Talk:Schism (religion)

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copied from Talk:Schism:

Good idea to create a disambiguation page. Do you think it would be less surprising to readers to move the original article back here, and to make this Schism (disambiguation)? Will anyone dispute that Schism (religion) is the predominant usage of the word? --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 20:41, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I haven't heard any response in a week. Shall we go ahead and move Schism (religion) back here, as it will probably make things easier for readers? --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 10:59, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds a good idea. Note that I updated a lot of articles to change schism to schism (religion). --Michael C. Price talk 11:03, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed. That is why I noticed the new page. It looks like you fixed about 80 links, and there about 200 that still link to Schism that will also need to be checked. If we do a move, then we get an automatic redirect, but as well as fixing the double redirects, there will still be a lot of work to do on those pages that linked to Schism, as they will redirect to the proposed Schism (disambiguation). Is there a tool or a bot that can help us? --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 11:19, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

continue this conversation at Talk:Schism

Rastafari schism?[edit]

Schism in 1966 was removed as it seems to be unsourced. I found this with Google about a so-called schism between the Rasta Christians and other Rastas - --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 09:53, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Orhodox church[edit]

What about Orthodox Christian schizms? To name the few: the Starovery ru:Староверы, the "foreign" Orthodox church (ru:Русская православная церковь за рубежом) vs. the "ex-communist" Orthodox church (the official one, but they recently declared a planned reunion with the "foreign" church, AFAIK) vs. the "underground" Russian Orthodox church (ru:Катакомбная церковь), the Russian Orthodox Church ru:Русская православная церковь vs. the regional churches (f.e. the Ukranian Orthodox church -- ru:Украинская автокефальная православная церковь), the relation of any of those to the Greek Orthodox Church (ru:Константинопольская православная церковь). Argh, there are so many of them: ru:Категория:Православные церкви!

Also it may be less wise to look at Category:Eastern_Orthodox_churches -- there the churches as buildings are mixed up with churches as institutions. And it's about instititions here. -- 18:45, 12 March 2007 (UTC) / ru:User:Oal

??? The criteria is simple if a large group of the establish church breaks away tomorrow and their general tenets remain intact its a schism, BUT only if both parties have agreed it's a schism because they at one time were part of one another. If a leader or leaders comes along starts a cult and then claims they are the truest of the religion they are highjacking, well that is heresy. The choice is critical. LoveMonkey 01:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


Survey on the graphic[edit]

The "old" graphic:

The historical development of major church branches from their roots.

The "new" graphic:

The historical development of major church branches from their roots.
Add  # '''Support'''  on a new line in the appropriate section followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~. Please remember that this survey is not a vote, and please provide an brief explanation for your recommendation, with longer comments in the "Discussion" section.

Survey - in support of the old graphic[edit]

  1. Support. This is better than the new graphic but not the best graphic. Cheers Wassupwestcoast 19:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
  2. Support. It is a more accurate, less cumbersome, and less potentially misleading graphic than the new (see my comments below). Fishhead64 04:02, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
  3. Support. The new graphic omits Restorationism altogether, a possible POV violation. Bytebear 05:52, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
  4. Support per above. The impression of the new graphic is of a grand, glorious Roman Church which needling little schismatics broke off of. Even if it is accurate according to current populations, it anachronistically projects those trends into the past. In the first millennium, Christianity in the East was much more populous than in the West. Additionally, modern Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity, accounting probably for around 150 million members. And there are certainly not a comparable number of Nestorians as there are, for instance, Lutherans, though this graphic gives that impression. 22:59, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Survey - in support of the new graphic[edit]

The new graphic has changed. 16:15, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

? It looks the same to me - or is there another version elsewhere? Johnbod 16:49, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
It has changed, but in my opinion for the worse; and the wording is also worse than as I remember it. Lima 18:27, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I see - previous visitors may need to refresh their browser, or their machine will use the old version it has remembered. The new one has trumpet-like shapes. Johnbod 14:55, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The latest "new graphic" no longer has current proportions extending to the past, no longer explicitly labels Anglicans as "protestant", refers to restorationists, and doesn't have the year 33 date. Comments??? -- 05:00, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

In my view, the trumpet broadening at the end of the lines has no meaning. The right-hand extremity may be meant to indicate, vaguely perhaps, present-day proportions, but a pie chart would do that better. More important, the broadening gives the impression, for instance, that the (Roman) Catholic Church was not even temporarily diminished by the sixteenth-century Protestant revolt but continued to grow undisturbed and almost immediately accelerated its growth out of all proportion to its past. I also think it is a mistake to put so many individual denominations in the graphic. It is impossible to indicate all of them, so it is better to give just a few broad classifications. This would also avoid the problem of the problematic lineage of the individual groups represented in the graphic. I do not know enough to express a judgement on the idea that Restorationism and Pentecostalism are offshoots of Methodism alone, but I suspect that some (many?) would not see it in that way. Lima 08:11, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I concur fully with Lima's views. I don't see why the author considers it important to try to show relative sizes on this chart, which is intended to show a timeline and sources of division. As I said previously, a separate graph such as a line chart or a pie chart would be better suited to plot the relative proportions over time - although I still think it would be difficult absent consistent statistics and changes in population. I also agree that there are two many Protestant denominations shown. I think it would be better to indicate Anglicanism emerging from between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and Protestantism having three branches emerge from it: Anabaptism, Non-trinitarianism, and Restorationism, since these movements reflect significant reinterpretations. Fishhead64 14:53, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


--Protestantism cannot be just one branch off of Western Christianity or the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicanism is within Protestantism, despite a tendency toward Roman Catholic ritual and worship practices which have grown since the 1830's, and rapidly in recent decades. Anglicanism represent a wide diversity of worship practice, and exteriorly yes, much of this can be distinguished from Roman Catholic practice, and certainly historically (before the second Vatican Council worship reforms in the RC Churc) could be. Anglicanism however is defined as a church firmly within the Reformed tradition of Protestantism (along with what is generaly called "Calvinism", Hungarian Reformed, German Reformed (as opposed to Lutheran), Dutch Reformed, and Swiss Reformed Protestantisms, Slovak Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and other Reformed Church/Calvinist traditions) by its very confessions, namely the 39 Articles.

The Branches of Protestantism should, firstly come off a fork in the road with with, rather than a branch off of with Roman Catholocism; Protestant groups down, RCC up or vice versa. This way it would not appear that one group is being claimed as the "true" successor to Western Christianity or of the Midieval Roman Catholic Church. Several groups in fact are successors, as far as their heritage, rights as state churches, and theology. For example before the Reformation both the current Calvininst view on Holy Communion - a tendency toward a memorialist or symbolic view - and the current RC view of transubstantiation were expressed and tolerated within Catholocism. It was only after the Refomation, during the time of the writing of denominational confessions directly aftewards, that these views fossilized and became associated with distinct denominations of today. Compare the the Fourth Council of the Lateran's definition of "transubstantiation" (1215), a term which had become widespread only within the preceeding century, to that of the Council of Trent (1551) which defines the current official RC belief. In the earlier document, you may be surprised to discover that what is described as "transubstatiation" is neither exactly the current RC definition of the transubsatiation (that bread and wine are no longer bread and wine but become only the body and blood of Christ)expressed at the Council of Trent (1551), nor exactly a Calvinist view (that the bread and wine, are bread and wine only and are a symbol). Rather the definition given by the Fourth Council of the Lateran matches up exactly to, and of all things, the current Lutheran definition, which is to say that the body and blood of Christ are truly contained in and under the forms of bread and wine. This, discussed in Lutheranism today is called the Real Presence or outside that tradition, as a means of comparison, sometimes called consubstantiation - meaning that the bread and wine are bread and wine, but also the body and blood of Christ. Needless to say a myriad of such examples could be produced but which all point to the fact that the theological heritage of the Midieval Roman Catholic Church is distributed within several Western denominations today.

Finally, those branches coming off of Protestantism - or which should more accurately come off of Medieval Roman Catholocism directly, or off a branch entitled "16th century Protestant Movement" - should divide in an accurate order. 1) Lutheranism (1517), 2) Reformed Churches (1519), 3)Annabaptists or the Radical Reform (1525). These were the three major branches of Protestantism (and three of the four major branches of Christianity, along with modern Roman Catholocism) which emereged during the time of the Reformation. Lutheranism was the most centralized and well defined, Reformed Christianity less so at that time early on, Annabaptists the least so and continuing thus so for the longest time, due to political factors.

A fourth branch of Protestantism could be inserted if it were deemed the best option. That would be Anglicanism, for two reasons: (1)the Church of England was well defined politically as a seperate church since 1534, (2) while divided from the Roman Catholic Church, Henry VII never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony in his Church during his lifetime. Anglicanism only became recognizably Protestant (and at that, of the Reformed variety) after 1547. After the the Religious settlement of 1559 under Elizabeth I, the Church of England definitively declared its independence from the Roman Pope, and defined itself both in terms of worship and doctrine as a Reformed Church. However, even by the end of that century, more moderate Lutheran style worship practices had crept into the Church of England, along with other conciliatory gestures towards Roman Catholics, which became unacceptable to more strictly minded Reformed Christians in England (Puritans). Whichever date is fixed on, if a seperate branch for Anglicanism is desired, it would come after (to the right of) the (other) three major Reformation era movements, even though all (including Aglicanism) came onto the scene, or trace their genesis if not organization to within the same generation.

Anglicanism should either be a unique branch among the Reformed traditions coming from the Reforation fork, or a seperate branch, but in either case, off of it should come: Congregationalism, Baptist Traditions, Unitarianism, Methodism/Wesleyanism - and off of Methodism/Wesleyanism: Pentecostalism/Holiness Traditions - all properly dated and ordered. Ultimately it might be simpler to include Anglicanism where it belongs in a historic sense, off a fork of the Reformed Churches.

There are pre-Reformation Protestant movements, most notably the Moravian, or Hussite Church. These churches along with others suffered repression, and consequently were not well organized or defined for centuries, developing in their modern forms under the influence of later reform movements. The Moravian/Huss tradition is and for centuries has been, closely allied with Lutheranism (although in some places also with the Reformed Church, while some would point to traces of Annabaptist influence in these denominations today.) Another pre-Reformation group are the Waldensians who adapted their beliefs to those of the Reformed Church (Calvinism) at the time of the Reformation.

I would place Restorationism in its proper time period (19th century on) and off its proper branch, off of the Reformed (and/or Anglican-descended) churches. It should be noted that some religious movements placed in this category, such as Mormonism or Jehovah's Whitness, would not, in their own self-description, trace their lineage through early Christianity, Western Christianity and the Reformation, but rather see their origen as a striking revelation of the God of the Bible in modern times, completely unique - even if much of their theology is owed to or shared in common with Protestantism as seen from an outside perspective. Also while members of these, and similar groups often describe themselves as Christians, or as Christians in their self understanding (although again not through any disciplic or theological succesion connected with Western Christianity) most Protestant (and other) churches, still consider these groups' church bodies (although not necesarily their individual members)as outside the pale of Christianity and as a sect. Meanwhile other groups placed within Restorationism, such as the Disciples of Christ, were founded specifically out of a realization of the need to move beyond denominational and doctrinal squabling. For whatever quirks and unique charms they may have, this second set of groups generally sees itself, and is seen in turn, as "part of the family" of Protestants.

Finally, in some groups, such as the Unitarians, and Quakers - while definitely having developed from, and within the context of the Reformed (and/or Anglican-descended) branch of Western Christianity- members may, or may not, see themselves in this light today. A sense of connectedness to the Christian continuum and and Early Christianity, through the Western Christian tradition, has played a variable role in the self understanding of these groups historically, though generally less than it has in Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Methodism, or (Dutch, etc.) Reformed Christianity, and very much less than it has in Roman Catholocism or Eastern Christianity. Today adherents in these denominations may consider themselves to have moved well past branch definitions, may or may not consider themselves Christians, and may even consider themselves to be non-theists. On the other hand, some within these groups such as Evangelical Quakers, or Christian Unitarians, would likely, with qualifications, see themselves as within the Western Christian spectrum. Similarly, while Unitarianism developed out of the liberal wing of New England Congregationalism - firmly within the Reformed/Anglican branch - Universalism developed from a more "motley" (diverse) crew. Today though Universalist-Unitarians will often point out that early Christianity - and at that, early Eastern Christianity no less- had strong Universalist salvation tendencies, which has in turn become part of the current UU church sense of self and place. Some groups are admitedly hard to map or define, and may not need (or want) a branch, but rather a side bar. -- Signed, MattDiClemente

  • Neither graphic is ideal. The new one clearly gives the RCC a ludicrously over-thick branch; the old one has the Protestant branch thicker than the Catholic one it leaves. The new one handles Eastern Rite Catholicism and the Protestant branching better. It omits the dotted line for Restorationism. I'm tempted to say we should take the best points of each, and have ALL lines of equal thickness. Johnbod 16:13, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree that neither graphic is ideal. The new graphic with its attemp at proportional line thickness is a mistake. Not only must the line thickness vary over time but it obscures the point of the graphic - to illustrate schism. Break away groups are often very small but also very important. I disagree with user Johnbod in that the new graphic also does a poor job with the Protestants. The old graphic got it more or less right. All in all, I'd keep the old graphic but make all lines the same thickness. Cheers. Wassupwestcoast 19:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The RCC branch currently contains slightly over half of the total number of Christians. A depiction of that shouldn't be seen as ludicrous. The line thicknesses could be refined, ideally varying over time. Could you be more specific about what is "better" or "right" about the graphics? 03:43, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Although the old graphic had its problems, the new one is more problematic. My objections are fourfold.
  1. It misleadingly depicts Anglicanism as a branch of Protestantism. Many, if not most Anglicans consider their tradition to be a via media between Catholic and Protestant, thus forming a distinct branch.
  2. The attempt to subdivide Protestantism is inadvisable. Where are the Quakers? The Unitarians? Are the Mennonites to be considered "Baptist"? I think showing Anabaptists and Restorationists as an offshoot of Protestantism is a sufficient branching.
  3. Using different sizes to depict the branches obscures the purpose of the chart, which is to depict how Christianity subdivides into major branches. The depiction has the unfortunate corollary of making Roman Catholicism appear in continuity with early Christianity. Obviously, all the major branches consider themselves in continuity with the primitive church - division is usually predicated on the grounds of articulating a more authentically ancient faith.
  4. Christianity was not founded in 33 CE. The earliest attestation of the term "Christian" doesn't appear until some one hundred years after the crucifixion, whenever that was.

My suggestions are that the old graphic be used, with the provisio that the irrelevant reference to the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon be removed, Anglicanism be shown as a distinct branch, and Anabaptism (like Restorationism) be shown to branch from Protestantism. Fishhead64 04:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I firmly agree with you on Point Three, Fishhead. Point one though, and you might not realise this, betrays a clear "England as the centre of the World" bias - one which we, given our heritage, are all struggling to counterbalance in our writing as we contribute on Enlish Wikipedia. We must make this struggle though (and this in itself in part of the same bias, but here goes) because the English language Wikipedia is not the same as say Estonian Wikipedia. Firstly, in comparison of the example of Estonia, the influence of the English speaking world has been so much greater and has given us so little opportunity to put our own culture and history within its proper global perspective. Secondly, English wikipedia is so very large, with the greatest number of articles and largest readership worldwide. English is so widely studied today, that English is a lingua franca among others, or one of such, and English Wikipedia has become a hub of knowledge world wide. So, in other words, no, no, no. The Church of England cannot be a branch unto to itself, with all other forms of Protestantism sharing a branch among them. It cannot be even despite the many unique attributes of Anglicanism or despite the fact that so many large modern denominations (largely due to religious freedoms granted in England and America) trace their origins to the Anglican substrate. Why you feel, I believe, Anglicanism is different than Protestantism in general is because of the affinity for Roman Catholic customs and Rituals in some segments of Anglicanism (although this is to the extent it occurs today by comparison a recent development, and the low esteem the "low church" segment of Anglicanism in which is generally held in the UK today - right along with supporters of US President Bush. Keep in mind though that the divisions in this chart represent historical, political, doctrinal and hierarchical differences, along with those in church governance rather than those that have to do worship rituals and style, church decoration, or individual piety. These latter factors are indeed important, and when it comes down to Catholicism Eastern vs. Western Rite, play a major role. In fact the political, doctrinal and historical and national difference within Christianity, East and West, have to a large degree shaped worship in their respective traditions. However, they do not constitute in themselves the differences between the various branches of Christianity. For example if worship where what divided Christians primarily, some Anglicans today would be (while likely not Baptists or Pentecostals) Reformed Church Christians, Lutherans, or the big one, so called "Evangelicals." Meanwhile others would be "Anglican" and a large chunk would just be plain out, Roman Catholic. This is of course not the case. (It is not the case for other Protestants who begin to embrace liturgical or "High Church" styles of worship either, even though a certain proposed system would lump these all as one as well.) Even if some Anglicans supposed themselves really and truly to be Catholics, belonging to a larger via media church, it could never be the so. The Pope would never accept their bishops or church governance to be valid - unless of course these bishops were to become Catholics. And of course this notion of being united to Catholics, even despite political doctrinal and hierarchical divisions, is a very, very Protestant notion in itself. Protestants (including the Church of England) started out small and tied to national or civic governments. Today they are smaller, and even more fragmentary and diverse. This puts things a little bit in perspective for most Protestants, and most today share a notion that despite differences, they share a common faith with other Christians. Catholics don't however share such a notion. On an individual level catholics rarely share the affinity and sense of unity with Anglicans that Anglicans cherish in the reverse direction, except of course they if want or need to leave the Catholic Church for some reason, and due to the similarities in worship and tradition, Anglicanism may become an acceptable substitute, or "via media" for them. At an institutional level, (officially at least) according to the Catholic side, Anglicans are Protestants. There is no via media, but rather the Pope's via (way) or else the Devil's. There is no special relationship, or partial union with Anglicanism, because, as unbelievable as it may be, due to the 16th century differences, Anglicanism is still considered not merely schismatic but heretical. The Church of England is not treated as a Church per see, but rather an "ecclesial community" outside the Church. Ecumenical relations begin to be possible, but one of the first steps toward this on the Catholic side seems to have been the establishment of a "Anglican Rite" Catholicism, very interesting and progressive it seems to me, but which serves not to bring the very Protestant notion of church cooperation between Anglicanism and Catholicism, but rather which draws members, edifices and clergy out of the Church of England and into the Roman Catholic fold. This is not a criticism of the Catholic church. I am just pointing out that Anglicans are so Protestant, in their notions, in the very fiber of their being, they do not even realise how Protestant they are. Now, nobody doubts the importance of concept of via media in the modern self understanding of Anglicanism, on the contrary. It is only that the concept of via media does not earn Anglicans a branch on the family tree at the expense of rest of the clan. MattDiClemente (talk) 15:10, 22 January 2011 (UTC)— Preceding unsigned comment added by MattDiClemente (talkcontribs) 15:07, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Your Point two, Fishead, again betrays the same strong bias I mentioned above. You are in the clear minority on this one, and in some points you are simply misinformed. I hope you won't take this the wrong way. There are three major Protestant movements that spring up in Europe in the 16th century. The Reformed Churches, Lutheranism, and the Radical Reform, known also as the Annabaptists. They each became widely influential and still are today. They could not get together back then - and this would have been a desirable, and a politicaly adviseable thing, for the benefit of mutual defense against Catholics -otherwise, there might exist today one Protestant Church rather than several. Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli (early Swiss Reformed leader, in the generation before Calvin) met at what would be called the Marburg Colloquy, and were able to come to a consensus on 14 out of 15 points - but got stuck on the last. If there are any two religions which are similar in the world, they are Lutheranism and Reformed Christianity (including Anglicanism and Presbyterianism as Reformed) but significant differences remain. Lutheranism enjoyed political support largely in kingdoms and principalities, while Reformed Christianity grew up in the free cities. Hungary (including parts of today's Romania), the Netherlands, Switzerland, and some German cities such as Lippe would become Reformed. When the time came to write Protestant confessions in the British Isles, Cramner and Knox would likewise draw their material from, and stand in solidarity with the Reformed Churches of the Continent. The Lutherans were more stable politically at first, while the Reformed church was slower in gaining official toleration and support. The Lutherans more moderate in their reforms, the Calvinists more sweeping. The Anabaptists meanwhile pursued a much more thorough-going, or radical reform, than either of the other groups, and after the Munster disaster, nowhere enjoyed priveledge as the state supported religion, and in nearly as few places even tolerated. As one writer put is, during the tumutuous years of the Reformation, "the Anabaptists were popcorn on the hot griddle of Europe." The Catholics bashed the Lutherans and Reformed. The Lutherans and Reformed (though not agreeing among themselves) bashed the Catholics, and everybody together bashed the Anabaptists. We are talking about serious policital, historical and doctrinal denominational differences here - not one branch on a diagram by any means. Lutherans were more cohesive, having the Augsburg confession, not to mention the figure, story and charisma of Luther, to rally around, and in later generations, also the putting together the Book of Concord, their confessional writings. The Reformed Churches were more difuse, and national in character. (Note the differences between churches of Scoland and England even early on, or today the German and Dutch Reformed, who individually have gotten their acts together with Lutherans, but never completely with eachother and today represent two distinct denominations in the US.) Their confessional writings were more varied, the Heidelberg Catechism prominent along with the writings of Calvin, but these churches still like Lutherans, laid a strong emphasis on Scripture, the 3 Christian Creeds (Apostles, Nicean, Athanasian) and the (Reformed) Confessions. Anabaptists were the least cohesive, and eschewed creeds and confessional writings in favor of Scripture alone meaning just that. Other Protestant denominations developed in the milleau of one or more of these early traditions. Most of these stem from the Reformed/Anglican branch.

Now to asnwer a silly quetion, no of course Mennonites are not Baptists at all. Do a wikipedia search on them please. :)It is easy enough to become confused though. They both practice adult or believer baptism Mennonites are a group of Anabaptists, as are the Amish, and the Church of the Bretheran. They are represented on the image with Anabaptists just as they should be. Baptist Churches on the otherhand trace their roots to the Reformed Churches, through Anglicanism, then Puratinism (those desring to purify the church from within due to strong Calvinist views), then Seperatism (those seperating from the church of England, because of those veiws). Seperatism was not a denomination, but a movement which led Christians in England desiring a more thorough-going reformation to form independent congregations. Many denominations and movements sprang from these seperatist congregations. The Pilgrims (later Congregationalists, today largely within the United Church of Christ) who came to America were not so much Puritans, as Seperatists. Another group that developed out of English seperatism were the Baptists. These groups rejected the Reformed (common to Catholocism, Lutheranism, Orthodoxy, etc.,)notion of infant baptism. English seperatists who had fled to Holland were indeed influenced by the example of Dutch Mennonites. Baptist ideas held much in common with those of the Anabaptists but they came about them in a more round about way, and later on. These two groups share views on Baptism, the Bible, and the church as a believers' assembly, and both reject creeds, but they don't necesarily share views on issues such as pacifism, soul sleep, or election/predestination. Annabaptists are not Baptists, and they do not come from Baptists by any means either. Baptists don't really come from Anabaptists either. Baptists should appear on a branch coming off Refomed Churches through Anglicanism, along with Congregationalists, who were fellow English seperatists. Where do Quakers and Unitarians go you asked? They belong off of the Reformed Churches branch as well, off of Anglicanism, again alongside the Baptists and Congregationalists, as different as these denominations may be. This is what happens when you "open up a can of worms" as they say, or translate the Bible and experiment with religious freedom. As I've mentioned though Quakers and Unitarians have each come a long way in the years between then and now though.

Now, as to all Protestants recieving a single branch (except the precious Church of England :) and Annabaptists and Restorationists being side shoots off of this, I firmly protest. Restorationist church origins are more complex, and denominationaly specific, as I have touched on above. They begin in the 19th century though. Anabaptists however trace their origins directly to the time of the Reformation. They are one of the three major groups to come out of the Reformation - the "other group" so to speak. It isn't fair or reasonable to compare Anabaptism and Restorationism in this way, or to thus align them together. It savors strongly of a very specific predjudice against these two groups, and a likely ignorance of their respective origins and heritage. There are three main Protestant groups which emerege from the Reformation, plus the modern Roman Catholic Church. If you are an Anglican, and you would really like to call that four, while the evidence is flimsy, and most scholars will not agree with you, go for it. Just know where the other pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

  1. Anglicans are considered to be protestant. The word "protestant" is even part of the formal name of the primary Anglican church in the United States. The Church of Ireland missionaries say,'As an Anglican Evangelical Mission Society, we are a Protestant and Reformed Agency'. The British monarch swears an oath to maintain "the true Profession of the Gospell and the Protestant Reformed Religion Established by Law". The Canadian government classifies Anglicans as Protestant. The "via media" POV does not need to be injected into every reference to Anglicanism.
  2. The title of the graphic is "Major Branches within Christianity." Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians are each as numerous as the Anglicans, and well outnumber Anabaptists and Restorationists.
  3. The sizes of the branches are certainly relevant to a description of how Christianity subdivides. The grey depiction of the early Christianity is easily distinguished from and is not co-linear with the red line, clearly indicating a discontinuity.
  4. Both graphics refer to the original church as "early Christianity." What should it be called?

Lines for Anabaptist and Restorationist churches can be added to those of the other, larger branches. 06:22, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I am sorry, I must disagree with much of Fishhead's remark. Christians were recognized as a separate group within a few years of the Crucifixion, whenever that was (see Acts 11:26). The Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon are highly relevant, since the divisions among Christians that then occurred were based precisely on acceptance or rejection of their teachings. I agree that it is inadvisable to attempt and impossible to execute a proper diagram of the "Protestant and similar" groups that consider themselves part of Christianity; if an attempt is made, it should be put in a separate diagram. I agree with the earlier remark that the dotted line for Restorationism is out of place: don't all Protestant denominations (yes, Anglicanism too) claim to be a return to the earliest form of Christianity, rejecting what they see as later deviations? Protestantism Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Anabaptism, Anglicanism, etc., even LDSism, Unitarianism, JWism etc., surely all arose as separate entities either directly or indirectly from the sixteenth-century Western religious division. In my poor opinion, the only breaks worth putting in the diagram are:

431 (Council of Ephesus): mainstream/"Nestorianism"
451 (Council of Chalcedon): mainstream/Oriental Orthodoxy
11th century (East-West Schism): Eastern mainstream/Western mainstream
16th century (Western religious fragmentation): Western mainstream/Protestantism and similar Lima 07:04, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Both users Fishhead64 and Lima make good points. I noticed too that neither schematic has made room for Unitarians and Anti-trinitarians - not to mention Quakers and Shakers - as earlier mentioned. Stopping at a giant Western Religious Fragmentation branch might make the schematic too course. If this were adopted as well as user's population proportionality fixation, we would end up at the 21st C with two thick lines (c. 45% Catholic and c.45% Western Religious Fragmentation) and a thin line (a c. 10% Eastern line) and really what is the point of that. As for lumping - on one extreme - Anti-trinitarian and - on the other extreme - Anglicanism into a giant Protestant set, one ends up with a very ill defined set. By this definition of Protestantism, the only difference in doctrine and practices of the Protestants and the Catholic Church would be the Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. Anglicans alone have almost no identifiable difference - especially since Vatican II. Take out the Anglicans and Anti-trinitarians and one ends up with - more or less - Protestants who are defined by the principles of the Reformation. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast 13:39, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I suppose there are better sources for membership information, but the only one I can consult here is this Internet one's account of the 1995 situation. It puts Catholics at 50.21% of all Christians, Protestants at 20.53%, Orthodox at 11.30%, Anglicans at 3.66%, and "Other Christians" at 14.29%. Wassupwestcoast believes that the groups that have arisen from Western fragmentation form a higher portion than what this site gives. On the other hand,'s estimate of the size relationship between Anglicans and certain other Western-fragmentation groups may well be exact. I do not know who exactly are the "Other Christians" of the Internet site's classification. I suppose they include groups whose Christianity is widely regarded as doubtful. Is it perhaps possible that they also include Oriental Orthodox?
Immediately below these statistics, the same source gives a list of "Major Denominational Families of Christianity", with higher membership estimates, presumably referring to a date later than 1995.
Yes, I know that this comment is not very enlightening for those who know better. But I am confident that their reactions will be enlightening for me. Lima 15:13, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Lima. My proportions were very rough. That is why I prefaced it with c.: i.e. circa. And, religious statistics are very muddy. The Church of England in census data can claim something like 25 million but a survey of church attendance is but a fraction. The Catholic Church data is not much better, for example in Ireland and Quebec. So, I'm painting with a broad brush. And as I pointed out earlier, the changes over time is another problem. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast 19:54, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
The main problem with the "thickness" of the new graphic is that the main/RCC branch remains unaltered in thickness from year 0 (or 33) to the present. Neither the Great Schism nor the Reformation reduce it in size at all, whilst the branches are shown as far thinner. Trying to adjust it, even crudely, for the relative proportions of Christians at the major schism points, never mind the growth in total numbers of Christians, is I think quite hopeless, so all lines should be the same size. Johnbod 15:23, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
A valid point, I think. In fact, if the width of the lines were to reflect the proportion of Christians in each group, logic would have each line vary with time. The Eastern branches, all of them, would grow thinner from the time of the Moslem conquest. Others would grow thicker at times of intensification of missionary activity whether or not associated with colonial expansion. I doubt if any of us could do that job properly. To have the line reflect changes in absolute figures ("the growth in total numbers of Christians") would be even more difficult. Lima 18:08, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Responding to various points, first from
  1. The issue of Anglicanism's self-identity has been done to death in many talk pages of Wikipedia. I'd invite the editor to check out the articles I cited wherein in the "Reformed Catholic" character of Anglicanism is referenced, along with Catholicism, Catholic, and One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, which him/herself edited. I am not advancing a novel or minority view - this is mainstream Anglican doctrine. For your Protestant Episcopal Church in the US, I see you a Holy Catholic Church of Japan. The character is one of a via media, which if it is a POV, is a self-identifying one for Anglicans.
  2. What constitutes a major branch? How are, say, Methodists different in a substantial way from Lutherans, or Pentecostals from Baptists? It raises an interesting question of what constitutes a branch. Perhaps List of Christian denominations would be instructive in this regard.
  3. Many have already pointed out the limitations and difficulties in graphing relative size, and again I ask: why bother? What's the point of that exercise? If one wants to graph the relative sizes of the branches separately, either as they are now or through time, that would be a useful addition to the articles in question, but I can't see the point of trying to adapt this schematic along those lines, given the difficulties cited.
  4. (In response also to Lima) I agree that Christianity was viewed as a separate movement from Judaism, probably around or shortly after the time of Paul - my argument was with the use of the word. "Christian" (Acts 11:26) could mean a movement within Judaism, or a separate one - no one knows when followers first started using it as a self-designation in distinction from Judaism - that use (correct me if I'm wrong) isn't attested until the writings of Eusebius. My concern isn't with the term "Early Christianity" - it's with trying to fix a date of when Christianity began. Fishhead64 21:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

On the issue of "major branches" - Protestantism seems to divide itself along four fairly definitive lines:

  1. Mainline Protestants (those who trace their lineage to Luther, Calvin, or Anglicanism, such as Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists), distinguished from churches of the Catholic tradition through their failure to adhere strictly to the threefold order of ministry derived through Apostolic Succession.
  2. Anabaptists (such as Baptists, Pentecostals, and Mennonites) who eschew infant baptism and - to one extent or another - see baptism as aligned with a demonstration of the gifts of the spirit.
  3. Nontrinitarian movements, such as Universalists, Unitarians, and some Quakers.
  4. Restorationists - such as Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses and Adventists.

There are other minority groups who don't easily fit these categorizations (Messianic Judaism, Christian Scientists), but I think this accurately reflects the main subdivisions. My own opinion, FWIW, is that subdividing Protestantism gets into tricky areas of self-identity, and the term "Protestant" is probably sufficient, without further subdivision - but I offer this for the consideration of other editors. Fishhead64 21:20, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

--This four point schematic might work for Protestantism, if we were to base a chart on who considers whom to be a heretic, or who considers whom to be "out of the club" or who it is that adheres to a practice I personally can't stand. (Example: Infant Baptism, Apostolic succesion of Bishops, etc.) This is not an objective determiniaton however, and not appropriate to Wikipedia neutrality. Furthermore, such a configuration unfairly predjudices Annabaptists, and Restorationists, if not the entire Protestant listing. The diagram under consideration displays historical, political and doctrinal seperations among Christian denomniations. Even if there were no other problems, it would not be reasonable to lump all "mainline" Protestants together, since they did not all split with Rome in the early 16th Century, but rather many with eachother later. Meanwhile, Annabaptists did emerge at the time of the Reformation, but for some other reason are then assigned to a second group? According to most reliable references on the topic, three distinct branches of Christianity come out of the Reformation in Europe: Lutheranism, Reformed (Calvinism) and Radical Reform (Anabaptists.) Other forms of Protestantism descend from these variously or are part of them. These breaks must be shown in order of history. Nevertheless, there is in fact another, big, glaring problem with this that would have to be corrected. Baptists and Pentecsotstals are not Anabaptists, and never have been. They descend rather from the Reformed traditions. You are correct, that the breaks can be complicated, and there is a lot of complicated back crossing, just as there is in Eastern Christianity, especially Eastern Rite Catholocism. Ultimately, a diagram is not going to show why one group of American Baptists refused communion to another, or why one group of American Lutherans ordains women, and another refuses to do so, any more than why there are 3 orthodox churches in the Ukraine, and it doesn't need to. It should show where Lutherans Baptists (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) came from though. There are many small or minority groups all around (among Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians) but that doesn't make them insignificant or all essentially similar. Within Protestantism esepecially there has been an explosion of denominations, which occasionaly differ as much or more from one another they do from Catholocism and Orthodoxy. It is not trivial to list the major historical branches. When I come to the bottom of it, such a configuration, seems like a Roman Catholic projecting a solar system of schismatics out before himself, in order of, and to generalize, their differnces relative to himself. It was likely not intended as such, but in no universe could this be considered a neutral, or acceptable point of perspective for material in this kind of article.MattDiClemente (talk) 18:05, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

All the above editors have good points. I wonder if we haven't got side-tracked. The article title is Schism(religion) and the purpose of the schematic drawing is to illustrate schism. The question of branches, denominations, relative proportion of each is beside the point when the topic is schism. Schism is to religion as revolution/secession is to the state. The first definition of the Oxford English Dictionary has it as a division between strongly opposed parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief. The point is that schism is not a natural organic evolutionary process but a rupture. Not all branching and denominational creation is a result of schism. And just as the self-empowerment movement would have us believe, one person can make a difference: thus, numerically small schismatics are important. Anyway, I think the graph should try to illustrate the concept of schism from day one to today. Cheers!Wassupwestcoast 22:58, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
How about two charts: one diachronic, with lines of equal thickness (Graphic 1 gives, for some obscure reason, greater thickness to the Protestantism group line than to any other) and without the dotted line; the other a pie chart showing approximate present proportions between the groups?
Wassupwestcoast uses "schism" in its generic sense. But this is an article on schism in relation to religion, especially the Christian religion, and most Christians -- certainly Catholics (Code of Canon Law, 751) and Orthodox (e.g. "A heresy is defined as 'a clear difference in the very faith in God.' ... schismatics, i.e., those who split off from the Church on the basis of 'ecclesiastical disputes'", to quote On the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches), who together form a clear majority of Christians -- use the word "schism", in religious contexts, in a quite specific sense: in relation not just to any split, but to one that is not over a question of doctrine. Most of the divisions among Christians represented in the graphs were over doctrinal disputes, splits over heresy; they were not schisms in the religious sense (such as the East-West Schism, and the Great Western Schism). So neither graphic is appropriate in this article, which is about schisms, not heresies. Any such graphic about divisions among Christians belongs, in the view of most Christians, elsewhere, not here. Lima 18:06, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
That's a rather theoretical take on the matter since, as material you removed from the article pointed out, accusations of heresy have usually accompanied schisms, and, from the Catholic POV, to be a schismatic is (by now) heretical in itself. Johnbod 18:31, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
For Catholics and Orthodox, a decided majority of Christians, the distinction between heresy and schism is by no means merely theoretical. The Catholic Church sees the Eastern Orthodox Church as only schismatic, not heretical - even if some Catholics disagree with their Church's judgement (see this example)! It sees the Lefebvrian movement's bishops as having committed an act of schism, not of heresy. On the other hand, it classifies Protestantism as heresy, not schism. So, when dealing with inter-Christian relations, the Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council had to make a clear distinction between the Eastern Churches and the "communities which were separated from the Apostolic See of Rome during the grave crisis that began in the West at the end of the Middle Ages or in later times". Eastern Orthodoxy in the Ukraine is at present divided by schism, not by heresy, into three bodies. Breaks of communion between patriarchates over questions of jurisdiction are other examples of schisms without heresy.
(I should have answered Johnbod's remark earlier: it escaped my notice until now.) Lima 08:50, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I should perhaps have mentioned earlier that after setting this up I noticed the same "old" graphic had been replaced by the "new" one (and reverted, rereverted etc) on a number of other pages, to which I added talk referring to this survey, and suggesting debabe be centralised here. I'm not 'where' contributors have come to here from, but please bear this in mind. I think I put notes on : Christianity, List of Christian denominations , Christian denomination

Johnbod 14:47, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

"removed material added back"[edit]

The removed material that Johnbod added back was "In the [[Early Christianity|early centuries of Christianity]] through much of the [[Middle Ages]], schism was considered by many Christians to be as serious or more serious than [[heresy]].{{Fact|date=February 2007}}. This surprising statement was in fact tagged with a "citation needed" tag since at latest 6 August 2006. In all that time, nobody has come up with a citation. Are we expected to believe that Ignatius of Antioch, who called heretics "beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with" (Smyrnaeans, 4), would have used the same or stronger language about people who had a quarrel with the Church authorities but who still held the same faith? I do not intend to engage in an edit war, but I really must remove again this unbelievable material. Lima 14:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, yes, we are - Ignatius & many of his fellows had equally colourful language for schismatics. Anyway, the whole passage was always oddly placed & the bits you have left were even more so, & rather pointless by themselves, so I have removed the lot. Johnbod 14:26, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod that all the material that was there, even what was true, was out of place where it stood. Perhaps we can insert it elsewhere. Lima 14:28, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposals to modify the "old" graphic[edit]

  1. Remove the "separate lineage" dotted line: it is an at-least POV statement to say that the Restorationist claim is essentially different from that of the sixteenth-century Protestants.
  2. Reduce the Protestantism line to the same width as the other lines
  3. Instead of "Council of Ephesus (431)", "Great Schism 11th Century", etc., put just "431", "11th Century", etc. The diverging lines are enough to indicate what happened.
  4. Add a pie chart to represent present-day proportions. Lima 08:13, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I'd say: Yes, yes, no, different issue. Johnbod 10:12, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

It would be more accurate to understand the Roman Catholic Church as the same as the "Early Christianity". The Catholic Church was so before the schisms of East and West, when Constantine called the Council of Nicae in 325.


I suggest that a number of "sub-trees" be created, which show the branches within various movements. These would often begin at the end of a node in the current diagram, and would have clear links to each other. This would help to justify a minimalist inclusion of churches in the main diagram, and in addition would be really cool to navigate! For example, see this tree of Millerites. Colin MacLaurin 10:56, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Split "Examples" into a new article titled "Schisms in Christianity" ?[edit]

Disagree. There is already sizable coverage in Christian denomination#Historical schisms and methods of classification scheme, including some nifty graphics. Direction to that in Schism: Examples: Christian is sufficient, IMO, instead of another separate article that covers what's already been covered and is therefore unnecessary and confusing. OTOH, a good project would be ensuring that Christian denomination#Historical schisms and methods of classification scheme adequately includes what was mentioned in Schism: Christianity and Schism: Examples: Christian. Molly-in-md (talk) 14:42, 24 September 2010 (UTC)