There is a lot to be said when you start to look at the history of the church. I’ve recently started looking at all of the different things that are involved in the church’s history, and I’ve found it interesting that we’ve split up into so many different branches of what seems to be the same faith.
Why is this the case? What is involved in denominations and why do they matter so much to people? Here are a few reasons that denominations have happened.
Disagreements over theology
This is, probably, the biggest reason that so many denominations exist. Whether it’s about a huge topic or something minute, it’s common that theological conversations end up causing some divisions within the church. There’s a lot of different ways that people think about theology and, in certain cases, people may find it to be irreconcilable to deal with.
Disagreements over “how to be the church”
How are we supposed to try and care for each other? Different people have differing opinions as to how the church should function and what our responsibilities are as the church, and that can cause some disagreements. In some cases, it causes so much disagreement that it’s really not surprising that churches split off into different denominations over time. While this is something that some churches are getting better at figuring out, it can still cause some issues in certain cases.
Differences in Biblical interpretation
This is a little different than what happens in theological differences, but there is some overlap. How do you interpret the Bible? What do you believe it says and what does that mean for us as believers? Do you read the Old Testament as literal or do you believe that it’s a metaphor for other things? Do you believe that Old Testament laws still affect us? What do you believe about the New Testament? As you dig deeper into those parts of interpretation, you will find that people look at it very differently.
Differences in leadership
Lastly, differences in deciding leadership can cause denomination divides. Whether you’re looking at issues related to gender and sexual orientation; or you’re looking at following a leader that may otherwise be considered to be divisive, there’s a lot to be said about leadership and what may be involved in it. Sometimes, certain people want to stick with their leader while other people want to break away from them, and that’s a big reason why the churches end up splitting into different denominations.
I’ve found that there are a lot of different things that are involved in these processes and it’s really interesting to look at what may be involved in the practices that happen around the church as well. Looking into denominations has been really interesting and, as time goes on, I feel like denominations will continue to be an important discussion for many people who are in the church and for some people that are outside of it as well.