What are the core differences? What makes them a different sect?
Core differences... protestant, baptist, mormon, lutheran, methodist, catholic, latter day...
Protestant is an overarching group which includes many denomination all with varying beliefs who hold in common the 'protest' against the Roman Catholic church as part of their foundation/origins.
We attend a Orthodox Presbytarian Church and you can read our core beliefs here...
Just a quick note: Mormon and Latter-day Saints are the same thing. The official name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-- "Mormon" is just a nickname. We believe in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and the nickname comes from the later.
You can read more here:
having at least a loose grip on church history really helps to understand the differences. Early church started and went along for about 1000 years as one mostly unified body with a few heretical sects operating outside the main church. There were five main out posts of church leadership. Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, Greece, and someone else that I cannot remember right now...but they were in the East. Divided by language, culture, and geography the West started to drift away from the churches in the East. Eventually in 1045 there was a huge blow out between the archbishops and mutual excummunication and formal parting of the ways. This created the Roman Catholics (West/Latin/Rome) and the Eastern Orthodox (East/Greek/everyone else except for Rome). While there were a few splinter groups from the east (mostly people clinging to heretical doctrines and practices) there was never any other huge schisms. However the West, shortly after its split from the East launched the crusades and introduced controversial doctrines that a short time later led to the reformation. There were several main "reformers" Calvin, Luther, and some others. and then a short time later the Anglican/Church of England/Episcopal church broke off with Rome and formed their church. They are not protestant in the same sense as the Protestants as they still cling to many of the teachings of the Catholic church...just minus the Pope. They each had their pet doctrines and beliefs. Some being more specific than others. Then there have been back lashes and cultural changes etc. Most modern churches look nothing like their early predecessors (except for Orthodox who rarely change anything) . Even the Catholic church has undergone serious changes in their Mass in the last few hundred years. hat they have in common: Protestants and Roman Catholics share a common ground of being Western Christians, general view salvation and atonement under the umbrella of penal subsitutionary atonement (in the East the Church clings more to Christos Victorious), and as a rule most protestants at some point broke off from a church that broke off from a church that broke off from Rome. There are a few denomitantions that say they predate the reformation and even Catholicism and Orthodoxy - but if this is true then they are an off shoot of a group the early church considered heritical right from the start (such as those that worshiped John the Forerunner or Arians or some such) If however, they use your basic recognized New Testament (the Bible was written by the early church - Orthodox/Catholic - with an understanding of those doctrines and belief and canonized about 500 years later to back up expand on those doctrinal beliefs and practices) and liturgical calendar of Rome (if you celebrate Christmas or Easter with the rest of the Western world you are sharing at least in part with the liturgical traditions of these churches). Several "churches" came later such as LDS and Jehovah's witnesses. The added canonical text not supported by early church councils and/or interpret things in a way that do not line up with the historical beliefs ad doctrines of the church and cling to doctrines clearly outside of even mainline protestantism. They also embrace revelations not supported by Church authority. So they would be protestants of protestants as most use some form of the canonized scriptures so while they have broken off from the mainstream, they have still broken off. Unlike some church who just made it all up.
Some of the main doctrinal points of contention are:
- liturgical vs. non liturgical
- formal liturgy vs more relaxed liturgy
- leadership styles and church hierarchy
- culture (East vs West)
- infant baptism vs adult only baptism
- communing infants vs not
- real presence or memorial (regarding communion)
- doctrine of the Trinity
- what is salvation, who gets it, how to get it, when they get it,
- the reason Christ came and died
- what is acceptable/required during worship vs what is not.
- what scriptures are included in canon
- will their be a rapture and when
just to name a few. Some people care very much about all this some not all and many more than they think.
Here is chart i found that is very simplified but it does give some insight. http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/charts/denominations_beliefs.htm and http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/charts/denominations_practices.htm extremely limited but....http://www.religionfacts.com/mormonism/comparison.htm and http://www.religionfacts.com/jehovahs_witnesses/comparison.htm
Why does any of this matter? why does it separate us? How we define Christ is important. Some people's definition of Christ is so far removed from the early church that it is hard to tell if they are worshiping him or someone else of their own invention. Doctrines on everything from salvation to worship are important because teaching falsely can lead people astray and lead to divisions. It is important that we cling to the truth and continue to separate it from the lies and false doctrines and heritical teachings...
Edited by lilyka - 1/6/13 at 7:09pm