List of Christian denominations

List of Christian denominations (or Denominations self-identified as Christian) ordered by historical and doctrinal relationships. (See also: Christianity; Christian denominations; List of Christian denominations by number of members). Also, some groups included do not consider themselves a denomination (e.g., the Catholic Church considers itself the one true Church, and as pre-denominational). Regarding the use of the word "church," the Catholic Church does not consider any groups or denominations to be true "churches" unless they have maintained apostolic succession and observe the seven sacraments (by this definition, the Eastern Orthodox churches are, for the most part, the only other Christian groupings considered by the Catholic Church to be true "churches").[1]

Some groups are large (e.g. Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans or Baptists), while others are just a few small churches, and in most cases the relative size is not evident in this list. Also, modern movements such as Fundamentalist Christianity, Pietism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and the Holiness movement sometimes cross denominational lines, or in some cases create new denominations out of two or more continuing groups, (as is the case for many United and uniting churches, for example). Such subtleties and complexities are not clearly depicted here. Additionally, some groups viewed by non-adherents as denominational actively resist being called a "denomination" and do not have any formal denominational structure, authority, or record-keeping beyond the local congregation; several groups within Restoration Movement fall into this category.

Note: This is not a complete list, but aims to provide a comprehensible overview of the diversity among denominations of Christianity. As there are reported to be approximately 38,000 Christian denominations,[2] many of which cannot be verified to be significant, only those denominations with Wikipedia articles will be listed in order to ensure that all entries on this list are notable and verifiable.
Note: Between denominations, theologians, and comparative religionists there are considerable disagreements about which groups can be properly called Christian, disagreements arising primarily from doctrinal differences between groups. For the purpose of simplicity, this list is intended to reflect the self-understanding of each denomination. Explanations of different opinions concerning their status as Christian denominations can be found at their respective articles.
Note: There is no official recognition in most parts of the world for religious bodies, and there is no official clearinghouse which could determine the status or respectability of religious bodies. Often there is considerable disagreement between various churches about whether other churches should be labeled with pejorative terms such as "cult", or about whether this or that group enjoys some measure of respectability. Such considerations often vary from place to place, where one religious group may enjoy majority status in one region, but be widely regarded as a "dangerous cult" in another part of the world. Inclusion on this list does not indicate any judgment about the size, importance, or character of a group or its members.
Major divisions within Christianity.

Contents


Catholicism

These are the churches which claim continuity (based upon Apostolic Succession) with the early Church.

Catholic Church

Catholic Church is composed of two rites; one is the western or latin rite, another is the eastern rite (i.e., Eastern Catholic Churches).

The Latin Rite

The Latin Rite or Church[3] is the largest and most widely known of the 22 Rites that together make up the Catholic Church.

Eastern Catholic Churches

All of the following are particular churches of the Catholic Church. They are all in communion with the Bishop of Rome and acknowledge his claim of universal jurisdiction and authority. They have some minor distinct theological emphases and expressions (for instance, in the case of those that are of Greek/Byzantine tradition, concerning some non-doctrinal aspects of the Latin view of purgatory).[4] The Eastern Catholic churches and the Latin church (which together compose the worldwide Catholic Church) share the same doctrine and sacraments, and thus the same faith.

The Catholic Church considers itself the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded.[5] As such, the Catholic Church does not consider itself a denomination, but as pre-denominational, the original Church of Christ.

Other churches

Independent (self-identified as Catholic)

Eastern Orthodoxy

List provided in order of precedence. Indentation indicates autonomy rather than autocephaly.

Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church considers itself to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded.

Other churches

Some Orthodox Churches with not universally recognized autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople:

Oriental Orthodoxy

Oriental Orthodoxy comprises those Christians who did not accept the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). Other denominations often erroneously label these churches "Monophysite", however, as the Oriental Orthodox do not adhere to the teachings of Eutyches, they themselves reject this label, preferring the term Miaphysite.

The Oriental Orthodox Church considers itself to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded.

Church of the East

The Church of the East is said to have been formed by St Thomas. The Church did not attend the Council of Ephesus (AD 431). It is incorrectly referred to as the Nestorian Church; Assyrian Christians do not consider themselves Nestorians, and recent Christological agreements with the Catholic and some of the Orthodox churches have resolved this debate permanently, clearing the way for ecumenical relations.

The Church of the East considers itself to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded.

Protestantism

These are the churches "which repudiated the papal authority, and separated or were severed from the Roman communion in the Reformation of the 16th cent., and of any of the bodies of Christians descended from them."[6]

Diagram showing major branches and movements within Protestantism


Pre-Lutheran Protestants

Lutheranism

Anglicanism

Anglican Communion

Anglicanism has referred to itself as the via media between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. It considers itself to be both Catholic and Reformed. Although the use of the term "Protestant" to refer to Anglicans was once common, it is controversial today, with some rejecting the label and others accepting it.

The Anglican Communion also includes the following united churches:

The Anglican Communion considers itself to be part of the One Holy catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded, without the implication that various other churches are not also branches of it.

Other Anglican Churches

Reformed Churches

Presbyterianism

Congregationalist Churches

Anabaptists

Brethren

Methodists

Pietists and Holiness Churches

Baptists

Note: All Baptist associations are congregationalist affiliations for the purpose of cooperation, in which each local church is governmentally independent. The most prominent Baptist organizations in the United States are the American Baptist Association, tending to be more liberal, the National Baptist Convention, tending to be more moderate and the Southern Baptist Convention, tending to be more conservative.

Spiritual Baptists

Note: The Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese of New York, Inc has congregationalist affiliations for the purpose of cooperation, in which each local church is governmentally independent.

Apostolic Churches – Irvingites

Pentecostalism

Charismatics

Neo-Charismatic Churches

African Initiated Churches

United and uniting churches

Churches which are the result of a merger between distinct denominational churches. Churches are listed here when their disparate heritage marks them as inappropriately listed in the particular categories above.

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Note: The Religious Society of Friends is historically considered a Protestant denomination. While Evangelical Friends International, Friends United Meeting, Central Yearly Meeting of Friends, and Conservative Friends, would all consider themselves Protestant Christians, many Liberal Quakers today would consider their faith to be a distinct, non-Protestant form of Christianity. Many Friends General Conference Quakers are "Universalists" and some are also Christian Universalists.

Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement

Southcottites

Millerites and comparable groups

Sabbath-Keeping Churches, Adventist

Sabbath-Keeping Churches, Non-Adventist

Seventh-Day Baptists Seventh-Day Evangelist Church

Sunday Adventists

Sacred Name Groups

British-Israelism

Miscellaneous/Other

Christian Revival Church

*Christian Revival Church India

  • Christian Revival Church Nagaland
  • Christian Revival Church Arunachal Pradesh
  • Christian Revival Church Meghalaya
  • Christian Revival Church Assam
  • Christian Revival Church Manipur
  • Christian Revival Church Sikkim
  • Christian Revival Church West Bengal
  • Christian Revival Church Tamil Nadu
  • Christian Revival Church Maharastra
  • Christian Revival Church Uttra Pradesh
  • Christian Revival Church Bihar
  • Christian Revival Church Myanmar
  • Christian Revival Church Nepal

Latter Day Saints

Most Latter Day Saint denominations are derived from the Church of Christ, established by Joseph Smith in 1830. The majority of "Prairie Saint" denominations were established after the death of Smith by the remnants of the Saints who did not go west with Brigham Young. The Rocky Mountain denominations are various sects who broke from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after its abandonment of polygamy in 1890. Other denominations are defined by either a belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, or acceptance of the Book of Mormon as scripture. Mormonism is generally considered restorationist, believing that Smith, by inspiration and revelation, restored the original Church of Christ to the earth. Some Latter Day Saint denominations are regarded by other Christians as being nontrinitarian, but generally do not accept that label themselves, in contrast to the groups labeled "nontrinitarian" below.

The churches within the Latter Day Saint movement are not recognized as an orthodox Christian denomination, and are usually rejected as Christian altogether by most Protestants. Mormons, however, strongly oppose this rejection.

Original denomination

"Prairie Saint" denominations

Rocky Mountains denominations

Other denominations

Nontrinitarian groups

Various denominations whose self-understanding denies trinitarian theology held by other Christians.

Oneness Pentecostalism

Unitarianism and Universalism

Bible Student groups

Swedenborgianism

Other non-Trinitarians

New Thought

The relation of New Thought to Christianity is sometimes murky; some of its adherents see themselves as practicing a true or correct form of Christianity, or as doing what Jesus did, while others, in particular, Religious Science says "yes and no" to the question of whether it considers itself Christian leaving it to the individual to define themselves.[8]

Messianic Judaism / Jewish Christians

  • Chosen People Ministries
  • Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations
  • British Messianic Jewish Alliance
  • Fellowship of Messianic Congregations (FMC)
  • International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues
  • International Federations of Messianic Jews (IFMJ)
  • International Messianic Jewish Alliance (IMJA)
  • Jews for Jesus
  • Messianic Bureau International (MBI)
  • Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA)
  • Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA)
  • Messianic Jewish Alliance of Australia
  • Messianic Hebrews International
  • The Association of Messianic Congregations (AMC)
  • The British Messianic Jewish Alliance
  • The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS)
  • The Jerusalem Council
  • The United Alliance of Congregations Pursuing a Messianic Torah
  • Tikkun Ministries International
  • Union of Conservative Messianic Synagogues (UCMJS)
  • Union of Nazarene Jewish Synagogues
  • Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC)
  • Union of Nazarene Yisraelite Congregations
  • United Messianic Jewish Alliance (UMJA)

Esoteric Christianity

Syncretistic religions incorporating elements of Christianity

The relation of these movements to other Christian ideas can be remote. They are listed here because they include some elements of Christian practice or beliefs, within religious contexts which may be only loosely characterized as Christian.

See also

References


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