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Christian Denominations & Cults

List of Christian Denominations

Knowing that there are several web pages out there with lists of denominations, we still decided to present our own using different websites. In this way we hope you get all the information you need without having to waste time searching the web

Obviously we do not consider all those listed on this page to be Christian, especially those that are cults and the Roman Catholic Church (though there are Christians in this organization)
Definition of denomination: a religious group, usually including many local churches, often larger than a sect (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/denomination )

What is a denomination: Christianity has divided into three major branches over the centuries. Over the centuries, Christianity has divided into numerous denominations. Each denomination has its own distinctive beliefs or practices, but they are generally considered a branch of mainstream Christianity if they agree on core doctrines like the divinity of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible. Relationships between denominations range from mutual respect and cooperation to denial that the other group is really "Christian…"

…For the first thousand years of Christianity, there were no "denominations" within the Christian church as there are today.

Various offshoot groups certainly existed, but they were considered "heresies" and not part of the Christian church. Most were small and, until the 16th century, were never very influential. From the beginnings of Christianity through the Middle Ages, there was only one the catholic ("universal") church. Basically, if you did not belong to the Church, you were not considered a Christian.

The first division within Christendom came in 1054 with the "Great Schism" between the Western Church and the Eastern Church. (More on this in the article on Orthodox Christianity.) From that point forward, there were two large branches of Christianity, which came to be known as the Catholic Church (in the West) and the Orthodox Church (in the East).

The next major division occurred in the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was famously sparked when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, but "Protestantism" as a movement officially began in 1529. That year marked the publication of the Protestation, directed at the imperial government. The authors, German princes who wanted the freedom to choose the faith of their territory, protested that "in matters which concern God's honor and salvation and the eternal life of our souls, everyone must stand and give account before God for himself." {1}

With its emphasis on individual interpretation of scripture and a measure of religious freedom, the Reformation marked not only a break between Protestantism and Catholicism, but the beginning of denominationalism as we know it today. This historical perspective is perhaps the best way to make sense of the initially astounding variety of Christian denominations. (http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/branches )


According to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there exist roughly 43,000 Christian denominations worldwide in 2012. That is up from 500 in 1800 and 39,000 in 2008 and this number is expected to grow to 55,000 by 2025.

Currently, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimates that a new Christian denomination is formed every 10.5 hours, or 2.3 denominations a day.

Here is a mashup of some their data. Since Church Relevance focuses primarily on Protestantism, I will elaborate on that data.

Catholicism - (1,200,000,000 adherents)

    Roman Catholic Church (1,187,000,000)

Protestantism – (792,000,000 adherents)

    Pentecostalism/Charismatic (612,000,000)

    >> Assemblies of God (60,000,000)

    >> New Apostolic Church (11,200,000).

    >> Foursquare Church (8,000,000).

    >> Church of God in Christ (6,500,000)

    Baptist (100,000,000)

    >> Southern Baptist Convention (16,000,000).

    Lutheranism (87,000,000)

    >> Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (5,000,000).

    Methodism (75,000,000)

    >> United Methodist Church (12,000,000) Click for beliefs.

    >> African Methodist Episcopal Church (3,000,000*)

    Reformed Churches (75,000,000).

    >> Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (3,000,000).

    >> United Church of Christ (1,000,000).

    Non-Denominational Evangelicalism (40,000,000).

    >> Calvary Chapel (25,000,000).

    >> The Vineyard (15,000,000)

    Restorationism (20,000,000).

    >> Seventh-day Adventists (17,000,000).

    >> Church of Christ (5,000,000).

    >> Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (1,000,000).

    Anabaptism (4,500,000).

    >> Mennonites (1,500,000).

    >> Amish (250,000).

Eastern Orthodoxy – (230,000,000 adherents).

Oriental Orthodox Church – (82,000,000 adherents).

Anglicanism – (85,000,000 adherents)

    Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (2,400,000).

Nestorianism – (600,000 adherents).

Links to other lists:






List Of Cults


What is a cult?

What is a cult? Sociologists tend to distinguish cults from more established religious organisations based on such factors as group size, membership characteristics and types of beliefs. While the term 'sect' classically refers to a breakaway movement from a mainstream church, the term 'cult' became a popular way of referring to new and different religious groups, particularly those groups surfacing in the 1960s and 1970s in America. The most prominent and well-known cults include, for example, The Unification Church (known as the 'Moonies' after their leader Sun Myung Moon), ISKCON (known as 'Hare Krishna'),Scientology and the Children of God. Unlike sects, cults provide radical alternatives to western Judaeo-Christian traditions, for example in the form of groups influenced by eastern religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism. However because of the negative connotations associated with the term 'cult', researchers prefer to use the more neutral term 'new religious movement' (NRM) to refer to those groups in particular that emerged and came to prominence in the west after about 1960.

While it may seem pedantic to spend time arguing about how to define something that seems straightforward, this is not just an academic exercise. It is important to be clear about exactly which groups come under the definition of NRM and which do not, especially if governments consider introducing legislation to curb their activities. We also need to be clear about exactly what activities are considered to be acceptable and unacceptable in society and to be sure that there is sufficient evidence to justify curtailing what some may seem as their religious freedom guaranteed under the constitution. (http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/cults.htm )


    Alamo Christian Foundation

    Anthroposophical Society


    Children of God


    Christian Family Fellowship

    Christian Identity Movement

    Christian Science

    Church of Armageddon

    Divine Light Mission



    Foundation of Human Understanding (Roy Masters)

    Jehovah's Witnesses


    Life Spring


    Oneness Pentecostal



    Self Realization Fellowship

    Silva Mind Control


    The Farm

    The Unification Church

    The Way International


    Two by Two's

    Transcendental Meditation

    Unitarian Universalist

    Unity School of Christianity


Links to other lists: