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Catholics, Methodists, Baptists: Why So Many Denominations?

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Presentation on theme: "Catholics, Methodists, Baptists: Why So Many Denominations?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Catholics, Methodists, Baptists: Why So Many Denominations?
Pastor Melanie Weldon-Soiset February 1, 2015

2 Tonight’s Goals To learn more about the origins, beliefs, and distinctive traits of eight of the world’s largest denominations. To gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse branches of the church. To better understand our own beliefs. The goal is NOT to decide which group is RIGHT. We aren’t trying to prove one group is better than another. The truth is, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. Image of tree because we are examining the family tree of Christianity.

3 Tonight’s Outline (We’ll examine the origins, beliefs, and blessings of each).
Orthodoxy Catholicism Lutheranism Presbyterianism Anglicanism Baptists Methodists Pentecostals

4 Some Guidelines This list is only partial: there are MANY denominations around the world! This list is heavily Western: I am happy to include other groups in the future. Even if we don’t agree with every group, we gain wisdom by understanding them. Please save questions to the end.

5 Christianity’s Family Tree
Judaism is the roots, the Holy Spirit is the sap, and Jesus is the trunk of Christianity’s family tree.

6 Orthodoxy

7 The ORIGINS of Orthodoxy
Claim their origins to the beginnings of the church: from Judaism, to Gentile-led. Various church leaders came together in 325 AD to decide various theological issues: the document they approved, the Nicene Creed, is the bedrock of Orthodox faith. First leaders, based in Constantinople, were Greek-speaking. Officially split from Rome in 1054 AD. Roman Empire stretched from Constantinople to Rome. Over time, however, the 2 cities competed for power. Constantinople was Greek-speaking. Rome, of course, spoken Latin. Partly because of the influence of the different languages, the 2 groups saw faith differently. Rome and Constantinople split in 1054 AD. Technically, they split over a dispute about a phrase that Roman leaders added to the Nicene Creed, as well as the extreme power that Catholics gave the Pope, but the reality is much of it was tied to politics and philosophy. Nicene Creed is basic creed for almost all Christians.

8 The BELIEFS of Orthodoxy
Their name means “right worship and doctrine.” They believe they are the only true Christians. With Scripture as their starting point, Orthodox emphasize both creeds and councils (where church leaders come together to decide issues), as well as the teachings of the early church fathers. There are seven official sacraments, or means of God’s grace coming into our lives. Salvation is less about law, and more about healing from death. The lifelong goal is to become like God. The Orthodox church’s official stance is that they are the only true church. Protestants not allowed to take communion in their church. After Catholics, Orthodox are the 2nd largest body of Christians in the world. Most Orthodox are in the East, with biggest group in Russia. Divisions are largely among ethnic lines. Rome saw faith more in LEGAL terms. Constantinople, more in medicinal terms: salvation as healing that comes through death and resurrection. Once we are saved, we begin a lifelong journey of becoming like God, into a new creation. Early church father’s teaching is similar to Mishna or Talmud in Judaism (i.e. interpretations and commentaries).

9 Blessings of Orthodoxy
The Orthodox remind us that the ultimate reality is God’s eternal kingdom. Their theology and worship focus on this kingdom. God can (and does!) use everyday rituals to convey His grace to us. The saints who have gone before us are sources of encouragement, wisdom, and strength. Their stories are uplifting. We are just pilgrims on earth. Heavenly realm is all around us. If we believe this, we should live our lives very differently. In order to remind us of this heavenly realm, their worship is very sensory: smelling the incense, seeing the icons, hearing the music and chanting, tasting the bread and wine of communion Their worship contains Scripture, chanting, a sermon, and communion. Their worship is meant to replicate the worship that happens in heaven. Orthodox churches are meant to transport us to the heavenly realm, with pictures of saints all around us (i.e. Hebrews 11). Because faith is based on healing, and not law, they believe this healing can come in many forms: a good cup of coffee, a nice walk in the forest, beautiful music. God’s blessings are all around us, urging us to become more like Jesus. Lastly, they really care about the saints who have gone before us. They know their stories, recite them often, and draw inspiration from them. BEFORE WE GO ON: What do we know about CATHOLICS?

10 Catholicism

11 The ORIGINS of Catholicism
The word “Catholic” means “universal”—this is a way of describing the early church. Rome was center of Roman empire by 100 AD, and had world’s largest Christian population. Bishop of Rome was seen as the most influential of Bishops. By 400 AD, he was called the Pope. Church was Latin speaking. Catholics are the largest Christian denomination in the world—more than 1 billion people, more than all Protestants and Orthodox combined. As Rome gained power and grew with Christian presence, Roman bishop grew in influence. Originally, many bishops in ancient world. But Western part of Roman Empire, Latin-speaking part, gave Bishop of Rome more and more authority. By 400 AD, he was known as “pope” or “Father.” He started to call other bishops his “Sons.” By early 400’s, Pope’s authority acknowledged in Western Latin-speaking churches (and in most Eastern Greek-speaking churches).

12 The BELIEFS of Catholicism
Uphold the Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed. Like Orthodox, also have seven sacraments. With Bible as starting point, they also trust teachings of bishops, Pope, and church councils as equally authoritative. Emphasize Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church, which they call the deposit of faith. We share the creeds in common. Like Orthodox, Catholics have 7 sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance/confession, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Catholics share many beliefs with Protestants, but include other sources of authority: teaching of councils throughout history, letters that Popes have written as official doctrine (i.e. Papal Bulls), etc. Catholics say all of this has seeds in Scripture, but for Protestants, some seeds are easier to find than others. Catholics also have more books In their Bible. Catholics note that official canon of Bible not decided until 382AD at Council of Rome—so how were Christians taught until then? By oral teaching through bishops of church. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you—John 14:26”

13 Blessings of Catholicism
Rituals (such as saying certain prayers or observing church calendar), though not a way to salvation, can provide us discipline and comfort. Respecting the sacred: While not being superstitious, we can experience God’s holiness and mystery through using our bodies to pray, or respecting some objects as holy (Acts 5: 15-16, 19: 11-12). Communion can be a powerful means of experiencing God’s grace. Ritual is not necessarily dead and devoid of meaning. When it is understood properly and done for the correct reasons, it can be very powerful. Rituals such as saying certain prayers, stations of the cross, and observing church calendar. Monastic retreats (i.e. living lives of ritual) can also be positive experience. Respecting the sacred: bread should be eaten or given to birds, not thrown away. Wine should be drunk, or poured into the ground. Not all of life has to be profane. We don’t need to obsess over relics, and it can go too far, but we hear that Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16) and fabric Paul had touched (Acts 19:11-12) could heal people. Crossing ourselves and kneeling is like raising our hands in worship—a way to experience God in our own bodies. God is not just our friend, but isalso holy. Communion not only helps us experience God, but is a meal we share together with all Christians. BEFORE WE GO ON: What do we know about Lutherans?


15 The ORIGINS of Lutheranism
Luther originally understood God as a condemning judge. He eventually found God’s grace, especially in Romans 3: Discovered good works do not save us. Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, did not intend to start a new church. He simply wanted to correct the Catholic church, which he saw as increasingly off track (i.e. selling indulgences to get loved ones out of purgatory). On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed 95 complaints to church door in Wittenburg, Germany. Now known as “Reformation Day.” Luther saw church as heading just a couple degrees in the wrong direction since beginning, but over time, those degrees really add up. What was minor at first became very big corruption by Luther’s time. Selling indulgences: buying less time in purgatory in order to build St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Catholics themselves acknowledge that the church during Luther’s time was off-kilter (in fact, Catholics had their own reformation movement in response to Luther). Luther ordained a Catholic priest in Yet he understood Jesus as a condemning judge whom he could not please—Luther searched for grace. Over decades he understood God’s grace, as found in book of Romans. Nailed his 95 complaints to church door in Witenburg, Germany on Oct 31, His ideas quickly spread via new invention called printing press. Church didn’t listen to Luther, but instead wanted to silence him, which led to his break from the Catholic church. Luther’s Protestant churches (i.e. a “protest” against Catholicism) spread quickly to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

16 The BELIEFS of Lutheranism
All people can come directly to God without the intervention of a priest (i.e. priesthood of all believers). Scripture is our primary authority. The church’s teaching must submit to the Bible (sola scriptura). Scripture only teaches two sacraments: baptism and communion. We are saved by belief in Jesus, NOT by good works (justification by faith). “We have no priest except Christ himself.” Sacraments as an act specifically commanded by Christ that communicate the grace of God. Luther only found 2 in the Bible, baptism and communion (i.e. that Jesus COMMANDS us to do them in order to experience God). Other practices of Catholics/Orthodox are helpful, but not commands. Not the same level. Justification by faith reveals God to be one of mercy and love, NOT judgment.

17 Blessings of Lutheranism
EVERYONE should develop his/her gifts to serve the church. We are all part of a “holy priesthood”(1 Peter 2:4-5). We will be blessed when we are active in our faith. Our baptism affirms that each of us has a calling from God. Our joy is found in serving through that calling. ALL people should have access to the Bible in their own language. Unlike much Catholic worship of Luther’s day, Lutherans encourage all people to actively participate in worship services. The baker, in baking good bread, is being just as faithful to God as a bishop. Our daily lives and our workplaces are places for service. We should be salt and light in the world around us. All believers should read the Bible, and have access to it in their own language (i.e. not just in Latin). Most people in Luther’s day didn’t’ speak Latin, yet only Latin used in church. BEFORE WE GO ON: What do we know about Presbyterianism?

18 Presbyterianism

19 The ORIGINS of Presbyterianism
Some reformers felt Luther had not gone far enough. One of those reformers was John Calvin, a French lawyer born in Though born a Catholic, he became a Protestant when he moved to Switzerland in 1534. Their name comes from the Greek word in the Bible for “elder,” presbuteros. They don’t have bishops, only elders who lead each congregation. Some churches are also known as “Reformed.” Calvin’s protégé, John Knox, took his beliefs to Scotland, whose Church is seen as the mother church for Presbyterians. Swiss, Dutch, and German groups call themselves “Reformed,” while Scott and English groups call themselves “Presbyterian.” Calvin was 8 years old when Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenburg.

20 The BELIEFS of Presbyterianism: TULIP
Total depravity. Humans are completely sinful, and we cannot save ourselves. Unconditional election (i.e. predestination): God has chosen some people to be saved, and others to be condemned. Limited atonement: Christ’s death is only for the saved (i.e. “the elect”), not for everyone. Irresistible grace: The chosen cannot refuse God’s salvation. They will be unable to resist it. Perseverance of the saints: The elect cannot lose their salvation. They will persevere until Judgment Day. Some Presbyterians have moved away from TULIP or have modified it, but this doctrine has had a profound influence on their church. So it’s worth understanding. TULIP says God chose everyone before the beginning of time. Nothing we can do to change or earn that choice. TULIP distinguishes Presbyterians from other Protestant groups.

21 BLESSINGS of Presbyterianism
Love God with our MINDS: theology is very important, along with Bible study and education. God’s sovereignty means nothing is outside of God’s control: no problem is too big. We can trust God to handle our lives, like Psalm 139. No question is too difficult for God. Questioning and learning is an act of faith. God is the absolute ruler, reigning over every part of creation. We can trust God to sustain us. Nothing happens apart from God’s will (Calvin explains this in his “Institutes of the Christian Religion”). God doesn’t necessarily cause bad things to happen, but God can use those things for good. We can trust God, even when things seem to be in chaos. BEFORE WE GO ON: What do we know about Anglicans?

22 Anglicanism

23 The ORIGINS of Anglicanism
Like in Continental Europe, the Catholic church in England had lost much of its vitality by the 16th century. 150 years before Luther, John Wycliffe (a Catholic priest) was calling for similar reforms in England. He wanted to provide a Bible in English (vs Latin). The official split with the Catholic Church came when King Henry VIII wanted a divorce so he could remarry. When the Pope refused to grant it, Henry broke off from the Catholic church in 1533. During Henry’s son Edward’s short reign, Continental Protestant influence increased. Henry married Anne Boleyn in 1533, without the pope’s annulment of the marriage. Henry’s concerns were political, not theological—he even had William Tyndale (a Protestant reformer) put to death. Henry did allow, however, the Bible to be read in English. Henry died in His sickly son Edward VI took the throne at the age of 9, and died 7 years later. During those short years, many Calvinists came to England. Priests were allowed to marry, and the first Book of Common Prayer (which was in English) was prepared. After Edward died, his Catholic half-sister Mary returned to the throne. She undid many of the Protestant reforms, and brought the church closer to Rome. She is known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of many Protestants.

24 The BELIEFS of Anglicanism
Via Media: In 25 quick years, England swung from Catholic, to Protestant, to Catholic again. To avoid more war, Queen Elizabeth proposed a “middle path” between Catholicism and Protestantism. Elizabeth’s successor, King James I, authorized the King James English Bible translation in 1611 to reflect this “via media” theology. Envision faith as a 3 legged stool: Scripture, tradition, and reason. Scripture is the biggest “leg.” Have “39 Articles” that outline their beliefs. Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, and reigned for 45 years. She proposed the via media—not fully Catholic, but not as extreme as Luther/Calvin. King James I, after Elizabeth, disdained both Catholicism and Calvin Puritanism that was also emerging in England. Via Media: Bishop/elder/deacons like Catholics, liturgy, as well as 7 sacraments (with focus on baptism/communion). Like protestants, clergy can be married. Priesthood of laity is also encouraged in much of life of church.

25 BLESSINGS of Anglicanism
They emphasize the centrality of prayer and worship—through prayer and worship, we come to deeper awareness of God. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer offers many helpful prayers and liturgies to help to structure our lives around worship and prayer. Through the rhythms of prayer and the church calendar, we remember our faith is communal—we are united to other Christians through time and space. The BCP contains prayers for different times of the day, different seasons of the year (i.e. church calendar). Luke 5:16—Jesus would withdraw to deserted places to pray. Also, we don’t just pray prayers or read Scriptures when we happen to “feel” them—we remember our faith is bigger than us as individuals. We lament when we’re happy, or worship when we’re sad, because as a community of faith, all of these things are important.

26 Baptists

27 The ORIGINS of the Baptists
Some Protestants in England thought the Anglicans had not gone far enough in purifying the church. Some of these “Puritans” stayed in the Church of England, and some split off. Those who split became known as Baptists. Over time, other nonconformists from various places joined the Baptist movement. Baptists said that only practices that are explicitly described in the New Testament should apply to the church. Infant baptism, therefore, should be eliminated. Baptists do not recognize infant baptism. Other Baptists trace their heritage to the Anabaptist movement on the Continent (i.e. Zwingli, Menno, and the Mennonites). Every group we’ve studied so far baptizes infants. Baptists only baptized adult believers because “believers’ baptism,” or baptism after repentance and conversion, was the only way explicitly mentioned in NT. Anyone baptized as a child, therefore, should be re-baptized as an adult. Those who practice infant baptism see Acts 16, and baptism of Lydia’s and jailer’s household, as possible infant baptism (as well as circumcision as a precursor to baptism as an outward sign of covenant). While most baptists nowadays practice immersion, the first baptists (led by John Smyth in Amsterdam) baptized by “affusion,” which is to pour water over the head 3 times, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

28 The BELIEFS of Baptists
Baptists see baptism and communion as acts of remembrance and obedience only (i.e. an “ordinance”), and not a means of grace. In an effort to return to the New Testament, Baptists reject much of Catholic belief and practice. Baptists emphasize an individual’s conscience in reading Scripture, as well as purity of doctrine. Therefore, there is much theological diversity within and among Baptists. Baptists have no bishops or higher authority except the local congregation. Baptists practice believer’s baptism. Baptists have always been theologically diverse—early Baptists divided b/t General and Particular Baptists. General Baptists said Christ died for anyone who would believe. Particular Baptists said Christ died only for the elect. Baptists removed much of Catholic liturgy—no more altar, because communion is not a sacrifice. No candles, no vestments for clergy, no saying of Lord’s Prayer in worship (seen as vain repetition), no church calendar. Baptists have “conventions” or affiliations, but baptists are only responsible to their local congregation. Dissent is essential in church and state since an individual is accountable to God alone as judge (Romans 14). Baptists began to baptize by immersion in 1641, and that has remained normative to this day. Bible as first and normative authority of faith for anything it touches on.

29 The BLESSINGS of the Baptists
Because they believe only an adult who confesses personal faith in God should be baptized, Baptists greatly emphasize a personal relationship with God. Our faith must be intentional and central to our lives. Baptists claim Scripture as their only source of authority. They therefore invite all Christians to return to the Scriptures to judge every aspect of our lives. Baptists are incredibly dedicated to spreading the Gospel throughout the world—they put much money and energy behind this effort.

30 Methodism

31 The ORIGINS of Methodism
For 200 years after King Henry VIII, there was war and bloodshed among Catholics, Anglicans, and Puritans over the future of the Church of England. Some responded by turning to Enlightenment ideas of reason, and others to Pietism (and rejection of reason) for sake of holiness. John Wesley, an Anglican priest, inherited all these influences in his family and background. He sought to balance reason and faith by “methodically” meeting in small groups for prayer and charity. Wesley wanted to balance head and heart. Enlightenment: ideas of reason helped to end war, but sucked vitality out of the church. Christian in name only. Another pendulum swing. Others turned to Pietism—rejected reason for sake of holiness and meeting in small groups for accountability. John Wesley, 15th child of 19th child (grandchild of Puritans, son of an Anglican priest) became an Anglican priest. Yet disappointed by lack of faith he saw among many other Anglicans—sought holiness in small groups who prayed and performed acts of charity methodically in small groups, hence the name “Methodists.” Wanted to hold faith and reason in tension. After a failed mission to US, Wesley was despondent of his own faith. Had a type of conversion experience in a small group meeting where Luther’s study of Romans was being read. Wesley felt his heart was “strangely warmed.” Though Wesley was incredibly educated, he eventually was willing to follow more radical colleagues to preach outside (which many Anglicans considered distasteful). Wesley eventually set up many schools, orphanages, etc. Methodism began as a renewal movement within Anglican church—Wesley was not trying to start his own church.

32 The BELIEFS of Methodism
Jesus gives every person free choice whether to accept or reject Him (vs. predestination). Small groups for accountability and teaching are important—they are in the DNA of Methodism. Methodists cite 4 sources for spiritual authority: Scripture (most important), tradition, reason, and experience. God’s grace calls us to lives of deeper holiness. Wesley taught prevenient grace (the grace that leads us to choose God), justifying grace (i.e. salvation through Christ), and sanctifying grace (the grace that makes us more and more holy). Wesley believed it was possible to be entirely sanctified in this lifetime (personal holiness through love of God, and social holiness through love of neighbor).

33 The BLESSINGS of Methodism
Methodists help us hold various aspects of our faith together: head and heart, action and speech, liturgy and simplicity. Emerging from war and excess, Methodists remind us to seek balance and accountability. Methodists love to sing! Charles Wesley, John’s brother, wrote thousands of hymns, whose lyrics express profound faith.

34 Pentecostals

35 The ORIGINS of Pentecostalism
Named after the Jewish festival of Pentecost, and the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the first Christians, as described in Acts 2. In 19th century USA, Methodists became divided between those focused on heart, and those focused on reason/intellect. Some split away to form their own groups—became known as Holiness churches. In 1901 in Topeka, Kansas, Charles Fox Parham (from Methodist background) taught baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is demonstrated by speaking in tongues. Many began to speak in tongues. The movement spread across the US. Though Methodists try to hold head and heart in tension, reason and personal experience with God, by 19th century US, many churches were divided. Many holiness churches (focused on personal piety and experience) split away to form Nazarenes, Church of God, Wesleyan church, etc. Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the same as receipt of Holy Spirit at salvation. John Baptist said he baptizes with water, but Christ baptizes with Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). Baptism of Holy Spirit is a “second work of grace” in addition to salvation—this baptism fills us with increased power. Speaking in tongues: speaking in foreign language, or unintelligible language. Agnes Ozman began to speak in tongues, and from there, Pentecostal movement spread to LA, Texas, Missouri, and other places.

36 The BELIEFS of Pentecostalism
The Holy Spirit is still blessing believers with supernatural power and miracles in the same way we see in Acts 2 with the early church, especially through gift of speaking in tongues. Believe Baptists did not go far enough in reclaiming New Testament practices—we need to teach baptism of Holy Spirit, as well. We have free will to choose Jesus, as well as to control the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Emphasize the Second Coming of Jesus, and his imminent return. Some have Holy Spirit gifts, but are in non-Pentecostal denominations. These people are called “Charismatics.” Gifts of the spirit are seen as sure sign that Jesus will return soon, based on Joel 2:28 (“I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.”)

37 The BLESSINGS of Pentecostalism
Remind us to expect great and amazing things from God—in His love and power, the Lord wants to bless us supernaturally. Provide deeper teaching and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often the most neglected person of the Trinity. Encourage us to identify and use our spiritual gifts, for the edification of the church.

38 Christianity’s Family Tree

39 Additional Reading Christianity’s Family Tree by Adam Hamilton
A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez Books range from easiest reading (i.e. Adam Hamilton, which this PPT draws heavily from) to more comprehensive reading (i.e. Justo Gonzalez).

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