Characteristics of each Denomination
There is a unique characteristic of each denomination. This diversity is in itself a wonderful tool in which to praise God. How boring it would be if all worship was a monolith of identical practise and belief. However, it can be daunting if you go to a church for the first time, even if you are an old hand and been going to church for years. If you’ ve been going to a congregational chapel for years perhaps you don’t know what to expect if you visited a Roman Catholic Church. The reverse is true also. I hope to give an overview of what each does and holds dear in their worship.
The illustration above provides an approximate idea of the numbers involved, but let us have a closer look at the true impact of Christianity:
|Roman Catholic Church [Latin Rite]||1,700.0|
|Eastern Catholic Church [Byzantine Rite]||8.2|
|Eastern Catholic Church [East Syriac Rite]||4.9|
|Eastern Catholic Church [West Syriac Rite]||4.2|
|Eastern Catholic Church [Armenian Rite]||0.8|
|Eastern Catholic Church [Alexandrian Rite]||0.5|
|Independent Catholic Churches (including Liberals, the Utrecht Catholicate, Old Catholics, and the Old Catholic Apostolic Church)||18.0|
|SSPX [Soc. St Pius X)||1.0|
|Eastern Orthodox Churches [Autocephalous]||230.0|
|Eastern Orthodox Churches [Autonomous + Semi Autonomous]||31.3|
|Oriental Orthodox Churches [Far East]||80.0|
|Anglican Churches [Church of England]||110.0|
|Protestant Churches [Baptists]||105.0|
|Protestant Churches [Lutheran]||90.0|
|Protestant Churches [Methodist]||80.0|
|Protestant Churches [Reformed aka Calvinist], including Presbyterians, Continental Reformed, Congregationalists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Restaurationists, Anabaptists – such as the Mennonites – , Plymouth Brethren and the Quakers||100.0|
|Modern Protestant Churches [Pentecostalians, Evangelicals, African Initiated, New Apostolic]||500.0|
In practice, and by way of mere curiosity, in a population of 7.8 Billion on Earth, nearly 40% are Christian, Islam accounts for 21.1% to mention the two largest religions. Self-affirming Atheists account for just 11.1% worldwide. Statistics remain interesting whatever way we look at the numbers; for example the Independent Catholic churches form one of the smallest fractions of the whole Christianity, but even then the independent Catholics still count a staggering 18 million faithful, which is surprising because a considerable number of the Independent Churches is in the West, several of these with historical links to the Independent Catholicate of Utrecht. The Liberal Catholics form part of the Independent Catholic Churches, as does our Old Catholic Apostolic Church.
The first impression one may feel tempted to indulge into is that something must be slightly off-pitch with Christianity, given the endless list of Churches and denominations in existence today, 2020 years after the birth of Jesus Christ. And yet, diversity must be such an amiable notion to Almighty God, for it is this extraordinary variety and diversity that makes Christianity grow, keeping a core kernel of the fundamental tenets of Christian Faith, whilst allowing a huge variety of rites, adapting itself quite naturally, I daresay almost organically, to the local cultures.
In the West, the journey of Christianity through two millennia, is just as remarkable, a dynamic Faith, preserving the core tenets of Christianity, whilst adapting to the variety of cultures and in Europe, a diverse array of Nation-States.
The Tenets of Christian Unity in Faith
When the Church Fathers got together in Nicaea, in the year 325 of the Christian Era [AD as it is usually known], the odds are they did not even suspect their CREED OF NICAEA would become such an important instrument of Shared Faith. In essence a theological synthesis of all the beliefs which constitute the Christian Faith, it was to become the Theological Root of the later NICENE-CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED, which in 381 AD was approved and remained for the next 1639 years – to-date – the Creed prayed by the Faithful of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Churches of the East, much of the Protestant Churches and Denominations, and practically all Independent Catholic Churches, including the Old Catholic, Old Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Apostolic, as well as the Liberal Catholics, the entire Anglican Churches and beyond. In other words, every Sunday roughly 90% of the three billion Christians share in common and pray in full Communion outloud all voices in one the very same Creed, stating the very same beliefs, words and fundamentals of the Christian Faith. Which means that, roughly, almost HALF of the World Population pronounces the Nicene Creed on a weekly basis, in Latin plus dozens and dozens of different languages and dialects. This is Communication with Heaven on a staggering scale! Forget modern Telecoms and High Speed Optical Fibre! What Christianity does on Sunday every single week, is astounding.