The Presbyterian Church is of the Reformed tradition stemming back to the time of the Reformation. John Calvin's theological understanding of Scripture has been most instrumental in helping to establish the Presbyterian Church as we know it today. His work in Geneva, coupled with the work of his understudy John Knox in Scotland, have been the underpinnings of the Presbyterian Church in America. Most of our heritage here in the U.S. can be traced to these earlier reformers, with most of our forefathers coming from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
The Episcopal Church in the USA is part of the 80 million member world-wide Anglican Communion connected by history, tradition and worship practices to the Church of England.The Episcopal Church considers itself to stand in the heritage of both Catholic and Protestant traditions. This makes it a "bridge" church to many who seek the beauty of Catholic ceremony and the theological openness of the Reformers. It is a church of bishops (episcope' in Greek means bishop). Bishops represent the unity of the church in a particular region and are called to preach, teach and pastor the clergy.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America resulted from a union of three North American Lutheran church bodies: The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America. The church began operations on January 1, 1988. The ELCA meets in assembly every two years; at its 2001 Churchwide Assembly it elected its third bishop, The Rev. Mark S. Hanson. The ELCA has more than 5 million baptized members and 2.5 million communing and contributing members in 10,851 congregations, with 17,651 clergy. There are 8 ELCA seminaries and one deaconess community, and 28 ELCA affiliated colleges and universities in America.
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a non-hierarchical church of 1.4 million members, and all called to ministry by baptism. Its 6,000 congregations have the freedom and indeed the constitutional call to organize their own life and ministry under the guidance of Christ, the sole head of the church; The UCC tends to be a progressive denomination that balances congregational autonomy with shared commitmentto the unity of the Church świthin the denomination and beyond. While preserving relevant portions of heritage and history dating back to the 16th century, the UCC and its forebears have proven themselves to be unafraid to move forward, tying faith to social justice and shaping cutting edge theology and service to an ever-changing world. It affirms the responsibility of the Church in each generation and community to make faith its own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression and in purity of heart before God. It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world.
The United Methodist Church has as its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The local church is the context for hearing the Word of God and for receiving the Sacraments. Groups of local churches work together as a district and are supervised by a clergy superintendent. These districts are part of an annual conference, the basic unit of the denomination. Conferences in the United States are grouped into five geographic jurisdictions. The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 by the merging of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Theological traditions steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism, similar ecclesiastical structures, and relationships that dated back almost two hundred years facilitated the union.
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)
Others which claim to be the true Christian Church
Some people say that the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints), the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science and The Unification Church
(Moonies) are not truly Christian even though they believe in Jesus Christ, because they are based on a single persons or small groups interprtation of the Bible. Some refer to them as cults.
I know Mormons and have visited a Jehovah's Witness Church on several occasions.
Although they have some beliefs which are out of the Christian mainstream, I think they do as good a job, if not better, of following Christian Principals in conducting their lives. I think some of the finger pointing is just sour grapes by other denominations who do not have the commitment to evangelism (2 years for young Mormons) and weekly cold calls by Jehovah Witnesses).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) (Mormons)
Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr. Smith claimed to have had a personal visit from God the Father at the age of 15 who told him the Christian church's doctrines
"were an abomination".
At their web site they state:
"We believe in the Jesus of the New Testament, and we believe what the New Testament teaches about Him. We do believe things about Jesus that other Christians do not believe, but that is because we know, through revelation, things about Jesus that others do not know. . . . "
Smith's discovery of gold tablets at Cumorah in New York and Moroni's (son of prophet Morman) help in translating them is one of their beliefs.
See Introduction at LDS.org
The Jehovah's Witnesses are also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
The Jehovah's Witnesses were founded in 1884 by Charles Taze Russell. Russell documented his beliefs in a six volume series titled,
Studies in the Scriptures, although he does not claim a vist from God
some of his teachings differ from traditional interpretations of the
The Jehovah's Witnesses began to emphasize door-to-door evangelism and literature distribution after Russell's death and subsequent leadership assumption by Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The JWs have published over ten billion pieces of literature since 1928. Its main periodicals are The Watchtower magazine (circulation of over 20 million in more than 130 languages) and Awake! (about 16 million copies in more than 80 languages), both published semi-monthly.
The Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions based on their interpretation of scripture.
See Blood--Vital For Life - at the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
See also Beliefs and Activities - Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site .
Unification Church (Moonies)
Founded in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon. Moon claims that when he was 16, Jesus Christ appeared to him
and told him that God had chosen him for the mission of establishing
the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, a mission that Christ had only begun.
See Also: The Protestant Hour
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