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Other Churches: 1    Variety!

You can’t complain there’s no choice in the ecclesiastical market place. You can probably find anything you want. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican [is that the same as the Church of England?], Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed, Moravian, Salvation Army, the Society of Friends1. Hey – you forgot the Presbyterians and Congregationalists! No I didn’t2.

All of us with a slightly different way of expressing what we’re about – but all claiming to be Christian. You can either see it as a rich diversity or a thoroughly shameful separation of the body of Christ3. And the truth is that we are so separated because we have disagreed so fundamentally about what Christianity really is and how we should express ourselves in doctrines and worship.

And then there are strange bits to all this. There are some in the CofE who are “higher” church than most Roman Catholics – and some who are “lower” church than many in the so-called “free” churches. So when it comes to being divided, sometimes the divisions are greater within a church than between churches.

There is, too, the dreamy ideal of trying to get the churches back together – and in this series we’ll have an article about that too. But first, we’ll take a weekly tour through the “mainstream” Christian denominations, starting with something on our own next week.

But remember, this series is on Christian “denominations” – and that’s a different kettle of fish from considering other “religions”. We are not, here, dealing with Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and so on. Nor are we going to go into the more fringe-area churches based on a Christian root – like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christadelphians and others, who, while basing their life on Christian foundations, are significantly different in particular beliefs. Next week, then – us! The good old C of E.