4. Church and biblical Christianity
Some of the historical divisions within Christianity, including that between the Western Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and (later) between the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant Churches, have already been introduced. Within each of them there are many further sub-divisions—schisms within schisms. Within Protestantism, for example, there are innumerable different denominations, and even within a single church like the Roman Catholic Church there are many semi-autonomous institutions—like monasteries, voluntary organizations, and different religious orders.
In purely human terms, Christianity’s achievement is remarkable. It has endured longer than the greatest empires and had more influence than the grandest cultural achievements. Its texts still shape lives, and many of its institutions still function.
A Very Short Introduction Second Edition