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Finding the Right Church: A Guide to Denomination Beliefs [Paperback]

By Shelley Steig (Author)
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Item Number 96231  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   384
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 15, 2002
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0529107708  
EAN  9780529107701  
UPC  027596107708  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This easy-to-use, non-biased resource guide to all the major denominations in the US includes a summary of doctrinal beliefs, and is perfect for the new believer or the long-time Christian. An alphabetical listing of over 300 denominations Information concerning the church beliefs on over 20 major topics Brief overview of church group history Statements of faith Stands on current issues and events of relevance for today Contact information for denominational headquarters A summary of doctrinal beliefs in a completely non-biased manner

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Poorly organized, poorly written, practically useless  Sep 1, 2005
Please note that for those who are harping about the issue: the title of the book as pictured (and the one I borrowed via inter-library loan) doesn't hint that only Protestant churches are discussed.

In this book, the churches are organized alphabetically according to the official name of each splinter denomination. There is a 2nd large section (also organized alphabetically) for denominations which the author was aware of but from which she was unable to receive information.

For those denominations for which she received info, there is little attempt to explain or even cite how the sub-denominations fit together or how they stemmed/splintered from each other either historically or in terms of doctrine - the fact that the ones that are ostensibly related to one another aren't grouped together under a distinct chapter heading doesn't help matters when one is struggling to gain some sort of perspective.

This lady doesn't have a clue as to how to write something that's as easy to read as a story; consider the manner by which she presents doctrine: culling her info from official circulars she obtained from the respective denominations without any idea of how to give the material any kind of reader-friendly shape. It's just a big long series of lists consisting of series of abbreviated buzz-words and/or sound-bites - I don't know whether this should be considered plagiarism; but I am very aware that it represents extreme laziness.

If you're expert enough to be able to navigate using this "guidebook" it's highly unlikely you'll need it to begin with - it certainly won't provide any emotional, intellectual or spiritual nourishment.

I suggest Ron Rhodes' 5-star 'Complete Guide to Christian Denominations', which rights every one of Ms. Steig's wrongs. Rhodes' book is fun to peruse; and to read it in detail is a veritable joy. Beginners and experts should both love it.
Do some of you not understand what "Protestant" means?  Apr 20, 2005
According to the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of Protestant is "a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church."

In other words, the title clearly indicates that the Catholic Church would be not be included in such a book.

According to the Unitarian Universalist Assn. website the church "draws from many sources" including "Wisdom from the world's religions," "Jewish and Christian teachings," "Humanist teachings" and "Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions" which means that the Unitarian Universalists aren't Protestants.
What about the church of Christ?  Mar 8, 2005
There is a good book called "The Traditions of Men Versus the Word of God" by Alvin Jennings that explains, in detail, every major sect in the world today. The heck with denominations and sects though.

You can be just a "Christian." Does this sound strange?
With over 400 religious bodies in the United States it might appear impossible to be a Christian without being part of a denomination. It is not only possible, but there are actually millions of "Christians only" in this and other nations.

Who are these people who seek to be only "Christians"? The congregations of which they are a part are usually known as "churches of Christ." This term is not used in a sectarian sense, but is intended to denote their desire to belong to Christ's church. The Bible says, "The churches of Christ greet you." (Rom. 16:16). However, it is just as correct to describe the church as "the church of God" (I Cor. 1:2), "the body of Christ" (I Cor. 12:27), or "the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). These and similar Biblical phrases are not proper names, but descriptive expressions which show how the church is related to Christ and His Father.

Individually, Christ's followers are known as "Christians" in the Bible. "The disciples were first called 'Christians' in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). "If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (I Pet. 4:16). Never does a human name prefix this God given name. Paul was one of the greatest of all Christians, but he did not want disciples to be called "Paulites" or "Paulite Christians." (I Cor. 1:10-17).

Churches of Christ have a distinctive plea. Of course in many ways, we agree with others striving to follow Christ. We believe in the divine inspiration of the entire Bible and that it is sufficient to guide us in all matters of faith; in the death of Jesus Christ and His atonement for our sins; and that after death all men will be rewarded or punished in another life for the way they have lived here. And with all people of religious conviction we insist that the moral principles of Jesus are absolute truths to be exemplified in the personal righteousness of the child of God.

The Bible ONLY
However, we not only believe that the scriptures are inspired, but also are convicted that the New Testament must be our ONLY guide in religious faith. God's Word frequently warns us against changing the divine message (see Gal. 1:6-9). We, therefore, have no creed or catechism to present, but accept Christ as our only creed and the Bible as our only guidebook. In this way we are never prevented by an erroneous creed from accepting any truth which may be learned from God's Word.

RESTORATION Rather Than Reformation
It is obvious to thinking people that the religious world is badly divided. Great leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin sought to correct erroneous teachings and practices. But the reformers often started at different points and thus arrived at different conclusions. Division rather than unity has resulted.

Churches of Christ, on the other hand, plead for the restoration of apostolic Christianity rather than a reformation of existing religious bodies. Since all can agree that the early church was right, we should also be able to agree that we cannot be wrong (John 8:32) if we succeed in reproducing that church today in every essential part. While many things have changed in the present century, the teachings of Jesus and His apostles have not. Truth is absolute and unchangeable. God's Word is truth (John 17:17) and can save today as surely as in the first century if applied in the same way. "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

Should you visit one of the churches of Christ you will find us worshipping God as did the early disciples -- "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). You will observe that we partake of the Lord's supper, or communion, every Sunday. This is because we are following the example of the early Christians who assembled every first day of the week to "break bread" (See Acts 20:7). Likewise, in every other way churches of Christ seek to reproduce New Testament Christianity -- in organization, in work, and in other areas of teaching.

In few issues is there so much disagreement as in answering the Bible question, "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). Here again churches of Christ reply by going to the scriptures for their answer. The Bible teaches that Christ shed His blood for our sins (Matt. 26:28), and that without it we cannot be saved (Heb. 9:22). But what does Jesus require of us if we are to appropriate that sacrifice? Those who crucified Him were told to "know assuredly" or believe that Jesus is "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

When these people on the day of Pentecost then asked for further information, they were told, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins" (Acts 2:38). Today we teach as did the apostles then, that for Christ's blood to remove our sins we must believe in Him, repent, and be baptized. As we are thus saved from our sins, the Lord adds us to His body, the church. "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body" (I Cor. 12:13). The saved, then, are in the body or church of Christ; one cannot be saved and be outside this body.

The early disciples were Christians only. Although we live 1900 years later, we, too, can be "Christians only" if we will follow the same teachings given to these first followers of Jesus. Christ said, "The seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11). Just as surely as a planted acorn will produce only an oak, so God's Word will produce Christians and nothing more. We invite your earnest consideration to this plea.
Great Resource for Learning about Protestant Denominations  Jun 7, 2004
I discovered this book while browsing through a book store and wondering if such a book existed. It is a wonderful resource for finding information on the official beliefs and practices of almost every major Protestant denomination in the United States. Profiles of over 150 denominations are included. Each profile features the denomination's official stand on numerous theological and social issues, including abortion, baptism, capital punishment, Communion, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, inspiration of Scripture, speaking in tongues, and the Trinity. A brief history of each denomination is also included. This information would be very useful to people who are looking for a new church but who would like to narrow down their choices based on certain issues on which they definitely want the church to be in agreement with them. It would also be excellent for anyone who is interested in learning more about the numerous denominations that can be found in the U.S.

Some of the other reviewers have criticized this book for only including a limited amount of information. It is true that there is not a great deal of detail due to the enormous number of denominations and issues covered, but the end of each denomination's listing includes a physical address, telephone number, and web address, so it is easy for the reader to locate additional information. Also, most issues are not dealt with by a single sentence. Many issues are covered by paragraphs of substantial length, and there is virtually always enough information for a church's stand on an issue to be clear to a reader without having to do any further research. It is also true that only bodies of Protestant Christianity are included, and I agree that it would be useful to include other groups. Other books that I recommend are Carmen Renee Berry's The Unauthorized Guide to Choosing a Church, which includes the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood's The Handbook of Denominations in the United States, which includes non-Christian religions. These books have many other differences as well, so I recommend that they all be used to get a more complete picture of the various churches. Shelly Steig's book would be excellent for anyone looking for a new church of a different Protestant denomination or wanting to learn more about the differences between denominations.

I found another book  Oct 10, 2002
I found another book that does include the Roman Catholic church and others. It has 20 chapters. It is call Traditions of Men Versus the word of God. By Alvin Jennings

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