DENOMINATIONS

Introduction

This document serves as a factual historical reference for the major forms of Christianity on Earth. This document:

  • Presents a Chronological listing of all major denominations (or non-denominations).
  • Discusses the Biblical nature of the Christians Church.
  • Illustrates why in simple terms, there is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

It should be noted that the list below does not get into specific detail covering all sects, splinter groups, etc hailing under each respective named denomination.


List of Denominations

Who founded your Church? Have you ever asked yourself this question?

Catholic

Year: Pentecost; 33 A.D.
Location: Jerusalem
Founder: Jesus Christ
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church
Official Website: http://www.vatican.va/


Orthodox

Year: 1056
Location: Constantinople
Founder: Apostolic; Schismatic Catholic Bishops split from the rest of the Church in 1056. See East-West-Schism
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church
Official Website (Greek Orthodox): http://www.goarch.org/
Additional Links: Orthodox Wiki: http://orthodoxwiki.org/


Waldensians (Vaudois)

Year: 1177
Location: Italy
Founder: Peter Waldo
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians
Official Website: http://www.chiesavaldese.org/indexen.html

An heretical sect which appeared in the second half of the twelfth century and, in a considerably modified form, has survived to the present day. Formally declared heretics by Pope Lucius III in 1184 and by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Often argued to be of “ancient origin” however these claims are easily proven false (as they have been) by scholars (see more about that topic on the Wikipedia Page). The respected Waldensian scholar Dr. Emilio Comba dismissed the theories related to the ancient origin of the Waldensians in the middle of the 19th century.


Lutheran

Year: 1517
Location: Germany
Founder: Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheran
Official Websites: Various – Many Splinter groups. http://www.celc.info/ (CELC) or http://www.ilc-online.org/ (ILC) or http://www.lutheranworld.org/ (LWF)

According to a report written by Philipp Melanchthon, Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This is the only documented account of the story. Scholars question the accuracy of this account, noting that no contemporaneous evidence exists for it. It is likely that this detail is a theatrical elaboration.

  • Martin Luther believed and taught that the Pope was the Antichrist — as such, the Pope was caricatured as a Devil in Protestant picture-tracts.
  • Luther believed and taught that with the “Peasant Revolt” and the increase in lawlessness it brought, that the end of the world was nigh.

Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on 3 January, 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

See Also: Nazi Lutheranism


Anabaptist

Year: 1521
Location: Germany
Founder: Nicholas Storch & Thomas Müntzer
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabaptist

A violent and extremely radical body of ecclesiastico-civil reformers which first made it’s appearance in 1521 at Zwickau, in the present kingdom of Saxony, and still exists in milder forms.


Church of England (Anglican)

Year: 1534
Location: England
Founder: King Henry VIII of England
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England
Official Website: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/

The English church was under papal authority for nearly a thousand years, before separating from Rome in 1534 during the reign of King Henry VIII. A theological separation had been foreshadowed by various movements within the English church such as the Lollards, but the English Reformation gained political support when Henry VIII wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Under pressure from Catherine’s nephew, the Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, Pope Clement VII refused the annulment. Eventually, Henry, although theologically a doctrinal Catholic, took the position of Supreme Head of the Church of England to ensure the annulment of his marriage. He was excommunicated by Pope Paul III.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII:

Catherine of Aragon
m. 1509 – 1533
Divorced so he could marry Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn

m. 1533 – 1536
Executed by Henry VIII

Jane Seymour
m. 1536 – 1537
Died as a result of Child birth, though not immediately.

Anne of Cleves
m. 1540 Jan. – July
Divorced so he could marry Kathryn Howard.

Kathryn Howard
m. 1540 – 1542
Executed by Henry VIII

Catherine Parr
m. 1543 – 1547
Outlived Henry VIII


Mennonites

Year: 1536
Location: Switzerland
Founder: Menno Simons (Anabaptist Religious Leader)
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mennonites
Official Website: http://www.mwc-cmm.org/

Summary:
A Protestant denomination of Europe and America which arose in Switzerland in the sixteenth century and derived it’s name from Menno Simons, it’s leader in Holland. Menno Simons was born in 1492 at Witmarsum in Friesland. In 1515 or 1516 he was ordained to the Catholic priesthood and appointed assistant at Pingjum not far from Witmarsum. After (1532) he was named pastor of his native place, but 12 January, 1536, resigned his charge and became an Anabaptist elder. The rest of his life was devoted to the interests of the new sect which he had joined. Though not an imposing personality he exercised no small influence as a speaker and more particularly as a writer among the more moderate holders of Anabaptist views. His death occurred 13 January, 1559, at Wustenfelde in Holstein. The opinions held by Menno Simons and the Mennonites originated in Switzerland.


Calvinist

Year: 1555
Location: Switzerland
Founder: John Calvin
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism
Official Website: NA – Various (No central Leadership)


Presbyterian

Year: 1560
Location: Scotland
Founder: John Knox
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian
Official Website (USA): http://www.pcusa.org/

Presbyterianism in a wide sense is the system of church government by representative assemblies called presbyteries, in opposition to government by bishops (episcopal system, prelacy), or by congregations (congregationalism, independence), in it’s strict sense, Presbyterianism is the name given to one of the groups of ecclesiastical bodies that represent the features of Protestantism emphasized by Calvin. Of the various churches modeled on the Swiss Reformation, the Swiss, Dutch, and some German are known as the Reformed; the French as Huguenots; those in Bohemia and Hungary by their national names; the Scotch, English, and derived churches as Presbyterian. There is a strong family resemblance between all these churches, and many of them have given their adherence to an “Alliance of the Reformed Churches throughout the World holding the Presbyterian System”, formed in 1876 with the special view of securing interdenominational cooperation in general church work.


Congregational

Year: 1582
Location: Holland
Founder: Robert Browne
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregational_church


Baptist

Year: 1609
Location: Netherlands (Amsterdam)
Founder: John Smyth
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist
Official Website: N/A – Various

In 1609, John Smyth led a group of separatists to the Netherlands to start the General Baptist Church with an Arminian theology.


Dutch Reformed

Year: 1628
Location: New York, United States
Founder: Michaelis Jones
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed
Official Website: Unknown


Congregationalist

Year: 1648
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Founder: American Pilgrims and Puritans
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregationalism
Official Website (UK): http://www.congregational.org.uk/


Quakers (Religious Society of Friends)

Year: 1649
Location: England
Founder: George Fox
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Society_of_Friends
Official Website: http://www.christianquaker.net/

The official designation of an Anglo-American religious sect originally styling themselves “Children of Truth” and “Children of Light”, but “in scorn by the world called Quakers”.


Amish

Year: 1693
Location: France
Founder: Jacob Amman (Anabaptist Leader)
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish
Official Website: Most Amish do not use computers. No Central leadership, various splinter groups.


Freemasons

Year: 1717
Location: London, England
Founder: Masons from four lodges
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry
Official Website: Ask your local temple.


Methodist

Year: 1739
Location: England
Founder: John Wesley (Anglican Priest) and Charles Wesley
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist
Official Website: (Became United Methodist — See Below)

Methodism is an “break away” of the Anglican Church which broke from the Catholic Church formally in 1536.


Unitarian

Year: 1774
Location: London, England
Founder: Theophilus Lindey
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarianism
Official Website: http://www.uua.org/


Methodist Episcopal

Year: 1784
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Founder: 60 Preachers
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Episcopal_Church
Official Website: (Became United Methodist — See Below)


Episcopalian

Year: 1789
Location: American Colonies
Founder: Samuel Seabury
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_Church
Official Website:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/

Timeline:

  • The Anglican Church broke with the Catholic Church in 1534.
  • Methodists broke form the Anglican Communion in 1739.
  • Fast forward to 1784, Methodist Episcopalianism is born.
  • Ahead again to 1789, Episcopalianism is born under Samuel Seabury.

United Brethren

Year: 1800
Location: Maryland, United States
Founder: Philip William Otterbein & Martin Boehm
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_United_Brethren
Official Website: http://www.ub.org/


Disciples of ChristYear: 1827
Location: Kentucky, United States
Founder: Thomas Campbell & Alexander Campbell
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciples_of_Christ
Official Website: http://www.disciples.org/  


Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)

Year: 1830
Location: New York, United States
Founder: Joseph Smith Jr.
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism
Official Websites: http://www.lds.org/ or http://mormon.org/

  • Mormons deny the Trinity (Compare to Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14)
  • Mormons deny God was always God and claim he was a man first, and no, they don’t mean Jesus. (Compare Psalm 90:1-2)
  • Mormons claim Man can become God’s and Women can become Goddesses (Compare Isaiah 43:10, 13, Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 45:5, Matthew 4:9).
  • The “Book of Mormon” plagiarizes the King James Bible (25,000 words at least) and other works ( Documentation ).
  • Mormons claim Native Americans are a lost tribe of Jews. ( Wiki )
  • Many other historical and doctrinal errors within the Mormon “Church”. ( More Info )
  • Mormons claim God is a “Man” living on another planet, of which the Closest star is called “Kolob”. ( More on Kolob here )
  • Joseph Smith Jr. claimed, and Mormons believe, that the Garden of Eden was in Western Missouri.
  • Mormons say that God the Father has a god above him, who has a god above him, ad infinitum (and so on infinitely) (Compare Psalm 90:1-2Isaiah 43:10, 13)
  • Mormons believe in Celestial Marriage (Compare Matthew 22:30)
  • Mormons believe God (a Man) had sexual relations with Mary. (Compare Luke 1:34)
  • Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are “spirit brothers” (Source: Mormon Doctrine, p. 163).
  • Mormons believe that the book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, (Source: History of the Church, 4:461).

For these, and many other reasons, many consider Mormonism to be a non-Christian Cult.

Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God [anyhow]–three in one and one in three. . .It is curious organization… All are crammed into one God according to sectarianism (Christian faith). It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God–he would be a giant or a monster, (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 372).


Methodist Protestant

Year: 1830
Location: United States
Founder: Former members of the Methodist Episcopal Church
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Protestant
Website: (See United Methodist – Below)


Church of Christ

Year: 1836
Location: Kentucky, United States
Founder: Barton Warren Stone & Alexander Campbell
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churches_of_Christ
Official Website: http://cconline.faithsite.com/


Seventh Day Adventist

Year: 1844
Location: Washington, New Hampshire, United States
Founder: Ellen G. White
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_Church
Official Website: http://www.adventist.org/

“We fully recognize the heartening fact that a host of true followers of Christ are scattered all through the various churches of Christendom, including the Roman Catholic communion. These God clearly recognizes as His own. Such do not form a part of the “Babylon” portrayed in the Apocalypse.”

Questions on Doctrine, p. 197


Christadelphian (Brethren of Christ )

Year: 1844
Location: Richmond, VA
Founder: John Thomas
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christadelphians
Official Website: http://www.christadelphia.org/


Salvation Army

Year: 1865
Location: London
Founder: “GeneralWilliam Booth
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_Army
Official Website: http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/


Holiness

Year: 1867
Location: United States
Founder: Methodists
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holiness_movement
Official Website: http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/holiness.htm


Jehovah’s Witnesses

Year: 1874
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Founder: Charles Taze Russell
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses
Official Website: http://www.watchtower.org/ or http://www.jw-media.org/ or http://www.jw.org/

Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • Deny the Divinity of Christ
  • Deny Christ was God (Source: Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 306.)
  • Deny the Trinity (Source: Let God be True, p. 100-101; Make Sure of All Things, p.386.)
  • Deny the Holy Spirit is alive. (Source: Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 406-407.).
  • Deny Christ died on the cross, but claim he died on a stake. (Source: Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 89-90.)
  • Refuse to vote.
  • Refuse to sing the American National Anthem
  • Refuse to serve in the armed forces.
  • Claim Jesus was actually the Archangel Michael–who became a man: (Source: The Watchtower, May 15,1963, p. 307; The New World, 284.)
  • Claim Satan was entrusted with the obligation and charged with the duty of overseeing the creation of the earth, (Source: Children, p. 55.)

 


Christian Science

Year: 1879
Location: Boston, United States
Founder: Mary Baker Eddy
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science
Official Website: http://www.csmonitor.com/


Church of God in Christ

Year: 1895
Location: Arkansas, United States
Founder: Various churches of God
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_God_in_Christ
Official Website: http://www.cogic.com/


Church of NazareneYear: c. 1850-1900    
Location: Pilot Point, Texas, United States
Founder: Various religious bodies
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Nazarene
Official Website: http://www.nazarene.org/  


PentecostalYear: 1901     
Location: Topeka, Kansas, United States
Founder: Charles Fox Parham
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism
Official Website: http://www.upci.org/  


Aglipayan

Year: 1902     
Location: Philippines
Founder: Gregorio Aglipay
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Independent_Church
Official Website: http://www.santa.gov.ph/ilocossur/heroisabelo.html


Assemblies of GodYear: 1914     
Location: Hot Springs, Arizona, United States
Founder: Pentecostalism
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assemblies_of_God
Official Website: http://ag.org/  


Iglesia ni ChristoYear: 1914    
Location: Philippines
Founder: Felix Manalo
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iglesia_ni_Cristo  


Four-square GospelYear: 1917     
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Founder: Aimee Semple McPherson
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Church_of_the_Foursquare_Gospel
Official Website: http://www.foursquare.org/  


United Church of ChristYear: 1961    
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Founder: Reformed and Congregationalist
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ
Official Website: http://www.ucc.org/  


Calvary ChapelYear: 1965     
Location: Costa Mesa, California, United States
Founder: Chuck Smith
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvary_Chapel
Official Website: http://www.calvarychapel.com/  


United MethodistYear: 1968     
Location: Dallas, Texas, United States
Founder: Methodist and United Brethren
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Methodist_Church
Official Website: http://www.umc.org/  


Born-againYear: Circa 1970s     
Location: United States
Founder: Various religious bodies (or lack thereof).
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_again_Christianity  


Harvest Christian

Year: 1972     
Founder: Greg Laurie
Location: Riverside, California, United States
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_Christian_Fellowship
Official Website: http://www.harvest.org/


SaddlebackYear: 1982     
Location: California, United States
Founder: Rick Warren
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleback
Official Website: http://www.saddleback.com/index.html  


Non-denominational (“Bible Teaching” or “Bible Church”)Year: Circa 1990s     
Location: United States
Founder: Various     
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-denominational
Official Website: There’s nothing official in non-denominationalism.  

This form of “Christianity” is also known as Ecclesial Deism, and shares in common with Mormonism the explicit denial of constant visible preservation of Church hierarchy, and Apostolic Succession, both of which are Biblical, and therefore causes these “Churches” to be heretical. (cf. Matthew 16:18, 18:18).


Discussion

Christ founded one Church. He declared that his Church would last for all time, and never fall into apostasy. He gave Peter and the other Apostles specific authority according to scriptures . Since the time of Christ, the One True, Holy and Apostolic Church has survived. No gaps, no apostasy. True to the Word of God.

Christ said that the Gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church (Matthew 16:18), that his Church is the light of the world and that a City set on a Hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). This means that the Church he founded is a visible Church that will endure until the last day.

No amount of foolishness, misguided zeal, or cruelty by man can undo the divine foundation of the Church or send it into apostasy.


Related Scriptural Considerations

The Bible condemns exactly what we see outside of Catholic Orthodoxy today.

St. Matthew 16:18
And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

St. Matthew 16:19 
And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Ephesians 1:22
And he hath subjected all things under his feet and hath made him head over all the church,

Ephesians 1:23
Which is his body and the fullness of him who is filled all in all.

Matthew 12:25 
And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

Mark 3:24 
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

1 Corinthians 1:10 
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:11 
For it has been reported to me by Chlo’e’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren.

1 Corinthians 1:12 
Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:13 
Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 3:3 
for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?

1 Corinthians 12:25 
That there might be no schism in the body: but the members might be mutually careful one for another.

1 Corinthians 12:27 
Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.

1 Corinthians 12:28 
And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.

Romans 16:17 
I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.

Romans 16:18 
For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

Titus 3:10
A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid:

Titus 3:11 
Knowing that he that is such an one is subverted and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment.

Jude 1:19 
It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.


Man made Christianity

  • Man has founded many Churches. He has become schismatic from the Church which Christ founded.
  • There are at least 2600 separate groups claiming to be the true Church. However, only one Church has existed since the beginning.
  • Prior to 1056, The Catholic and Orthodox Churches were one.
  • Even after nearly 1000 years, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches remain more similar than they do in comparison to protestant denominations.
  • This strong resemblance, and shared early history set a clear precedent for Christian Orthodoxy.

 


Facts and statistics

Note: These statistics come from a Protestant Scholar, not Catholics.

According to the Dictionary of Christianity in America (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1990); a Protestant publication:

“As of 1980 David B. Barrett identified 20,800 Christian denominations worldwide . . .”
(Source: Denominationalism, Page 351).

According to United Nations statistics there are over 23,000 competing and often contradictory denominations worldwide. This number is growing.
(Source: World Census of Religious Activities: U.N. Information Center, NY, 1989).

The 2001 edition of the Dictionary of Christianity in America, successor to his 1982 first edition, which took a decade to compile, identifies 10,000 distinct religions, of which 150 have 1 million or more followers. Within Christianity, he counts 33,820 denominations.

Above I shine some light on the foundation of some of the more common man made denominations. If you feel there is a denomination I have omitted that should be listed, please leave a comment on the bottom of this document and I will evaluate it.

 
Note:
Obviously I cannot include all 33,820+ denominations. Many of the listed denominations themselves have offshoots spring from them like a never ending mutation.
If you need a complete list I suggest purchasing The World Encyclopedia of Christianity. Other non-denominationalists commonly hail under the flag of “Bible Teaching” or “Non Denominational” yet are distinguishable from each other due to differing theologies, doctrine, scriptural interpretations, and member bases.
 

 

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