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Thread: Christian Denominations

  1. #1

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    Question Christian Denominations

    There are HEAPS of different denominations in Christianity these days and it's hard to make sense of how they are all different and how they are the same. Although I think we should all believe the same thing and there shouldn't really be different denominations I guess the positive is that it allows us to find a Church that fits our style. But that can be hard to find and it's kind of confusing. Since I've moved I don't really know what Church to go to or what the difference is between them. So I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread where people can share what denomination they are and why they like it as a resource for those who are feeling a little confused!! So maybe if we could answer some questions like:

    What denomination are you?
    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc).
    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    Is there anything you don't like?

    Hmm...ok that's all the questions I can think of atm, feel free to add more or share more. So whether you're Catholic/Anglican/Lutheran/Jehovah's Witness/Mormon/Eastern Orthodox/Church of God/Baptist (that's all I can think of) share your knowledge!!

    TIA,
    SaraJane


  2. #2

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    Well... its funny you should ask this, as we are going through some major changes atm in our family.

    Both DH & I have always not liked the generalisation of labelling a denomination. Generally the differences in denominations within Christianity have to do with style of worship, or certain aspects of theology. We were married in a Baptist church which prided itself on being very baptist. However, we have gone to other Baptist churches which have had different styles of worship, or teaching etc... same with other denominations (only mentioning Baptist because thats one of the ones we've been involved in ).

    Having said that... we may be changing BUT

    What denomination are you? Assemblies of God (watch this space :P)

    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc). I'm not entirely sure... (see above) BUT I believe being a pentacostal type of church it would be issues relating to the Holy Spirit & type of worship. We have a band which is small but like a band more than a worship band... its very loud & there are quite a few punk/hard core/fake emo types there.
    What do you like about your Denomination/Church? there is a lot of freedom in worship. I like the casual atmosphere. I love the "ideal" behind cell churches.
    Is there anything you don't like? I would love to see the church be less about itself & more about living the life with a community of support.

  3. #3

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    Thankyou for replying Christy!!
    Interesting about the 'punk/hard core/fake emo types' who would have thought!!
    Anyone else want to share too?

  4. #4

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    Hi SaraJane, I go to a Christian City Church which is pentacostal, a lot like an AOG. It is very similar to what Christy has described, but with a proper worship team, just like you'd see at Hillsong etc... I like our church because it is easy going and casual, a lot like DH & I! It is very family orientated too. The thing I don't like is that because it is such a large church it is hard to connect with people. The church has home groups, but it doesn't really suit us with out two boys right now so we don't go to one. Also, because it is so large, we have been going there for 4 years and still haven't met the pastor in person! That I DON'T like, I honestly prefer smaller churches where everyone knows everyone else.

    Sorry, I went a bit off track there, but I hope that kind of answers your questions!

  5. #5

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    What denomination are you? I was Christened Church of England (Anglican) but I have attended Catholic, Anglican, and Uniting Church services. I feel most comfortable within the Uniting Church and have become a regular member along with my children. I will be Christening them Uniting.

    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc). I don't really know enough about other Christian denominations to compare but from the little I know I find that the UC is the right blend of traditional and contemporary worship styles. The format of the Sunday service is traditional but not as formal as Catholic service. We sing traditional and modern versions of songs. Our minister makes sense of traditional bible readings by putting them into a modern context. His talk is always very relevant to current affairs and "real life" which is what I like. He also teaches of the traditions of other faiths... often sharing Jewish, Buddist, Islamic traditions and high-lighting the simularities of other faiths. I love this about the service and to me it explains why it is called the Uniting church as a sense of unity is encouraged.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church? As well as the above i also like that the church is very outward looking and inclusive to all people. This is one of the few Christian churches that allows women and gay people to hold leadership roles. I also like that they avoid worship in a hyped-up Evangelical manner... that style (personally) makes me feel uncomfortable. They also have a strong Children's program for Sunday school which is not just childcare. I help run the program at my church and the children have their own little "ceremonies" of lighting a small candle, saying a short prayer and singing our own songs using percussion instruments at every Sunday session as well as craft and story telling.

    Is there anything you don't like? I haven't encountered anything yet. But if I do I will come back and update!

  6. #6

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    I'm an Anglican (CoE).

    I dunno what sets us apart - a large, lively Church, runs loads of mid-week groups for Christians and non-Christians, very relaxed about our Faith, great worship bands, four Sunday services (8am quiet communion, 9.30 family service, 11.15 oldies service, same sermon as the 9.30 then 6.30 very lively youth-orientated (teen-parenthood, plus some older people) service.

    The differences I like are the set worships - I LOVE the Book of Common Prayer. I love the sung evensongs (which we don't do in my Church, but I still love them), the set responses, the fact that I can rely on those set prayers when I need to pray but can't find the words within me, I love the ritualistic part, it soothes me. As it was in the beginning, now and ever shall be, world without end Amen.

    Feel a bit sad now that there is less of that in my current Church, but there is still the ceremony! And the teaching is FANTASTIC - very relevent and real, something I can actually use.

    I don't like the type of late-middle-aged/just-past-the-menopause-and-need-to-make-your-life-a-bit-worse-too busybody woman the CoE tends to attract (had a run-in with one last week). That's my only gripe really.

  7. #7

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    Hi SaraJane great thread!

    What denomination are you? The church I go to is a Baptist church, but our Senior Pastor likes to say "we are a 'little b' Baptist, 'big c' Christian church" - meaning we are affiliated with the Baptist Union (it's important to have an identity, but also to be accountable to a larger organisation I think!) but we are more about the truths of Christianity than being caught up in traditions that might just be identified with the Baptist Church (I hope all that made sense!)
    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc). We have a very contemporary style of worship, (we have a band, lots of singers, and regularly introduce new songs) our teaching is 100% Bible based, but preached in a relevant mannor, we are community minded/outreach focused - lots of events to encourage new people to attend, and things that make non-church goers feel welcome and comfortable.
    What do you like about your Church? I love our church, everyone is so welcoming and non-judgemental! The Pastors are all very real and humble people, and even though it is a big church with many different congregations they make a real effort to know everybody. I also like that there is something for everyone, from single mums to teens to families and everything in-between!
    Is there anything you don't like? No, love it. Its home

    Hope that helps you!

    P.S I just realised I didn't say what is probably most important - I love the church I attend because everytime I go there, I meet with God, in a very real and personal way
    Last edited by sneakysparkle; January 22nd, 2008 at 08:17 PM. Reason: added most important info!

  8. #8

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    Thanks Trish, Bath, Ryn, and lovepeacejoy!!!!
    I hope others add to this thread!

  9. #9

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    What denomination are you?
    Brethren - not to be confused with Exclusive Brethren! I really think 'brethren' has less to do with who we are, because we base our decisions on the bible, and more to do with where we come from in regards to church history.

    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc).
    I think we try to be community/others focused, like Jesus is. We're pretty casual - though of course people have those pesky comfort zones that we seem to always fall back into. I can rock up in thongs, shorts and a singlet in summer and that's fine. We're pretty diverse in terms of membership, so there are people who push for change and people who resist it. We sing a mix of hymns (often words are changed so 'you' instead of 'thee') and newer songs.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    I guess that we try to be community minded. A lot depends on the pastor and their passions, and we're pastorless at the moment, so I know myself right now there seems to be a lack of drive/vision. Our last pastor was so enthusiastic about evangelism, it was easy to catch that and be motivated too.

    Is there anything you don't like?
    I guess cliques, which you'll find in any church - or any social group really! But I am probably part of one, and it's not from lack of caring, I'm just often busy chasing after Riv. So...I guess I can be the change I wish to see!
    And also people who nitpick and criticise - it's not mine to judge, but I do wonder where they're at with God - surely people in step with his Spirit and being obedient to Him couldn't be so divisive! It's much easier to tear down than build up - I wish that there was more unity and encouragement.
    (Once again, I bet I could be the change I wish to see here too. )

    So there's my 2cents.

  10. #10
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    What denomination are you?
    DW and I go to an Anglican church in Sydney at the moment but will probably start going to a Presbyterian church next year. This having become a Christian in the Uniting church, so I have moved around a bit. I make the Anglican/Sydney comment simply because even within denominations there are massive differences. Anglicans in Sydney worship differently and understand the Bible differently to Anglicans in Brisbane for example, generally speaking of course.
    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc).
    Good question? Not sure I know the answer to it for my current church, I think there are lots of other churches like it around. More generally, I think 2 things differentiate most denominations. How they structure their leadership and how they interpret the Bible. For those of us sitting in the pews the leadership generally isn't a major issue. The main issue in the pews is how the Bible is interpretted and the impact that has on peoples beliefs about Baptism, women ministers/priests, role of the Holy Spirit and so on.
    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    The church I go to at the moment is very Bible focussed and interprets it quite literally. I like that. I am fairly indifferent about music so whether it is loud and long, traditional, 1 organ or 15 people doesn't worry me too much. I like churches that are practical in their teaching, there is no point teaching the Bible if you can't apply it to peoples lives, and our current church does that well, but equally I don't think there is much point telling people how to live if it isn't based on what the Bible says, that is the difficult balance to reach.
    Is there anything you don't like?
    We are at a church at the moment (and have been there for 1 year) where people have known each other for years and years, and so DW and I have found it quite hard to get to know people well. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming but we have found it difficult to establish deeper relationships than that because, I think, everyone there already has quite deep friendships with each other. That is about the only thing we have found difficult.

    As for which church you should go to my advice is ignore the label on the front, find one that has that good balance in its Bible teaching between being bible focussed and applied to your life. And find one where the people seem to be living how you expect Christians should live (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control).

    Hope that helps. I look forward to reading more in this forum.

  11. #11

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    Smile

    What denomination are you? I go to a non-denominational church that is very similar in style and approach as a Sydney Anglican church like Tim wrote about. (But we are in Qld).
    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc). I think the key thing that differentiates our church is our approach to the Bible and evangelism. We believe that the Bible is God's word to us and should be systematically and rigourously studied and applied to our daily lives. As such it is key part of our gatherings, our small group and how we determine how God would have us live. Also we believe that it is only through believing in Jesus' death and ressurection as payment for the right penalty for sin that people can know God. So evangelism is important.
    What do you like about your Denomination/Church? I like the sincerity and love of my fellow Christians there. I also like the transperancy of the teaching. Everyone has the Bible open and we are free to question and discuss what the Pastor has taught. There is always a clear link between what the pastor teaches and what's in the Bible. There is also a fairly flat structure with no one having more "power" or authority than others.
    Is there anything you don't like? Hmm... sometimes there are some difficulty people to love. Also I don't think our church does enough for the poor and homeless but we are starting to work on that aspect. My mother always told me "If ever I find a perfect church, it won't be perfect once I've joined it". I think it's good to remember that a church is a gathering of sinners, albeit forgiven sinners. We shouldn't expect others to behave perfectly, but to be willing to forgive them and encourage them in godliness and good works.

  12. #12

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    I know this was ages ago, but I just found it and thought I'd post!


    What denomination are you?
    I am a Jehovah's Witness

    What differentiates your Church from others?
    I think the main one is that we preach from door to door, but there are other differences - we don't believe in the Trinity, and we don't accept blood transfusions etc...

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    It just makes so much sense to me, and I figure that even if it turns out to not be true (thats on my cynical days!), it's still a great way to live morality-wise, and I have a wonderful hope for the future that gets me through even the toughest of times!

    Is there anything you don't like?
    At times I have been in different congregations that aren't very friendly to newcomers - I understand that I'm different to people who aren't Witnesses, but I shouldn't have any problem talking to people who ARE Witnesses. Having said that, our new congregation is just beautiful, so friendly and caring, its given us such a spirituality boost!

  13. #13

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    I know this is old but I thought I would do it anyways!!

    What denomination are you? Baptist (Independant)

    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc).
    I guess there are quite a few things that would make our church "stand" out. We are bible believing meaning that we take the word of God literally in many ways. We are independant from other baptist churches so not a member of the baptist union, we believe that each church should be autonomous run by the members. We are also KJV only meaning that the only bible preached from is the KJV, you are free to use your own version but the church as a whole is KJV only. We have no female preacher or leaders. Ladies teach the children but that is it. We use hymnals for worship. Most of the ladies are skirts/dresses only and modest in dress. Most ladies also have long hair. The men wear shirts ties and pants. So I guess you could say it appears quite formal. But as our pastor says each Sunday we are there to Lift up Christ and Love others and this is something I believe we do.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    All of it! I love the sense of community and fellowship and the fact that we are such a new church and DH and I are "founding" members that is special. I love that I always come home refreshed for the week and wanting to know God more. I love watching my husband serve the church.

    Is there anything you don't like?
    I guess if I had to pick one thing it would be that people are quick to judge as soon as you say you are a fundamental baptist. All it means it we are bible believing but it sounds bad!!

  14. #14

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    just subscribing, im to tired to read everything but very facainating thread and ill read tomorrow

  15. #15

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    Default Sydney Anglican

    What denomination are you?
    I grew up in the Uniting Church, went to a non-denominational church taht then became Anglican and am now at the Anglican Cathedral in Sydney.

    What differentiates your Church from others? (e.g. different beliefs/style of worship, etc).
    I think it's probably more what differentiates them from us Most denominations split off from the Anglican church (and then from each other) so Anglicans have a lot in common with most denominations. We believe God created the world, that we are all sinful and reject God, that Jesus is God's son and was sent into the world to die for our sins, setting us right with God if we trust in him and live with him as our saviour and Lord.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    It focuses on teaching the Bible, and sharing the good news that Jesus was sent to restore us into relationship with God. People really care about each other and you feel part of a family.

    Is there anything you don't like?
    It makes me sad that some Anglican churches don't teach that the Bible is true: watering it down and skipping the tough bits.

  16. #16

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    What denomination are you? I am Roman Catholic

    What differentiates your Church from others?
    I don't see us as that different to other Christian doctrines but I know we are seen as very different. Because we have saints and hold Mary as a sacred soul we are often criticised and scorned by other Christian religions. I can see where the big issue with this is, the fact we wear holy medals that are not purely of Christ or the Spirit and that we also pray to the patron saints and how this clashes with the first commandment. I do not see that the saints answer our prayers, our prayers can only be answered by god but I feel that Mary and the saints act as a chanel to god. I know this is likely to upset some readers and I am sorry. Our masses (services) are very traditional and until recently had always been conducted in Latin. Catholics are christened close to birth and in many ways we are brainwashed into our faith with catholic schooling. Priests hear confession and "forgive us our sins". I do not think anyone other than the father can forgive our sins and confession is more about me unburdening my guilt to another person.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church?
    I love the tradition of our mass. I love the ritual and the routine. I love the prescribed fasts for some freasts. I love the joy of our traditional music. I love a sung mass, although not many churches still do this. I enjoy our sometimes contradictory dogma.

    Is there anything you don't like?

    There are many things I do not like about my church. I do not like the rejection of homosexuals as sinners. I do not like the subserviant nature women have to take in the church. I do not like the outlawing of contraception. I do not like to be told what I can and can't read or watch, surely I am adult enough to watch something objectively and form my own opinions of it, even if they do challenge my faith.

  17. #17

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    As i see it the major differences between the denominations revolve around 3 major areas: 1. theology; 2. system of church government; 3. style of worship. For example, there is very little difference between the (Sydney) Anglicans and the Presbyterians, apart from church government (ie theology and style of worship is pretty much the same, but leadership is chosen/organised in a different way). There is quite a large difference in theology between the Uniting Church and the Presbyterians, as the remaining Presbyterians are the ones who did not join into the Union in the 70's or 80's or whenever it was. A lot of Baptists tend not to be Calvinists (ie they don't believe in predestination), Pentecostal churches have more of a focus on the work of the Holy Spirit than denominations like (Sydney) Anglicans or Presbyterians.

    BUT - individual churches within denominations vary quite dramatically too, often due to the beliefs of the minister or the traditions of the members etc. And then you can have changes within the SAME congregation over a number of years - the church we just left used to have a great, enthusisatic band with drums etc, but in the last 5 years the music has gone backward and they use the organ a lot more, and no more drums Basically I think the label gives you a general idea of theology/style of worship but you really need to investigate individual churches to see what thy're on about!

    We have just changed churches, so i don't want to comment more than generally as I have, otherwise it'll turn into a whinge fest about my old church and an enthusiastic raving on about my new church!

  18. #18

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    Great thread.

    What denomination are you? I was christened uniting, attended a Gospel Chapel as a child, and have been attending a 'Church of Christ' for the last year.

    What differentiates your Church from others? Outreach programs in the local community as well as overseas - missions to Zimbabwe and India. Also founded their own school so very active there. It is a bible believing church.

    What do you like about your Denomination/Church? Modern music (some old stuff but mainly new), relatable sermons, not too charasmatic which has made me feel uncomfortable at other congregations.

    Is there anything you don't like? Tithing. I just dont believe in giving 10% of your earnings - donating some money yes but not a set 10% COC also dont support homosexuality which I struggle with but it doesn't come up too often. I've also found people to be quite clique which is really difficult. Being a young couple I thought we would fit in easily and make friends but it hasn't happened at all.

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