking a really obvious thing: Jesus didn't speak Greek. We know from other verses that He spoke Aramaic, as we see at His crucifixion, where the Greek translation has preserved some of the original Aramaic: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?'. And in Aramaic, the same word is used for both Peter and Rock: kephas. It's clear here that the rock He's referring to is Peter himself.

xxx

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I personally believe that the second "rock" that Jesus refers to is Peter's statement:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God

Jesus referred to himself as the Rock many times, which backs that up.

Peter really never acted in the way that popes throughout history have acted, so I personally find it ludicrous that he could even be considered the first pope, but each to their own!

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I personally believe that the second "rock" that Jesus refers to is Peter's statement:

Nah, I'd say it's pretty clear that He's talking about Peter himself. Look at the way the text is structured. Jesus makes three separate statements, each with three parts (which I've split up in different colours):

1. Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven.

2. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this Rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

3. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.

Now, in statement 1, Jesus is giving Peter a blessing, and in statement 3, He's telling him that He's giving him the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. Both statements 1 and 3 are about Peter, so statement 2 which is right in between must be about him too. Now you'll also notice that the first part of statements 1 and 2 (red) are assertions about Peter, and that each is followed by a two-part elaboration (blue and green). Statement 2 is right in between those two, so it follows that the structure of the second statement is the same, and that statement two also begins with an assertion about Peter which is elaborated on. It's pretty clear that Peter is the rock being referred to.

EDIT: I forgot to mention another reason, but maybe it's obvious: if He's referring to Simon's faith as being the 'rock'...then why does he rename Simon 'Rock'? Honestly, I think this is one case where the most straightforward reading of the text is the correct one.

Peter really never acted in the way that popes throughout history have acted, so I personally find it ludicrous that he could even be considered the first pope, but each to their own!

How so?

(I just realised, I've kind of hijacked this thread...oh, well...)

xxx

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1) Peter never allowed men to bow down to him, now look at the way popes are venerated.

2) Peter was married, the Bible refers to his mother-in-law

3) While Peter was recognised as the leader of the church early on, later that seemed to be taken up by Paul (who withstood him to his face over a disagreement about the Jews)

Scriptural references can be provided - perhaps we could continue in PM Jegsy to avoid further hijacking? :D

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1) Peter never allowed men to bow down to him, now look at the way popes are venerated.

2) Peter was married, the Bible refers to his mother-in-law

3) While Peter was recognised as the leader of the church early on, later that seemed to be taken up by Paul (who withstood him to his face over a disagreement about the Jews)

Scriptural references can be provided - perhaps we could continue in PM Jegsy to avoid further hijacking? :D

Yeah, okay! Those are all fun questions.

xxx

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awww I was looking forward to jeggies responses to those......

 

Basically people have Diluted the bible so much, you will never 100% know if what your doing is Gods will

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members

 

 

 

ive posted this video before but ...im this denomination

 

 

 

 

and yes I would marry someone of another denomination

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Mormonism is not a denomination of Christianity.

 

 

You beat me to it, Naturally and you are correct, madame :) In the US, Mormonism is officially identified as a Christian denomination, but their doctrine is so far removed that they are their own religion. As such, I definitely would not marry a Mormon.

 

Not feeling the love for our fellow, Christ-loving human beings. :( I am not Mormon but I am Restoration, which comes from the same prophet as Mormonism. I do not agree with a lot of what the Mormons believe but we share some of the same scriptures, namely the book of Mormon. Rather you believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet or not, he was a truth seeker and at the heart of it, Mormons love Jesus and wish to find the truth with what is available to them. I know many Mormons who are a shining example of what it means to be a Christian. My denomination and the Mormon denomination may not have broke off of the original church but we believe that it came from God through a man who sought for truth. I'm not asking you to believe this with me, just respect that I am no less of a Christian because I believe it. 

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The people who have answered this thread so far have done an excellent job with it :)

 

So, let me just make a few comments here....

There are things that major denominations accept as being essential to the Christian faith -- these are the beliefs that are stated in the creeds.  These are the essentials of the Christian faith.    These groups share the same basic tenants of what Christianity is.

 

However, there are many smaller differences that Christians disagree on -- interpretations of Scripture, practices, etc.    These are what I consider to be non-essential things.

 

As others have mentioned, Mormons should not really be considered a Christian denomination....they disagree with the Christian creeds and the basic tenants of the Christian faith.   (For example, they believe that good Mormons can become gods of their own planets when they die). 

 

All denominations that hold to the creeds and the basic tenants of the Christian faith all hold that both the Old Testamant and New Testament are Scripture.   The Roman Catholics and some of the other groups that have broken off from them have additional books in their Bible that most Protestants do not consider to be Scripture, so our Bibles can vary slightly.   However, all Christians, Roman Catholic or Protestant all believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

 

Each denomination works differently....as each one is governed slightly differently.  

 

Oh, also, not everyone within a given denomination upholds the beliefs of their denomination.    Not all churches in a specific denomination actually believe what the overall denomination teaches.   Some congregations and pastors are more theologcially liberal than others....some toss out the creeds and the basic tenants of the Christian faith, which can make conversing with Christians difficult.

 

And, yes, I would marry someonw who is not from my denomination, as long as that person upheld the creeds and believed in the basic tenants of the Christian faith.

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