Essay on Denominations
I have noticed that various Protestant denominations can sometimes be categorized by two main points. Most Protestant Christians hold most doctrine in common, although they place different emphasis on different questions. For instance, to Episcopalians, the form of the liturgy and music is important, whereas to Baptists, baptism and preaching is more important.
So here is a list of some denominations, with some of their distinguishing characteristics (usually two), with comments.
This essay is still in draft form, so please be tolerant!
- The episcopal form of government (bishops, priests, deacons)
- The Book of Common Prayer
The BCP is probably the only real unifying element in episcopalianism today.
Presbyterian and Reformed Churches
- Reformed doctrine, as articulated by Calvin, Knox, and especially the confessions of the church, particularly the Westminster Confession.
- The presbyterian form of government.
At present, the Presbyterian Church (USA) is united only by the form of government; there is no agreement on doctrine, with some presbyterians now very liberal, others arminian, and others hypercalvinist.
- Believers' Baptism; that is, baptism is a symbol of regeneration, and is only administered to those who make a profession of faith, and in particular, not to their children. Almost all Baptist churches insist on immersion, but some of the earlier baptists did not.
- Congregational autonomy; that is, each congregation is free to govern its own affairs, in terms of membership, discipline, ordinations, and doctrine. Any higher level organization is dependent on the congregations supporting it, not the other way around.
- Spirit baptism; that is, they seem to teach that there is a second step in regeneration, in receiving the Holy Spirit
- Congregational autonomy
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© 1998 McQ