It’s true there are many different ‘forms’ of Christianity but the Bible teaches there is only really one form of Christianity. That being a Christian, a follower of Jesus, is to believe and trust in Jesus as the only one who can save us from the punishment of our rebellion against God.
There’s a very well known Bible verse from the account of Jesus’ life told by a man called John who was a close friend of Jesus. John says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
The different ‘forms’ of Christianity, or denominations as they sometimes get called, usually all agree on that essential point.
There are three main groups within Christianity: Eastern Churches such as Greek Orthodox; Roman Catholic; and Protestant. It is in this Protestant category that you have probably noticed the most difference in ‘forms’.
The differences are about things like baptism (adult or baby) and how churches should be run. These issues have popped up from time to time throughout history and when groups of Christians couldn’t come to a common understanding it would lead to a parting of ways so that each could follow the practices they were most comfortable with.
It may be helpful to think of these differences as flavours of Christianity. Australia particularly has many different flavours of Christianity due to many Christian immigrants bringing with them their own church styles and practices.
There are some groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons though who are not Christian as they do not consider Jesus to be the Christ (God’s appointed king). They are sometimes lumped in with Christian denominations rather than non-Christian religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Judaism.
Within Christian groups there are some who do not teach Jesus as he is portrayed in the Bible but combine the Bible with man-made traditions and modern philosophies to make it say what they want. That’s why it is very important to judge a church or Christian group on what its beliefs are based upon rather than the particular flavour or brand of the church. It is the Bible that provides us with the most reliable accounts of the life of Jesus, his teachings and ultimately the only way of truly knowing God.