Hello friends, this year I have become a Christian and have been studying the Bible and praying personally but have yet to join a Church. It all seems so confusing that there are so many different Christian denominations, and I believe Christians should be united. Can anyone offer some advice or specify what the major differences are?
What Church/denomination to join?
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Hi OP I'd like to give you an unbiased answer because these kinds of threads devolve quickly
Christian denominations can be explained simply as follows:
The Catholics and Orthodox agree on who the original church was (when Jesus founded it in Matthew 16:18), but there was only one church until 1054, when the Great Schism happened and the one church split into two, the Catholics (Romans) and the Orthodox (Byzantines).
These two churches disagreed on a variety of issues which you can read about with a quick search if you're interested.
In 1517, a man named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a cathedral and some other dramatic shit happened and Lutheranism was born. This was the first Protestant denomination. After Lutheranism was established, this is where things got out of hand. Some of the other earlier denominations from the next 200 years would be the Anglicans, the Methodist, and the Baptist.
You see, Luther had rebelled against the state and political power of the Catholic Church, which he viewed as inherently corrupt. Because Luther broke away from the Catholic church, his new church would not require Catholic law, permitting him to make his own rules as he saw fit according to his theological reasoning. This has led to a snowball effect ever since, which is why there are now over 40,000 denominations in the world, all of which ARE considered Protestant. Yes this also means "nondenominationals", they are still Protestant.
Watch Ryan Reeves and ready to harvest on youtube
If you're concerned with church unity take a look at who is most involved in the world council of churches and ecumenism broadly
You are biased and factually wrong
Fuck off tripfag, I'm not discussing gnostics, nestorians, or any other larpers who ride on backs. Make an argument or GTFO. Every tripfag post is always unbelievably abhorrent in quality.
What did he say that was wrong, tripfag?
That there are 40k denominations, all protestant
His depiction of Luther and the protestants
There are 40,000+ denominations now, this is a fact. And I did not slander Luther once, I said there are many compelling arguments.
There are only 3 categories and it's entirely based on who is in communion with what, so seethe all you want. You're either Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. End of story. That includes the heretical offshoots like sedevacantist, they are PROTESTANT by definition.
Anyone who repeats such a buzzword, and worse doubles down on it like you've done, should be disregarded entirely
I read and understand the article and I won't repeat 40,000 again but the general point of why that's used, just like the article says, is to explain how there is no concise dogma among the non-catholic/orthodox churches. So going from 40,000 to even as low as 500 is still a huge implication and the notion of the argument stays the same.
What's the argument?
That there is extreme disagreement among all those who aren't catholic/orthodox, they have a major rebellion problem by not sticking together under a coherent structure, they all disagree with each other over essentially every detail of Christianity hence why so many different types, and their general lack of history which begets authenticity by disconnecting themselves from the original church
How does that follow from the number of protestant denominations?
You know that from your use of the term earlier (all Lutherans being a denomination) there's only like 5 protestant denominations? I can name 5 catholic denominations
I'm not sure what you meant to say instead of beget either
I've already explained what I wanted to say. And I live in the southern US where there is a church on every block and all of them disagree with each other so you can act like there's only a few but that's not true at all. There are at least 500 within 50 miles of my city alone. This is a major problem for anyone looking to come as close to Christ as possible because all these churches separated themselves from the original church. I will continue to look at it this way regardless of what you say because there was only one church for a thousand years, that church has a right to be the measure on which all the others are based on. I'm not even a practicing believer, I just wanted to give OP the easiest way to understand this complex issue of why there are so many to pick from. There are so many because they do not agree. They do not agree because of the actions of a select few who made this extremely hard for the rest of us.
Consider that a difference in polity doesn't mean a rejection of the one true church, between methodists and presbyterians just like between Dominicans and Augustinians
If it's not accepted by the original church then it's not apart of it. I know Wesley tried to continue apostolic succession from the Greeks for example. But none of this matters because they simply aren't in communion. You can incorporate parts of the ideologies, like you would find sacraments in Lutheranism for example, but without accepting what was affirmed throughout the councils and staying attached to the original church, you're just not apart of it. So yes, it is a rejection.
You're starting with the assumption that Rome is the "original" church, and youre apparently ignorant of the fact that protestants observe the ecumenical creeds and councils
Just to clarify I'm not trying to prove your stance is wrong, I'm just trying to correct basic errors in what you said. Also "a part" and "apart" have opposite meanings.
Well, it seems likely to me that Rome is indeed the original church. I know Orthodoxy disagrees, so it's fine to say I'm biased but I have to pick a side.
>Protestants observe the councils
This depends on the denomination first of all, like I know Lutherans use the Nicene creed because they affirm the council of Nicea, but they don't affirm Vatican 1 or 2 do they? So what you said about them continuing to affirm the councils is false. This strikes right at the core of the issue, being able to cherrypick what makes sense to a church and saying to hell with the rest. It's not coherent, doctrinally speaking. It allows a man to make up his own rules when all of the rules published in canon by the original church were based on papal infallibility. I don't necessarily believe it and I see good reasoning on every side, and ultimately I think all denominations are just in-fighting over complex ideas where all of them get a part of it right and the rest is just lost in translation. However my earnest belief is biased to catholicism because they've had the unchanging history to back up their claims where this cannot be said for the Methodist or Baptist or what have you. Didn't want to put that in my post to OP because I could be very fucking wrong. Still learning as I'm going.
Ecumenical councils and creeds. Vatican 1 and 2 are not ecumenical.
Protestants have a superior claim to the faith of the early church. The entire point was to do away with the innovations of the middle ages. You should at least know that this the protestant argument.
None of the doctrines of the early church were predicated on papal infallibility. It is literally a modern dogma.
You would also do well to listen to Ryan Reeves on YouTube. He's a seminary professor of church history who uploaded his lectures for free.
>It is literally a modern dogma
That's true, in terms of when the church officially declared it as part of being a Catholic doctrine, but the fact is the doctrine itself existed within scripture for centuries.
Jesus created the early church in Matthew 16:18 and promised the Holy Spirit would guide it. This promise is found in John 14:16-17, John 14:26, Luke 10:16 all describe the Spirit of truth in guiding the church and followers of Christ.
Later on in Matthew 23:1-3, Jesus says to the crowds and his disciples that the scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice
Just as the scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, the Pope sits on the chair of Peter (from Matthew 16:18). And notice how Jesus told everyone to obey the scribes and the Pharisees, even though they were sinners. Just so, we have to obey the Pope in matters of faith and morals in the Church, even if the Pope is a sinner.
So even if the Pope is a sinner, when it comes to officially defining dogmas concerning faith and morals, the Pope has the biblical protection of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus Christ Himself to protect the Church from moral error. This is where papal infallibility is found in scripture, it's all built off Peter.
Who was the deciding figure at the council of jerusalem?
I view that what James proposed is more pastoral, while Peter's speech is a clear doctrinal declaration in Acts 15 to resolve the issue between Gentiles & israelites at the council. Jesus revealed that Gentiles could be saved through his grace and the Holy Spirit with no distinction between israelites/Gentiles (Acts 15:8-9), which is then affirmed by Peter in Acts 15:11. So to me, Peter isn't offering what he thinks should be believed, he offers it as what is to be believed because of what Jesus/God taught him and the disciples. James was trying to address how to unify israeli & Gentile Christians (Acts 15:1-5), however Peter resolves the theological issue quickly by using what Jesus said & taught in Acts 15:8-9 in regard to unity.
In other words, I feel that James was making a judgment/proposal due to a theological issue and Peter made a doctrinal declaration in uniting israelites/Christians under the existing Mosaic law because of what Jesus taught, and he took the lead on resolving and deciding on the issue. Later on in Acts 15:19-20, James simply offer his ideas for consideration, but does not take a leading/authoritative approach in doing so, he simply goes off his "judgment", which is not really a leading figure of speech like how Peter resolved things in Acts 15:11.
That's convenient for you
The fact is Peter is clearly not the final arbiter even in his lifetime, so even if the office of pope were a true continuation of his office, the authority carried would not allow for papal supremacy or infallibility. These doctrines do not arise from Matthew 16, most obviously when you observe that gates are a defensive structure.
When you read the early church fathers you find that some taught peter was not himself the rock of that passage, and also the teaching that the keys were held in common among the apostles. Couple this with the fact that the new testament uses the terms bishop/episkopos and elder/presbyter interchangeably and catholic polity falls with it's claim of succession of authority.
I think you have been captured by trad catholic talking points which make an attractive offer of a very tidy system: this group is right, all else is wrong and further can't lead to any certainty in doctrine. This is the same trick the KJV onlyist, Anderson types get into, they trade truth for certainty. The voices which posture as the most certain attract inquiring minds, but don't always stand up to scrutiny
>Everyone who disagrees with catholicism and "forms their own views" is protestant.
I disagree. You can't just do that.
>they aren't real protestants because....they just aren't ok
Yet they all seethe and cope about the Catholic Church. Curious!
Who are you quoting
I'll check these out thanks
This guy is also worth watching about different denominations:
Thank you, I will definitely have to spend more time researching and praying but your information is very helpful.
To he fair there are other churches, coptic Christians and there is an Eastern church that reached as far as some parts of China. Speaking of China, right now there is also a Chinese Catholic movement that is not connected to the main church as well as a Protestant Chinese movement that is growing with not much western influence.
Yes but they are all Orthodox, and are all in communion with each other iirc so I just call them Orthodox.
So then was Jim Jones a protestant?
The Catholic and Orthodox churches have what is called "Apostolic Succession" which is where they can trace their history back to Peter in the Bible. The first church (Pentecost-1054) was the first to print the Bible.
Many people view the Catholic, Orthodox, and early Protestant theological views as correct and for many differing reasons. Really, there is so much to argue over, like Mary, once saved always saved, the nature of christology, the whore of Babylon, etc. You're going to have to study very hard and make up your own mind on which theology you find most accurate, correct, and righteous because all aforementioned churches have many centuries of compelling arguments, councils, and works. It can take years to settle where you feel like you belong and which denomination is right but don't forget God is there and will help you. I have personally experienced several denominations and I liked the Catholics the best but they do have a lot of internal issues and a shady past. But Jesus warned us about thus.
Above all else, avoid crazy churches. Don't go to one where they use snakes on people, don't try to find deep metaphysical understanding in pastor jims sunday funday, and don't walk around with a signs protesting military funerals. Your journey will require great effort, searching, and understanding new ideas about an ancient and rich history, but its all fun and you'll get to be bigbrained by the end of it. Good luck OP.
>He doesn't find deep metaphysical understanding in pastor jims sunday funday
Go with the church in your area, or if it's too disagreeable with God's word, go with the next closest good one. Determine which denomination is truest to Christ, and perhaps look to membership in such if a church is not too far. Get involved. And don't be afraid to listen to other denominations sometimes, to learn where they are right and wrong, and to realize your way to follow Christ. There may be some true theology/doctrine/whathaveyou, but I think each man's journey to Christ and through life and to the next is his own, not to be strictly formally bound to EVERYTHING a denomination/church says because you agree with most things.
Your brothers in Christ will understand regardless of denomination. Just love em.
I think the reason people get so hung up on the issue is that they have some kind of soteriological anxiety about it, that they're in eternal peril if they make the wrong choice. I heard Gavin ortlund make that idea in a youtube video
It could be argued that Anglicans and Apostolic Lutherans also have apostolic succession, albeit deformed by the change of the formula and female ordination.
Marcion was right
Denomination doesnt matter. Join a church where u like the preacher and the congregation
What irony poisoning does to a motherfucker
Become a Roman "Catholic" if you're brown and trust the opinions of idiots pretending to be priests more than divine inspiration. Become Protestant if you want to spend the rest of your life seething about papists while making it your mission to destroy knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Christian tradition generally. Become Orthodox if you want to be a Roman-Catholic with slightly worse theology but less heresy.