- "Disunity distorts truth, wastes resources, hinders witness,
impoverishes worship and discredits the gospel." Statement by
an anonymous Irish Methodist; quoted by the Most Reverend George Carey, Archbishop of
Canterbury at ecumenical vespers, 2000-MAY-17.
Current divisions within Christianity:
Christianity remains seriously fragmented around the world. There are over 1,500 Christian organizations in the United
States alone. Each follows a unique blend of beliefs and practices. Many of these groups
regard themselves as the "true" Christian church -- the only denomination
that reflects the views of the founders of Christianity: Yeshua of
Nazareth (Jesus Christ) and Paul of Tarsus. This belief makes ecumenical
movements within Christianity quite difficult, and encourages division
Some view Christianity as being
composed of two or more quite different religions,
each sharing the same name and each being based on a different interpretation
of the Bible. Others divide Christianity into three
wings: conservative, mainline and liberal.
There is evidence of further fragmentation within Christianity:
||The gulf between Catholicism and Protestantism continues to expand, largely over matters of church authority,
freedom of expression within religious organization, the status of
the Virgin Mary
in the church, and a multitude of matters involving human sexuality.
There is a continuing lack of progress in healing the rifts between the Roman
Catholic and Orthodox churches, and between the Roman Catholic and
Anglican churches. With the increasing numbers of female Anglican
priests and bishops, their rift with the Roman Catholic church is in
A major, unbridgeable and growing gulf exists between conservative and liberal Protestant
denominations. They share few beliefs about theology.
They are continual conflict over social matters such as abortion
access and equal rights for gays and
lesbians, same-sex marriage, and the role of women in
the family and church.
||At the international level, the World Council of Churches is
experiencing internal divisions. The WCC is composed of 342 member
churches, including Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant
denominations. Their internal conflicts are often portrayed as between
Eastern Orthodox churches and the remaining member denominations. But
a more accurate description is that a great divide exists between
conservative and liberal denominations.
Topics covered in this section:
||Roman Catholic church (RCC) items:
||Schismatic pressures within denominations:
Related essays on this web site:
Copyright © 1998 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-JUN-07
Author: B.A. Robinson