1 Catholic Pope & over 20,000 Protestant denominations

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity…” St Augustine

Pope Benedict XVI came to visit the USA. That makes me think yet AGAIN about the witness of unity among Christians. We are not a good one. If over 20,000 denominations are claiming knowing the absolute truth… well…

Statistics about Christian denominations (click here)

It’s not that hard to find out, where it all started, who made the “schisms” and how the first fathers of the church reacted, disciplined, prayed and encouraged the church to stay as one.

The theories of unity within the Protestant denominations are not clear, but almost all founders of 20,000 denominations claim that they have found the truth (I mean, you don’t want to follow someone’s teaching if he has no clue, or partial a clue about what he believes or you don’t want to throw yourself into something that you are not sure is the objective truth; no one wants to waste their life). I am not a theologian, so this is not proof of anything, but common sense should tell us that one is 1and not 20,000.

I am reading lately a lot about the first church, church fathers, papacy, heresies. The more I read, the more questions I have.

The most significant source for these findings would be in the documents written by the church fathers. The Bible was not “announced” yet, although different congregations had access to the Old Testament and some writings which later were included in the New Testament. But not all believers had that opportunity and not all read the letters Paul or Peter. That’s why the writings of the church fathers are so important. They show us the life of an early church, local problematic disputes, theological as well as moral, relations to other local churches, admonitions to holiness and love. Naturally, the more people, cultures, traditions were incorporated into Christianity, the more views, points of relevancy and ideas they brought. Who would decide what was right, what was wrong?

Read the church fathers and find out. Tons of info on the Internet,

As for the popes. It seems that from early on, the Roman bishop was the one to look for guidance and primacy.

Here is an excellent site about Papacy (quotations from the church fathers – click here).

The early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes,

“[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it” (Early Christian Doctrines, 37).

Your Total “Christian Denominations” Count for today is 39723

so that they may be one as we are one


3 thoughts on “1 Catholic Pope & over 20,000 Protestant denominations

  1. I’m sorry, but you have simply failed to understand Protestants. I know of no protestant denomination that claims to be the “only true church”. We think very differently about organization than Roman Catholics do. I am a member of a non-denominational charismatic church. I regularly fellowship with other Evangelicals, Lutherans, Baptists, and Roman Catholics. My church is independent, and thus (in your eyes) a new Church. We would prefer to think of it much like having different families. We may do things differently than you do them in your family, but that doesn’t make one of us “better” or “worse”. The Augustine quote above makes exactly this point.

    For what it’s worth, there is a major move within Evangelicalism to return to the wells of wisdom from the Church Fathers. We are much closer to one another than we once were. If you only focus on organizational unity, you may miss a huge part of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our time.

  2. rtjones,
    thanks for visiting.
    I am all for digging deeper into the early church treasures, friendships with people from other denominations etc. but the truth is…we still don’t have “unity in essentials”, although we should have brotherly love, no question about that.

    The quest for truth is still on…

    …and I still think that people started a lot of denominations because they thought, what they’ve found was… the truth…

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