Christian Denominations: Comparison Charts

Explore the rich diversity of Christian denominations. Learn how varied beliefs, practices, and traditions shape the Christian faith. Understanding these differences can deepen your insight into Christianity’s profound unity and multifaceted expression across cultures and communities.

The charts below compare over 20 Christian branches, denominations, and movements. There are three branches (e.g., Roman Catholicism) and several Protestant denominations (e.g., Baptist). A third category consists of beliefs and practices that cross denominational lines (e.g., Evangelicalism).

Each group is surveyed in five categories: origins, beliefs, practices, size, and divisions. Readers are encouraged to consider these comparison charts as a starting point for further study about each group.

Also, see the World Religions Comparison Chart to learn more.

Origins of Denominations: Dates, Founders, and Locations

Founded by Menno Simons in the 16th-century Anabaptist movement.
Emerged from the English Reformation in the 16th century.
Assemblies of God
Founded during the Pentecostal revival in 1914.
Originated in the 17th century, promoting believer’s baptism.
Originated in early 18th-century Germany, focusing on Biblical literalism.
Church of Christ
Developed in the 19th-century American Restoration Movement.
Church of God
Started in the late 19th-century American Holiness movement.
Church of the Nazarene
Emerged from the early 20th-century Holiness movement.
Eastern Orthodox
Split from Roman Catholicism during the Great Schism, 1054.
Formed in the USA post-Revolution, linked to Anglicanism.
Arose during the 18th-century revival movements, emphasizing conversion.
Started by Aimee Semple McPherson in Los Angeles, 1923.
Born from Martin Luther’s Reformation in 16th century Germany.
Founded by Menno Simons in the 16th-century Anabaptist movement.
Began in 18th-century England under John Wesley’s influence.
Emerged in early 20th century American Holiness movement.
Evolved from Calvinist traditions during the Swiss Reformation.
Emerged during the 16th-century Reformation led by Martin Luther.
Began in mid-17th-century England, emphasizing inner “light” and peace.
Stemmed from 16th century Protestant Reformation, particularly Calvin.
Roman Catholicism
Traces back to the apostle Peter in 1st-century Rome.
Seventh-Day Adventists
Founded in the mid-19th century, emphasizing end-times prophecy.

Also, see the 100 Largest Denominations in America to learn more.

Christian denominations

Beliefs of Denominations: Doctrines and Theology

AmishEmphasize community, simplicity, separation from the world, and pacifism.
AnglicanismMaintains both Catholic and Reformed traditions in balance.
Assemblies of GodAdvocates Pentecostal doctrines like divine healing and glossolalia.
BaptistsSupport believer’s baptism, local church autonomy, and congregational governance.
BrethrenValue simple worship, non-creedal faith, and biblical literalism.
Church of ChristStresses restoration, local autonomy, believer’s baptism, and communion.
Church of GodPromotes holiness, divine healing, and Pentecostal experiences.
Church of the NazareneAdvocates entire sanctification within the Holiness tradition.
Eastern OrthodoxUpholds apostolic succession, seven sacraments, and mystical theology.
EpiscopalianRetains liturgical worship and the Anglican via media approach.
EvangelicalismFocuses on being born again, having an active faith, the Bible’s authority, and Jesus’s sacrifice.
FoursquarePreaches the ‘foursquare’ Gospel: Jesus as Savior, Healer, Baptizer, King.
LutheranismTeaches justification by faith, sacramental theology, and liturgical worship.
MennoniteAdvocates adult baptism, pacifism, and community-focused simple living.
MethodismEmphasizes practical divinity, sanctification, and social holiness.
PentecostalismEmphasizes baptism of Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
PresbyterianismStresses predestination, covenant theology, and presbyterian church government.
ProtestantismEmphasizes sola scriptura, sola fide, and priesthood of all believers.
QuakersHighlight inner light, simplicity, integrity, and peace.
ReformedPredestination, Covenant theology, and Sola Scriptura emphasized.
Roman CatholicismUpholds Papal authority, seven sacraments, and Marian doctrines.
Seventh-Day AdventistsObserves Saturday Sabbath, believes in prophetic guidance and annihilationism.

Also, see the Roman Catholic vs. Protestant vs. Eastern Orthodox to learn more.

Denominations differences

Practices: Communion, Baptist, Prayer, and More

AmishPractice community living, use of horses, dress plainly, shun technology.
AnglicanismFollows liturgical worship, performs seven sacraments, uses Book of Common Prayer.
Assemblies of GodEncourages lively worship, speaking in tongues, divine healing.
BaptistsConduct believer’s baptism, weekly communion, and congregational governance.
BrethrenAssembles for Lord’s Supper, foot-washing, and simple worship.
Church of ChristPrefers a cappella worship, weekly communion, and believer’s baptism.
Church of GodPractices Pentecostal worship, divine healing, and prophetic ministry.
Church of the NazareneEngages in worship, evangelism, and compassionate ministries.
Eastern OrthodoxCelebrates Divine Liturgy, icons, fasting, and monastic traditions.
EpiscopalianObserves liturgical worship, lectionary readings, and sacramental rites.
EvangelicalismPrioritizes personal conversion, evangelism, Bible study, and discipleship.
FoursquarePractices vibrant worship, charismatic gifts, healing services.
LutheranismHolds liturgical worship, two sacraments, catechesis, and choral singing.
MennoniteCommits to pacifism, adult baptism, simple living, and community aid.
MethodismParticipates in holiness meetings, open communion, hymn-singing, and social action.
PentecostalismEngages in lively, expressive worship, faith healing.
PresbyterianismAdheres to Reformed worship, presbyterial polity, and catechetical instruction.
ProtestantismFocuses on biblical preaching, sacraments, personal devotion, and fellowship.
QuakersEngages in silent worship, testimonies, peace activism, and simplicity.
ReformedSolemn, simple worship; preaching central.
Roman CatholicismCelebrates Mass, sacraments, Marian devotions, and Papal teachings.
Seventh-Day AdventistsObserves Saturday Sabbath, prophetic guidance, healthful living, evangelism.

Also, see the Baptist vs. Southern Baptist to learn more.

denominations compared

Size of Denominations: Memberships

AmishSmall but growing, nearly 350,000 in North America.
AnglicanismAnglicanism: Global membership around 85 million, includes Church of England.
Assemblies of GodOver 69 million adherents worldwide, largest Pentecostal group.
BaptistsRoughly 40 million globally, notably prevalent in USA.
BrethrenOver 1 million worldwide, spread across various branches.
Church of ChristEstimates suggest around 2 million members globally.
Church of GodAround 7 million members globally, mostly in US.
Church of the NazareneOver 2 million members across 160 world areas.
Eastern OrthodoxApproximately 220 million adherents globally, mainly in Eastern Europe.
EpiscopalianAround 1.7 million members in the US.
EvangelicalismDiverse movement, perhaps 300 million globally across denominations.
FoursquareOver 8 million members in 90,000+ churches worldwide.
LutheranismOver 75 million members globally, largely in Europe/USA.
MennoniteOver 2 million members globally, spread across continents.
MethodismEstimated 80 million Methodists worldwide, including Wesleyan offshoots.
PentecostalismWorldwide, over 280 million adherents as of 2021.
PresbyterianismApproximately 40 million members worldwide, notably in Korea.
ProtestantismBroad category, encompasses hundreds of millions globally.
QuakersSmall, around 377,000 globally, centered in the Americas.
ReformedMillions globally, spread across various denominations.
Roman CatholicismLargest Christian body, over 1.3 billion members worldwide.
Seventh-Day AdventistsOver 20 million members globally, with global distribution.

Also, see the Presbyterian vs. Roman Catholic to learn more.

Divisions in Denominations: Offshoots and Splits

AmishDivided into various orders, each with distinct practices.
AnglicanismIncludes High Church, Low Church, and Broad Church.
Assemblies of GodSlight variations in practice and theology worldwide.
BaptistsNumerous offshoots including Southern, Independent, and Free Will Baptists.
BrethrenDivided into Exclusive, Open, and Plymouth Brethren.
Church of ChristMultiple branches differing in practices and theology.
Church of GodMultiple independent bodies under the same name.
Church of the NazareneMostly unified, minor regional differences.
Eastern OrthodoxVarious autocephalous churches organized by nationality.
EpiscopalianMainly divided between Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parties.
EvangelicalismEncompasses wide range of denominations and movements.
FoursquareMostly unified, but global churches reflect local cultures.
LutheranismMain branches are the ELCA, LCMS, and WELS.
MennoniteDivisions include Old Order, Conservative, and progressive groups.
MethodismIncludes Wesleyan, Free Methodist, and African Methodist Episcopal.
PentecostalismAssemblies of God, Church of God, Pentecostal Holiness Church.
PresbyterianismMainly divided into PCUSA, PCA, and other offshoots.
ProtestantismEncompasses a wide range of denominations and movements.
QuakersSplits into Evangelical, Conservative, and Liberal branches.
ReformedPresbyterianism, Reformed Baptists, Dutch Reformed Church.
Roman CatholicismMostly unified, with traditionalist and liberal factions.
Seventh-Day AdventistsMainly unified, some offshoots over prophetic interpretation.

Also, see the Methodist vs. Roman Catholic to learn more.

[1] BBC – Christianity
[2] Wikipedia – Christianity
[3] Britannica – Christianity

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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