Individual Christian denominations,
from the Amish to The Way
Which faith groups are Christian?
Some Christians commit a great deal of energy debating precisely which of the
1,000 or so North American faith groups are Christian
and which are either sub-Christian, quasi-Christian, non-Christian or even anti-Chrisitan. There are
probably hundreds of lists of "valid" Christian denominations in
existence -- all different.
This web site uses a very simple, inclusive description of Christianity. We define
as Christian any faith group or individual that sincerely, thoughtfully,
prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian. We consider faith groups
as diverse as the 1st century CE Jewish Christians under the leadership of James, Gnostic Christians ancient and modern,
Eastern Orthodox church members. Roman Catholics, United
Church members, Mormons,
Unificationists, Jehovah's Witnesses and followers of
hundreds of other faith groups to be Christian. We recognize that some
groups and individuals have a much more restrictive definition of "Christian."
In fact, we receive a lot of complaint E-mails on this very topic.
Another question that surfaces from time to time is which of the many denominations is
the "true church." No resolution to that question
appears to be possible. Many Christian denominations regard themselves to be
the only "true" church, and view the other churches as partly or
completely in error. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be possible to assess the will of God on this and other matters.
Divisions within Christianity:
In its earliest years, the Christian religion was divided into many different
religious movements of which
three groups: the Gnostic Christians, Jewish Christians, and Pauline
Christians were the largest. The first almost disappeared. The second did disappear. Almost all
current Christian groups trace their lineage back to the Pauline Christian
Today, there are many ways of classifying the over 1,000 Christian faith groups
in North America:
Into three to eight meta-groups (e.g. Roman Catholic, Orthodox,
By "wing" (e.g. conservative, mainline, and liberal),