The Catholic Church was founded in the year 33 by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord named Peter as his first vicar, or Pope, when He said to him “...I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven..” (Matthew 16:19).

One thousand, five hundred years later, the Lutheran church was founded in Germany, by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Roman Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

The Anabaptist church is an offshoot of the Lutherans and was started by Nicholas Storch, and Thomas Münzer, former Lutherans, around 1520. The Anabaptists rejected infant baptism and were denounced by Martin Luther.

The Mennonite church was started in Switzerland, by Grebel, Mantz, and Blaurock, in the year 1525 as an offshoot of the Anabaptists. It derived its name from Menno Simons, a former Catholic priest.

The Baptist church was founded by John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam, in 1606 as an offshoot of the Mennonites. Baptists reject infant baptism as contrary to the Scriptures, and accept immersion as the sole valid mode of baptism.

In 1693, a Swiss bishop named Jacob Amman also broke from the Mennonite church. His followers were called the "Amish." While similar to the Mennonites, they differ in language, dress, and interpretation of the Bible.

The Church of England (Anglican), was founded by King Henry VIII in 1534, because the Pope could not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

The Presbyterian church was founded by John Knox, in Scotland, in the year 1560. They are theologically based on the teachings of John Calvin and are governed by a representative assembly.

The Congregationalist church is an offshoot of the Church of England and was originated by an Englishman named Robert Brown, in Holland, in 1583. He rejected, among other things, the authority of bishops. His followers later became known as Puritans. Some of these went to America to start a colony in 1623. Some, like Oliver Cromwell, got involved in the English Civil War, and overthrew Charles I in 1646.

The Unitarian church first cropped up in Poland in 1568. That sect was suppressed but another was founded in London, by John Biddle, in 1645. The Unitarians believe in a uni-personal instead of a tri-personal God.

The Episcopalian church is also an offshoot of the Church of England. It was founded by Samuel Seabury in the American Colonies in the 17th century.

The Quakers were founded by George Fox, in England in 1647. This group now calls itself The Society of Friends, although they originally called themselves “Children of Light”. They acknowledge absolutely no authority higher than what Fox called the “inner light” of personal revelation.

The Methodist church was launched by John and Charles Wesley, in England in 1739. The Wesley brothers were Anglican ministers who started a revival movement that branched off to become Methodism.

Jacob Albright, a Methodist, started an association that branched off and became the Evangelical Church, in Pennsylvania, in 1803.

The Mormons, or "Latter Day Saints", were founded by a part-time swindler named Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York, in 1829.

The Seventh Day Adventists, originated in New York, by William Miller, in 1831. Based on his study of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, Miller calculated that Jesus would return to earth sometime between 1843 and 1844.

The cult known as Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded by Charles Taze Russell, in 1872, as the "Millennial Dawnists." In 1931, Judge Rutherford, his successor, decided that henceforth they would be called, Witnesses of Jehovah, or Jehovah’s Witness. The JWs deny the divinity of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and refuse to take blood transfusions.

The Christian Scientists, were founded by Mary Baker Eddy in Massachusetts, in 1879.

The "Pentecostal Gospel", religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men in the last 100 years.

Who started your Church?



Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, May 2001.