Sometimes the issue of denominations arises within the context of this forum. Queries are generally along the lines of why do they exist - how many are there- and people often provide all kinds of fanciful reasons for why they subjectively believe it is the way it is.
My particular view is that for the most part denominations are a good thing and should be encouraged. For me, the greater variety of denominations is a strength for the Christian religion because it demonstrates that members and individuals are united by something greater than a simple belief. A greater variety of denominations also puts to death the notion that "they are all brainwashed". Brainwashed people would not have the capacity to leave and start something new.
Christianity at its heart is a decentralised religion - with a head, that is Christ. It is not intended to be centralised around one figure or leader except for Christ. Unfortunately, throughout history, the church and its leaders have, like the world around it, fallen prey to the notion they are somehow privy to information or leadership skills that others do not possess - or that they have been called to a higher calling than the rest of the church. In other words, people in the church, just like people in the world, crave power and authority. And sometimes these people also have the means of attempting to make that happen.
Hence, it is true to say that throughout history that most new churches are started by people or groups that are attracted to power. Another aspect of this is the personality. People with personality - charismatic personality in the main - tend to attract people around them and who motivate that person to go further - to achieve power. Is it a wonder that people with personality - tend to go into politics? Is it a wonder that people who start new political parties are people with personality? It is a rare thing to see a person with no personality start a new church or start a new political party?
In my limited experience, when I see a new church start, it is for a couple of reasons. One, it is church plant from our congregation. One which sees a need and provides a service. So in our area, over the past 25 years, we have seen the growth of several new church congregations - all of our church's particular flavour and yet all distinctly different from each other. Some are quite conservative and others quite contemporary. Others a mixture of the ranges. Yet, all love each other and are able to worship together when it suits or is convenient. They contain young families, professionals, including scientists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, and many tradies - electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and a wide variety of the demographics of our communities. Another reason I see people start new churches is because of differences in music. Our church has variety of music - but sometimes people prefer the old hymns, or the more contemporary sort. Some like to have just an organ - others to have an entire band. Another reason I have seen people start their own church is because of personality. They were in leadership - but clashed with the current leadership - sometimes such people leave and go to another congregation - clash with that leadership and then move on - to another church and the same pattern continues on and on. Sometimes these people get sick of moving on - so they end up staying at home, then after a while starting a home church, normally watching something on tv - and then after a while thinking they can do better themselves. Sometimes people start a new church because the type of church they are looking for does not exist in an area, and after a while of visiting other churches in the area, they get in contact with their own denomination and see if they can start a new one. I can honestly say I have never seen a new one start up because of so called ambiguities of the bible.
But this is my limited experience. For the record I have worked in 4 different church congregations - and been involved within at least 6 different denominations. The churches I have worked in are Baptist and Presbyterian. I grew up in a church of Christ, my wife comes from a Pentecostal church, and I have engaged with Brethren, Anglican and Uniting Churches as well as a very small Presbyterian denomination and very small Methodist church.
Why I posted this topic - is I am interested in other people's experiences of new churches starting - why people think new ones start - and again from their experience - not just their opinion. And whether you can see benefits in it as well as negatives.