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Switch to Forum Live View Why So Many Denominations?
2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 1:58PM #1
Nino0814
Posts: 1,718

I know Christians pray for Church unity based on Jesus' prayer ("that they may be one, as you and I are one").  One clear observable fact is that Christian denominations are forming all the time.  Most of them are splinter groups (separating from another established group).   It is reasonable for human organizations to do this, but Christians have claimed that the Church is divinely inspired and essentially one body of Christ. 

In a free market place we would expect that such mutations / separation would produce more effective sects that would eventually prove to be better in communicating the gospel (and non-effective sects that would die out).  What we observe among these sects is difference without any significant benefits. Few of the sects die out, and the promised change never seems to materialize. They all separated with some expectation or promise to reform or restore the Church.  Did they?




Are Methodists more effective Christians due to Wesleyan methods in prayer and Bible study than the Anglicans?

Are Lutherans or Reformed Churches more effective in promoting or replicating the "fruits of the Spirit" than Roman Catholics?

Are American based Baptists, and other American Evangelical / "Born Again"/ "Believers' Baptism" sects, more like 1st century Christians than the Congregationalists they emerge from? 

Are Pentacostals and Nazarenes demonstrating the holiness more than the Methodists?

Are the Disciples of Christ bringing about the unity of the Church more than other sects?  




In my area there are two United Methodist congregations that are separated by a drive way!  One congregation is primarily Korean, and the other is ethnically diverse.  I was a congregational leader in the latter, and can attest to the open hostility between the congregations over "past issues".  

In my opinion this is evidence that Chrisitanity is simply a human institution.  Isn't it absurd to argue that Christianity is somehow different from denominationalism, since without Christians there would be no denomination?  

Is there a real winner among the denominations waiting to "crowd out" the less effective ones?   

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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 4:56PM #2
Heretic_for_Christ
Posts: 5,488

Yes, organized religion is a human invention. That doesn't mean there is no God, but it does mean that all the various religions, and all the denominations within religions, and all the sects and splinter groups that break off from denominations--all of those represent nothing more than people who have dogmatically convinced themselves that they alone have found the true path to God. The arrogance and blasphemy of that view is simply breathtaking.


It becomes outrightly sad when a chuch points to its membership rolls as "proof" that it is teaching the true Christian message... as if they think that Jesus described the path of truth as wide enough for the many to find and follow.

I prayed for deliverance from the hard world of facts and logic to the happy land where fantasy and prejudice reign. But God spake unto me, saying, "No, keep telling the truth," and to that end afflicted me with severe Trenchant Mouth. So I'm sorry for making cutting remarks, but it's the will of God.
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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 6:46PM #3
Seefan
Posts: 3,884

The sign of the times ...


Religious systems have a certain period of time to become established and develop to the point to teaching the masses.  That period of time is determined by God.  But once the time is up the end of a spiritual age in the development of civilization has come to a close.  This happened every time a major world religion was formed, such as Moses to Jesus.  What happens to this religious system, like all of creation, decay sets in and that system begins to fall apart, spiritually.  The Way is lost so to speak, and the splintering and fracturing process begins until there are sects almost too numerous to count, all claiming to have the way, and no central/specific direction or authority can be seen ...


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 6:52PM #4
Nino0814
Posts: 1,718

Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:46PM, Seefan wrote:


The sign of the times ...


Religious systems have a certain period of time to become established and develop to the point to teaching the masses.  That period of time is determined by God.  But once the time is up the end of a spiritual age in the development of civilization has come to a close.  This happened every time a major world religion was formed, such as Moses to Jesus.  What happens to this religious system, like all of creation, decay sets in and that system begins to fall apart, spiritually.  The Way is lost so to speak, and the splintering and fracturing process begins until there are sects almost too numerous to count, all claiming to have the way, and no central/specific direction or authority can be seen ...



Christianity was splintering from the beginning. Did it have a shorter spiritual shelf-life than most?

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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 6:53PM #5
Jenandew7
Posts: 12,788

Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:46PM, Seefan wrote:


The sign of the times ...


Religious systems have a certain period of time to become established and develop to the point to teaching the masses.  That period of time is determined by God.  But once the time is up the end of a spiritual age in the development of civilization has come to a close.  This happened every time a major world religion was formed, such as Moses to Jesus.  What happens to this religious system, like all of creation, decay sets in and that system begins to fall apart, spiritually.  The Way is lost so to speak, and the splintering and fracturing process begins until there are sects almost too numerous to count, all claiming to have the way, and no central/specific direction or authority can be seen ...


 




But I do think there is renewal as with Judaism after the fall of the Temple.


As I see it, these major events occur at approximately 500 year intervals.  Thus the rise of Islam after Christianity.  The first 500 years of Islam was marked by great philosophy, major advances in medical knowledge and math, equality of women, etc.  And, then, I suppose y'all came along.  :)


I actually think that the Reformation was a renewal of Christianity and it was good for a very long time.  But it is time for another renewal. 


A. 

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 6:57PM #6
57
Posts: 22,083

For the most part all denominations have "the way".  Most denominations believe in the essentials. 


The Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodist, Pentecostal etc. all believe in the Trinity, virgin birth, ransom paid at the cross, resurrection of Christ and other key elements of the faith.   


Who ever claimed that one denomination had the "keys" to salvation got it wrong. 


Keeping in mind I don't consider the LDS  or the JW's as christian. Portions of the RC Church as well as the Church of Christ are also questionable.

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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 6:59PM #7
57
Posts: 22,083

Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:53PM, Jenandew7 wrote:

But I do think there is renewal as with Judaism after the fall of the Temple.


As I see it, these major events occur at approximately 500 year intervals.  Thus the rise of Islam after Christianity.  The first 500 years of Islam was marked by great philosophy, major advances in medical knowledge and math, equality of women, etc.  And, then, I suppose y'all came along.  :)


Islam and the equality of women????? Seriously?


I actually think that the Reformation was a renewal of Christianity and it was good for a very long time.  But it is time for another renewal. 


What would that renewal look like? 


What's wrong with the reformation?


A. 





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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 7:00PM #8
Jenandew7
Posts: 12,788

Aug 19, 2012 -- 1:58PM, Nino0814 wrote:


I know Christians pray for Church unity based on Jesus' prayer ("that they may be one, as you and I are one").  One clear observable fact is that Christian denominations are forming all the time.  Most of them are splinter groups (separating from another established group).   It is reasonable for human organizations to do this, but Christians have claimed that the Church is divinely inspired and essentially one body of Christ. 

In a free market place we would expect that such mutations / separation would produce more effective sects that would eventually prove to be better in communicating the gospel (and non-effective sects that would die out).  What we observe among these sects is difference without any significant benefits. Few of the sects die out, and the promised change never seems to materialize. They all separated with some expectation or promise to reform or restore the Church.  Did they?




Are Methodists more effective Christians due to Wesleyan methods in prayer and Bible study than the Anglicans?

Are Lutherans or Reformed Churches more effective in promoting or replicating the "fruits of the Spirit" than Roman Catholics?

Are American based Baptists, and other American Evangelical / "Born Again"/ "Believers' Baptism" sects, more like 1st century Christians than the Congregationalists they emerge from? 

Are Pentacostals and Nazarenes demonstrating the holiness more than the Methodists?

Are the Disciples of Christ bringing about the unity of the Church more than other sects?  




In my area there are two United Methodist congregations that are separated by a drive way!  One congregation is primarily Korean, and the other is ethnically diverse.  I was a congregational leader in the latter, and can attest to the open hostility between the congregations over "past issues".  

In my opinion this is evidence that Chrisitanity is simply a human institution.  Isn't it absurd to argue that Christianity is somehow different from denominationalism, since without Christians there would be no denomination?  

Is there a real winner among the denominations waiting to "crowd out" the less effective ones?   




I think the marketplace concept should have no place in religion.  We do not or should not try selling religion.


I think the shattering of the Christian religion is due to the fact that we have gotten away from the spiritual basis of faith and now focus on the scriptural interpretation basis of faith--where we can actually twist scripture to reflect our own desires and we can make God in our own image and supportive our own prejudices, etc. 


BTW, Wesley remained Anglican all his life.


Annie

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 7:11PM #9
Jenandew7
Posts: 12,788

Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:59PM, 57 wrote:


Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:59PM, 57 wrote:


Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:53PM, Jenandew7 wrote:

But I do think there is renewal as with Judaism after the fall of the Temple.


As I see it, these major events occur at approximately 500 year intervals.  Thus the rise of Islam after Christianity.  The first 500 years of Islam was marked by great philosophy, major advances in medical knowledge and math, equality of women, etc.  And, then, I suppose y'all came along.  :)


Islam and the equality of women????? Seriously?


Seriously, yes.  When I studied the Golden Age of Islam I was completely amazed.  But our own religion began that way, too. As soon as we begin to use religion to ensconce our old mores, we screw it up.  


I actually think that the Reformation was a renewal of Christianity and it was good for a very long time.  But it is time for another renewal. 


What would that renewal look like? 


Like other renewals in the past, most likely. 


What's wrong with the reformation?


I didn't say there was anything wrong with the Reformation, my dear little lobster.  My own Church was among the first of the churches of the Reformation, if you will.  Even the Roman Catholic Church had to take a good hard look at herself and do some reforming at that time.  I do think that with the rise of Fundamentalism and the rise, more specifically, of all the little Bible Churches that are springing up ad infintum, God will soon be doing something to renew our faith.  I hope it isn't unfixable!  I have seen prophecies that claim that God is going to destroy the churches.  


A. 


If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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2 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2012 - 7:46PM #10
Nino0814
Posts: 1,718

Aug 19, 2012 -- 6:57PM, 57 wrote:


For the most part all denominations have "the way".  Most denominations believe in the essentials. 


The Baptist, Presbyterians, Methodist, Pentecostal etc. all believe in the Trinity, virgin birth, ransom paid at the cross, resurrection of Christ and other key elements of the faith.   


Who ever claimed that one denomination had the "keys" to salvation got it wrong. 


Keeping in mind I don't consider the LDS  or the JW's as christian. Portions of the RC Church as well as the Church of Christ are also questionable.




You miss the entire point. The Church = Christianity.  Christianity sets itself up as a divinely instituted organization yet it behaves like any other human institution.   The Church fails at its own standard.


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