Unclear about the difference between Baptists and Anabaptists? Here's the source to turn to when you want information ranging from mainstream churches to heretical sects. This handy little reference covers over 1,000 denominations and movements, including lesser-known ones such as the Body-felt Salvation Church. Day treats this potentially dry subject with considerable zest and enjoyment. 516 pages, hardcover from Continuum.
Contrary to Jesus' wish that his followers 'may all be one', Christianity has become, over time, ever more schismatic.
This concise, one-volume dictionary provides information on over a thousand significant denominations and movements, ranging from the mainstream historical churches, for example Roman Catholic and Orthodox, to heretical sects that flourished briefly in the third or fourth centuries to groups that sprang up around charismatic leaders in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alternatives names are given at the end of entries and are cross-referenced in an Appendix.
Such groups include the delightfully named 'Body-felt Salvation Church' in the Torres Strait Islands, with 300 members, and the 'Old Catholic Orthodox Church,' founded in London by (and apparently for) the Most Reverend James Bartholomew Banks, 'known to his friends as 'Piggy' on account of the happy conjunction of his vast inherited wealth and his surname'.
The author approaches what might in other hands be a dull catalogue with considerable zest and obvious enjoyment, and the result is a mine of good stories and useful information.
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