Why are There so Many Different Churches and Denominations in the Christian Faith?

  • One question that often puzzles many people is, “Why are there so many different churches and denominations in the Christian faith?”
  • To understand the reality of the many different Christian denominations it is important to look at two key issues: theology and culture.
  • Some church denominations arise as a result of a particular theological viewpoint or set of doctrines they’ve chosen to emphasize (ex. baptism, the Lord’s supper, free will, etc.).
  • Other denominations begin as a result of a unique cultural background (ex. the Evangelical Free Church of America comes out of the Scandinavian-Pietistic tradition) or because of their approach to embracing and/or engaging the culture in which they exist (ex. the Calvary Chapel movement began in the 1960’s as an outreach to the American Hippie culture).
  • Sadly, it is also true that there are denominations that have arisen out of situations of conflict between brothers and sisters in Christ. When the Church is divided as a result of sins like selfishness or pride this does significant damage to our witness to the world.
  • The reality of numerous denominations within the Christian faith serves to remind us that God has entrusted the mission of advancing the gospel to diverse, fallen, and fallible human beings. This should lead all Christians to exercise humility in regards to our differences.
  • Ultimately, the true hope of the Church is found in Jesus’ promise that “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). To God be the glory!

For more information on the history and doctrines of the Church, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible For Students available in our online store.