2014 Editors Note: this article was from our old site prior to the launch of Church Finder and the new FindMyChurch.com.
If you want to find out more about specific denominations please see our List of Christian Denominations – many with profiles and links to the official denomination website for more detailed research.
Using Church Finder to Find Local Churches By Denomination
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Within Christianity there are a range of different churches which are better known as denominations. Each of these denominations has slightly different values and beliefs in regards to Christianity – although they all have the Holy Bible at the center of their beliefs. Essentially they all have different interpretations of the Bible and as such teach different values at church.
In this guide we shall look at some of the most popular and common type of Christian churches and some of their beliefs…
Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is by far the most prominent in the world accounting for approximately one sixth of the world’s population and over 75 percent of Christians in the USA.
The Roman Catholic Church is run by the Pope and it identifies its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity.
Within the Roman Catholic global community not only are there thousands of churches but a huge network of Catholic schools, hospitals, universities and missions.
The Catholic Church believes itself to be the original church that was founded by Jesus and his Apostles and that their bishops are successors of the apostles through apostolic succession.
The Roman Catholic Church dates back almost two thousand years and as such has played a vital role in the shaping of Western society.
While the Roman Catholic church has the largest number of worldwide members, in recent years it has undergone criticism for its outdated teachings on abortion, euthanasia, birth control and sexual ethics.
The Lutheran Church is a sub-denomination of Protestantism and is one of the major churches of Christianity in the USA. The church bases its teachings on those of the 16th century German reformist – Martin Luther.
Due to Martin Luther’s views and disagreements over the doctrine of Justification – the Roman Catholic church split apart from the Lutheran church to become two now very separate churches.
The Lutheran church maintains a very traditional view of Christianity and retains many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the early Church, prior to the reformation.
The central teaching of the Lutheran church is Justification. They believe that humans are saved from their sins by God’s grace alone and through faith alone. They are Trinitarians meaning that they believe there are three people making up the trinity – the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
Restorationist church is based on the belief that that a purer form of Christianity should be restored by way of using the early church as a model to base it on.
While some “restorationist” churches are Christian churches, be careful when you see a church using the term “restorationist”. This church might be part of an entirely different religion than Christianity. One non-Christian religion claiming to follow Restorationism is the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints – otherwise known as Mormons. They believe that Joseph Smith Jr. was the person chosen to restore the church back to how it was in the early days of the religion as founded by Jesus rather than reform to a modern church. Although they use the Bible, their interpretations of it are very different than any other Christian group, and for this and other reasons the Church of Latter Day Saints is not considered to be a Christian denomination.
This is a large topic and cannot be covered in depth here, but if you believe in the Bible and are considering a Mormon church, ask yourself 2 questions: If the Bible was written 2,000 years ago and is God’s Word, do I really think that 1800 years passed before God revealed the “real truth” of the Bible to one man? Does it even make sense that God waited 1800 years and then chose one man – Joseph Smith Jr – to start a new religion in 1830, and that new religion has real truth of the Bible – not Christianity?
The final type of Christian church we shall look at today is the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian church communion in the world with approximately 225 million members worldwide.
The goal of the Orthodox church is to draw yourself continually closer to God – right from the time of Baptism as an infant. The process of becoming closer to God is called theosis – and each member of the church strives to become more “Christ like” throughout their lifetime.
They believe in the Trinity and they believe that Jesus Christ was both God and Man and that he was born, lived and died.
An interesting belief of Orthodox Christians is that when a person dies the soul is temporarily separated from the body. They believe that after this separation it lingers for a while until it is sent either to paradise or the darkness of Hades – this follows the temporary Judgment. The Final Judgment is when the soul and the body will reunite.
More information about specific denominations is available on the List of Christian Denominations