- Slides: 25
What is Christianity? w A diverse, 2000 year old religion w Followed by almost 1/3 of the world’s population – 2. 1 billion w Based on the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus – Believed to be the Christ (messiah, savior) by his followers (thus called “Christians”)
Major Divisions w Roman Catholic – 1. 1 billion w Eastern Orthodox – 217 million w Protestant – 365 million w Anglican – 80 million
The Historical Jesus w Born, lived, and died a Jew in the first century in Roman occupied Palestine – Nazareth w Knowledge of Him based on New Testament – Little is known of childhood w Baptized at age 30 by John (“the Baptist”) – Blessed by Holy Spirit as He came out of water – “thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased. ” (Mark 1: 11)
Jesus’ History, continued w Then began a mission of preaching, teaching, and healing as an itinerant teacher w Had a following of 12 primary disciples – Countless multitudes attracted by his miracles and words of wisdom
Jesus’ Death w Jesus claimed that he spoke with the authority of God w Betrayed by disciple Judas w Put on trial for being a revolutionary & a political threat to Roman and Jewish authorities w Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate – condemned and put to death by means of crucifixion w The following Sunday, He appeared to his followers as a triumph over death – Later ascended into Heaven
Jesus’ Teachings w Focused on the kingdom of God – Standards of human conduct – Merciful God—how people should treat each other Golden Rule – Personal God --“Our Father” w Used stories and parables to teach w Known as miracle worker and faith healer w Religious and social reformer – Accepted a variety of people – Go above and beyond the letter of the law w Preached forgiveness of sin over punishment for sin – Turn the other cheek
History of Christianity w Jesus’ work was continued after resurrection by St. Paul and St. Peter – Established churches throughout Europe w Church remained small and persecuted – Roman Emperors Nero, Domitian, Diocletian w Constantine promoted Christianity – Became official religion of Rome w Great Schism, 1054 – Split western (Roman Catholic church) and eastern (Orthodox church)
Catholicism w Pope is supreme spiritual leader and Vatican head of state – Vatican City is an independent country surrounded by Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square w First pope was Leo I (officially), or St. Peter
Orthodoxy w Literally means “right teaching or right worship” – Derived from two Greek words: orthos (right) and doxa (teaching or worship) w Followers believe that there were false teachings and divisions in early Christian times – Threatened the identity and purity of the Church – Followers believe the Orthodox Church carefully guards the truth against all error and schism w Believe in saint worship, Eucharist, confession of sins, baptism
St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow
Protestantism w Movement from 16 th century “Reformation” – To reform the (Catholic) church • Corruption, leadership, authority, etc. – Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox – Brought to America in various forms w Usually recognize only 2 sacraments of baptism and communion – 7 in Catholicism – No saints, no rosary, no pope, etc.
Anglican w Began in 6 th century England – Followed Luther’s protest w King Henry VIII spent most of his reign challenging the authority of Rome – Divorce was just one issue w Spread by English colonization and missionaries w Do not follow Pope’s authority – Led by bishops – Now ordain women priests w Book of Common Prayer w Often called Episcopal
Scripture w Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) w New Testament (written after Jesus’ death, by his followers, during the first century; not canonized until the th 4 century) – Four gospels (“good words”) about the birth, life, teaching, acts, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Written by Mark, Matthew, Luke & John – The Book of Acts of the apostles – earliest history of the developing church – Epistles (“letters”) of Paul addressed to the churches they founded and led throughout the Mediterranean – The Book of Revelation– of John - a vision of the end of time, or the Apocalypse.
Beliefs and Customs w Baptism: outward sign of commitment to Jesus w Eucharist (communion): symbolic meal of Jesus’ last meal with disciples; taken in thanks and celebration w Trinity: belief in God as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; not 3 different gods w Saints: celebrated people who led good lives, often associated with miracles
Other Beliefs w Original sin: all humanity is inherently separated from God w The sacrifice of Jesus – a sinless representative of humanity (a “scapegoat”) - as the ultimate atonement for the sins of humanity w Heaven and Hell: – Eternal life for those who are “saved by the blood of the lamb (Jesus)” – Eternal damnation for those who are not so saved
Problem for Humans w Damnation – New covenant based on Christ needed to atone for Adam’s sins – Efforts and good deeds alone cannot save you; you must have faith in Christ
Christian Holy Days Two major seasons in the Christian calendar: w Christmas – celebrating the birth of Jesus w Easter – commemorating the resurrection of Christ w Christmas: – Advent (four weeks leading up to Christmas day) – Christmas Day (December 25 th) – Epiphany (the “twelfth day of Christmas”)
More Christian Holy Days w Easter: (early spring, date varies) – Ash Wednesday and Lent (40 days before Easter, a period of sacrifice and spiritual renewal in preparation for Easter) – Holy Week including: • • Palm Sunday (Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem) Maundy Thursday (communion meal/Last Supper) Good Friday (Jesus’ Passion and crucifixion) Easter Sunday (celebrating the resurrection) w Pentecost: the 50 th day (seven weeks) after Easter (commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles)
Protestant Groups w Lutheran w Church of England, Anglican, Episcopal w Presbyterian, Congregational w Baptist w Methodist w Latter Day Saints (Mormons) w Pentecostal w Shaker w w w w Mennonite Amish Quaker Separatists Brethren (Puritan) Christian Scientist Jehovah’s Witness Seventh Day Adventist w Unification Church
Christianity on the Web: w Religious. Tolerance. org Christianity menu: http: //www. religioustolerance. org/christ. htma jumping off point for the basics on Christianity, including the Bible, important personalities (Jesus, Mary, saints, etc. ), history, beliefs, practices, trends, denominations. w The Spiritual Sanctuary Christianity page: http: //www. thespiritualsanctuary. org/Christianity 1. html provides basic information on major Christian groups and distinctive movements with links to official denomination websites. w Orthodox Christianity: http: //www. kosovo. com/orthodoxy. html Basic introduction, history, doctrine and links to other Orthodox sites. w Catholic Online: http: //www. catholic. organ inside look at Catholic concerns and life; includes a nice section on saints and angels. w Protestantism: (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Protestantismthe basics, with links to details about a variety of Protestant denominations.