1 year ago
Last edited at 7:00PM on 12/10/2012
I disagree with the premise of your question. There may be what seems like many denominations, but the differences between them is only in nuance for the most part. They all agree on the same core beliefs: a triune god, virgin birth, resurrection, etc. There are some differences in worship or practice, but those are never differences in the core beliefs. In early Christianity there was real diversity about the core beliefs: there were Christians who believed Jesus was fully human and not divine, Christians who believed he was fully divine and not human, and anything in between including what later became conventional doctrine of being both fully divine and fully human. They were all Christian! There was just as much diversity also about all other core beliefs. Until Nicea when they started killing those who believed anything but orthodoxy. Christianity became uniform because they killed those who dissented! After Martin Luther Christianity started diversifying again, but the orthodox doctrine ruled for too long already to be changed. That's why diversity is modern Christianity is only in nuance. (There are of course exceptions: LDS is an often quoted one.)
As God reveals truth to a people, a denomination is formed with this belief. As people have additional truth revealed by God, they want to move on with God including this newly revealed truth. The first denomination doesn't accept all of the new truth, so they remain in the "we have all of the truth" denomination and a new denomination is formed: "we have all of the truth PLUS the latest revealed truth". These people recieve new truth from God and want to move on etc., So, each time new truth is revealed from God, a new denomination is formed. Just remember, when Jesus passed out the bread,(truth), at the last supper, NO ONE got the whole loaf!, (all of the truth),. No one denomination can claim to have all of the truth because God thru revealed truth is revelatory. (Continuing to reveal truth to all who seek hin with a whole heart.) Thanks for asking.
"In my Fathers's house there are many mansions." Sects spring up when people disagree on what are mostly relatively innocuous differences of opinion. I don't "get" a lot of them myself. Probably the largest difference is that between Roman Catholicism and Protestant churches--particularly their stance on birth control, and on women in the priesthood. While some ultra-conservative fundamentalist Christian sects seem to have similar values regarding those subjects, but those same ultra-conservatives would find Catholic intercessory prayer to be repugnant. These are examples of the types of grounds for difference. Does that help you to understand?
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance..
Notice it says they were all in accord. Meaning they were all in agreement.
If you want to sell a lot of burgers, allow for competition. Let people develop different approaches, different styles. Burger King and McDonalds. If you want a small group with limited penetration, have a monopoly, or only one way to appeal to people. The early church had lots of variety, and each disciple had obvious personality differences. This being said, you still want to market a burger. Once you sell a taco, it's no longer a hamburger joint. So, mixing up and serving something that isn't recognized as the original product makes you something different. As Lior says, there is as much variety among Jews as Christians, but the majority of difference is nuance. Just as Democrats and Republicans are different, yet both are Americans.