A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church, convention, assembly, house, union, or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one denomination and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues including the nature of Jesus, Trinitarianism, Nontrinitarianism, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, conciliarity, and papal primacy among others may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity" or "denominational families" (e.g. Eastern or Western Christianity and their sub-branches).
This is not a complete list, but aims to provide a comprehensible overview of the diversity among denominations of Christianity. Only those Christian denominations or organizations with Wikipedia articles will be listed in order to ensure that all entries on this list are notable and verifiable. The denominations or organizations listed are ordered from ancient to contemporary Christianity.
Some groups included on this list do not consider themselves denominations. For example, the Catholic Church considers itself the one true church and the Holy See as pre-denominational. The Eastern Orthodox Church also considers itself the original Church and pre-denominational. To express further the complexity involved, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches were historically one and the same, as evidenced by the fact that they are the only two modern churches in existence to accept all of the first seven ecumenical councils, until differences arose, such as papal authority and dominance, the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the continuance of emperors in the Eastern Roman Empire, and the final and permanent split that occurred during the Crusades with the siege of Constantinople. This also illustrates that denominations can arise not only from religious or theological issues, but political and generational divisions as well.
Other groups that are viewed by non-adherents as denominational are highly decentralized and do not have any formal denominational structure, authority, or record-keeping beyond the local congregation; several groups within the Restoration Movement fall into this category.
Some groups are large (e.g. Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans or Baptists), while others are just a few small churches, and in most cases the relative size is not evident in this list except for the denominational group or movement as a whole (e.g. Church of the East, Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism or the Latter Day Saints). The largest group is the Catholic Church with more than 1.29 billion members. The smallest of these groups may have only a few dozen adherents or an unspecified number of participants in independent churches as described below. As such, specific numbers and a certain size may not define a group as a denomination. However, as a general rule, the larger a group becomes, the more acceptance and legitimacy it gains.
Modern movements such as Christian fundamentalism, Pietism, Evangelicalism, the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism sometimes cross denominational lines, or in some cases create new denominations out of two or more continuing groups (as is the case for many United and uniting churches, for example). Such subtleties and complexities are not clearly depicted here.
Between denominations, theologians, and comparative religionists there are considerable disagreements about which groups can be properly called Christian or a Christian denomination as disagreements arise primarily from doctrinal differences between groups. As an example, this list contains groups also known as "rites" which many, such as the Catholic Church, would say are not denominations as they are in full papal communion, and thus part of the Catholic Church. For the purpose of simplicity, this list is intended to reflect the self-understanding of each denomination. Explanations of different opinions concerning their status as Christian denominations can be found at their respective articles.
There is no official recognition in most parts of the world for religious bodies, and there is no official clearinghouse which could determine the status or respectability of religious bodies. Often there is considerable disagreement between various churches about whether other churches should be labeled with pejorative terms such as "cult", or about whether this or that group enjoys some measure of respectability. Such considerations often vary from place to place, or culture to culture, where one religious group may enjoy majority status in one region, but be widely regarded as a "dangerous cult" in another part of the world. Inclusion on this list does not indicate any judgment about the size, importance, or character of a group or its members.
Early Christianity is often divided into three different branches that differ in theology and traditions, which all appeared in the 1st century AD. They include Jewish Christianity, Pauline Christianity and Gnostic Christianity. All modern Christian denominations are said to have descended from the Jewish and Pauline Christianities, with Gnostic Christianity dying, or being hunted, out of existence after the early Christian era and being largely forgotten until discoveries made in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. There are also other theories on the origin of Christianity.
The following Christian groups appeared between the beginning of the Christian religion and the First Council of Nicaea in 325.
Unlike the previously mentioned groups, the following are all considered to be related to Christian Gnosticism.
The Church of the East split from the Parthian Church during the Sassanid Period. It is also called the Nestorian Church or the Church of Persia. Declaring itself separate from the State church of the Roman Empire in 424–427, liturgically, it adhered to the East Syriac Rite. Theologically, it adopted the dyophysite doctrine of Nestorianism, which emphasizes the separateness of the divine and human natures of Jesus. The Church of the East by the 15th century was largely confined to the Eastern Aramaic-speaking Assyrian communities of northern Mesopotamia, in and around the rough triangle formed by Mosul and Lakes Van and Urmia—the same general region where the Church of the East had first emerged between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD.
Its patriarchal lines divided in a tumultuous period from the 16th-19th century, finally consolidated into the Eastern Catholic Chaldean Church (in full communion with the Pope of Rome), and the Assyrian Church of the East. Other minor, modern related splinter groups include the Ancient Church of the East (split 1968 due of rejecting some changes made by Patriarch Shimun XXI Eshai) and the Chaldean Syrian Church. Together, the Assyrian, Ancient, Chaldean Syrian and Chaldean Catholic Church comprise over 1.6 million.
Assyrian Christianity comprises churches who keep the traditional Nestorian Christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East after the original church reunited with the Catholic Church, forming the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1552. The Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East together have over 0.6 million members as of 2018.
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with over 76 million members. The Oriental Orthodox communion rejects the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and those after it. Other denominations such as the Orthodox Church, often erroneously label the communion as "Monophysite"; however, as the Oriental Orthodox do not adhere to the teachings of Eutyches, they themselves reject this label, preferring the term Miaphysite. Some of the Oriental Orthodox churches, especially the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, claim origination by Saint Mark and his 1st-century missionary journeys.
Historically, many of the Oriental Orthodox churches consider themselves collectively to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that Jesus founded. Some have considered the Oriental Orthodox communion to be a part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, a view which is gaining increasing acceptance in the wake of ecumenical dialogues between churches such as the Orthodox and Catholic churches.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is composed of 24 autonomous sui iuris particular churches: the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Catholic Church considers itself the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that Christ founded, and which Saint Peter initiated along with the missionary work of Saint Paul and others. As such, the Catholic Church does not consider itself a denomination, but rather considers itself pre-denominational, the original Church of Christ. Continuity is claimed based upon apostolic succession with the early Church. The Catholic population exceeds 1.29 billion as of 2016.
The Latin, or Western Catholic Church, is the largest and most widely known of the 24 sui iuris churches that together make up the Catholic Church (not to be confused with the Roman Rite, which is one of the Latin liturgical rites, not a particular church). It is headed by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope, traditionally called the Patriarch of the West—with headquarters in Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, Italy. In 2015, the Latin Church composed 1.255 billion members.
All of the following are particular churches of the Catholic Church. They are all in communion with the Pope as Bishop of Rome and acknowledge his claim of universal jurisdiction and authority. They have some minor distinct theological emphases and expressions (for instance, in the case of those that are of Greek/Byzantine tradition, concerning some non-doctrinal aspects of the Latin view of Purgatory). The Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Church (which together compose the worldwide Catholic Church) share the same doctrine and sacraments, and thus the same faith. The total membership of the churches accounts for approximately 18 million members.
The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of jurisdictions in communion with each other. The church has over 250 million members, making it the second largest church. Some of them have a disputed administrative status (i.e. their autonomy or autocephaly is only partially recognized), but all remain in communion with each other as one church. The Orthodox claim continuity (based upon apostolic succession) with the early Church, and consider themselves pre-denominational, being the original Church of Christ before 1054.
Proto-Protestantism, or the Reformation prior to Luther refers to movements similar to the Protestant Reformation, but before 1517, when Martin Luther (1483–1546) nailed the Ninety-Five-Theses to the church door. Major early Reformers were Peter Waldo (c. 1140–c. 1205), John Wycliffe (1320s–1384), and Jan Hus (c. 1369–1415). It is not completely correct to call these groups Protestant due to the fact that some of them had nothing to do with the 1529 Protestation at Speyer which coined the term Protestant. In particular, the Utraquists were eventually accommodated as a separate Catholic rite by the papacy after a military attempt to end their movement failed. On the other hand, the surviving Waldensians ended up joining Reformed Protestantism, so it is not completely inaccurate to refer to their movement as Protestant.
Protestant Christianity (Protestantism) is a movement within Christianity which owes its name to the 1529 Protestation at Speyer. Protestant Christians separated from the Catholic Church during the Reformation. Some, such as in the English Reformation, initiated the schism themselves. Others, such Luther, were excommunicated after attempting to reform Western Christianity. New denominations and organizations formed through further divisions within Protestant churches since the Reformation began. A denomination labeled "Protestant" subscribes to the fundamental Protestant principles—though not always—that is scripture alone, justification by faith alone, and the universal priesthood of believers.
The majority of Protestants are members of Adventism, Anglicanism, Baptists, Calvinism (Reformed Protestantism), Lutheranism, Methodism and Pentecostalism. Nondenominational, Evangelical, charismatic, neo-charismatic, independent and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity.
This list gives only an overview, and certainly does not mention all of the Protestant denominations. The exact number of Protestant denominations, including the members of the denominations, is difficult to calculate and depends on definition. A group that fits the generally accepted definition of "Protestant" might not officially use the term. Therefore, it should be taken with caution. The most accepted figure among various authors and scholars includes around 900 million Protestant Christians.
Lutherans are a major branch of Protestantism, identifying with the theology of Martin Luther, a German friar, ecclesiastical reformer, and theologian. The whole of Lutheranism has about 70-90 million members.
The Anabaptists trace their origins to the Radical Reformation. The movement is seen as an offshoot of Protestantism, although the view has been challenged by some Anabaptists. There are approximately 2.1 million Anabaptists as of 2015.
Anglicanism has referred to itself as the via media between Catholicism and Protestantism. It considers itself to be both Catholic and Reformed. Although the use of the term "Protestant" to refer to Anglicans was once common, it is controversial today, with some rejecting the label and others accepting it. In Protestantism, Anglicans number over 85 million.
There are numerous churches following the Anglican tradition that are not in full communion with the Anglican Communion. Some churches split due to changes in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women, forming Anglo-Catholic communities. A select few of these churches are recognized by certain individual provinces of the Anglican Communion.
Reformed Protestantism, also known as the Reformed tradition, or more commonly Calvinism, is a movement which broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century. There are from 55-100 million Christians identifying as Reformers.
Baptists emerged as the English Puritans were influenced by the Anabaptists, and along with Methodism, grew in size and influence after they sailed to the New World (the remaining Puritans who traveled to the New World were congregationalists). There are about 75-105 million Baptists.
Pietism was an influential movement in Lutheranism that combined its emphasis on Biblical doctrine with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life. Pietists who separated from established Lutheran churches to form their own denominations are known as Radical Pietists. Although a movement in Lutheranism, influence on Anglicanism, in particular John Wesley, led to the spawning of Methodism.
The Holiness movement involves a set of beliefs and practices which emerged from 19th-century Methodism. As of 2015, churches of the movement had an estimated 12 million adherents.
Restorationism and the Restoration Movement seek to restore Christianity along the lines of what is known about the apostolic early church which Restorationists see as the search for a more pure and more ancient form of the religion. Restorationism and the Restoration Movement comprise Protestant Christians identifying either with trinitarian or nontrinitarian theologies.
Most Latter Day Saint denominations are derived from the Church of Christ established by Joseph Smith in 1830. The largest worldwide denomination of this movement, and the one publicly recognized as Mormonism, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some sects, known as the "Prairie Saints", broke away because they did not recognize Brigham Young as the head of the church, and did not follow him West in the mid-1800s. Other sects broke away over the abandonment of practicing plural marriage after the 1890 Manifesto. Other denominations are defined by either a belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet or acceptance of the Book of Mormon as scripture. The Latter Day Saints comprise a little over 16 million members collectively.
Evangelicalism is a transdenominational Protestant movement which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement.
These churches are the result of a merger between distinct denominational churches. Churches are listed here when their disparate heritage marks them as inappropriately listed in the particular categories above.
Many churches are non-denominational. These churches have emerged into their own pseudo-denomination, with many similarities. Most of these churches have origins in a historic mainline Protestant denomination.
These nondenominational Evangelical churches (due to the emergence of video streaming technologies) are multi-site churches, sharing a broadcast some Sundays or all Sundays with multiple church buildings and locations.
These are denominations, movements, and organizations deriving from mainline Protestantism.
These groups of Protestant churches and organizations follow nontrinitarian theology with different interpretations of it.
The following are independent and non-mainstream movements, denominations and organizations formed during various times in the history of Christianity by splitting from mainline Catholicism, Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy, or Protestantism.
The Independent Catholic churches self-identify as either Western or Eastern Catholic although they are not affiliated with or recognized by the Catholic Church. Independent Catholic and Independent Orthodox churches among others are recognized as part of the Independent Sacramental Movement.
These churches consider themselves Eastern Orthodox but are not in communion with the main body of Eastern Orthodoxy. Some of these denominations consider themselves as part of True Orthodoxy or the Old Believers as examples.
True Orthodoxy, or Genuine Orthodoxy, is a movement of Eastern Orthodox churches that separated from the mainstream Eastern Orthodox Church over issues of ecumenism and Calendar reform since the 1920s.
Syncretic Eastern Orthodox churches blend with other denominations outside of Eastern Orthodoxy and are not in communion with the main body of Eastern Orthodoxy.
The following churches affirm a Miaphysite Christological position but are not in communion with any of the ancient Oriental Orthodox churches for various reasons.
These are churches which blend with other denominations outside of Oriental Orthodoxy but retain a mostly Miaphysite Christological position, and are not in communion with the main body of the ancient Oriental Orthodox churches.
These are Asian-initiated churches from Chinese and Japanese regions that were formed during or still under repression in authoritarian eras in their countries as responses from government crackdowns of their old Christian denominations which were deemed illegal or unrecognized in their countries states atheism or religion.
Parachurch organizations are Christian faith-based organizations that work outside and across denominations to engage in social welfare and evangelism. These organizations are not churches but work with churches or represent a coalition of churches.
The relation of New Thought to Christianity is not defined as exclusive; some of its adherents see themselves as solely practising Christianity, while adherents of Religious Science say "yes and no" to the question of whether they consider themselves to be Christian in belief and practice, leaving it up to the individual to define oneself spiritually.
The relation of these movements to other Christian ideas can be remote. They are listed here because they include some elements of Christian practice or beliefs, within religious contexts which may be only loosely characterized as Christian.
The Arunachal Baptist Church Council (ABCC) is a Baptist Christian convention in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in North East India. ABCC is led by Norbu Lama, President, and Changha Chippo, General Secretary. The convention has its office at Naharlagun, Papum Pare District. ABCC is affiliated to the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India.ABCC has 132,787 baptized members in 1,141 churches and 19 associations as on 31 December 2016.Assam Baptist Convention
Assam Baptist Convention (ABC) is a Baptist church based in Assam, India, with more than 37,000 members and 300 congregations.
The Assam Baptist Convention traces its origins back to the work of 19th Century Baptists missionaries in Assam such as Krishna Chandra Pal, Nathan Brown, Oliver Cutter and Miles Bronson. The first Assamese baptized into the baptist faith was Nidhi Levi baptized in 1841. The Baptist Church of Assam was formed in 1845 with its headquarters at Guwahati. There was a small revival in Nidhi in 1847, but as of 1861 the Assam Baptist Church had only 31 members.The Assam Baptist Convention currently operates a school in Nagaon and another in Golaghat.Boro Baptist Church Association
The Boro Baptist Church Association (BBCA) is a registered Baptist denomination in the state of Assam (Northeast India). Established in 1927 by the American Baptist Missionaries and later nurtured by Australian Baptist Missionary Society ABMS (now Global Interaction). It consists of 198 churches and fellowships with a total population 40,000 above and 17,000 plus baptized members. The BBCA has its headquarters in the Tukrajhar Baptist Mission compound in Chirang district of Bodoland, Assam.
BBCA is working in partnership with Baptist World Alliance, Global Interaction (Australia), Asian Pacific Baptist Federation, Seva Bharat, Missionaries Upholders Trust, Inspire India (Children Festival) and Tura Baptist Church in Church Plantation and community development ventures to bring transformation in the lives of people, spiritually and economically.Boro Baptist Convention
Boro Baptist Convention or BBC is a Baptist churches convention based in Assam, India, with more than 52,000 members and 354 congregations as of 2014. The Boro Baptist Convention was established in 1914 and completed its centenary celebrations in 2014. It has its headquarters at Harisinga in Udalguri District of Bodoland, Assam. It is affiliated to the North Bank Baptist Christian Association. The Union is made primarily of Bodo people, an indigenous ethnic group of Assam.Garo Baptist Convention
Garo Baptist Convention is a Protestant denomination of India and Bangladesh. It is named after the ethnic group of the name Garo. Most members of this church are in Meghalaya. The Garo Baptist Convention had 2,407 churches and 264,380 members in 2013. In Bangladesh the central office of the GBC is located in Birisiri under the suburban area Susong Durgapur of Netrokona District, it was established in the year of 1890.Karbi-Anglong Baptist Convention
Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention (KABC) is a Baptist convention based in Assam, India. It is affiliated to the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India and the Baptist World Alliance. KABC has 32,192 baptised members in 314 churches.The Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention comprises thirteen associations. Davidson Ingti is the Regional Secretary of the convention.List of Baptist denominations in India
This list of Baptist denominations in India is a list of subdivisions of Baptists, with their various Baptist associations, conferences, conventions, fellowships, groups, and unions in India.List of Christian denominations affirming LGBT
Many Christian denominations do not consider homosexuality or transgender identity to be sins. These include entire religious denominations, as well as individual churches and congregations. Some are composed mainly of non-LGBT members and also have specific programs to welcome LGBT people, while others are composed mainly of LGBT members.
Additionally, some denominations which are not LGBT-affirming have member-organized groups which are not officially sanctioned by the denomination. There are also ecumenical or para-church programmes that are explicitly outreaches to LGBT people, but do not identify with any particular faith tradition or denomination.List of Christian denominations by number of members
This is a list of Christian denominations by number of members. It is inevitably partial and generally based on claims by the denominations themselves. The numbers should therefore be considered approximate and the article an ongoing work-in-progress.
The list includes the following Christian denominations: the Catholic Church including the Eastern Catholic Churches; all the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches with some recognition and their offshoots; Protestant denominations with at least 0.2 million members; the provinces of the Anglican Communion with at least 0.2 million members; all the other Christian branches with distinct theologies, such as Restorationist and Nontrinitarianian denominations; the independent Catholic denominations; and the Church of the East. With about 2.42 billion adherents all over the world, Christianity is the largest religious group in the world.List of Christian denominations in Malawi
List of Christian denominations in the Republic of Malawi, Africa.List of Christian denominations in Northeast India
The following shows the Christian denominations present in North East India, along with number of churches and approximate number of Church members.Lower Assam Baptist Union
Lower Assam Baptist Union is a Protestant church belonging to the Baptist denomination in the state of Assam of India. It has about 320 congregations and 36,942 members as of 2015. It is affiliated to the Baptist World Alliance.Manipur Baptist Convention
Manipur Baptist Convention (MBC) is an apex body of the Baptist Churches in Manipur, India. As of 2015, it has 1,303 churches and 196,217 baptized members. It is under the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India (CBCNEI). The convention is also a member of Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (APBF) and Baptist World Alliance (BWA). The General Secretary of the Manipur Baptist Convention is Wungnaoting Konghar.Mising Baptist Kebang
Mising Baptist Kebang (MBK) is a Baptist churches convention based in Assam, India. It has six associations and is spread across six districts of Assam.It is an associate member of the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India, where over hundred churches are affiliated under MBK. The MBK is made primarily of Mishing people, an indigenous ethnic group of Assam.Nagaland Baptist Church Council
The Nagaland Baptist Church Council is a Baptist Christian denomination in India. It is affiliated with the Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India and the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Kohima, in Nagaland.North Bank Baptist Christian Association
North Bank Baptist Christian Association is a Protestant church of India belonging to the Baptist denomination and was established in the year 1950.. As of 2015, It has 1,136 congregations and 88,976 members. It is affiliated to the Baptist World Alliance.
North Bank Baptist Christian Association (NBCCA) is in cooperation with the Baptist General Conference of USA. It is headquartered in Shakomato Christian Center, Biswanath Chariali, Sonitpur District of Assam. The following Baptist associations are its constituent bodies:
Boro Baptist Convention
Nyishi Baptist Church Council
Adi Baptist Union
Sonitpur Baptist Christian Association
Lakhimpur Baptist Christian Association
Apatani Baptist Association
Dhemaji Mishing Baptist Association
Dhemaji Baptist Christian AssociationRabha Baptist Church Union
Rabha Baptist Convention previously it was known as “Rabha Baptist Church Union” is a Baptist denomination of India. It has 51 congregations. It has about 8000 members. It is in the East of India, primarily in the state of Assam. The Union is made primarily of Rabha people, an indiegenous ethnic group of North East India.
“Rabha Baptist Church Union" was changed its name to "Rabha Baptist Convention” At present it has 64 congragations and 7 fellowship. It had more than 12000 members.Varieties of Christianity
Articles discussing varieties of Christianity:
List of Christian denominations
Christian-oriented new religious movements