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Christian Denominations

The sources, creeds and forms of Christian belief

Andrew Gillott

on 29 January 2014

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Transcript of Christian Denominations

Sources of belief: The Gospels
There are four accounts of Jesus' life included in the Bible:
'Gospel' comes from a German phrase 'gut spiel' which means 'good news'
There are other gospels, but early on the church decided that they did not seem to be written by people who either knew Jesus or knew someone who knew him, so they didn't trust them.
The letters in the New Testament were written from leaders of the early church to churches in various cities giving advice on what Christians believe and how they should behave.
Sources of belief: Acts and Letters
The book of 'Acts' tells the story of how Jesus' apostles went from 11 scared men hiding out in Jerusalem to the founders of the world's biggest religion.
What ALL Christians believe: The Creeds
The Church needed a way for ALL Christians to know what it was they were supposed to believe in, so they came up with lists of things that they believed were true.
These lists were called 'creeds' from a Latin word, credo, which means 'I believe'.
Look at the copy of the Apostle's creed on your worksheets: What do you think were the most important things for the Christians to agree on? Why did they need to agree on these?
The Catholic Church
The Catholic church has 1.2 Billion members (nearly a 5th of the world's population). 'Catholic' means 'universal' - the same church across the world.
Catholics believe that the Pope is the successor to St Peter, who Jesus appointed head of the church. He therefore speaks with the authority of Jesus on earth.
The pope rules over the church from the Vatican in Rome (which is why they are sometimes called 'Roman' Catholics
The Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church is the second largest denomination in the world with 300 million members. Most Eastern European and Russian Christians are Orthodox.
'Orthodox' means 'right teaching'. Orthodox Christians believe that other denominations have split from them because of mistakes in their teaching about Jesus.
Instead of one pope the Orthodox church is lead by Patriachs (Fathers). There is one patriach in each Orthodox country. The patriachs believe they inherit their authority from St Paul. The patriachs of Russia and Turkey are very powerful.
The Great Schism
In 1054 AD the Churches in Rome and Constantinople fell out over who should control the church.

The Eastern (Greek) Church became the Orthodox Church and the Western (Latin) Church became the Catholic Church.
The Protestant Church
In 1517 a German monk names Martin Luther was so outraged by the Church's behaviour that he nailed 95 theses (objections) to the door of a Cathedral.
In the middle ages the Catholic Church had grown corrupt in the way it collected money and sold indulgences (forgiveness for sins).
This act eventually lead to the separation from Catholicism of the Churches of many European nations, including Germany, Scandinavia and England.
The Prostestant Churches
Prostestants quickly separated into a whole host of different churches such as:
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