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February 9, 2017Culture

Theology for Life (Ep. 10): Protestant Denominations - Similarities and Differences

Dr. Vincent Bacote is Associate Professor of Theology at Wheaton College.
Theology for Life (Ep. 10): Protestant Denominations - Similarities and Differences
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What’s going on with the different denominations—with Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and the like? We begin by going back to the Reformation; as time goes on, divergences around various issues occurred (issues like baptism, conversion, the Bible, our response to God, holiness, predestination, the law, and sanctification).

What came out of the Azusa Revival and what denominations came out of that? What makes these denominations different from other denominations?

What’s the difference between the Charismatic Movement and the Pentecostal denominations?

Ed, Vince, and Lynn trace the changes and growth of churches that have emerged in the past 20-30 years. With many being so different, however, how are the older and newer groups also similar? What unites them?

How do we think of fellow Evangelicals who are part of differing denominations? A first step might be to reckon with our commonalities, remembering that we hold to the foundational beliefs of the cross, salvation, and the importance of scripture. According to Bacote, we ought to hold to a “generous conservative ecumenism.” Romans 14 seems to allow people to hold on to certain practices while also serving the Lord in complete fullness.

What does it look like to work out our commitment to an Evangelical conservative ecumenism?

When we seek to understand politics, do our denominational beliefs impact the way we see what’s around us and how we interact with our world and culture?

As a scholar of Abraham Kuyper, Bacote also gives a short background of Kuyper and his influence on culture and the Church, as well as his view of God in the world.

Bacote concludes with some advice for Christians today seeking to live out their faith in the public sphere. Suffice to say, it’s an amazing time to be a witness of what Jesus has done and continues to do. Christians are a people who articulate hope in our world and embrace those different than ourselves for the sake of the gospel.

Dr. Vincent Bacote is Associate Professor of Theology at Wheaton College and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics.

Lynn Cohick is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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