Christian Church or What?

A brief guide to Christian Denominations  

1.  Mainstream Christian Denominations – those who are generally in consensus with the orthodox core beliefs which include

 

  • The Trinity - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
  • That Jesus is God
  • That Jesus was bodily resurrected
  • The atonement (full and total payment of sins) as a result of the death of Jesus on the cross
  • Personal salvation by the grace of God alone (sola gracia)
  • The truth and sole authority of the Bible (sola scriptura)
  • That the Bible is the inspired word of God
  • The virgin birth
  • The anticipated second coming of Jesus

 


 

 Anglican (Church of England) 
  • The Anglican or Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the oldest among the communion's thirty-eight independent national and regional churches
  • Anglican beliefs are chiefly summarized in Cranmer’s book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles, written shortly after the King Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic Church
  • The Lambeth conference of the American Episcopalians at the beginning of the 20th century also forms the basis of modern Anglicanism


 

 Anglo- Catholic 

  • A branch of the Anglican Church with a strong affinity to the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church sometimes referred to as High Church Anglicanism

 


 

 Baptist Church

  • Baptists are a group of  denominations, churches, and individuals who reject infant baptism
  • The church can only be joined by regenerated believers who are baptised by full immersion in water
  • Most Baptists are evangelical in doctrine and Reformed in worship, but Baptist beliefs can vary due to the congregational governance system that gives direction to individual local Baptist churches
  • Historically, Baptists have played a key role in encouraging religious freedom and separation of church from state

 


 

 

Congregational Church 

  • Congregational churches are protestant churches practicing Congregationalist church government, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs
  • In England there are three main groups, the Congregational Federation, the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational, and the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, there are also independent Congregational Churches which are unaffiliated

 


 

 

United Reformed Church (URC)
  • In 1972, about three quarters of English Congregational churches merged with the English Presbyterian Church to form the United Reformed Church (URC)
  • They are committed to the Reformed tradition and they uphold the historic Trinitarian creeds of the church
  • They generally accept and align themselves with basic orthodox core beliefs of accepted Christian doctrine


  

The Methodist Church

  • The Methodist Church is the fourth largest Christian Church in Britain
  • It is traditionally known as non-conformist because it does not conform to the rules and authority of the established Church of England
  • Their core beliefs reflect orthodox Christianity
  • Methodist teaching is sometimes summed up in four particular ideas known as the four alls:
  1. All need to be saved - the doctrine of original sin
  2. All can be saved - Universal Salvation
  3. All can know they are saved - Assurance
  4. All can be saved completely - Christian perfection
  • Methodist churches vary in their style of worship, their emphasis is often on Bible reading and preaching
  • the sacraments are an important feature, especially the two instituted by Jesus Christ: Eucharist or Holy Communion and Baptism

 


 

 The Salvation Army

  • The Salvation Army, is an international Christian evangelical organisation with a quasi-military structure
  • It was founded in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth in East London
  • The Salvation Army's stated mission is to perform evangelical, social and charitable work and bring the Christian message to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs
  • The organization claims that its ministry extends to all, regardless of age, gender, colour or creed
  • They are well known for their form of worship relying heavily on the Brass band and singers called songsters
  • All committed “Salvationists” wear a distinctive and exclusive uniform.

 


  

Pentecostal Churches

  • Pentecostalism is not a church in itself, but a movement that includes many different churches, mostly independent and unrelated
  • It is also a movement of renewal or revival within other denominations
  • It's not always easy to see if a church is Pentecostal because many Pentecostal denominations don't include the word 'Pentecostal' in their name
  • “Elim” and “Assemblies of God” are both typical classical Pentecostal Church movements
  • Pentecostalism emphasises the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God by the believer and that faith must be powerfully experiential, and not something found merely through ritual or thinking
  • Pentecostal churches stress the importance of receiving a Baptism in the Spirit, this fills the believer with the Holy Spirit, which gives the strength to live a truly Christian life
  • The direct experience of God is revealed by gifts of the Spirit such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing
  • Pentecostalism is based on a key event in the life of the early Christians: the baptism of the twelve disciples by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost
  • Most Pentecostals think that their movement is returning Christianity to a pure and simple form of Christianity that has much in common with the very earliest stage of the life of the Christian church
  • In the West, Pentecostalism is strong in Black churches and the American and Australian 'mega-churches'

 


 

 

2.Non-Denominational Churches

  • Non-denominational churches are those not formally aligned with established denominations, or that remain otherwise officially autonomous and independent
  • Members of non-denominational churches often consider themselves simply "Christians"
  • They generally accept and align themselves with basic orthodox core beliefs of accepted Christian doctrine.

 


  

The Jesus Army 

  • Also known as the  Jesus Fellowship Church
  • Is a neocharismatic evangelical Christian movement based in the United Kingdom
  • It was founded in 1969
  • The Jesus Army frequently engages in evangelistic activities in public places, seeking through outreach to demonstrate the love of Jesus and the moving of the Holy Spirit
  • The slogan of the Jesus Army is ‘Love, Power & Sacrifice

 


 

 Plymouth Brethren

  • A group that originated in Dublin, Ireland, but formed its first congregation in Plymouth, England, in 1831 as a reaction against the established Church of England
  • The services are simple, and there are no ordained clergymen
  • They generally accept and align themselves with basic orthodox core beliefs of accepted Christian doctrine

 


  

Seventh-day Adventist

  • Distinguished by their observance of Saturday as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ
  • Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to Protestant Christian teachings such as the Trinity and the infallibility of scripture

 


 

3.  Other organisations with unorthodox "Christian teaching" not generally in consensus with orthodox Christian core beliefs

The Roman Catholic Church

  • The Church teaches that it is the original Church that was founded by Jesus upon the apostles, among whom Simon Peter was chief
  • the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) is the successor of Peter and possesses an universal importance of legal power and pastoral care and sole authority next to God.
  • its bishops, through apostolic succession, are consecrated successors of the apostles
  • Catholic beliefs are based on the deposit of faith containing both the Bible and sacred tradition handed down from the time of the apostles, which are interpreted by the Church's teaching authority
  • Those beliefs are formally detailed in the catechism of the Catholic Church
  • Formal Catholic worship is called the liturgy
  • The Eucharist is the central component of Catholic worship 
  • The Roman church teaches that grace is received by a combination of faith plus works (sacraments,religious rites or human endeavour.
 

 Quakers (Society of Friends)

  • Quakers are members of a group with Christian roots that began in England in the 1650s
  • The formal title of the movement is the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends
  • Quakers believe that there is something of God in everybody and that each human being is of unique worth
  • This is why Quakers value all people equally, and oppose anything that may harm or threaten them
  • Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality
  • They emphasise direct experience of God rather than ritual and ceremony
  • They believe that priests and rituals are an unnecessary obstruction between the believer and God
  • Quakers integrate religion and everyday life
  • They believe that God can be found in the middle of everyday life and human relationships, as much as during a meeting for worship


 

 Unitarianism

  • Unitarian’s do not believe in the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) but teaches belief in the single personality of God
  • The movement has come to be associated with liberal Christian beliefs, adhering to strict monotheism, they maintain that Jesus was a great man and a prophet of God, perhaps even a supernatural being, but not God himself
  • They believe that Jesus did not claim to be God, nor did his teachings hint at the existence of a triune God
  • Unitarians believe in the moral authority, but not necessarily the divinity, of Jesus
  • Their theology is thus distinguishable from the Trinitarian theology of most Christian denominations, which hold the idea of a triune God as a core belief

 


  

 

Latter Day Saints or Mormons
  • The Latter Day Saint movement follow at least some of the teaching of a Joseph Smith, publisher of the book of Mormon in 1830
  • They held a strong belief that a purer form of Christianity should be restored using the early church as a model, seeking to surpass protestant denominationism and to restore a form of Christianity thought to be more consistent with the New Testament
  • The Book of Mormon is regarded not only as scripture, but as a historical record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of America
  • According to Smith it was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian" on golden plates
  • Smith said that he received these plates in 1827 from an angel named Moroni,  a resurrected indigenous American who wrote part of the book over a millennium ago
  • The Book of Mormon has a number of original and distinctive doctrinal discussions on subjects such as the fall of Adam and Eve, the nature of the atonement, eschatology, redemption from physical and spiritual death, and the organization of the latter day church

 

 


 

Jehovah's Witnesses
  •  Founded by Charles Taze Russell in the 1870s, this movement rejects the doctrine of the Trinity and the traditional view of the person and work of Jesus Christ
  • At some points it follows extremely literal interpretations of the Bible
  • Best known for their door-to-door preaching, distribution of literature such as the Watchtower and Awake
  • They consider the use of the name Jehovah - vital for proper worship
  • They reject Trinitarianism, immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines
  • They do not observe celebrations such as Christmas, Easter or birthdays, which they believe have pagan origins that are not compatible with Christianity
  • They are directed by a governing body of elders which exercises authority on all doctrinal matters
  • Witnesses base their beliefs on the Bible, and prefer their own translation, the New World Translation, to others

 


 

 

Christadelphian

  • Christadelphians state that their beliefs are based wholly on the Bible, and that they accept no other texts as inspired by God
  • They believe that God is the creator of all things and the father of true believers
  • However, they do not accept the doctrine of the trinity as they believe that God is a separate being from his son, Jesus Christ,and that the Holy Spirit is the power of God used in creation and for salvation, not a person of the trinity
  • Marriage and family life are important to them
  • Christadelphians believe that sexual relationships are limited to heterosexual marriage, ideally between baptised believers

 


 

  

Christian Science
  • A religious system founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879
  • Her writings are regarded by her followers as the authoritative interpretation of the Bible
  • It is an idealism in which sin and death are unreal, so humans can avoid sickness and do not need atonement

  


  

Unification Church

  • A twentieth-century cult that was founded in Korea by Sun Myung Moon
  • It holds that because Jesus did not marry, his work of redemption was only spiritual
  • Consequently, there must yet be another messiah, the lord of the second advent, to bring about physical redemption
  • In his book "Divine Principles", Moon implies that the lord of the second advent will be born in Korea and that all religions will unite under him
  • Some believe that Moon is that messiah; however, he has never made that claim officially
  • Followers of the movement, who are popularly called “Moonies,” have received considerable publicity despite the fact that they number less than one million persons