Christian Denominations

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According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity there are over 635 Christian denominations in the United States alone (Wilson, p.145). Why is there such a diverse number of denominations all coming from the same foundation, from one religion? How and why did the Christian Church split into denominations in the first place? Duke University assistant professor of church history, Ted A. Campbell, explains denominations this way: “...those who ended up starting new denominations did not set out to do so...Instead, denominations are, by and large, formal and final results of various theological/social/political/ ecclesial movements that took shape over the course of several years, perhaps decades” (Campbell, p. 33-35). Every branch off of Christianity comes from a differing idea or belief regarding an individual or a group of people’s interpretation of scripture and or its application.
First century churches evolved from the apostles traveling from city to city and country to country, expanding Christianity and meeting in their homes. As these house churches grew in number and in distance the understanding and application of the teachings of the apostles began to differ. Peoples’ language, culture, and traditions impacted their understanding and practice of these Christian tenants. Thus began earliest foundations of denominationalism. The first real, organized Christian “denominations” occurred in 1054 C.E., when something called the Western-Eastern Schism, or the Great Schism, occurred. This schism, or split, in the Church happened after many years of disagreements between the Roman church, which led western Christianity and the Constantinople church, which led the eastern (Greek) church bodies. The Great Schism caused ...

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