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30,000 Protestant Denominations?
Calvary Press ^ | 2002 | Eric Svendsen

Posted on 03/31/2004 10:31:28 AM PST by HarleyD

Due to popular request and to the ongoing distortion of figures from uninformed Roman Catholic apologists writing on this issue, I am posting the following excerpt from my forthcoming book, Upon This Slippery Rock (Calvary Press, 2002).

Throughout this book we have examined the Roman Catholic apologist’s primary argument against sola Scriptura and Protestantism; namely, that sola Scriptura produces doctrinal anarchy as is witnessed in the 25,000 Protestant denominations extant today. We have all along assumed the soundness of the premise that in fact there are 25,000 Protestant denominations; and we have shown that—even if this figure is correct—the Roman Catholic argument falls to the ground since it compares apples to oranges. We have just one more little detail to address before we can close; namely, the correctness of the infamous 25,000-Protestant-denominations figure itself.

When this figure first surfaced among Roman Catholic apologists, it started at 20,000 Protestant denominations, grew to 23,000 Protestant denominations, then to 25,000 Protestant denominations. More recently, that figure has been inflated to 28,000, to over 32,000. These days, many Roman Catholic apologists feel content simply to calculate a daily rate of growth (based on their previous adherence to the original benchmark figure of 20,000) that they can then use as a basis for projecting just how many Protestant denominations there were, or will be, in any given year. But just where does this figure originate?

I have posed this question over and over again to many different Roman Catholic apologists, none of whom were able to verify the source with certainty. In most cases, one Roman Catholic apologist would claim he obtained the figure from another Roman Catholic apologist. When I would ask the latter Roman Catholic apologist about the figure, it was not uncommon for that apologist to point to the former apologist as his source for the figure, creating a circle with no actual beginning. I have long suspected that, whatever the source might be, the words “denomination” and “Protestant” were being defined in a way that most of us would reject.

I have only recently been able to locate the source of this figure. I say the source because in fact there is only one source that mentions this figure independently. All other secondary sources (to which Roman Catholics sometimes make appeal) ultimately cite the same original source. That source is David A. Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World A.D. 1900—2000 (ed. David A. Barrett; New York: Oxford University Press, 1982). This work is both comprehensive and painstakingly detailed; and its contents are quite enlightening. However, the reader who turns to this work for validation of the Roman Catholic 25,000-Protestant-denomination argument will be sadly disappointed. What follows is a synopsis of what Barrett’s work in this area really says.

First, Barrett, writing in 1982, does indeed cite a figure of 20,780 denominations in 1980, and projects that there would be as many as 22,190 denominations by 1985. This represents an increase of approximately 270 new denominations each year (Barrett, 17). What the Roman Catholic who cites this figure does not tell us (most likely because he does not know) is that most of these denominations are non-Protestant.

Barrett identifies seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” under which these 22,190 distinct denominations fall (Barrett, 14-15): (1) Roman Catholicism, which accounts for 223 denominations; (2) Protestant, which accounts for 8,196 denominations; (3) Orthodox, which accounts for 580 denominations; (4) Non-White Indigenous, which accounts for 10,956 denominations; (5) Anglican, which accounts for 240 denominations; (6) Marginal Protestant, which includes Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, New Age groups, and all cults (Barrett, 14), and which accounts for 1,490 denominations; and (7) Catholic (Non-Roman), which accounts for 504 denominations.

According to Barrett’s calculations, there are 8,196 denominations within Protestantism—not 25,000 as Roman Catholic apologists so cavalierly and carelessly claim. Barrett is also quick to point out that one cannot simply assume that this number will continue to grow each year; hence, the typical Roman Catholic projection of an annual increase in this number is simply not a given. Yet even this figure is misleading; for it is clear that Barrett defines “distinct denominations” as any group that might have a slightly different emphasis than another group (such as the difference between a Baptist church that emphasizes hymns, and another Baptist church that emphasizes praise music).

No doubt the same Roman Catholic apologists who so gleefully cite the erroneous 25,000-denominations figure, and who might with just as much glee cite the revised 8,196-denominations figure, would reel at the notion that there might actually be 223 distinct denominations within Roman Catholicism! Yet that is precisely the number that Barrett cites for Roman Catholicism. Moreover, Barrett indicates in the case of Roman Catholicism that even this number can be broken down further to produce 2,942 separate “denominations”—and that was only in 1970! In that same year there were only 3,294 Protestant denominations; a difference of only 352 denominations. If we were to use the Roman Catholic apologist’s method to “project” a figure for the current day, we could no doubt postulate a number upwards of 8,000 Roman Catholic denominations today! Hence, if Roman Catholic apologists want to argue that Protestantism is splintered into 8,196 “bickering” denominations, then they must just as readily admit that their own ecclesial system is splintered into at least 2,942 bickering denominations (possibly as many as 8,000). If, on the other hand, they would rather claim that among those 2,942+ (perhaps 8,000?) Roman Catholic denominations there is “unity,” then they can have no objection to the notion that among the 8,196 Protestant denominations there is also unity.

In reality, Barrett indicates that what he means by “denomination” is any ecclesial body that retains a “jurisdiction” (i.e., semi-autonomy). As an example, Baptist denominations comprise approximately 321 of the total Protestant figure. Yet the lion’s share of Baptist denominations are independent, making them (in Barrett’s calculation) separate denominations. In other words, if there are ten Independent Baptist churches in a given city, even though all of them are identical in belief and practice, each one is counted as a separate denomination due to its autonomy in jurisdiction. This same principle applies to all independent or semi-independent denominations. And even beyond this, all Independent Baptist denominations are counted separately from all other Baptist denominations, even though there might not be a dime’s worth of difference among them. The same principle is operative in Barrett’s count of Roman Catholic denominations. He cites 194 Latin-rite denominations in 1970, by which Barrett means separate jurisdictions (or diocese). Again, a distinction is made on the basis of jurisdiction, rather than differing beliefs and practices.

However Barrett has defined “denomination,” it is clear that he does not think of these as major distinctions; for that is something he reserves for another category. In addition to the seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” (mentioned above), Barrett breaks down each of these traditions into smaller units that might have significant differences (what he calls “major ecclesiastical traditions,” and what we might normally call a true denomination) (Barrett, 14). Referring again to our seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” (mentioned above, but this time in reverse order): For (1) Catholic (Non-Roman), there are four traditions, including Catholic Apostolic, Reformed Catholic, Old Catholic, and Conservative Catholic; for (2) Marginal Protestants, there are six traditions; for (3) Anglican, there are six traditions; for (4) Non-White Indigenous, which encompasses third-world peoples (among whom can be found traces of Christianity mixed with the major tenets of their indigenous pagan religions), there are twenty traditions, including a branch of Reformed Catholic and a branch of Conservative Catholic; for (5) Orthodox, there are nineteen traditions; for (6) Protestant, there are twenty-one traditions; and for (7) Roman Catholic, there are sixteen traditions, including Latin-rite local, Latin-rite catholic, Latin/Eastern-rite local, Latin/Eastern-rite catholic, Syro-Malabarese, Ukrainian, Romanian, Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Ruthenian, Hungarian, plural Oriental rites, Syro-Malankarese, Slovak, and Coptic. It is important to note here that Barrett places these sixteen Roman Catholic traditions (i.e., true denominations) on the very same level as the twenty-one Protestant traditions (i.e., true denominations). In other words, the true count of real denominations within Protestantism is twenty-one, whereas the true count of real denominations within Roman Catholic is sixteen. Combined with the other major ecclesiastical blocs, that puts the total number of actual denominations in the world at ninety-two—obviously nowhere near the 23,000 or 25,000 figure that Roman Catholic apologists constantly assert—and that figure of ninety-two denominations includes the sixteen denominations of Roman Catholicism (Barrett, 15)! Barrett goes on to note that this figure includes all denominations with a membership of over 100,000. There are an additional sixty-four denominations worldwide, distributed among the seven major ecclesiastical blocs.

As we have shown, the larger figures mentioned earlier (8,196 Protestant denominations and perhaps as many as 8,000 Roman Catholic denominations) are based on jurisdiction rather than differing beliefs and practice. Obviously, neither of those figures represents a true denominational distinction. Hence, Barrett’s broader category (which we have labeled true denominations) of twenty-one Protestant denominations and sixteen Roman Catholic denominations represents a much more realistic calculation.

Moreover, Barrett later compares Roman Catholicism to Evangelicalism, which is a considerably smaller subset of Protestantism (so far as the number of denominations is concerned), and which is really the true category for those who hold to sola Scriptura (most Protestant denominations today, being liberal denominations and thereby dismissing the authority of the Bible, do not hold to sola Scriptura, except perhaps as a formality). Any comparison that the Roman Catholic apologist would like to make between sola Scriptura as the guiding principle of authority, and Rome as the guiding principle of authority (which we have demonstrated earlier is a false comparison in any case), needs to compare true sola Scriptura churches (i.e., Evangelicals) to Rome, rather than all Protestant churches to Rome. An Evangelical, as defined by Barrett, is someone who is characterized by (1) a personal conversion experience, (2) a reliance upon the Bible as the sole basis for faith and living, (3) an emphasis on evangelism, and (4) a conservative theology (Barrett, 71). Interestingly, when discussing Evangelicals Barrett provides no breakdown, but rather treats them as one homogeneous group. However, when he addresses Roman Catholics on the very same page, he breaks them down into four major groups: (1) Catholic Pentecostals (Roman Catholics involved in the organized Catholic Charismatic Renewal); (2) Christo-Pagans (Latin American Roman Catholics who combine folk-Catholicism with traditional Amerindian paganism); (3) Evangelical Catholics (Roman Catholics who also regard themselves as Evangelicals); and (4) Spiritist Catholics (Roman Catholics who are active in organized high or low spiritism, including syncretistic spirit-possession cults). And of course, we all know that this list can be supplemented by distinctions between moderate Roman Catholics (represented by almost all Roman Catholic scholars), Conservative Roman Catholics (represented by Scott Hahn and most Roman Catholic apologists), Traditionalist Roman Catholics (represented by apologist Gerry Matatics), and Sedevacantist Roman Catholics (those who believe the chair of Peter is currently vacant).

In any case, once we inquire into the source of the infamous 25,000-Protestant-denomination figure one point becomes crystal clear. Whenever and at whatever point Barrett compares true denominations and differences among either Protestants or Evangelicals to those of Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism emerges almost as splintered as Protestantism, and even more splintered than Evangelicalism. That levels the playing field significantly. Whatever charge of “doctrinal chaos” Roman Catholic apologists wish to level against Protestantism may be leveled with equal force—and perhaps even greater force—against the doctrinal chaos of Roman Catholicism. Obviously, the Roman Catholic apologist can take little comfort in the fact that he has only sixteen denominations while Protestantism has twenty-one; and he can take even less comfort in the fact that while Evangelicalism has no divisional breakdown, Roman Catholicism has at least four major divisions.

If the Roman Catholic apologist wants instead to cite 8,196 idiosyncrasies within Protestantism, then he must be willing to compare that figure to at least 2,942 (perhaps upwards of 8,000 these days) idiosyncrasies within Roman Catholicism. In any case, he cannot compare the one ecclesial tradition of Roman Catholicism to 25,000, 8,196, or even twenty-one Protestant denominations; for Barrett places Roman Catholicism (as a single ecclesial tradition) on the same level as Protestantism (as a single ecclesial tradition).

In short, Roman Catholic apologists have hurriedly, carelessly—and, as a result, irresponsibly—glanced at Barrett’s work, found a large number (22,189), and arrived at all sorts of absurdities that Barrett never concluded. One can only hope that, upon reading this critique, Roman Catholic apologists will finally put this argument to bed. The more likely scenario, however, is that the death of this argument will come about only when Evangelicals consistently point out this error—and correct it—each time it is raised by a Roman Catholic apologist. Sooner or later they will grow weary of the embarrassment that accompanies citing erroneous figures in a public forum.


TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian
KEYWORDS: denominations; protestant
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I've often heard this number (or something like it) used. Enlightening article.
1 posted on 03/31/2004 10:31:29 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: HarleyD
So you concede there are 20,000+ protestant denominations! Ha! /sarcasm
2 posted on 03/31/2004 10:39:17 AM PST by Frapster (Goofball extraordinaire.)
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; RnMomof7; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; ...
Pinging the Elect for your interest.
3 posted on 03/31/2004 10:43:02 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
Good article and we apologize

Now how about Catholic bashers apologizing for accusing Catholics of 'worshipping Mary' and worshipping "idols'

Everyone needs some edification sometimes

God bless!
4 posted on 03/31/2004 10:54:22 AM PST by franky (Pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Pray for our own souls to receive the grace of a happy)
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To: HarleyD
Wonderful refutation, Harley.

And the truth would be even less of a target if more Protestants followed Calvin's horizontal hierarchy of ecclesiastical responsibility.

Those bellicose Baptists always screw-up the curve. 8~)

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." -- Matthew 7:14

5 posted on 03/31/2004 11:11:50 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: franky; HarleyD
Apologize my foot! I like having that "30,000" figure around when I'm losing an argument!

Hehe.

So what did they whittle it down to? I guess I'll be forced to go with that.

6 posted on 03/31/2004 11:14:55 AM PST by AAABEST (<a href="http://www.angelqueen.org">Traditional Catholicism is Back and Growing</a>)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Wonderful Refutation ????? Excuse me while I laugh .... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah!!!

Firstly "hey, I wrote this and it's in my upcoming book therefore it must be true" .... does not mean your figures are any more worthy of belief than anyone elses.

Secondly, your definition of a protestant is very different from a Catholic definition. There is ONE True Church .... If you are not a Roman Catholic, and still profess to be a Christian, then you are in protest against The True Church and are a protestant.

So how many of them there "religions" are there?? Oh, sorry it's not 25,000 but actually 22,748?? I see ... that totally disproves the point that if something about your religion doesn't suit you, just change it and start your own protestant religion. 275 new "religions" a year??? Some protestant religions that ordain clergy by e-mail as long as you send your $25 in??? Mainstream protestant clergy that refuse to vote against abortion??? Ordain openly Homosexual ministers??? I don't know how you guys can take yourselves seriously!!! Ha ha ha ha ha
7 posted on 03/31/2004 11:33:50 AM PST by GoBoks (Please pledge your Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory at http://www.MTEP.com)
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To: GoBoks; HarleyD; drstevej; Gamecock; RnMomof7
Excuse me while I laugh

No, you're confused. The derision and ridicule of Protestants is on the "Where Have all the FR Protestants Gone?" thread.

You're forgiven.

8 posted on 03/31/2004 11:43:01 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: GoBoks; HarleyD
And you're making too much noise for a two-week-old Freeper. Shhh!

(I know you guys like your authoritative tones.)

9 posted on 03/31/2004 11:46:06 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (There are very few shades of gray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Ah Well,

I guess 22,748 groups of you can't be wrong, can they? How many of these groups are actually right? How can you be right when you use an abridged version of The Bible?

Never mind, by the end of the year there will be 275 new "religions" that think they are right. must be nice to simply change your religion when your old one has a belief that makes life inconvenient for you.
10 posted on 03/31/2004 12:15:11 PM PST by GoBoks (Please pledge your Prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory at http://www.MTEP.com)
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To: HarleyD
Yet the lion’s share of Baptist denominations are independent, making them (in Barrett’s calculation) separate denominations. In other words, if there are ten Independent Baptist churches in a given city, even though all of them are identical in belief and practice, each one is counted as a separate denomination due to its autonomy in jurisdiction.

We're supposed to believe that every independent Baptist Church and every one of their pastors is "identical in belief and practice"?

SD

11 posted on 03/31/2004 12:23:09 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: GoBoks
Obviously you didn't read the article otherwise you wouldn't be making such stupid statements.

"No doubt the same Roman Catholic apologists who so gleefully cite the erroneous 25,000-denominations figure, and who might with just as much glee cite the revised 8,196-denominations figure, would reel at the notion that there might actually be 223 distinct denominations within Roman Catholicism!"

And to which one of the 223 Catholic denominations do you belong?

12 posted on 03/31/2004 12:44:58 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
Even if the number was as small as two, that would be one too many.

This is an interesting link.

13 posted on 03/31/2004 12:57:17 PM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: SoothingDave
I know if I attend another Southern Baptist church in town I can guarantee they'll be the same in both belief and practice. But I can assure you that the Free Will Baptist have a somewhat different perspective.

But the article is saying you could have 10 Southern Baptist churches in one city with the same belief (not implausible in a large city) but they were each counted as a seperate church since Southern Baptist are independently operated. This, of course, drive the count up of Protestant denominations if you want to slice the cookie this way.

One would have to look at David A. Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia for a more detail understanding.

14 posted on 03/31/2004 1:09:51 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
And to which one of the 223 Catholic denominations do you belong?

First of all, this article is confusing. If he is counting "jurisdictions" then he is making an error. The Coptic Rite and the Latin Rite Catholic churches are different rites, but within the same One Church. In no way are they to be counted as "denominations." They all, ultimately, fall under the jurisdiction of the Pope.

As a matter of fact, that is the only way to count what is Catholic. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia. If the Pope is not the head of the Church, on earth, then it is not Catholic.

I know of only one denomination that fits that bill. Yes, there are seperate rites and jurisdictions beneath the Papal level, but they are all part of the One Church.

"Traditionalists" and such are schismatic. They are not under the pope's jurisdiction. To call them a "Catholic" "denomination" is to err. If the Pope is not in charge it isn't Catholic.

Score, still and always, Catholic denominations, 1. Protestants, many.

Maybe it's not 30,000. But it's more than one. At the very least you can make a matrix of serious doctrinal differences and come across variations upon them. Anything more than one is a result of the desire to disobey the Pope's authority and branch out on your own. Once the principal of there being no authority is established, further severance is guaranteed.

SD

15 posted on 03/31/2004 1:20:58 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: conservonator
I reviewed this site earlier. While I do think there is some good information here, it has an very subtle Catholic tilt ("Protestants are in error blah, blah, blah"). If one keeps that in mind than one can glean some useful information. However, as much as this site portrays itself to be objective-it's not.
16 posted on 03/31/2004 1:21:47 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
I know if I attend another Southern Baptist church in town I can guarantee they'll be the same in both belief and practice. But I can assure you that the Free Will Baptist have a somewhat different perspective. But the article is saying you could have 10 Southern Baptist churches in one city with the same belief (not implausible in a large city) but they were each counted as a seperate church since Southern Baptist are independently operated.

Southern Baptists should not be counted individually. They adhere to a common belief.

I will grant that not every non-denominational Cchurch, or every "Free" Baptist Churhc is unique. But in no way are they all the same either.

So they are not "one" and yet they are not "thousands" either. The point is that without an authority, there is nothing holding unity together. The Protestant principle leads naturally to division.

SD

17 posted on 03/31/2004 1:25:14 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: HarleyD
However, as much as this site portrays itself to be objective-it's not.

I never said it was, but it's far more objective than most. FWIW, I didn't see a Catholic bias, rather I saw a universalist bias. Go figure.

18 posted on 03/31/2004 1:35:13 PM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: HarleyD; AAABEST; SoothingDave; conservonator
The figure for the number of Protestant denominations (in the US) is actually in excess of 38,000. It is published accurately and updated each year by some independent people who I understand you all love very much over there.

I believe they are known as the IRS, and the figures are listed in the IRS Survey. The last figures were published just a few weeks ago.

I will grant you, however, that they are probably not the best qualified to determine theologically what exactly constitutes a denomination.

These figures will always be high because of the practice of some Baptists of valuing the absolute independence of every local congregation.

As for the author of this article claiming there are 200+ "Catholic denominations" he clearly has no understanding of Catholicism. If you are in communion with the Pope then you are at least nominally a Catholic - if you are not then you are not.

There can be no "Catholic denominations" because the Catholic Church does not recognise any denominations as Catholic. She cannot be defined, limited, or de-limited by any outside her pale, because no-one outside her pale has been given the authority by God to do so.
19 posted on 03/31/2004 2:18:08 PM PST by Tantumergo
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To: Tantumergo
The figure for the number of Protestant denominations (in the US) is actually in excess of 38,000. It is published accurately and updated each year by some independent people who I understand you all love very much over there.

You're forgetting the ever-popular "home church" people who think a tax-exemption is the mar kof the beast. So the number must be even higher. ;-)

SD

20 posted on 03/31/2004 2:22:18 PM PST by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave; HarleyD
We're supposed to believe that every independent Baptist Church and every one of their pastors is "identical in belief and practice"?

Not at all. No more so than you are to believe every "Catholic" Church and every one of their pastors is "identical in belief and practice".
21 posted on 03/31/2004 2:44:42 PM PST by OLD REGGIE ((I am a cult of one! UNITARJEWMIAN) Maybe a Biblical Unitarian?)
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To: SoothingDave; HarleyD
Maybe it's not 30,000. But it's more than one. At the very least you can make a matrix of serious doctrinal differences and come across variations upon them. Anything more than one is a result of the desire to disobey the Pope's authority and branch out on your own. Once the principal of there being no authority is established, further severance is guaranteed.

I imagine you would agree each Bishop who disobeys the Pope's authority is the leader of one more denomination?
22 posted on 03/31/2004 2:51:20 PM PST by OLD REGGIE ((I am a cult of one! UNITARJEWMIAN) Maybe a Biblical Unitarian?)
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To: HarleyD
LOL.

Why did I KNOW this thread was going to go downhill fast?

Just laugh at the idiots on both sides, and forgive both sides for their respective idiots.

23 posted on 03/31/2004 2:54:35 PM PST by AAABEST (<a href="http://www.angelqueen.org">Traditional Catholicism is Back and Growing</a>)
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To: Tantumergo
Let's say there are only 500 contradictory Protestant denominations. How about only three? All contradicting each other except in their unified hatred/jelousy of the Church's authority, and ALL exactly RIGHT. That's unity and good sense for you.

Ok, guys. Nobody's stopping you from walking away from Peter and the Church. Jesus asked the apostles if they were going to leave, too. Peter said, "no," for all of them. Judas changed his own mind later. He probably had a "good" reason, too. He probably had a good YOPIOS that trumped them all.
24 posted on 03/31/2004 3:08:11 PM PST by broadsword (The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for Democrats to get elected.)
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To: HarleyD
As a evangelical christians I will book mark this for future use. Thank You. Great article on denominations within and out of christianity.
25 posted on 03/31/2004 3:14:30 PM PST by Warlord David
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To: conservonator; HarleyD
Even if the number was as small as two, that would be one too many.

LOL! By that definition, the Catholics just knocked themselves out of the picture as well!

26 posted on 03/31/2004 4:05:57 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Just because someone has real enemies doesn't mean they can't also be paranoid)
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To: Tantumergo
You may wish to relay your findings to David A. Barrett; New York: Oxford University Press and not to this author. Mr. Barrett may even agree with you and revise his next World Christian Encyclopedia.
27 posted on 03/31/2004 5:25:20 PM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
Since confession is good for the soul, I'd like to admit that I started 15,000 of them and have joined the other 14,999.

The only one I haven't been so far is OrthoCalviPrethOlic.

(But I have used it as a bug spray on my garden.)
28 posted on 03/31/2004 5:33:32 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!)
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To: xzins
With over 30,000 denominations and the world's biggest catholic church, we as christians should be able to get together on sunday and offer up a song of praise to Jesus! He is the only one that can truly save us . None of us can box him into uor own little package because He is much much bigger than that . I mean what do you say to the One that created the universe and searches the whole world for one that is devoted to knowing Him. That's the point , It is not about us and or little doctrinal disputes . It is all about HIM and it will always be! Get to know Jesus in Your heart. We don't have to rely on a Priest or Pastor to hear from God , but just be willing to listen and the relationship will become everything to move mountains.
29 posted on 03/31/2004 7:27:45 PM PST by scottro (Trust and Worship Jesus Alone)
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To: HarleyD
More of the same babble by people who don't even know definitions of terms being used in their "arguments."

Let's take up the definition of the word religious denomination for starters (acc. MW dictionary):

Obviously, this has nothing to do with what church you can go to as a Protestant, but rather under whose jurisdiction that church falls. Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists are not one and the same legal and administrative body, and are therefore not part of one Protestant "Church," but an atomized group of churches that have, beside the common belief in Christ and Triune God, in common a few other beliefs (denying Sacred Tradition, denying the auhtoirty of the Pope, the infallibility of the Church, Bible-only doctrine, Salvation by faith Only, etc.). Outside of that, their worship is as different as it gets, what is Biblical is as diffferent as it gets, and generally everything outside of the very core is subject to rationalization by choice and taste.

The author of this piece obviously doesn't understand that the Eastern Orthodox Church represents a communion of churches that forms one "legal" and "administrative body," that it is catholic in terms of theology and manner of worship and that Coptic Orthodox is not a "denomination" of Eastern orthodox, or vice versa.

Similarly, the Catholic Church represents a "legal" and "administrative body" of churches, a communion that includes various rites, both eastern and western.

To compare that with various independent, self-styled, self-defined, dime-a-dozen neighborhood buildings called "something church" should be embarrassing enough to not even attempt to so say in public, let alone publish it.

The problem with 30,000 or 8,000 whichever, is that each claims to interpret the "truth" sufficiently differently from the next-door-dime-a-doze-churches to call itself a different "church," reducing the ecclesia to almost a local clanship and personal issue.

What "unites" all Protestants is nothing compare to what separates them, "legally" and "administratively" into separate sects.

My only conclusion about this is that they must NOT have found the truth they claim. For the Truth is One, and minor differences notwithstanding, the true Church will be one theologically, administratively and legally. And there are only two such Churches in the world -- the Eastern orthodox and the Roman Catholic; the two churches that came out of the One original Church.

30 posted on 03/31/2004 7:55:50 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
You can stay with your religion and your laws and your 2 million pages of doctrine but as for me and my house, we will serve the lord. Wow , I can't believe how simple faith can be and powerful. God bless my friend
31 posted on 03/31/2004 8:08:46 PM PST by scottro (Trust and Worship Jesus Alone)
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To: kosta50
***the true Church will be one theologically,***

Cardinal Mahoney
32 posted on 03/31/2004 8:33:40 PM PST by drstevej
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To: GoBoks
I guess 22,748 groups of you can't be wrong, can they? How many of these groups are actually right?
 
If you want to know how many "true" churches there are there can only be two answers ONE or ZERO. I am always amused when people ask someone about their religious beliefs and then ask them if they think their denomination is the only true church. If the answer was not yes than they should be looking for a new church themselves. There are thousands of  GOOD churches but only one at a time could ever be true.

33 posted on 03/31/2004 11:06:26 PM PST by azcap
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To: drstevej
***the true Church will be one theologically,***
Cardinal Mahoney

By definition, and logic, as it wasfor 1,000 years. But human corruption makes room to tempt even that which is holy. And once the doors were opened to such temptation, the unholiness never stopped.

34 posted on 03/31/2004 11:53:36 PM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50
You will have to explain your response.
35 posted on 04/01/2004 3:47:03 AM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
You will have to formulate a question.
36 posted on 04/01/2004 4:32:44 AM PST by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: drstevej
Cardinal Mahoney is not an author of theology. He is a teacher of it. A failure at that, sure. But he is called to teach what the Church teaches, not to define it.

SD

37 posted on 04/01/2004 6:09:44 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave
***the true Church will be one theologically,***

Are you one with your Cardinal Mahoney? Is he in union with The bishop of Rome?

What oneness is it that ignores heretical teaching in a Cardinal?
38 posted on 04/01/2004 6:12:49 AM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
What oneness is it that ignores heretical teaching in a Cardinal?

A oneness that is greater than temporary and localised nonsense. There always have, and always will be, bad teachers in the Church. And yet the doctrine remains pure. It helps to think in centuries and not years.

SD

39 posted on 04/01/2004 6:48:26 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: SoothingDave; Aquinasfan; ninenot; sinkspur; NYer; Tantumergo; Polycarp IV
*** It helps to think in centuries and not years.***

Elect me Pope and we can deal with this in years not centuries. We Proddies "take the bull by the horns" and there is lots of "bull" that needs "taking."

Mahoney is number one on my "Papal To Do List" -- make a statement to the AmChurch. A Mel Gibson financed Chapel on the site of the bulldozed Taj Mahoney with an orthodox Cardinal residing there is my style of change.
40 posted on 04/01/2004 7:05:15 AM PST by drstevej
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To: Alex Murphy
LOL! By that definition, the Catholics just knocked themselves out of the picture as well!

Not really, there is only one Catholic Church to deny this is to deny reality.

41 posted on 04/01/2004 7:08:40 AM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: conservonator
***Not really, there is only one Catholic Church to deny this is to deny reality.***

SSPX
Opus Dei
42 posted on 04/01/2004 7:11:29 AM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
SSPX Opus Dei

SSPX is in schism, Opus Dei is in communion. You're not making a point as far as I can tell.

43 posted on 04/01/2004 7:12:48 AM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: broadsword
Let's say there are only 500 contradictory Protestant denominations. How about only three? All contradicting each other except in their unified hatred/jelousy of the Church's authority, and ALL exactly RIGHT. That's unity and good sense for you.

Protestants are united in belief on the essentials of the gospel message.

Outside of these essentials, we are free to disagree. We have no ultimate dissension among ourselves.

We have anathemized no other believers.

We consider all believers to be part of the body of Christ.

And ... in light of the news of the day, ... no Protestant alive today envies anything Catholic.

44 posted on 04/01/2004 7:14:35 AM PST by Quester
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To: drstevej
Elect me Pope and we can deal with this in years not centuries. We Proddies "take the bull by the horns" and there is lots of "bull" that needs "taking."

But really, think in centuries. It's not a cliche.

If you act strongly and cause a formal schism, how many might become lost? Versus the situation whereby we can reclaim the dioceses that are troubled through attrition and by a re-awakening of orthodoxy?

As Pope, you will be responsible for your actions and must take such things into consideration. Maybe this generation in LA is lost. Do you want to make that permanent?

These are the questions a pope faces.

SD

45 posted on 04/01/2004 7:16:48 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: Quester
And ... in light of the news of the day, ... no Protestant alive today envies anything Catholic.

What does that mean?

SD

46 posted on 04/01/2004 7:17:47 AM PST by SoothingDave
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To: Quester
Protestants are united in belief on the essentials of the gospel message.

Really?

47 posted on 04/01/2004 7:21:59 AM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: conservonator
Protestants are united in belief on the essentials of the gospel message.

Really ?


Can you produce evidence of any Protestant who is not ?

48 posted on 04/01/2004 7:30:12 AM PST by Quester
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To: Quester
Post # 17 on the other thread.
49 posted on 04/01/2004 7:32:34 AM PST by conservonator (Blank by popular demand)
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To: drstevej
Mahoney is number one on my "Papal To Do List" -- make a statement to the AmChurch. A Mel Gibson financed Chapel on the site of the bulldozed Taj Mahoney with an orthodox Cardinal residing there is my style of change.

Works for me 8-) Actually, removing Mahoney would suffice. Leveling the Taj Mahoney, or selling it to the UN for earth worship, would be the icing on the cake.

50 posted on 04/01/2004 7:34:24 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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