For 40,000 denominations it only takes 16 issues ...

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 2:16 PM

DMB - Thanks for the quote. It is useful.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 2:19 PM

DMB:

Justin Gatlin:

It looks like this author has done a lot of the footwork you are looking for. It is very interesting: 

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/we-need-to-stop-saying-that-there-are-33-000-protestant-denominations 

No offense, but the author was trying to nail the Catholics.


I guess I don't understand. I think the author I linked to was a Roman Catholic apologist, rejecting the 33,000 number and explaining the methodology that produced it. It seemed very relevant to the original post. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 2:24 PM

Justin Gatlin:
It looks like this author has done a lot of the footwork you are looking for.

Thank you. An interesting and useful read. However, my question is not fundamentally the number of denominations but rather the number of theological issues.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 2:47 PM

Justin Gatlin:
I guess I don't understand. I think the author I linked to was a Roman Catholic apologist, rejecting the 33,000 number and explaining the methodology that produced it. It seemed very relevant to the original post. 

You're right! I missed the very top. Of course, at the bottom, he started after the Protestants, after decimating the not-real-Christians earlier.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 3:07 PM

MJ. Smith:

Justin Gatlin:
It looks like this author has done a lot of the footwork you are looking for.

Thank you. An interesting and useful read. However, my question is not fundamentally the number of denominations but rather the number of theological issues.

Within the COC there are many theological issues:

1. Creeds (though from experience I don’t think they actually understand what a creed is).

2.  Should we fellowship denominations or not.  Some used to call this issue the big F and the little f of fellowship.  Rubel Shelly was promoting that back in the days. Interestingly enough, Alexander Campbell believed we could and should fellowship denominations.

3.  Of course, another theological issue is the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship.  John Calvin, John Wesley, Adam Clark and Charles Spurgeon quotes are used to support the premise that we should not use them.

4.  The use of dramas or skits in worship service. Yet some use them a lot in their vacation Bible schools during the summer. Some condemn it others don’t.

5.  Women’s role in the church.

6.  Children’s church.

7. The actual order of the plan of salvation (e.g. Is it 5 steps or 6 or 7).  Walter Scott had a different plan of salvation that was successful back in the days (5 points), but it has been altered.

8.  Should we have choirs, solos or congregational singing only.

9.  The Lord’s Supper — can it be observed on any other day and not just Sunday.

10.  Should we pay the preacher or not.

These are only a few “theological” issues that have divided churches of Christ.  Maybe this can help.

Piloting the Strait a book by Dave Miller (not in Logos) discusses several of this issues.  Some of the ideas against the Catholic Church come from a book titled The Eternal Kingdom by F.W. Mattox (not in Logos either).

Is this what you are looking for?

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 3:15 PM

Yes, this is the sort of thing I need -- as broadly and generically as possible.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 3:25 PM

MJ. Smith:

Yes, this is the sort of thing I need -- as broadly and generically as possible.

Awesome, if you need more, I have plenty ๐Ÿ‘

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 4:09 PM

DAL:

Unfortunately, DMB, they have not let that go. Just like they have not let go bringing up the Catholics even when the Catholics are not being discussed.  Even when they say “no creed but the Bible” they just say it because that’s what they were taught.  In my research, I asked several COC preachers what a creed was and they always related it to the Catholic Church when that wasn’t even the question.  Basically, out of 10 preachers (there were more, but to simplify) only one defined the word creed correctly, but only because he was close to his computer and he literally read to me the dictionary‘s definition of a creed. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Most preachers I interviewed had 20 + years experience preaching the Word. The worst definition of a creed was given to me by a preacher who had 35 years of preaching experience and he also related it to the Catholic Church. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍โ™‚๏ธ
Oh well, I’m going for my nap ๐Ÿ˜ด 

DAL

Ps. Ironically, the section “What We Believe” in many COC‘s websites looks a lot (literally) like a copy word for word of the Apostles’s Creed which was written way after 96AD.  It’s either that or a combination of the Apostle’s Creed and the Athanasian Creed; plus the other beliefs (creeds) about Mechanical Instruments of Music (MIM) and other stuff. I wonder if it should be rejected because it’s a change that came after 96AD ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are a couple of threads where the catholics were brought up and the discussion wasn’t even about catholics. Ironic how some habits become so second nature people don’t even realize they have them:

1.  https://community.logos.com/forums/t/205899.aspx  Notice the statement: “I don't see the Bible saying much about Lent .... but then I'm not Catholic. Geeked

2.  https://community.logos.com/forums/p/205860/1198181.aspx Also, notice this other statement found in this link: “…tell me of a denomination that isn't fragmented by some doctrine or ideology? For example.... Catholics are fragmentized…”

In both instances or 3 instances if we include this thread MJ has had to correct the individual concerning his misinformed remarks. Or should I say “educate the individual…”

Dal.... what is your problem? Seems you want to rant against the coc or however you call it? Are you purposefully trying to incinerate on the forum to cause people to get angry? It sure seems that way.  I suggest you "cool it" a bit...

I am more than willing to discuss this thru other venues if you want.... but this "animosity" against any faith... is not fitting on this forum. I was and have been answering what MJ asked and doing it in a polite and generalized way. Yet you continue to try to make it very pointed for some reason, again, by "twisting words around to suit yourself".

That's just not an honest way to be.

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero! He only uses an abacus with 14 rows!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 4:28 PM

xnman:
Dal.... what is your problem? Seems you want to rant against the coc or however you call it?

DAL is one of the strongest supporters of a Stone-Campell base package. He is not anti-COC based on his posts over many years. If you read his "about" page you will see he is COC himself. In the forums we don't hear tone nor see facial expressions -- be slow to attach words of emotion to a person's post. In this case, you are the one who comes across poorly. However, you are correct that DAL's mentions of your posts was inappropriate.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Don Awalt | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 4:36 PM

MJ. Smith:

Your forum MJ, always has been. Do what you think best, you always do.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 4:47 PM

Don Awalt:
Do what you think best, you always do.

I often wish this were true.

Don Awalt:
Your forum MJ, always has been.

I am sorry this is your impression. If I knew the social skills required to avoid this impression, I would use them. And I would willingly apologize if I knew what to apologize for.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1182
Justin Gatlin | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 4:58 PM

MJ. Smith:

Justin Gatlin:
It looks like this author has done a lot of the footwork you are looking for.

Thank you. An interesting and useful read. However, my question is not fundamentally the number of denominations but rather the number of theological issues.

Here is my effort to make a list of positions based on the Athanasian creed. Obviously, it does not include many issues that denominations are split over, but I tried to only list positions based on what is written in the creed that are held by at least some people who identify themselves as Christians; I attempted to group it where a group could conceivably hold to any combination of these, but that is pretty tough. I started listing groups that hold to some of the beliefs but quickly gave up. I think it is a potentially fruitful way to approach the problem, though. You could take a systematic theology and create a branch for each major doctrine, then create subtopics based on theologians who hole them. 

 

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 5:01 PM

MJ. Smith:

xnman:
Dal.... what is your problem? Seems you want to rant against the coc or however you call it?

DAL is one of the strongest supporters of a Stone-Campell base package. He is not anti-COC based on his posts over many years. If you read his "about" page you will see he is COC himself. In the forums we don't hear tone nor see facial expressions -- be slow to attach words of emotion to a person's post. In this case, you are the one who comes across poorly. However, you are correct that DAL's mentions of your posts was inappropriate.

Thank you, MJ!

Here’s another theological issue within churches of Christ — The Anti- movement. Should we have one cup or many individual cups for communion? Should we have a kitchen and fellowship room to eat together after worship or not? Should we support orphan homes with the church’s money or not? Should we have preaching schools or not? Was the NT completed by 96AD or before 70AD?

These are just a few more of the issues that have affected the churches of Christ for decades.  If you need more, I have more.  And no, this is not an attack on the church. This just shows that all religious groups have theological issues that affect them in one way or another.

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 21 2022 5:17 PM

Justin Gatlin:
I think it is a potentially fruitful way to approach the problem

Brilliant -- thank you, yes this is a productive way to organize the data and a form in which people should be able to see if their view is missing.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 6:19 AM

Wellll..... I think I have miss-understood this thread and made a big mistake... I'll try to fumble my way through trying to explain ...

When I first posted, in this thread, I thought the thread was about where did the theological ideas come from.... and I posted as I did listing where a lot of theological ideas came from... and started at a higher level than where this thread went......which was ok... I think??? 

But one mistake I made is.....(which brought the "wrath of Dal" on me- kidding)....that I did not list the CoC in that list as  " 7. some from the teachings of the Church of Christ."  There was no "blame game" intended in any way. The list was just a starting place for me.... but it appears now that MJ was wanting to get down into specifics of the individual "faiths" ... as I see it now.

2. In the following paragraphs... I'll use two designations...Church of Christ (CoC) and Church of Christ (coC). The acronyms are for distinguishing designation only and no other intention implied or otherwise meant.

A. Like many "faiths" The CoC has had its "branching" also, as Dal has pointed to some. I'll agree mostly with Dal on what he said.... now that I have a better understanding of what is going on. I don't know what is meant by Stone-Campbell movement, as it means different things to different people... but the CoC did not come out of that movement. It existed before that movement. That movement, often called the "Reformation period" by many, was where a lot of people argued to get back to the basics of the Bible. (might be a good study in another thread.) And, I'll add that Alexander Campbell was a member of what is called the "First Christian Church", for what it's worth. One of his main teachings was that baptism is essential for salvation, which agrees with the teachings of the CoC.

B. I add this... because I think it has a place in this "theological ideas" thread for clarification.... 

The CoC has no "centralized governing body" nor "any head person" or "any rule making body" or "Synod". And definitely, there is no "creed" or "creed book" that anyone in the CoC would agree on and say "must be taught in the CoC". None. Each congregation that call themselves "Church of Christ", is on their own as to how they worship, how they translate the Bible, how they teach, etc. and etc. Some congregations of the coC may use some book they feel must be taught... but not the CoC. In the CoC.. a teacher may use a book to help to teach a class, but by far and large, throughout the CoC, as I know it, the Bible, and only the Bible, is the main teaching. And this again confuses what the CoC really is and what it is about.

And there is none of what I call "legal action" to use the courts or law of the land to try to protect the name of the "Church of Christ". For the most part, the Church of Christ does not believe in suing others. As a result, any group can call themselves "Church of Christ" and many do, ethical or not.

C. As a result of that.... it is sometimes very confusing as to what the CoC really is and what it does teach and follow. Whereas, in some "faiths" the "governing body" or "synod" (sp?) or "hierarchy" can determine how all the congregations, of that faith, will/won't behave and such. For example... I know one church whereby the preacher/pastor told me he had to preach the "apostles creed" at least once a year during a certain month.

So.... while Dal is right in that the CoC has "branches" (as I call it) with different teachings and practices... not all of the "so called branches - the coC" is of what has come to be called "in the fellowship" of the CoC or the coC. Hope that makes sense. And this is true with almost all of the different teachings that Dal mentioned.

I'll try to illustrate... The CoC does not allow women in the leadership roles in their church organization, in their worship, etc. except for singing (commanded by Bible), confession of Christ (commanded by Bible). There are congregations that call themselves CoC, which I'll say are coC, that do allow women in leadership roles...  Those congregations, the coC, are not in fellowship with the CoC and 99% of the time, that is agreed to by both parties involved. But that is not to say... that the CoC does not exist. And this concept can be true even among all the coC congregations.

And no place that I know of, in the CoC, are there lists of what congregations are/are not part of the fellowship. Each individual Christian is left to study the Bible for themselves and to make their own conclusions about the matters. I do know of one man, who wanted to make lists of such in the CoC and others chided him for it.

All the above, I believe, may also be true among other "faiths"... BUT....the one discerning factor being that the most "faiths" do have a "governing body" or "hierarchy" or "synod" (sp?) which keeps all of that faiths congregations in line with what is taught among them. It does appear to be more streamlined that way...

Bottom line... while it is a bit harder to diffuse what the CoC does believe and teach than some faiths.... because of the lack of the "hierarchy" one cannot say... that just because a congregation of the coC teaches "xyz" or teaches some book... that all "Churches of Christ" (coC and CoC included) believe or teach that way.

I know I seem to be determined... but I do think this is in keeping with what MJ originally asked about.... now that I think I understand...

Whew! I really didn't mean to cause any trouble...

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero! He only uses an abacus with 14 rows!

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 7:39 AM

MJ. Smith:
In this case, you are the one who comes across poorly.

MJ is correct that typed comments do not reveal inflection or emotion. As an example of this, I disagree with the premise that Xnman is the one coming across poorly. In my reading of this thread I conclude DAL is the one who drew "first blood". I'm glad that we can reconcile past misunderstandings.

autonomous congregations are problematic for denominational thinkers. Just as some Baptist churches are "independent" and others are part of a movement/denomination, names get very confusing!!! My understanding of the Taxonomy (you probably divide differently) is that THE Church (capital C) of Christ is the invisible collection of all true believers at all time in all places. [there is no visible Church (big C) of Christ]. There is a movement of autonomous independent local congregations who each identify their belief system as reflecting the teachings of Christ and call themselves churches (small C) of Christ. To group any two of these churches (small C) of Christ as a "they" is to misrepresent each ones convictions about autonomy and doctrine. It is true (coincidentally?) that many of these independent churches (local, small c) find similarities with the "Stone-Campbell Movement" which (I believe is a loosely organized taxonomy of local churches who desire to restore early church practices to the current local assembly (i.e. restoration).

Now add in the "Christian churches" / "Christian" churches and the waters get even murkier. Is the church "Christian" because it claims to align with the teaching of Jesus (most denominations make this claim). Are they a "Christian Church" because they are part of the Disciples of Christ denomination? Are they an "independent" Christian church because they view their practices as being derived from Christ, yet they don't formally group or identify with any other local church?

In my limited framework I primarily identify 4 branches (and I admit there is more nuance than my broad categories)

Christian Church - all believer at all times in all places began at Pentecost

Christian Church - associated with the Disciples of Christ denomination

Independent Christian Church - claim the apostles' creed as their only doctrine, believe in baptismal regeneration and weekly communion, cooperate informally with like minded local congregations to support colleges

Autonomous churches of Christ - claim "no creed", yet all that I know of have no instruments in worship and hold to 5 "parts" of "to call upon the name of the Lord"

most of these local congregations group/separate based upon relationship and practice, rather than doctrine. so they may be a poor taxonomy for MJ's attempt to identify the THEOLOGICAL BELIEFS that identify the branches within the (started at Pentecost) Christian Church.

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 8:09 AM

Thanks David Thomas. I like your use of the term "autonomous"... it is a true description of what I was trying to say about the Church of Christ. Thanks

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero! He only uses an abacus with 14 rows!

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 8:59 AM

There is definitely a faster, better way to resolve these issues; creeds in one hand, Bible in the other.  I am sure Logos 10 will have a means to implement this great new idea. 

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 9:15 AM

David Thomas:
 I conclude DAL is the one who drew "first blood". I'm glad that we can reconcile past misunderstandings.

David, I'm smiling. But to illustrate why demoninationalists see the cOC as just one more, is the sign out front. To illustrate, I grew up in a cOC; even a not-a-cOC Bible college, with all cOC complying professors (complying to .... a common doctrine ... they kick out non-doctrinaires). Later, I attended a 'chapel' (name traditional to this area). Their beliefs were more conservative than the growing up cOC, or the Bible college. But ... here's the deal .... the sign out front didn't say cOC. And 'we' were most definitely not in fellowship, nor Fellowship of my cOC family.  

So, unavoidably, you end up with an unavoidable denominational self-image ... us .... not them. Ergo DAL's points.

Later, the 'chapel' renamed to a 'Bible chapel' ... tourists wanted to get married, instead of a church.

I like Gao's illustration.

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 22 2022 9:33 AM

GaoLu:

There is definitely a faster, better way to resolve these issues; creeds in one hand, Bible in the other.  I am sure Logos 10 will have a means to implement this great new idea. 

Love it!!! Love it!! Love it!!!  A great way to settle all differences!!! Thanks for sharing!

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero! He only uses an abacus with 14 rows!

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