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Christian Denominations and Their Differences

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Many denominations make up Christianity.  Most hold very similar beliefs, with a few differences among them. 

Seventh Day Adventist


Seventh Day Adventist began in the 19th century.  It was started by William miller and formally established in 1863.  Adventists are typically conservative protestants, who are known for their emphasis on diet, health, and holistic approach. 

Seventh Day Adventists believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ after the tribulation period.  They believe baptism should be performed by immersion.  They also hold the belief that creation literally took place in six days.  Adventists are still bound by the ten commandments, and celebrate the Sabbath on Saturdays.  They also believe there is no immortal soul and no consciousness after death.  The generally held concept of hell is a little different than other denominations.  Adventists do not believe that sinners will spend eternity tormented in hell, and they will be destroyed.  Adventists also take part in communion four times a year, and hold foot washing ceremonies. 

The official church position on abortion is that it is only okay in certain conditions such as in rape, incest, life or death situations, or severe defects.  Adventists do not perform same sex marriages, and divorce is only generally accepted in marital affair situations.  Many are opposed to body jewelry and tattoos, some of the women do not believe in getting their ears pierced.  Membership is about 16.3 million.




The earliest church was founded by Pastor John Smyth in Amsterdam in 1609.  He rejected the baptism of infants, stating that it should only be for adults who are believers.  The Baptist belief soon spread to England.  The first church in the American colonies came into existence in 1638 and pastored by Roger Williams.

The Baptist doctrine holds the view that only believers who profess their faith should be baptized, and that it should be done by immersion.  The majority of Baptist churches are protestant, and have pastors and deacons.  They believe that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus.  Baptists get their teachings straight from the Bible, and believe in one God, the virgin birth, the crucifixion and resurrection, and that Jesus is the son of God.  Baptists also believe in the second coming, but most believe in a rapture event where believers are called up into the air prior to the tribulation period.  As a whole, most oppose elective abortions and do not perform same sex marriages.  Many Baptists hold the belief that 'once saved, always saved'.  They also believe that the afterlife is eternal, and that sinners are to spend eternity tormented in hell.

It is estimated that there are about 41 million members and over 150,000 churches world wide.


The Catholic church is one of the oldest denominations in christianity, dating back to 1054 AD.  The Catholic church is most different in that it is the one denomination that holds onto more of the old traditions.  The church is made up of bishops, priests, and deacons, led by the Pope.  Catholics use sacred items during service, such as candles, images, vestments, music, incense, and water.  More of an emphasis is placed on the virgin Mary.  They believe that after someone dies you can still pray their soul into heaven.  Some traditions still held today are baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, repentance, anointing the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. 

Catholics hold the belief that life is sacred, even at the point of conception, and have always condemned abortion.  Most oppose same sex marriage, although many activists have came forward and condoned it.  It is generally still not accepted by the church.  Catholics also believe that sinners will be tormented eternally in hell.

There are about 1.5 billion Catholics world wide.


Bible & Book of Mormom

Latter Day Saints

Latter Day Saints formed off of the Church of Christ and was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830.  Many protestant churches do not accept the Latter Day Saints as christian.  Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet, and said that when he was 17 an angel appeared before him.  The angel told him about ancient writings that were buried in New York.  This would later become the Book of Mormon.  The church of Latter Day Saints do believe in Jesus, and also the Bible.  They do not believe in the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, or tea.  Mormons also believe in the acceptance of Jesus through faith, repentance, baptism, and laying on of hands.  However, most hold the belief that Jesus was born through literal physical relation between Mary and God.  They believe that God was once human, and earned his way to being God.  Most do not believe that he was always the supreme being of the universe, and that anyone can become a god if they try hard enough.

The church of Latter Day Saints believe sinners are sent to hell, and are thrown into the lake of fire during the second coming.  

Mormons are opposed to abortion except in cases of incest, rape, or if the mothers life is in danger.  They also oppose same sex marriages.  Tattoos and body jewelry are highly discouraged.   There are over 14 million Mormons world wide.


laying hands

There is no one founder of pentecostal, and it was brought about after many revivals.  Pentecostal churches emphasize teaching of the full gospel, that Jesus saves, baptizes with the holy spirit, healing, and the second coming.  They believe in life transformation through faith in Jesus, and that spiritual gifts did not end at Pentecost.  This denomination believes in three forms of baptism: baptism into the body of Christ takes place at salvation.  Water baptism is performed by immersion and is the second baptism.  The third is baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the moment when you are born again and is evident by a gift or calling.  Spiritual gifts are given freely and not earned.  They consist of speaking in tongue, interpreting, healing, prophecy, teaching, etc. 

Faith and continued repentance are necessary to remain saved.  Most churches believe that you can be taken from the book of life, that it is a daily walk of repentance.  Speaking in tongue is not a requirement.  Pentecostals participate in communion and foot washing ceremonies.  They are typically more actively during worship services, demonstrating singing, clapping, shouting, dancing, and falling in the spirit.  Pentecostals also believe in laying hands on the sick and intercessory prayers.

Pentecostals also believe that hell is literal, and that sinners will spend eternity there.

The majority of the church opposes elective abortion and same sex marriages.  During the period of slavery, pentecostal churches were the only denomination to have interracial services.  They were later forced to segregate.  Today there are over 20 million Pentecostals world wide.



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  1. "Catholicism." wikipedia. 29/03/2012 <Web >
  2. "Baptist." wikipedia. 29/03/2012 <Web >
  3. "Adventism." wikipedia. 29/03/2012 <Web >
  4. "Pentecostalism." wikipedia. 29/03/2012 <Web >
  5. "Latter Day Saints." wikipedia. 29/03/2012 <Web >

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