Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Unity And The Number Of Denominations

Roman Catholics, as well as other critics of Evangelicalism, often object to the existence of so many denominations, supposedly 30000 or some other high number. We're told that sola scriptura, too low an ecclesiology, or whatever other factor is responsible for such disunity and therefore needs to be avoided. An emailer recently asked me if I knew where he could find Eric Svendsen's material on this subject.

You can find a couple of his online articles about it here and here.

James White wrote on the topic here. And here's a YouTube video from him on the subject.

Here's a video by Keith Thompson.

I've occasionally addressed the topic on this blog. See here, for example. As I've noted before, we find critics objecting to the alleged disunity of Christianity as early as Celsus in the second century. There are references to widespread divisions among professing Christians, including organizational divisions, long before the Reformation. As I mention in my article linked above, many of the divisions we see in pre-Reformation history are divisions in Rome or resulting from the errors of Christians in Rome, including Roman bishops. And the tendency for divisions to increase over time isn't just Evangelical or associated with something like sola scriptura or a low ecclesiology. Rather, it's a human tendency that can be observed in Roman Catholicism, Islam, atheism, and other belief systems, not just Evangelicalism. Evangelicals do have less unity than Catholics in some contexts, and some Catholic ideas and practices produce more unity than their Evangelical counterpart. Catholicism has advantages over Evangelicalism in some contexts. But Evangelicalism has advantages over Catholicism in other contexts, including contexts that are far weightier than any unity advantage Catholics can cite in their favor.


  1. Replies
    1. In addition to Rhology's material on this subject, anybody who's interested can search the archives here to find posts John Bugay, Steve Hays, and others have written about the topic. My post above just cites several of many resources that are available.

    2. Apropos of nothing: Is it "roh-loh-gee" or "roh-ah-loh-gee"? I've always wondered.