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Complete Guide To Christian Denominations [Paperback]

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Item Number 3575  
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Item Description...
Ron Rhodes has compiled his extensive research into a handy, easy?to?use manual that will provide readers with accurate, straightforward answers to their questions about various churches. In just minutes, anyone can easily find important information about a denomination, including...

a brief history
their most important doctrinal beliefs
distinctive elements of their teaching and worship
Visually appealing charts highlight doctrinal differences. Membership statistics show denomination sizes and growth. A bibliography and a listing of websites give readers resources for more information.

Whether they are looking for a new church or the opportunity to fellowship with believers from different traditions, readers will be much better prepared with this thorough and user?friendly guide.

Publishers Description

Do you ever wonder what the difference is between one denomination and another? Why are there so many kinds of Baptist or Presbyterian or Lutheran churches? Where do those names come from, anyway?

You can find answers in this concise but comprehensive guide. Learn about the leaders, teachings, and history of most of the church families in America. In addition to membership statistics, you'll find... a brief explanation of how the denomination began a short summary of its teaching on God, the Bible, the church, and other important topics a quick overview of some of its distinctive characteristics

Whether you're looking for a new church or enriching your fellowship with believers from other traditions, you'll be much better prepared with this revised and expanded edition of The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations.

Item Specifications...

Pages   395
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2005
Publisher   Harvest House Publishers
ISBN  0736912894  
EAN  9780736912891  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
This Book is not worth buying  Nov 10, 2006
As a student of Church History and Denominations, and as an author and teacher on the same subject, I honestly have to say the "Complete Guide to Christian Denominatins..." is NOT anywhere near being a complete "guide". In review of this book, and three others on the same topic (which includes my own yet to be published book) - Rhodes book has the least amount of information (only 105 denominations, compared to 179 in the National Council of Churches book, 193 in The Handbook of Denominations (Frank Mead/Samuel Hill) and 227 on my book (Guide to Denominations - Robert Stearns).

Further - many of the denominations are mis-identified as to the family they belong to, and the Churches of God (Reformation Theology group of churches) totally omitted. Very limited in statistics. The interesting feature, however, was the lay out and the quick reference "bullets".

Robert H Stearns, Reviewer
Matthew 16:18  Aug 28, 2006
As Christ told His apostles in Matthew 16:18 the gates of hell would never prevail against His church and of course it hasn't! Ron Rhodes does an excellent job in giving the history of the church and how it grew from a universal catholic church (catholic with a small c), to the Reformation, to today's denominations.

The one thing that strikes me in reading Dr. Rhode's book is that all branches of Christianity agree on the essentials of the faith. Yes, they are disagreements on the non-essentials (the reason for all the denominations), but in essentials we have unity.

One distinctive characteristic of the book is that Mr. Rhodes only includes true Christian denominations. You will notice that he excludes the likes of Oneness Pentecostals, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses. In other books on Christian denominations you will see these cultic groups included.

One critique I have of the book is that Mr. Rhodes seems to present the pre-mill dispensational rapture view as if it were the one true view. You will notice how he lists this view several times and lets it stand alone, as compared to placing it alongside other views in a chart (e.g. partial preterism, or progressive dispensationalism, which are never even mentioned in his book).

Overall though this is a must book for those who love the history of the church!

Patrick Foss
Pretty good place to start  Jul 25, 2006
I found this book to be interesting in many parts, but fairly redundant and often too vague to be as helpful as it could be.

The church history is interesting, and it is valuable to realize where all of the Christian denominations fit in the family tree. I also felt it is structured as a nice reference, so one could easily find a specific denomination.

However, after a while, all of the theology started to seem to be the same--rather than highlighting the differences, he regurgitates the statements of each denomination in slightly different words for each one. Rather than reiterating the slightly different verbiage for each denomination regarding each major point, it woudl have been helpful to have a basic template with such things as inerrancy of scripture, belief in the Trinity, belief in the human and divine natures of Christ etc--and then have Yes/No or comments on how a specific denomination differs in one particular area. A chart comparing denominations would have been helpfu.

I also found it frustrating that not much was said about worship style or structure of church services. While the cover of the book talks about it being handy for someone looking for a new church (or something like that), some things like liturgical worship style (yes/no, or shades of grey) or style of prayer (formal, thees and thous--or informal, "we just"...), or type of music (traditional hymns, organ music vs contemporary worship). Only a few churches who were considered very unique--ie, all singing a capella--were described in detail.

I did find the "fast facts" interesting, although not always handily placed--definitions of 'millenial' beliefs were way after the first mention. And the comparision between Armenian and Calvinistic beliefs was interesting, but left out other perspectives which are neither of the 2.

All in all, this is a decent book, a decent place to start learning about different denominations. I do wish it had more meat to it, and less redundency; more structure and focus on comparison/contrast and less regurgitation of what ever is on the church website.
Excited about this initially, but disappointed  May 9, 2006
I was really looking forward to this book. A book that discusses the aspects of each of the congregations in the US or world is a great reference tool in understanding what others believe. Is this book the one to choose for that purpose? First, I will discuss its contents, pros and cons before giving my final opinion.

Rhodes' book begins with a very short history of the church (4 pages). He then defines 'denomination,' 'protestant' and gives a description of how to use the book.

The books covers the following churches:
Episcopalian and Anglican
Friends (Quaker)
Fundamentalist and Bible

With each congregation, Rhodes begins with a date of origin for the church, census of members and number of congregations. He then describes their beliefs and gives a chart of fast facts for the church. There are several added "fast fact" charts that detail theologies such as Calvinist and Arminian. Each congregation gets 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pages (except the Roman Catholic Church where 10 pages are written.) Some congregations have a robust history leading into discussion of the divisions within, such as the Orthodox church.

--A large swath of churches is covered.
--A good index aids in finding churches. For instance, I wanted to find out what the Nazarene church was like, and the index pointed me to the Holiness section, which I was not aware they were part of.
--There is an index of persons that helps in determining which authors are from which church.
--Rhodes speaks from an unbiased viewpoint. One could not tell he is conservative dispensational Protestant from this writing.

--Rhodes left out a couple of churches I have wanted to learn about in my town, namely Unitarian. Granted, many do not consider the Unitarian church to be strictly Christian, but it is a prominent congregation that would be helpful to have in the book.
--The book is VERY vague about church beliefs. Many of the churches described deny the inerrancy of Scripture, but that can not be determined by the wording used, as the writing makes little distinction between those that call the Scriptures inerrant and those that do not. One must read between the lines or have some knowledge of the church to discern Rhodes' writing. Views of Scripture is only one of the vagueries, but is the most prominent.
--The book does NOT discuss the issues that set the churches apart. Worship is spoken about, again, in vague terms. Is Christ present in the Eucharist of the Lutheran churches? One cannot tell from this book. (Some Lutheran churches do teach this and some don't.) Which churches put high focus on speaking in tongues? One cannot tell from this book.

My greatest critique is vagueness. Granted, Rhodes could not have been very specific without relying on some theological bias. But, more specifics could be told. From this book, it is very hard to tell why there are divisions. What divides the American Baptists from the Southern Baptists? Episcopalian from Anglican? Greek Orthodox from Orthodox Church in America? Volumes could be written, but little of it could be found out in this writing.

Is this book the one to choose for the purpose of understanding other congregations? I have to give a resounding no. The breadth of this book is a blessing and a curse. He doesn't leave many out, but the book would have to be much longer to give any insight into the differences between the congregations discussed.
Errors, Errors, Errors  Apr 9, 2006
Being a retired Congregational (UCC) minister the first thing I took a look at, in a Christian bookstore, was Rhodes' account of the people later to be known as the Pilgrims who traveled to these shore on the Mayflower. I was very surprised to read that they were led here by their pastor, John Robinson. In fact, John Robinson stayed behind in Leiden, Holland and died there in 1625. His wife who succeeded him once made plans to travel to America but for reasons unknown canceled them. As the assembly which had met at the "green gate" dwindled, she later joined the Dutch Church.

John Robinson is rememberd for having said, "God hath yet more truth to bring forth from His holy word."

Unfortunately, Rhodes doesn't seem as scholarly as others who have written about denominations, such as Mead, Hill and Atwood in the Handbook of Denominations, which is what I reccommend.

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