Denomination: A religious body originating as a Christian movement or sect and generally classified as a Christian body regardless of its doctrinal orthodoxy.
– Source: “A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy Part One: The Case For Doctrinal Discernment” (an article from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, page 28) by Robert M. Bowman.
[T]here are thousands of different denominational and independent Christian churches who, for the most part, agree on the basic fundamentals of Christ, but who maintain their separate groups for relatively minor issues. They may not agree on all other matters of doctrine, interpretation, traditions, or the special emphasis placed on certain beliefs.
A denomination is a cluster of separate congregations, which have unified together due to their agreement on certain issues, and perhaps due to their disagreement with the viewpoints of other churches or denominations.
According to Church Historian, Dr. Bruce E. Shelley, the original usage of the term “denomination” actually stood for unity, not division. It was used to describe cooperation with other churches without compromise of fundamental convictions. […full article…]
– Source: From the book, “What People Ask About The Church,” by Dale A. Robbins.
In the early 1500s, a German monk named Martin Luther was so conscious of his sins that he spent up to six hours in the confessional. Through study of the Scriptures he found that salvation didn’t come through anything he did, but simply through trusting in the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. He listed the contradictions between what the Scriptures said and what his church taught, and nailed his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther became the first to “protest” against the Roman church, and thus he became the father of the Protestant church.
Since that split, there have been many disagreements about how much water one should baptize with, how to sing what and why, who should govern who, etc., causing thousands of splinter groups. Many of these groups are convinced that they alone are right. These have become known as Protestant “denominations.”
Despite the confusion, these churches subscribe to certain foundational beliefs such as the deity, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). Thomas Jefferson once wrote of a preacher, Richard Mote, who “exclaimed aloud to his congregation that he did not believe there was a Quaker, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Baptist in heaven, having paused to give his hearers time to stare and to wonder. He added that, in heaven, God knew no distinctions.”
– Source: Excerpt from The Evidence Bible
Next page: Why are there so many different churches?