Jesus’ disciples travel the world. But the global body of more over 2 billion Christians are separated into thousands of denominations. Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Apostolic, Methodist – the list goes on. Estimates show that there are more more than 200 Christian denominations in the United States and 45,000 worldwide, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. So why does Christianity have so many branches?
A quick glance shows that differences in belief, power grab, and corruption all had a role to play.
But on some level, differentiation and variety have been markers of Christianity from the very beginning, according to Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor emeritus of Church history at the University of Oxford in the UK. “There has never been a united Christianity,” he told Live Science.
Related: Was Jesus a Magician?
The early church, which spans from the start of Jesus’ ministry in AD 27 to AD 325, was divided primarily based on geography. Worship styles and interpretations of Jesus’ teachings vary according to regional cultures and customs, according to Bruce Gordon, professor of ecclesiastical history at Yale.
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