What is a possible outline or structure for a fifteen-page research paper on the modern manifestation of Christianity?      

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The phrase "modern manifestation of Christianity" suggests an examination of what Christian churches or denominations are doing today.

The word modern seems self-explanatory, though certainly you will have to choose a starting point for your research; your class discussion and/or reading has undoubtedly given you some sense of where to begin.

The term manifestation simply means how something is demonstrated or displayed; for the purposes of your research, that probably means explaining what a particular church or denomination is doing today and how that might distinguish it from other churches or denominations. It could also mean discussing contemporary Christianity in terms of movements like evangelicalism, fundamentalism, Messianic Judaism, personality cults, etc.

The word Christianity is the most open to interpretation, though again you may have been given those parameters either in class or through your reading. Jewish churches are generally not considered Christian churches, for example, and there is some debate about whether the Roman Catholic Church is part of Christianity as are Greek and Russian Orthodox. Some churches are considered cults and are not on any list of Christian churches. Again, your class and/or reading have undoubtedly given you some sense of your parameters; if not, you will have to decide them for yourself.

Assuming for discussion that you will choose the denominational divisions, your best approach may be to select several denominations which best represent the Christian church and compare and contrast them. Some areas to focus on might include membership, doctrine, mission/vision, growth, and evangelization. 

Below are two links which list Christian denominations, and both lists are long. Obviously you will have to determine which ones might be most significant to research, and that can be done by choosing the largest, the one growing most quickly, the one which intrigues you the most, or whatever other criteria you choose.

Once you limit your focus to some representative denominations, the structure is not difficult. Simply follow one of the guidelines below for a traditional compare and contrast paper. 

 I. Church/Denomination A

    A. Membership

    B. Doctrine

II. Church/Denomination B

    A. Membership

    B. Doctrine


 I.  Membership

     A. Church/Denomination A

     B. Church/Denomination B

II.  Doctrine

     A. Church/Denomination A

     B.  Church/Denomination B

All of your choices for this paper, of course, must be based on the availability of research as well as adherence to any guidelines given by your professor; however, this is not as daunting a task as it looks if you are able to select some representative churches/denominations and focus on those. 

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