Different types of Christians can be identified, as can the different types of Christian schools. Although all profess a belief in Jesus as the Christ, the doctrines and practices of the groups vary widely. Today, more than two billion individuals worldwide call themselves Christians.
Orthodox Christians claim to be the descendants of the first Christian church established. The word “orthodox” means “straight worship or teaching.” This group has sought to keep the purity of the original church intact as others form and supposedly introduced false teachings. Among the Orthodox Christians are Catholics, Coptic, and East Orthodox churches. They believe that the church is the main authority.
Protestants comprise another large group of Christians. Their beginnings can be traced to such leaders as King Henry VIII, who began the Church of England to separate from the Catholic Church, John Calvin, who is best known for his ties to the Puritans, and Martin Luther, who struck a blow for the Protestant Reformation when he tacked his Ninety-Five Theses to the chapel door. The major denominations, such as Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist, are included in this type. They follow salvation by grace and profess the Holy Spirit’s authority in matters of faith. Protestants include only 2 sacraments, baptism and communion, but they shun most of the liturgy and traditions of the Orthodox Christians.
Charismatic Christians claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit and are given abilities such as speaking in tongues and healing. They hold a much more conservative and emotional view of religion and its teachings. Often called splinter groups, many mainline Protestant churches, in fact, claim the charismatic label.
Just as Christianity includes several types of groups, schools differ widely as well. Most of them, however, have similar characteristics. Many are attached to a single congregation or diocese. They usually offer daily opportunities for worship services or prayer. Other courses might be added to the standard curriculum, and beliefs and morals might be included in the presentation of some subject matter.
K-12 Christian Schools
Most of the schools are private so that they can deflect some of the federal mandates and guidelines that are imposed on public education. Many times students wear uniforms from which no variation is accepted. The majority of religious schools in America are affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Colleges also are sponsored by religious groups. The most recognizable one is Notre Dame, which like Boston College, is a Catholic school. However, other well-known colleges are closely aligned with denominations. Baylor is a Baptist school, Southern Methodist is affiliated with Methodism, and TCU is sponsored by the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Oral Roberts University and Liberty University are schools associated with charismatic Christians. BYU is associated with another division of Christianity, Mormonism.
The U.S. promises freedom of religion, and with the many types of Christians and their churches, it lives up to that vow. These institutions and their two billion members add variety to the character of the country and offer alternatives to public education through their many types of schools.
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