38,000 christian sects

Discuss whatever you want here ... movies, books, recipes, politics, beer, wine, TV ... everything except classical music.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
smitty1931
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:23 pm

38,000 christian sects

Post by smitty1931 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:09 am

Isn't it marvelous that the 4 Gospels can be interpreted in such a variety. Is everyone reading the same thing?

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26781
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:29 pm

That sounds as though someone is counting every independent unaffiliated church as a separate "sect." While there is considerable variety in Christendom, there is nothing like 38,000 distinct interpretations of the New Testament. If you discount the almost cut-from-the-whole-cloth American sects of the 19th century, whose founders intended them to be based on brand-new beliefs never before espoused in Christianity, most of Christendom falls into three subsystems of belief and practice: Old line Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which are divided mainly over jurisdictional issues; mainstream liberal Protestantism, which in its modern form has almost no doctrinal differentiation and is divided mainly on the basis of ecclesiological tradition; and Christian evangelical fundamentalism, which is a weird combination of a couple of large denominations and a very large number of independent and loosely-affiliated churches. A few denominations, including the Anglicans and the Baptists, blur the lines between these divisions. Notable groups that do not quite fit into that scheme include the Anabaptists (Mennonites and Amish), the Quakers, and the Unitarians to the extent that the last can be called Christian at all anymore. But none of this splintering amounts to thousands of meaningful divisions.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

absinthe
Posts: 3581
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:13 pm
Location: UK

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by absinthe » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:That sounds as though someone is counting every independent unaffiliated church as a separate "sect."
Yeah. Some kind of sects-maniac....

:mrgreen:

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26781
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:28 pm

absinthe wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:That sounds as though someone is counting every independent unaffiliated church as a separate "sect."
Yeah. Some kind of sects-maniac....

:mrgreen:
Of course, I can't vouch for India, where there may be that many IN-sects.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

RebLem
Posts: 9084
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 1:06 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA 87112, 2 blocks west of the Breaking Bad carwash.
Contact:

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by RebLem » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:32 pm

jbuck919 wrote:That sounds as though someone is counting every independent unaffiliated church as a separate "sect." While there is considerable variety in Christendom, there is nothing like 38,000 distinct interpretations of the New Testament. If you discount the almost cut-from-the-whole-cloth American sects of the 19th century, whose founders intended them to be based on brand-new beliefs never before espoused in Christianity, most of Christendom falls into three subsystems of belief and practice: Old line Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which are divided mainly over jurisdictional issues; mainstream liberal Protestantism, which in its modern form has almost no doctrinal differentiation and is divided mainly on the basis of ecclesiological tradition; and Christian evangelical fundamentalism, which is a weird combination of a couple of large denominations and a very large number of independent and loosely-affiliated churches. A few denominations, including the Anglicans and the Baptists, blur the lines between these divisions. Notable groups that do not quite fit into that scheme include the Anabaptists (Mennonites and Amish), the Quakers, and the Unitarians to the extent that the last can be called Christian at all anymore. But none of this splintering amounts to thousands of meaningful divisions.
You forgot the Hutterites, who were down to 400 when they found homes in the US and Canada. Today, there are about 42,000 of them.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:59 pm

the hutterites hardly matter, but there are sizeable contingents of conservative historic protestant churches that have separated from the more liberal mainline denominations such as the PCA, WELS, Missouri Synod Lutherans, etc.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26781
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:01 am

BWV 1080 wrote:the hutterites hardly matter, but there are sizeable contingents of conservative historic protestant churches that have separated from the more liberal mainline denominations such as the PCA, WELS, Missouri Synod Lutherans, etc.
Those churches are all evangelical fundamentalist. For that matter there are break-off Anglican/Episcopal denominations that are fundamentalist, though they are not well known. I was trying to categorize the divisions by overall character rather than historical relationship with a church that long ago moved past biblical literalism.

People like myself who grew up Catholic are used to the idea of monolithic denominations, but sectarian splitting is the rule in many instances. I mentioned the Amish as though they were a homogeneous group, but in fact they are fractured over the tiniest things, and identify their many sub-groups by something as subtle as the dresses and bonnets of their women. None of this should keep us from describing Christianity empirically from its gross ontological differences.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
Posts: 13952
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by lennygoran » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:15 am

jbuck919 wrote: Those churches are all evangelical fundamentalist.
I saw a pretty good History channel Show a few days ago on Appalachia--one scary segment dealt with the snake handlers--the footage made me even more nervous about religion than I usually am! :) They're still legal in West Virginia!

"And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)"

Regards, Len

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26781
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:30 am

lennygoran wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: Those churches are all evangelical fundamentalist.
I saw a pretty good History channel Show a few days ago on Appalachia--one scary segment dealt with the snake handlers--the footage made me even more nervous about religion than I usually am! :) They're still legal in West Virginia!

"And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)"

Regards, Len
The spiritist traditions (for want of a better term) such as charismatic pentecostalism and (ugh) snake handling cults are another phenomenon I didn't mention, but they are also an offshoot of Bible fundamentalism (not always accepted by "mainstream" fundamentalists).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

lennygoran
Posts: 13952
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by lennygoran » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:54 am

jbuck919 wrote:(ugh) snake handling .
And there was more snake handling just yesterday--the second segment of PBS's Inside Nature's Giants--Monster Python--body parts were strewn all over the table! :) No fundamentalist religion but definitely veterinary scientist Mark Evans, comparative anatomist Joy Reidenberg, biologist Simon Watt and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins !

http://www.pbs.org/programs/inside-natures-giants/

Regards, Len

david johnson
Posts: 1452
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:04 am
Location: ark/mo

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by david johnson » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:17 pm

who found the 38.000 number??

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:20 pm

david johnson wrote:who found the 38.000 number??
its pretty widespread, alot of Catholic apologists harp on it

david johnson
Posts: 1452
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:04 am
Location: ark/mo

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by david johnson » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:50 am

i still wonder who sat around and counted that up...and how/when.

Dennis Spath
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Tyler, Texas

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by Dennis Spath » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:06 pm

I just spent over two hours reading through a Wikipedia overview of "Gnosticism" and its myriad manifestations before, during, and after the first few hundred years of early Christianianity. When you finish an exercise like this it's quite easy to understand how and why so many micro-level sectarian differences occur within larger associations of the Protestant movement in the U.S. While eight branches of Christianity accept of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea as a common reference point (rejection of heresies, adopting the Vulgate Bible and its New Testament Canon), Church Pastors of the same denomination are continuously squabbling over focus and the manner in which scripture passages are to be interpreted.....and where a Pastors' charisma easily develops a cult of personality more attractive than the theological principles of any denomination. This seems especially true among Evangelicals, as one may witness on Television every Sunday here in the South.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

smitty1931
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:23 pm

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by smitty1931 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:31 pm

Thank you for backing up my original statement, which I found in a book on Theology. I always liked Tyler and almost retired there because of the beautiful rose gardens. My grandfather was a minister in the Church of Christ in Paris Texas. Good wishes, Smitty

Dennis Spath
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Tyler, Texas

Re: 38,000 christian sects

Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:55 pm

smitty1931 wrote:Isn't it marvelous that the 4 Gospels can be interpreted in such a variety. Is everyone reading the same thing?
Excellent question Smitty! When I returned to Tyler as a retiree in the year 2000 I read a great deal, and since I'd been researching the history of the Bible.....origins and content of the New Testament in particular.....wondered how it could be interpreted so many different ways. I did some research on the web and settled on four different translations including; an old King James Version, the annotated Oxford Bible, a then recent translation acceptable to both Catholics and Mainline Protestants, and another I picked at random from the library shelves.

I read the same chapter and verse in each Bible, one after the other, in the same sitting several verses at a time noting differences....if any. In several instances I found significant differences in the wording, and saw how easy it was for someone to come up with a different emphasis/meaning for the same passages. Many times I had to reread a given chapter over again in each Bible because the differences were so confusing....which I guess is why Preachers often spend an hour or more "Teaching" his version of God's Word for the congregation! The project took several months, and it became apparent to me what one got out of it was related to what one brought to the reading.

Karen Armstrong has written some books illuminating the history of the Bible.....which strip away the mystery of how "God's Word" came into being over the years, beginning with a written Torah circa 500 BC. codifying the oral history of the Jews. The last place to get an objective history of the Bible/Christianity IMO is to be found in the various Sectarian Schools of Theology, which are in the business of justifying why their version of Christianity is superior to others.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests