Tag Archives: sects

Religious Divisions [A Quick-and-Dirty Guide]

There’s certainly no shortage of divisions when it comes to Christianity–or religions in general.

So what’s the difference between Christianity and Islam?

Where does Mormonism fit into our faith?

What about the Amish?

And what makes a Presbyterian different than a Methodist?

All good questions. This little guide will help you hash the answers out.


Movements that differ on doctrinal issues but hold to a common core of beliefs about God, Christ and the Bible.

A multiplicity of denominations doesn’t imply a problem. It simply suggests agreement on the essentials and disagreements on non-essentials.


Movements that agree with denominations on these matters but often place emphasis on certain topics that move them to the fringe of Christianity. Think the Amish’s radical separatism.

Sects only become a problem if the emphasis conflicts with core tenets.


Movements connected to Christianity in that they use Christian Scripture and appeal to Jesus but they also differ from the traditional faith in core areas–denial of the Trinity, rejection of part or all of the Bible or novel views about Christ.

Cults typically reveal a perversion of the core of a religion due to self-indulgent embellishments. Think Mormons or World Wide Church of God.

World Religions

Historic traditions that include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and share very little in common, especially when it comes to core tenets of the faith.

World religions suggest the existence of a native sense of the holy in man. And then we move to explain it. Christianity is the story of the source of that holiness redeeming, adopting and glorifying man.

So, how do you decide whether a religion is compatible with Christianity? Whether it’s a cult, sect or denomination?

Simple. It needs to pass two tests–doctrinal and experiential.

Doctrinal: Is it orthodox on the key issues?

Experiential: Does it see a faith encounter with Christ alone as the pathway to being right with God?

How a religion answers these questions will determine whether it falls inside or outside orthodox Christianity.

Let me know what you think.

13 Quick Facts on 13 Christian Cults and Sects

What’s the point behind this series? Intellectual pleasure? Satisfaction? An odd curiosity?Thought I forgot about this series, eh? Nope. Just let her simmer on the back burner.

Anyway, I still want to round her out with 13 posts.

So, I thought now would be a good time to pull all the articles out there into one tidy, little post…

And show you what’s on the horizon.

And just so you know, the point behind this series: Intellectual pleasure. Satisfaction. An odd curiosity?

See, until I started this series I knew very little about the differences between cults like Scientology or sects like Fundamentalism.

So, it’s good ground to cover.

Anyway, here’s where we’re at and where we’re going. Hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

Intro: Revising the American Religion Most of what you know as American Christianity is scarcely Christian in any traditional way.

Unitarians Secrets on Unitarianism–from what they think of the Trinity to famous Unitarians.

Rosicrucian File this under controversial. Conspiratorial. Bizarre. Trivial. Wherever you file it, know this: This is serious stuff some people lock-in on.

Fundamentalism Take a peek at this North American phenomenon.

Pentecostals Want to know who the 13 most famous Pentecostals of all time are? Read on.

Seventh-Day Adventists Why they observe Saturday as Sabbath and their connection to David Koresh.

Theosophy Their original purpose was to investigate, study and explain mediums and their claims. It’s changed a tad since 1875.

Scientology Quite likely the most ruthless, terroristic, litigious and lucrative cult the country has ever seen. [Good comments on this one.]

Spiritism 13 disturbing facts about this ancient religion.

Swedenborgians Founded in the 18th century after rationalist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, this cult enjoys a small, but exotic following.

World Wide Church of God Normally, cults crop up and just got creepier. The Worldwide Church of God, on the other hand, took a shocking turn for the better.

Mormons List of 13 must-read websites dedicated to exposing the differences between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Thirteen key doctrines clothing store owner Charles Taze Russell taught through his religious society know as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Unitarianism

Secrets on unitarianism–from what they think of the Trinity to famous unitarians.

1. Unitarians believe that God is one person, not three.

2. Unitarians reject the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ.

3. A Unitarian believes in the salvation of character but views the doctrine of  offensive, unbiblical and immoral.

4. Unitarians trace their history to the  where Arianism was denounced.

5. Unitarians also repudiate the doctrine and dogma of the virgin birth.

6. Unitarians embrace the doctrine of biblical inspiration but abandon the doctrine of biblical infallibility.

7. Unitarians who uphold  are renamed .

8. Unitarians differ from  in only one regard–Unitarians believe in a personal deity who acts on creation, while Deists see God as holding aloof from creation.

9. Unitarians believe that Jesus and his disciples were Unitarian Christians.

10. Unitarians deny the doctrine of bodily resurrection.

11. However, most Unitarians believe in .

12. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale and  were famous Unitarians.

13. Unitarians believe human reason and experience should be the final authority in determining spiritual truth.

So what do you think? Is Unitarianism Christian or not?

**Part of the Quick Facts on Christian Cults series.**