When began, it was one religion with one denomination.
Now it has grown into one of the main world religions with many different
denominations. Over the years, as one church split from another and
opposition became common, the beliefs began to change, though the core has
still remained. Fifteen of the most common Christian denominations follow,
with their similarities and differences exposed.
In all Christian churches certain rituals are present. However,
what they are called and how many are recognized tends to vary. Both ROMAN
and ORTHODOX CATHOLICS recognize seven sacraments. EPISCOPALIANS and
LUTHERANS accept only two sacraments officially, Baptism and Holy
Communion, but they recognize the other five "Catholic" sacraments as
special graces. Both the PRESBYTERIAN and REFORMED churches strictly
accept Baptism and Holy Communion as the only sacraments. METHODISTS,
NAZARENES, WESLEYANS, and ADVENTISTS, and members of the CHURCH OF CHRIST,
FULL GOSPEL CHURCH, ASSEMBLY OF GOD, and UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH also
accept only Baptism and Holy Communion, but refer to them as ordinances,
not sacraments. BAPTISTS also believe in these two ordinances, and they
very strongly resist the use of the term "sacrament."
Though all the Christian denominations practice Baptism, they
disagree on when they should do so. ROMAN CATHOLIC, EPISCOPALIAN, LUTHERAN,
PRESBYTERIAN, REFORMED, and METHODIST churches baptize both infants and
adult converts. Baptism is prior to Confirmation, which typically occurs
between the ages of 12 and 16. In the REFORMED CHURCH, Confirmation is
optional and very flexible. The ORTHODOX CATHOLICS, NAZARENES, WESLEYANS,
BAPTISTS, ADVENTISTS, and members of the CHURCH OF CHRIST, FULL GOSPEL
CHURCH, ASSEMBLY OF GOD, and UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH believe in Baptism
of believers only who have made a personal confession of faith. Both
EPISCOPALIANS and members of the UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH believe that
baptism indicates a finalization to the salvation process.
In Baptisms, there are several different modes that may be used:
sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. ROMAN CATHOLICS normally baptize by
pouring or immersion, but may occasionally sprinkle. To EPISCOPALIANS and
LUTHERANS the mode of Baptism does not matter. NAZARENES also may use all
three methods, but immersion is the most prevalent. PRESBYTERIANS
typically sprinkle but may use pouring. REFORMED and METHODIST churches
usually use sprinkling, but the other modes may be used. For ADVENTISTS,
WESLEYANS, and members of the CHURCH OF CHRIST and ASSEMBLY OF GOD, the
mode is usually immersion. Occasionally other methods might be used. The
ORTHODOX, FULL GOSPEL, and UNITED PENTECOSTAL churches baptize by
immersion only. BAPTISTS, too, use only immersion, which is one of the key
ingredients of the BAPTIST tradition.
Holy Communion is the other rite that all faiths have in common.
However, there are a variety of viewpoints on this topic also. Communion
is practiced most often, which is once a week, in the CHURCH OF CHRIST,
EPISCAPALEAN CHURCH, and the ROMAN and ORTHODOX CATHOLIC churches. The
other groups wait longer. ROMAN and ORTHODOX CATHOLICS and EPISCOPALIANS
believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are actually present in the
Eucharist. LUTHERANS, however, confess that the Body and Blood of Christ
are "in, with and under" the Elements but feel that the Body and Blood are
"present in" the Elements. PRESBYTERIANS strongly reject the Catholic
concept of the Elements being the actual Body and Blood of Christ and, like
REFORMED and METHODIST Christians, Communion is recognized as a "Holy
Sign." NAZARENES, WESLEYANS, BAPTISTS, and ADVENTISTS, as well as members
of the FULL GOSPEL CHURCH, CHURCH OF CHRIST, ASSEMBLY OF GOD, and UNITED
PENTECOSTAL CHURCH regard Communion as a remembrance and celebration of
Each denomination has its own set of rituals, most of which are
extremely diverse. ROMAN CATHOLICISM has a structured, liturgical form of
worship and ...