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Author Topic: Quick question about Christian denominations  (Read 2075 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Quick question about Christian denominations
« on: November 11, 2014, 10:54:31 AM »
I'm doing some research on Christian denominations right now and I'm wondering: are Latter Day Saints / Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses considered Christian churches?

Back here, the Catholic Church's stance seems to be that they aren't. Back in high school, in our religion class (yes, we do have religion class as part of our school education), the nun that was our teacher conducted a lesson on "dangerous cults" and clearly labelled Mormons as such a cult. Which means that the Church doesn't consider them to be a Christian denomination, or even a proper religion... The Church's stance seems to be quite similar regarding Jehovah's Witnesses. But what it's like in other countries? Come to think about it, what do adherents of these religions think of themselves? Do Mormons consider themselves Christians, or something separate?

BTW. I was reading some history yesterday and man... the Catholic Church seems to have a lot of blood on its hands. I mean, the poor Waldensians... nearly exterminated for trying to do some good  :-( And why did both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church hate Anabaptists that much?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 11:02:53 AM »
I'm doing some research on Christian denominations right now and I'm wondering: are Latter Day Saints / Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses considered Christian churches?

There's no quick answer there.  What you have to remember is that there's no centrally determined book of what is a Christian denomination and what isn't.  Both of those denominations would consider themselves, to a greater or lesser extent, Christian but other denominations (the Orthodox churches for example) specifically state that they're not. 

To cut it as short as I can - "Christian" isn't a well enough defined term to really answer that, sadly.


Quote
And why did both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church hate Anabaptists that much?

Again, there's no simple and easily digestible answer here.  If you want one word its "anti-authoritanism" 

The most famous persecution of the anabaptists to me is the English persecutions - though I freely admit some observer bias may exist.  This was because they were a danger to the stability of the country - England at that point was delicately if at all balanced and an aggresively proselytzing radical sect with such a strong anti-Monarchy stance was never going to fare well.  Over in the continent, they were protesting against feudal oppression, which had roughly the same issues. 

Phrasing this as a purely religious oppression is missing the point a little - the theological differences were subsumed and of lesser import than the secular ones.  An alternative way of looking at the situation is a group of anti-authority figures (who happened to be anabaptists) rebelling against established authority (protestant or Catholic as appropriate)

Hope that helps

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 11:19:14 AM »
As I recall, the Annabaptists, and their offshoots, the Mennonites, were mainly a German denom, weren't they? The ones that were going for anti-Monarchy in England, led by Oliver Cromwell were the Puritans, and their offshoots the Pilgrims and the Quakers. Of course, they were all hated because the control that the status quo had over them was limited or nil, and their popularity, similar to that of the Lutherans, were a threat to the powers that were at the time.

As for the Mormons, JWs and Latter Day Saints... while I don't think they are officially recognized as a Denomination in their own right, here in Brazil, a Traditionally Catholic country, they are generally considered to be their own little thing, while not too big or bothersome as they seem to be in the States...

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 11:27:32 AM »
We used to have a lot of LDS missionaries come by my old house to talk to my housemates who ended up converting, so I have a bit of a view into their church.

The church of Latter Day Saints consider themselves to be Christian, however they consider themselves to be the ones who are practicing it correctly. They add the Book of Mormon as a companion work to the bible, believing it to also possess divine authorship and revelation. To an LDS church member, they are expected to preach not only to Atheists and those of other religions, but also to fellow Christians in order to teach them about the Book of Mormon.

Most Christian churches as far as I've seen however do not consider the LDS to be a Christian, or at least not "real Christians". It really does depend on who you ask though. Most Unitarian churches are quite happy to welcome just about anyone for example and are fairly light on the judgement. Other denominations don't even necessarily consider Christians of other denominations to be "real Christians". However members of the church of LDS are excluded from being considered Christians probably more than just about any other denomination.

Also amongst certain baptist crowds, Catholics aren't considered "Real Christians" either. From what I've seen this is particularly common in America.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 11:27:56 AM »
As I recall, the Annabaptists, and their offshoots, the Mennonites, were mainly a German denom, weren't they? The ones that were going for anti-Monarchy in England, led by Oliver Cromwell were the Puritans, and their offshoots the Pilgrims and the Quakers.

Not really, no.  The anabaptists spread across northern Europe but if you had to pick one country for them to be a demon of it would be Switzerland,   "Puritan" isn't a denomination per se - they were largely what we'd now call presbyterians or Calvinists, and the anabaptist persecutions were a century or so before the English Civil War.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 11:32:24 AM »
Not really, no.  The anabaptists spread across northern Europe but if you had to pick one country for them to be a demon of it would be Switzerland,   "Puritan" isn't a denomination per se - they were largely what we'd now call presbyterians or Calvinists, and the anabaptist persecutions were a century or so before the English Civil War.
Right you are... Switzerland, how could I forget that...

The church of Latter Day Saints consider themselves to be Christian, however they consider themselves to be the ones who are practicing it correctly.
To be fair, just about every Denom believes themselves to be the only ones who are doing Christianity right, with everyone else wrong in some aspect or another...

Offline Kythia

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 11:35:52 AM »
To be fair, just about every Denom believes themselves to be the only ones who are doing Christianity right, with everyone else wrong in some aspect or another...

Well, of course.  By definition.  If you thought another denomination was right then, well, why aren't you a member of that denomination, instead of the one you presumably think is wrong.  Nothing terribly surprising there.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 11:42:43 AM »
Most Unitarian churches are quite happy to welcome just about anyone for example and are fairly light on the judgement.

Just to build on this - the Unitarian Universalists were open enough to allow Mr. Oniya and I to have our decidedly Pagan wedding in their building, and many UU churches have an associated chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans.  UU's take the whole 'peace, love, and cosmic awareness' creed to a really good level.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 12:02:50 PM »
Well, of course.  By definition.  If you thought another denomination was right then, well, why aren't you a member of that denomination, instead of the one you presumably think is wrong.  Nothing terribly surprising there.

It's sort of funny how the Seventh day Adventists believe there is a fixed number of just christians who will be raised up into Heaven on the last day - precisely 144.000 throughout history - and that the key sign of heresy in all the other churches is how they all celebrate on Sunday, not on Saturday. I mean, God is above time, the Bible says that "a thousand years is like one day for the Lord", so God condemning most of mankind for having got one day off in their schedule of prayer and celebration seems abysmally snide.  ???

Actually, you could suspect that the real reason the Seventh-day Adventists stick so hard to this is because they want to define themselves as a remnant, a group that's not part of the wider world - and celebrating on a different weekday, and pledging no work on that day, is one of the most effective ways of building such a status as a group.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 12:09:04 PM »
It's sort of funny how the Seventh day Adventists believe there is a fixed number of just christians who will be raised up into Heaven on the last day - precisely 144.000 throughout history - and that the key sign of heresy in all the other churches is how they all celebrate on Sunday, not on Saturday. I mean, God is above time, the Bible says that "a thousand years is like one day for the Lord", so God condemning most of mankind for having got one day off in their schedule of prayer and celebration seems abysmally snide.  ???

Actually, you could suspect that the real reason the Seventh-day Adventists stick so hard to this is because they want to define themselves as a remnant, a group that's not part of the wider world - and celebrating on a different weekday, and pledging no work on that day, is one of the most effective ways of building such a status as a group.

Ah yes, the "The seventh day adventists are a bunch of dicks" argument.  I believe it was Mother Teresa who said "Seriously, fuck those guys"

Apologies to any on the boards here, twas a joke.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 12:19:19 PM »
It's sort of funny how the Seventh day Adventists believe there is a fixed number of just christians who will be raised up into Heaven on the last day - precisely 144.000 throughout history - and that the key sign of heresy in all the other churches is how they all celebrate on Sunday, not on Saturday.

Many, if not all, religions have extraordinary tenants of faith that they expect their followers to practice. While they may sound strange to outsiders, I expect most religious people or those raised in a particular religio-cultural background have an equal number of religious practices that are accepted as commonplace which would appear equally unusual when viewed from a different perspective.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 12:20:11 PM »
Ah yes, the "The seventh day adventists are a bunch of dicks" argument.  I believe it was Mother Teresa who said "Seriously, fuck those guys"

Apologies to any on the boards here, twas a joke.
I thought it was funny *offers fist-bump*

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2014, 12:20:57 PM »
It's sort of funny how the Seventh day Adventists believe there is a fixed number of just christians who will be raised up into Heaven on the last day - precisely 144.000 throughout history - and that the key sign of heresy in all the other churches is how they all celebrate on Sunday, not on Saturday.

I knew about the Seventh Day Adventists worshipping on Saturday, but I didn't know about the 144000 belief. I thought it was what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe?

Regarding the JW and the LDS - I know that, to some extent, every denomination believes itself to be correct one... and I know that some Protestants believe Catholics not to be Christians at all (I actually once spoke to a man who believed that the Pope was a high priest of Satan). But I think that, to some extent, most denominations recognize some others as Christians. The Catholic Church doesn't claim, for once, that the Lutherans or the Eastern Orthodox aren't Christians, even if they do have theological issues with them.

Meanwhile, back here, I've heard the Church openly claim that the JW aren't Christians at all (although I know that the JW say they are). I also thought that, when it comes to the LDS, their addition of Book of Mormon to the canon of holy texts makes them something more distinct that just another Christian denomination. I wasn't even sure if they consider themselves Christians... Meanwhile, on Wikipedia both of the groups are classed as Christians. So, I wondered what is the consensus on them in other countries...

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2014, 12:25:25 PM »
Ah yes, the "The seventh day adventists are a bunch of dicks" argument.  I believe it was Mother Teresa who said "Seriously, fuck those guys"

Huh? Are Seventh Day Adventist so unpopular?

Many, if not all, religions have extraordinary tenants of faith that they expect their followers to practice. While they may sound strange to outsiders, I expect most religious people or those raised in a particular religio-cultural background have an equal number of religious practices that are accepted as commonplace which would appear equally unusual when viewed from a different perspective.

It's probably true, although I admit that I can't find anything too unusual about the Catholic Church. But I was raised Catholic, so I'm most probably missing something  ;)

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2014, 12:27:06 PM »
I knew about the Seventh Day Adventists worshipping on Saturday, but I didn't know about the 144000 belief. I thought it was what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe?

It's from a strictly literal interpretation of a passage from the Book of Revelations (sorry I can't quote the chapter and verse from memory, I can look it up if people want to know). I wouldn't be surprised if it existed within multiple christian groups.

Quote
The Catholic Church doesn't claim, for once, that the Lutherans or the Eastern Orthodox aren't Christians, even if they do have theological issues with them.

Historically the Catholic Church was much more exclusive, however over the last century or so they've managed some fairly extraordinary bridge building with other denominations and even reaching out to members of other faiths.

Quote
I also thought that, when it comes to the LDS, their addition of Book of Mormon to the canon of holy texts makes them something more distinct that just another Christian denomination.

It's a common misconception that the bible is common and identical throughout religious denominations. The accepted canon of the Catholic Church is a fairly commonly used one, and the protestants took this with them when their schism first occurred. However many of the other denominations use different canons of holy texts.

Quote
I wasn't even sure if they consider themselves Christians...

All the ones I have met considered themselves LDS first and Christian second, however they all considered themselves Christians. (And they do worship Jesus Christ so the term is not overly inappropriate).

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2014, 12:30:17 PM »
Once again, Beorning, I think you're looking for something that doesn't exist. 

There is no...no "criteria" for being a Christian denomination beyond "claims to be a Christian denomination".  Anything you want to throw out as a sine qua non of Christianity is not held by someone, somewhere, who still claims to be Christian.  The Catholic Church does and doesn't recognise some.  As does the Anglican Communion, the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Reformed Church and the guy who lives four doors down from me - none of them have any more authority over the question than anyone of the others.  There simply isn't a membership card that would allow you to say "he is, he isn't" etc. 

Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the LDS consider themselves Christian. 


It's a common misconception that the bible is common and identical throughout religious denominations. The accepted canon of the Catholic Church is a fairly commonly used one, and the protestants took this with them when their schism first occurred. However many of the other denominations use different canons of holy texts.

Actually, the Catholic canon is different to most protestant ones.  The Catholic old testament has 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, additions to Esther and  Bel and the Dragon in Daniel which protestant bibles tend not to.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2014, 12:31:57 PM »
It's probably true, although I admit that I can't find anything too unusual about the Catholic Church. But I was raised Catholic, so I'm most probably missing something  ;)

Catholics have their share of fairly extraordinary beliefs.

For example the belief that during the Rite of Eucharist the communion wafers and wine are literally trans-substantiated into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ is a fairly bold and unusual claim to many from an outside perspective of the church.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2014, 12:33:46 PM »
Actually, the Catholic canon is different to most protestant ones.  The Catholic old testament has 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, additions to Esther and  Bel and the Dragon in Daniel which protestant bibles tend not to.

I'm sorry, you're quite right. My mistake on that one.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2014, 12:48:43 PM »
Once again, Beorning, I think you're looking for something that doesn't exist. 

There is no...no "criteria" for being a Christian denomination beyond "claims to be a Christian denomination".  Anything you want to throw out as a sine qua non of Christianity is not held by someone, somewhere, who still claims to be Christian.  The Catholic Church does and doesn't recognise some.  As does the Anglican Communion, the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Reformed Church and the guy who lives four doors down from me - none of them have any more authority over the question than anyone of the others.  There simply isn't a membership card that would allow you to say "he is, he isn't" etc. 

Oh, I know that. But don't you think that some sort of general consensus could be found? As far as I know, the Catholic Church considers many Protestant Churches to be Christians (even if "Christians with some wrong ideas"). And I suspect it goes the other way, too - I haven't heard anything about Lutherans excluding Catholics from Christianity (in the modern day, at least). Meanwhile, as it was mentioned, groups like the LDS often *are* excluded. So, if we summed all of this up, we could most probably find what is and what is not, more or less, considered Christianity these days...

Also, I'm not looking for any objective list, or something like that. I'm simply curious about the opinion on the JW and the LDS in other countries. As I said, they aren't considered Christians here... but Polish Catholic Church is backwards in many things. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the LDS were widely accepted as Christians in the States or in Britain...

For example the belief that during the Rite of Eucharist the communion wafers and wine are literally trans-substantiated into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ is a fairly bold and unusual claim to many from an outside perspective of the church.

Come on! It's nothing unusual at all!

... okay, joking. I guess it *is* strange...  8-)

BTW. Anyone willing to give some advice over at my new thread over at the World-Building Forum?

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2014, 02:29:36 PM »
Catholics have their share of fairly extraordinary beliefs.

For example the belief that during the Rite of Eucharist the communion wafers and wine are literally trans-substantiated into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ is a fairly bold and unusual claim to many from an outside perspective of the church.

No, we don't think we are literally eating the flesh of Jesus. Its supposed to be symbolic. - _ -

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2014, 02:34:11 PM »
No, we don't think we are literally eating the flesh of Jesus. Its supposed to be symbolic. - _ -

While I have no problem with that interpretation as a person's belief it is not the official dogma of the catholic church as decided by the council of Trent.

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2014, 02:35:50 PM »
No, we don't think we are literally eating the flesh of Jesus. Its supposed to be symbolic. - _ -

No it isn't.  Not in Catholicism, or a few other places.  The substance of the bread/wine is changed to the physical body and blood of Christ.

CC1376:
The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2014, 02:37:32 PM »
While I have no problem with that interpretation as a person's belief it is not the official dogma of the catholic church as decided by the council of Trent.

....okay il give you that one.  :P

Same to you Kythia.

But I myself still stick with it being a symbolic thing that is being taken out of context. Like poetry if you take it too seriously.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 02:38:53 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2014, 02:53:25 PM »
But I myself still stick with it being a symbolic thing that is being taken out of context. Like poetry if you take it too seriously.

That's between you and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. :P

But this is the difficulty in understanding the difference between denominations. The points on which they differ, may not even be acknowledged or believed by the average member of the laity. Adherents of a particular faith are often only in the denomination that they found to be the closest to their point of view, or the one in which they were raised and have a traditional background. Individual beliefs and worships can vary greatly.

Makes it hard to make any meaningful comparisons.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Quick question about Christian denominations
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2014, 02:55:51 PM »
But this is the difficulty in understanding the difference between denominations. The points on which they differ, may not even be acknowledged or believed by the average member of the laity. Adherents of a particular faith are often only in the denomination that they found to be the closest to their point of view, or the one in which they were raised and have a traditional background. Individual beliefs and worships can vary greatly.

Makes it hard to make any meaningful comparisons.

Indeed, not to mention many people will self-identify as religious (over here its Anglican) out of ease/convenience/never really having thought about it/whatever but without the instruction in the faith to know what it actually means.