Protestant is a kind of a sucky name, especially since it was a name given to them. The term is useful, however, in understanding Protestants' view of ecclesiology (church stuff). Protestants believe that certain denominations are together part of the one church.
Protestants tend to believe that the church has nothing to do with denominations - yours, mine or any other. Protestants tend to believe that Christians are people and that the promises, etc., made to Christians were made to people. And that the assembly/gathering/congregating/community of Christians is thus that of people. Thus, we tend to affirm, the church is the one, holy, catholic communion of saints, the community of believers - past and present. Whether they are officially registered in a congregation or that congregation is legally affiliated with a denomination is rather moot, in our view. It's the gift of faith in Christ that makes us Christian, not legal affiliations.
That does not mean that Protestants are opposed to Christian communities or associations, not at all, we tend to be rather passionately in favor of them. Such associating in a given place and time is what we call a "congregation" (from the verb "to congregate" or "to gather together"). There are several examples of such in the NT itself and millions upon millions of them today. Of course, the congregation is not the one, holy, catholic communion of saints, rather the CHRISTIAN PEOPLE there are a small part of such, and the institution that MAY be associated with that congregation is not the one, holy, catholic, communion of believers since institutions cannot believe - they are simply our creations to assist us in our congregating and our goals in such (such as edification, mutual support and cooperation, accountability, etc.).
Congregations may also associate in denominations. Individual believers : congregations as congregations : denominations. Of course, there are no denominations in the NT and likely none existed until the 4th century. But again, no denomination is the one, holy, catholic, communion of BELIEVERS - no, the church (in this strick sense) is PEOPLE - Christian people, people with the gift of faith in Christ, including those now among those in heaven.
It amazes me here TOO that our vocabulary is not always helpful! We use the same word to describe the church that is the spiritual, one, holy, catholic, communion of Believers, and ALSO our many congregations ("St. Francis Catholic Church, St. John Lutheran Church") - so does the NT (although in the NT, we find the word for congregation nearly always used in the plural). We at times use it for denominations, too. The United Methodist Church (but then, The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran SYNOD). No wonder people are confused, even Christians!
Yes, the RCC and LDS have a very different view of the church (well, actually just an ADDITIONAL one that entirely overwhelms and overpowers the Protestant one - an institutional view that is always itself).
Therefore, it is proper to call Protestant churches denominations, but it is not appropriate to call RCC or Orthodox a "denomination."
I disagree. Christian PEOPLE are - together - the church. The Body of Christ. The one, holy, catholic, communion of saints. Christian CONGREGATIONS may be called "church" but technically, such is a congregation of BELIEVERS which may or may not have institutional aspects, it matters not if such is a congregation that is non-denom (independent of any other) or denominational (a member of such - the RCC, UMC, LCMS, SBC whatever). A denomination is a formal association of several congregations under a common name, jurisdiction, polity and often but not always a common confession (statement of teachings of that denomination). Unless your congregation is non-denom (entirely autonomous and independent in every way from any and all other congregations) then it's denominational. The question is just WHICH denomination.
The lesson to be learned here is not to put too much stock in names. Josiah and others complain that the Catholic Church is not found in the Bible. True
Glad we agree.
But actually, MY point was that the claim that the RCC was given this or that remarkable thing IN THE NT is simply without confirmation. It's not even mentioned.
Catholics, too, sometimes try to say they are the true church, because they have Catholic in their name. There are problems with that too. As we saw, names can change over time. The Catholic Church as it was used in those days was the whole church, not just the Roman branch of it.
From my prespective, the several denominations legally named "The Christian Church" probably could best say, "We MUST be the true Christian Church because the name we gave the denomination says that." As we know, "catholic" is simply an adjective that embraces all Christians - it has nothing to do with an institutional, legal/political/economic geopolitical entity. The church IS one, holy, CATHOLIC, communion of saints- the community or family of believers, IMO.
YES, in my opinion, this has a huge impact. IMO, you are my FULL, unseparted and in every possible sense equal and equally blessed brother or sister in Christ. Because the point is our hearts in Christ, not our political associations (NOT that there is ANYTHING wrong with congregating with other Christians or in your congregation associating with other congregations!). CHRIST made us one, it has nothing to do with all of us crowding into one room of one congregation or our legally registering in such. Christians are PEOPLE, people with the gift of faith in Christ. The enormous, constant emphasis on the denomination that I found in Catholicism was one of the things that troubled me, and yes - it does serve to divide us into "us vs. them" "holy vs. apostate" "insiders and outsiders"
I HOPE the opening post serves to better understand this (yet another sloppy) term...