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There are two different definitions of the English word "Church", specifically as it relates to Christianity. The Church is considered the "body of Christ", which is to say the people who form a group (on a local level, or with formal organizations like the Catholic Church, a global level) that chooses to worship the same way under the same leadership. A church is also the building in which people belonging to said religion, meet to perform some of their rituals.

The term is most often associated with Christianity, but other religions which arose in English speaking countries have adapted the term "Church" for their organization or buildings, including the Church of Scientology.

In US politics, "Church" has come to mean inclusively, all religious organizations and concepts that are not part of the secular political system, as in "Separation of Church and State".

[edit] Christian churches

See main article: Christianity

Formal Churches within the Christian religion include:

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church also claims to be the One True Church, and to have arisen directly out of Paul's churches. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Catholic Church split in 1054 largely due to irreconcilable differences.
  • Protestantism is a product of Martin Luther's schism from the Roman Catholic Church. There is no one protestant Church, and over the years, many denominations have formed their own churches.
  • Lastly, although Restorationism resembles Protestantism these churches cannot be traced directly from the Protestant Reformation. Rather they began as entirely new churches, most founded in the 19th and 20th centuries. They include the Church of Christ, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostalism, Christian Identity, Seventh-day Adventism and its offshoots (including the Branch Davidians and the Worldwide Church of God), Christadelphians, Plymouth Brethren, Joel's Army, and the Discipling and Shepherding and Local Church movements.

[edit] Church as a political term

  • Religious right--conservative religious voters
  • Jesusland--name for the 30 U.S. states which voted for George W. Bush in 2004, overly Christian population
  • Faith-based initiative--federal government would give money to religious organizations in order that they would do the government's work in caring for the poor, endangered, and troubled

[edit] See also

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