Modern day Christian church community
Christianity started in the early Israel and Palestine in what was previously known as Levant during the first century. It spread throughout the near east nations and later on spread further to Europe where it became popular in the middle ages and spread worldwide during Europe’s exploration age and became the biggest religion in the world. Statistics show that about a third of total global population are Christians. In the early years of the first millennium during the great schism the church split into two major groups, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic. Later on Protestants during a reformation process the Roman Catholic Church was split with emergence of many separate denominations.
The major division in the church was during the great schism that involved two major splits that is, the east-west schism and the great west schism. The east-west schism was in the medieval period where the church divided into two major groups, the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church which were originally Latin and Greek respectively. The split was as a result of theological differences. Among the causes were the uses in the Eucharist of leavened or unleavened bread and pope’s proclamation of Rome as the mother of churches. The papal schism also known as the western schism was a division in the Catholic Church that was brought about by political disputes, when number of men claimed papacy. The papacy was previously under French influence that only increased corruption and patronage in the church. Gregory XI was then elected as pope and helped to end the bad reputation but after he died the Romans wanted a roman pope where pope Urban Vi was elected. However, he was hot tempered and suspicious which made some cardinals to desert Rome for Anagni where they elected their own pope majority of these popes were the ones who had elected him. This led to infightings in the church that even led to emergence of anti popes. This further divided the whole of Europe into two main divisions that is Avignon and Rome.
Even though the church was greatly influenced by splits and divisions there are some instances where they had to put their differences aside, and come together for the sake of integration of the Christian faith to other societies. One instance was during the missionary movement, that involved different churches sending out groups and individuals to other countries foreign to them and far from their home to spread Christianity as well as help out through establishment of education, health care and economically. During this time the missionaries were not affiliated with their respective churches but rather the missionary societies they represented. This was very helpful because all the differences between the major churches were put aside and this encouraged growth of younger churches. There was the need for partnership among different groups that brought the church community together. Another instance was during the Vatican II which tried to join principles of the Christian church with modern experiences. It was a time when there were lots of changes in technology, politics and economy that greatly challenged religious leaders. During this time members of other churches other than the Catholic Church were invited to the council to observe and the Eastern Orthodox Church together with the protestant are the churches who accepted it. Some of its purposes included renewing of the church, increase room for dialogue with other churches and with each other, unifying all Christians and to define the church’s full nature and structure.
During early European colonisation of the Americas was when Christianity got introduced, with major churches being the Roman Catholic, mainline protestant and the evangelical. The number of Christians further increased as a result of immigration of people from other parts of the world as they came to settle in the country. Currently Christianity is the most common religion in the country having more than two thirds of its population. But this has been in downward trend over the years with the number lowering. The major denominations include mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics and the evangelicals.
Nevertheless, these major churches have been split further into many other denominations in America. However there are unifying factors among all these denominations that make the differences of these churches a matter of just names, ethnic affiliations among other simple factors. These unifying factors include churches being houses of the spirit, belief in Jesus Christ and also acknowledgment of need of cooperation and dialogue of all churches and with one another.
It is without any doubt that the number of Christians in America has been on a downward trend over the years with evidence from various statistics, however the number of churches have been increasing. These churches have unifying factors that bring them together. It is therefore correct to say that as much as the number of churches is many, they are characterised by fundamental factors that are common to all of them with differences being minute, simple and unimportant such as names of the church, ethnic and affiliation.