From Wikipedia for FEVERv2
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Christianity_sentence_0

Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. Christianity_sentence_1

It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.4 billion followers as of 2020. Christianity_sentence_2

Christians make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories. Christianity_sentence_3

Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. Christianity_sentence_4

Their creeds generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the Logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; as referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news", in the Bible. Christianity_sentence_5

Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the Jewish Old Testament as the gospel's respected background. Christianity_sentence_6

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Christianity_sentence_7

Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. Christianity_sentence_8

It soon attracted gentile God-fearers, which led to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianity slowly separated from Judaism. Christianity_sentence_9

Emperor Constantine the Great decriminalized Christianity in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the State church of the Roman Empire (380). Christianity_sentence_10

The early history of Christianity's united church before major schisms is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church" (though heterodox sects existed at the same time, including Gnostic Christianity and Jewish Christians). Christianity_sentence_11

The Church of the East split after the Council of Ephesus (431) and Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the bishop of Rome. Christianity_sentence_12

Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the (mostly Latin, though a minority from the Eastern, Catholic Churches) in the Reformation era (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and papal primacy. Christianity_sentence_13

Christianity played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly in Europe from late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Christianity_sentence_14

Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world via missionary work. Christianity_sentence_15

The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1%), Protestantism (920 million/36.7%), the Eastern Orthodox Church (230 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (62 million/Orthodoxy combined at 11.9%), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Christianity_sentence_16

Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian. Christianity_sentence_17

Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents. Christianity_sentence_18

Christians remain persecuted in some regions the world, especially in the Middle-East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. Christianity_sentence_19

Etymology Christianity_section_0

Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (της οδου), probably coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." Christianity_sentence_20

According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Greek: Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. Christianity_sentence_21

The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. Christianity_sentence_22

Beliefs Christianity_section_1

While Christians worldwide share basic convictions, there are also differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Christianity_sentence_23

Creeds Christianity_section_2

Main articles: Creed § Christian creeds, and List of Christian creeds Christianity_sentence_24

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. Christianity_sentence_25

They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. Christianity_sentence_26

The Apostles' Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. Christianity_sentence_27

It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Western Rite Orthodoxy. Christianity_sentence_28

It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. Christianity_sentence_29

This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Christianity_sentence_30

Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Christianity_sentence_31

Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. Christianity_sentence_32

The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Christianity_sentence_33

Its points include: Christianity_sentence_34


The Nicene Creed was formulated, largely in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively, and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431. Christianity_sentence_35

The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably": one divine and one human, and that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are nevertheless also perfectly united into one person. Christianity_sentence_36

The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance." Christianity_sentence_37

Most Christians (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant alike) accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the creeds mentioned above. Christianity_sentence_38

Many Evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Christianity_sentence_39

Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another." Christianity_sentence_40

Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, and the Churches of Christ. Christianity_sentence_41

Jesus Christianity_section_3

Main articles: Jesus in Christianity and Christ (title) Christianity_sentence_42

See also: Incarnation (Christianity) and Jesus in comparative mythology Christianity_sentence_43

The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christianity_sentence_44

Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Christianity_sentence_45

The Christian concept of messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. Christianity_sentence_46

The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life. Christianity_sentence_47

While there have been many theological disputes over the nature of Jesus over the earliest centuries of Christian history, generally, Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate and "true God and true man" (or both fully divine and fully human). Christianity_sentence_48

Jesus, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin. Christianity_sentence_49

As fully God, he rose to life again. Christianity_sentence_50

According to the New Testament, he rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will ultimately return to fulfill the rest of the Messianic prophecy, including the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the final establishment of the Kingdom of God. Christianity_sentence_51

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Christianity_sentence_52

Little of Jesus' childhood is recorded in the canonical gospels, although infancy gospels were popular in antiquity. Christianity_sentence_53

In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, is well documented in the gospels contained within the New Testament, because that part of his life is believed to be most important. Christianity_sentence_54

The biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and deeds. Christianity_sentence_55

Death and resurrection Christianity_section_4

Main articles: Crucifixion of Jesus and Resurrection of Jesus Christianity_sentence_56

Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history. Christianity_sentence_57

Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based. Christianity_sentence_58

According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified, died a physical death, was buried within a tomb, and rose from the dead three days later. Christianity_sentence_59

The New Testament mentions several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once", before Jesus' ascension to heaven. Christianity_sentence_60

Jesus' death and resurrection are commemorated by Christians in all worship services, with special emphasis during Holy Week, which includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Christianity_sentence_61

The death and resurrection of Jesus are usually considered the most important events in Christian theology, partly because they demonstrate that Jesus has power over life and death and therefore has the authority and power to give people eternal life. Christianity_sentence_62

Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions. Christianity_sentence_63

Some modern scholars use the belief of Jesus' followers in the resurrection as a point of departure for establishing the continuity of the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church. Christianity_sentence_64

Some liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection, seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing myth. Christianity_sentence_65

Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues. Christianity_sentence_66

Paul the Apostle, an early Christian convert and missionary, wrote, "If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless." Christianity_sentence_67

Salvation Christianity_section_5

Main article: Salvation in Christianity Christianity_sentence_68

Paul the Apostle, like Jews and Roman pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life. Christianity_sentence_69

For Paul, the necessary sacrifice was the death of Jesus: Gentiles who are "Christ's" are, like Israel, descendants of Abraham and "heirs according to the promise". Christianity_sentence_70

The God who raised Jesus from the dead would also give new life to the "mortal bodies" of Gentile Christians, who had become with Israel, the "children of God", and were therefore no longer "in the flesh". Christianity_sentence_71

Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be saved from a universal condition of sin and death than the question of how both Jews and Gentiles can be in God's family. Christianity_sentence_72

According to Eastern Orthodox theology, based upon their understanding of the atonement as put forward by Irenaeus' recapitulation theory, Jesus' death is a ransom. Christianity_sentence_73

This restores the relation with God, who is loving and reaches out to humanity, and offers the possibility of theosis c.q. divinization, becoming the kind of humans God wants humanity to be. Christianity_sentence_74

According to Catholic doctrine, Jesus' death satisfies the wrath of God, aroused by the offense to God's honor caused by human's sinfulness. Christianity_sentence_75

The Catholic Church teaches that salvation does not occur without faithfulness on the part of Christians; converts must live in accordance with principles of love and ordinarily must be baptized. Christianity_sentence_76

In Protestant theology, Jesus' death is regarded as a substitutionary penalty carried by Jesus, for the debt that has to be paid by humankind when it broke God's moral law. Christianity_sentence_77

Martin Luther taught that baptism was necessary for salvation, but modern Lutherans and other Protestants tend to teach that salvation is a gift that comes to an individual by God's grace, sometimes defined as "unmerited favor", even apart from baptism. Christianity_sentence_78

Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals' salvation is pre-ordained by God. Christianity_sentence_79

Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are completely incapable of self-redemption, but that sanctifying grace is irresistible. Christianity_sentence_80

In contrast Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus. Christianity_sentence_81

Trinity Christianity_section_6

Main article: Trinity Christianity_sentence_82

Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons: the Father, the Son (incarnate in Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Christianity_sentence_83

Together, these three persons are sometimes called the Godhead, although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead. Christianity_sentence_84

In the words of the Athanasian Creed, an early statement of Christian belief, "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God". Christianity_sentence_85

They are distinct from another: the Father has no source, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Christianity_sentence_86

Though distinct, the three persons cannot be divided from one another in being or in operation. Christianity_sentence_87

While some Christians also believe that God appeared as the Father in the Old Testament, it is agreed that he appeared as the Son in the New Testament, and will still continue to manifest as the Holy Spirit in the present. Christianity_sentence_88

But still, God still existed as three persons in each of these times. Christianity_sentence_89

However, traditionally there is a belief that it was the Son who appeared in the Old Testament because, for example, when the Trinity is depicted in art, the Son typically has the distinctive appearance, a cruciform halo identifying Christ, and in depictions of the Garden of Eden, this looks forward to an Incarnation yet to occur. Christianity_sentence_90

In some Early Christian sarcophagi the Logos is distinguished with a beard, "which allows him to appear ancient, even pre-existent." Christianity_sentence_91

The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. Christianity_sentence_92

From earlier than the times of the Nicene Creed (325) Christianity advocated the triune mystery-nature of God as a normative profession of faith. Christianity_sentence_93

According to Roger E. Olson and Christopher Hall, through prayer, meditation, study and practice, the Christian community concluded "that God must exist as both a unity and trinity", codifying this in ecumenical council at the end of the 4th century. Christianity_sentence_94

According to this doctrine, God is not divided in the sense that each person has a third of the whole; rather, each person is considered to be fully God (see Perichoresis). Christianity_sentence_95

The distinction lies in their relations, the Father being unbegotten; the Son being begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and (in Western Christian theology) from the Son. Christianity_sentence_96

Regardless of this apparent difference, the three "persons" are each eternal and omnipotent. Christianity_sentence_97

Other Christian religions including Unitarian Universalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism, do not share those views on the Trinity. Christianity_sentence_98

The Greek word trias is first seen in this sense in the works of Theophilus of Antioch; his text reads: "of the Trinity, of God, and of His Word, and of His Wisdom". Christianity_sentence_99

The term may have been in use before this time; its Latin equivalent, trinitas, appears afterwards with an explicit reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in Tertullian. Christianity_sentence_100

In the following century, the word was in general use. Christianity_sentence_101

It is found in many passages of Origen. Christianity_sentence_102

Trinitarians Christianity_section_7

Main article: Trinitarianism Christianity_sentence_103

Trinitarianism denotes Christians who believe in the concept of the Trinity. Christianity_sentence_104

Almost all Christian denominations and churches hold Trinitarian beliefs. Christianity_sentence_105

Although the words "Trinity" and "Triune" do not appear in the Bible, beginning in the 3rd century theologians developed the term and concept to facilitate comprehension of the New Testament teachings of God as being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christianity_sentence_106

Since that time, Christian theologians have been careful to emphasize that Trinity does not imply that there are three gods (the antitrinitarian heresy of Tritheism), nor that each hypostasis of the Trinity is one-third of an infinite God (partialism), nor that the Son and the Holy Spirit are beings created by and subordinate to the Father (Arianism). Christianity_sentence_107

Rather, the Trinity is defined as one God in three persons. Christianity_sentence_108

Nontrinitarianism Christianity_section_8

Main article: Nontrinitarianism Christianity_sentence_109

Nontrinitarianism (or antitrinitarianism) refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Christianity_sentence_110

Various nontrinitarian views, such as adoptionism or modalism, existed in early Christianity, leading to the disputes about Christology. Christianity_sentence_111

Nontrinitarianism reappeared in the Gnosticism of the Cathars between the 11th and 13th centuries, among groups with Unitarian theology in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, in the 18th-century Enlightenment, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century. Christianity_sentence_112

Eschatology Christianity_section_9

Main article: Christian eschatology Christianity_sentence_113

The end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world, broadly speaking, is Christian eschatology; the study of the destiny of humans as it is revealed in the Bible. Christianity_sentence_114

The major issues in Christian eschatology are the Tribulation, death and the afterlife, (mainly for Evangelical groups) the Millennium and the following Rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus, Resurrection of the Dead, Heaven, (for liturgical branches) Purgatory, and Hell, the Last Judgment, the end of the world, and the New Heavens and New Earth. Christianity_sentence_115

Christians believe that the second coming of Christ will occur at the end of time, after a period of severe persecution (the Great Tribulation). Christianity_sentence_116

All who have died will be resurrected bodily from the dead for the Last Judgment. Christianity_sentence_117

Jesus will fully establish the Kingdom of God in fulfillment of scriptural prophecies. Christianity_sentence_118

Death and afterlife Christianity_section_10

Most Christians believe that human beings experience divine judgment and are rewarded either with eternal life or eternal damnation. Christianity_sentence_119

This includes the general judgement at the resurrection of the dead as well as the belief (held by Catholics, Orthodox and most Protestants) in a judgment particular to the individual soul upon physical death. Christianity_sentence_120

In the liturgical branches (e.g. Catholicism or Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy), those who die in a state of grace, i.e., without any mortal sin separating them from God, but are still imperfectly purified from the effects of sin, undergo purification through the intermediate state of purgatory to achieve the holiness necessary for entrance into God's presence. Christianity_sentence_121

Those who have attained this goal are called saints (Latin sanctus, "holy"). Christianity_sentence_122

Some Christian groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, hold to mortalism, the belief that the human soul is not naturally immortal, and is unconscious during the intermediate state between bodily death and resurrection. Christianity_sentence_123

These Christians also hold to Annihilationism, the belief that subsequent to the final judgement, the wicked will cease to exist rather than suffer everlasting torment. Christianity_sentence_124

Jehovah's Witnesses hold to a similar view. Christianity_sentence_125

Practices Christianity_section_11

Main articles: Christian worship and Church service Christianity_sentence_126

See also: Mass (liturgy), Reformed worship, and Contemporary worship Christianity_sentence_127

Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, the Eucharist (Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper), prayer (including the Lord's Prayer), confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Christianity_sentence_128

Most denominations have ordained clergy who lead regular worship services. Christianity_sentence_129

Communal worship Christianity_section_12

Services of worship typically follow a pattern or form known as liturgy. Christianity_sentence_130

Justin Martyr described 2nd-century Christian liturgy in his First Apology (c. 150) to Emperor Antoninus Pius, and his description remains relevant to the basic structure of Christian liturgical worship: Christianity_sentence_131

Thus, as Justin described, Christians assemble for communal worship typically on Sunday, the day of the resurrection, though other liturgical practices often occur outside this setting. Christianity_sentence_132

Scripture readings are drawn from the Old and New Testaments, but especially the gospels. Christianity_sentence_133

Instruction is given based on these readings, called a sermon or homily. Christianity_sentence_134

There are a variety of congregational prayers, including thanksgiving, confession, and intercession, which occur throughout the service and take a variety of forms including recited, responsive, silent, or sung. Christianity_sentence_135

Psalms, hymns, or worship songs may be sung. Christianity_sentence_136

Services can be varied for special events like significant feast days. Christianity_sentence_137

Nearly all forms of worship incorporate the Eucharist, which consists of a meal. Christianity_sentence_138

It is reenacted in accordance with Jesus' instruction at the Last Supper that his followers do in remembrance of him as when he gave his disciples bread, saying, "This is my body", and gave them wine saying, "This is my blood". Christianity_sentence_139

In the early church, Christians and those yet to complete initiation would separate for the Eucharistic part of the service. Christianity_sentence_140

Some denominations continue to practice 'closed communion'. Christianity_sentence_141

They offer communion to those who are already united in that denomination or sometimes individual church. Christianity_sentence_142

Catholics restrict participation to their members who are not in a state of mortal sin. Christianity_sentence_143

Many other churches practice 'open communion' since they view communion as a means to unity, rather than an end, and invite all believing Christians to participate. Christianity_sentence_144

Sacraments or ordinances Christianity_section_13

Main article: Sacrament Christianity_sentence_145

See also: Sacraments of the Catholic Church, Anglican sacraments, Lutheran sacraments, and Ordinance (Christianity) Christianity_sentence_146

In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite, instituted by Christ, that confers grace, constituting a sacred mystery. Christianity_sentence_147

The term is derived from the Latin word sacramentum, which was used to translate the Greek word for mystery. Christianity_sentence_148

Views concerning both which rites are sacramental, and what it means for an act to be a sacrament, vary among Christian denominations and traditions. Christianity_sentence_149

The most conventional functional definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, that conveys an inward, spiritual grace through Christ. Christianity_sentence_150

The two most widely accepted sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist; however, the majority of Christians also recognize five additional sacraments: Confirmation (Chrismation in the Orthodox tradition), Holy Orders (or ordination), Penance (or Confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony (see Christian views on marriage). Christianity_sentence_151

Taken together, these are the Seven Sacraments as recognized by churches in the High Church tradition—notably Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Independent Catholic, Old Catholic, many Anglicans, and some Lutherans. Christianity_sentence_152

Most other denominations and traditions typically affirm only Baptism and Eucharist as sacraments, while some Protestant groups, such as the Quakers, reject sacramental theology. Christianity_sentence_153

Evangelical churches adhering to the doctrine of the believers' Church mostly use the term "ordinances" to refer to baptism and communion. Christianity_sentence_154

In addition to this, the Church of the East has two additional sacraments in place of the traditional sacraments of Matrimony and the Anointing of the Sick. Christianity_sentence_155

These include Holy Leaven (Melka) and the sign of the cross. Christianity_sentence_156


  • Christianity_item_1_4
  • Christianity_item_1_5
  • Christianity_item_1_6
  • Christianity_item_1_7
  • Christianity_item_1_8
  • Christianity_item_1_9

Liturgical calendar Christianity_section_14

Main article: Liturgical year Christianity_sentence_157

See also: Calendar of saints Christianity_sentence_158

Catholics, Eastern Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans and other traditional Protestant communities frame worship around the liturgical year. Christianity_sentence_159

The liturgical cycle divides the year into a series of seasons, each with their theological emphases, and modes of prayer, which can be signified by different ways of decorating churches, colors of paraments and vestments for clergy, scriptural readings, themes for preaching and even different traditions and practices often observed personally or in the home. Christianity_sentence_160

Western Christian liturgical calendars are based on the cycle of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, and Eastern Christians use analogous calendars based on the cycle of their respective rites. Christianity_sentence_161

Calendars set aside holy days, such as solemnities which commemorate an event in the life of Jesus, Mary, or the saints, and periods of fasting, such as Lent and other pious events such as memoria, or lesser festivals commemorating saints. Christianity_sentence_162

Christian groups that do not follow a liturgical tradition often retain certain celebrations, such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost: these are the celebrations of Christ's birth, resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, respectively. Christianity_sentence_163

A few denominations make no use of a liturgical calendar. Christianity_sentence_164

Symbols Christianity_section_15

Main article: Christian symbolism Christianity_sentence_165

Christianity has not generally practiced aniconism, the avoidance or prohibition of devotional images, even if early Jewish Christians and some modern denominations, invoking the Decalogue's prohibition of idolatry, avoided figures in their symbols. Christianity_sentence_166

The cross, today one of the most widely recognized symbols, was used by Christians from the earliest times. Christianity_sentence_167

Tertullian, in his book De Corona, tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads. Christianity_sentence_168

Although the cross was known to the early Christians, the crucifix did not appear in use until the 5th century. Christianity_sentence_169

Among the earliest Christian symbols, that of the fish or Ichthys seems to have ranked first in importance, as seen on monumental sources such as tombs from the first decades of the 2nd century. Christianity_sentence_170

Its popularity seemingly arose from the Greek word ichthys (fish) forming an acronym for the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter (Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ), (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), a concise summary of Christian faith. Christianity_sentence_171

Other major Christian symbols include the chi-rho monogram, the dove (symbolic of the Holy Spirit), the sacrificial lamb (representing Christ's sacrifice), the vine (symbolizing the connection of the Christian with Christ) and many others. Christianity_sentence_172

These all derive from passages of the New Testament. Christianity_sentence_173

Baptism Christianity_section_16

Main article: Baptism Christianity_sentence_174

Baptism is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the Church. Christianity_sentence_175

Beliefs on baptism vary among denominations. Christianity_sentence_176

Differences occur firstly on whether the act has any spiritual significance. Christianity_sentence_177

Some, such as the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as Lutherans and Anglicans, hold to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, which affirms that baptism creates or strengthens a person's faith, and is intimately linked to salvation. Christianity_sentence_178

Others view baptism as a purely symbolic act, an external public declaration of the inward change which has taken place in the person, but not as spiritually efficacious. Christianity_sentence_179

Secondly, there are differences of opinion on the methodology of the act. Christianity_sentence_180

These methods are: by immersion; if immersion is total, by submersion; by affusion (pouring); and by aspersion (sprinkling). Christianity_sentence_181

Those who hold the first view may also adhere to the tradition of infant baptism; the Orthodox Churches all practice infant baptism and always baptize by total immersion repeated three times in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christianity_sentence_182

The Catholic Church also practices infant baptism, usually by affusion, and utilizing the Trinitarian formula. Christianity_sentence_183

Evangelical denominations adhering to the doctrine of the believers' Church, practice the believer's baptism, by immersion in water, after the new birth and a profession of faith. Christianity_sentence_184

For newborns, there is a ceremony called child dedication. Christianity_sentence_185

Prayer Christianity_section_17

Main article: Prayer in Christianity Christianity_sentence_186

Further information: Canonical hours Christianity_sentence_187

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer, which has been seen as a model for Christian prayer. Christianity_sentence_188

The injunction for Christians to pray the Lord's prayer thrice daily was given in the Didache and came to be recited by Christians at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm. Christianity_sentence_189

In the second century Apostolic Tradition, Hippolytus instructed Christians to pray at seven fixed prayer times: "on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight" and "the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion." Christianity_sentence_190

Prayer positions, including kneeling, standing, and prostrations have been used for these seven fixed prayer times since the days of the early Church. Christianity_sentence_191

Breviaries such as the Shehimo and Agpeya are used by Oriental Orthodox Christians to pray these canonical hours while facing in the eastward direction of prayer. Christianity_sentence_192

The Apostolic Tradition directed that the sign of the cross be used by Christians during the minor exorcism of baptism, during ablutions before praying at fixed prayer times, and in times of temptation. Christianity_sentence_193

Intercessory prayer is prayer offered for the benefit of other people. Christianity_sentence_194

There are many intercessory prayers recorded in the Bible, including prayers of the Apostle Peter on behalf of sick persons and by prophets of the Old Testament in favor of other people. Christianity_sentence_195

In the Epistle of James, no distinction is made between the intercessory prayer offered by ordinary believers and the prominent Old Testament prophet Elijah. Christianity_sentence_196

The effectiveness of prayer in Christianity derives from the power of God rather than the status of the one praying. Christianity_sentence_197

The ancient church, in both Eastern and Western Christianity, developed a tradition of asking for the intercession of (deceased) saints, and this remains the practice of most Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, and some Anglican churches. Christianity_sentence_198

Churches of the Protestant Reformation, however, rejected prayer to the saints, largely on the basis of the sole mediatorship of Christ. Christianity_sentence_199

The reformer Huldrych Zwingli admitted that he had offered prayers to the saints until his reading of the Bible convinced him that this was idolatrous. Christianity_sentence_200

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." Christianity_sentence_201

The Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican tradition is a guide which provides a set order for services, containing set prayers, scripture readings, and hymns or sung Psalms. Christianity_sentence_202

Frequently in Western Christianity, when praying, the hands are placed palms together and forward as in the feudal commendation ceremony. Christianity_sentence_203

At other times the older orans posture may be used, with palms up and elbows in. Christianity_sentence_204

Scriptures Christianity_section_18

Main articles: Bible, Biblical canon, Development of the Christian biblical canon, and Religious text Christianity_sentence_205

Christianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity_sentence_206

Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. Christianity_sentence_207

The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. Christianity_sentence_208

The Greek word referring to inspiration in is theopneustos, which literally means "God-breathed". Christianity_sentence_209

Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Christianity_sentence_210

Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Christianity_sentence_211

Still others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version. Christianity_sentence_212

Another closely related view is biblical infallibility or limited inerrancy, which affirms that the Bible is free of error as a guide to salvation, but may include errors on matters such as history, geography, or science. Christianity_sentence_213

The books of the Bible accepted by the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches vary somewhat, with Jews accepting only the Hebrew Bible as canonical; however, there is substantial overlap. Christianity_sentence_214

These variations are a reflection of the range of traditions, and of the councils that have convened on the subject. Christianity_sentence_215

Every version of the Old Testament always includes the books of the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Christianity_sentence_216

The Catholic and Orthodox canons, in addition to the Tanakh, also include the deuterocanonical books as part of the Old Testament. Christianity_sentence_217

These books appear in the Septuagint, but are regarded by Protestants to be apocryphal. Christianity_sentence_218

However, they are considered to be important historical documents which help to inform the understanding of words, grammar, and syntax used in the historical period of their conception. Christianity_sentence_219

Some versions of the Bible include a separate Apocrypha section between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christianity_sentence_220

The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all churches. Christianity_sentence_221

Modern scholarship has raised many issues with the Bible. Christianity_sentence_222

While the King James Version is held to by many because of its striking English prose, in fact it was translated from the Erasmus Greek Bible, which in turn "was based on a single 12th Century manuscript that is one of the worst manuscripts we have available to us". Christianity_sentence_223

Much scholarship in the past several hundred years has gone into comparing different manuscripts in order to reconstruct the original text. Christianity_sentence_224

Another issue is that several books are considered to be forgeries. Christianity_sentence_225

The injunction that women "be silent and submissive" in 1 Timothy 2 is thought by many to be a forgery by a follower of Paul, a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 14, which is thought to be by Paul, appears in different places in different manuscripts and is thought to originally be a margin note by a copyist. Christianity_sentence_226

Other verses in 1 Corinthians, such as 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 where women are instructed to wear a covering over their hair "when they pray or prophesies", contradict this verse. Christianity_sentence_227

A final issue with the Bible is the way in which books were selected for inclusion in the New Testament. Christianity_sentence_228

Other gospels have now been recovered, such as those found near Nag Hammadi in 1945, and while some of these texts are quite different from what Christians have been used to, it should be understood that some of this newly recovered Gospel material is quite possibly contemporaneous with, or even earlier than, the New Testament Gospels. Christianity_sentence_229

The core of the Gospel of Thomas, in particular, may date from as early as AD 50 (although some major scholars contest this early dating), and if so would provide an insight into the earliest gospel texts that underlie the canonical Gospels, texts that are mentioned in Luke 1:1–2. Christianity_sentence_230

The Gospel of Thomas contains much that is familiar from the canonical Gospels—verse 113, for example ("The Father's Kingdom is spread out upon the earth, but people do not see it"), is reminiscent of Luke 17:20–21—and the Gospel of John, with a terminology and approach that is suggestive of what was later termed Gnosticism, has recently been seen as a possible response to the Gospel of Thomas, a text that is commonly labeled proto-Gnostic. Christianity_sentence_231

Scholarship, then, is currently exploring the relationship in the early church between mystical speculation and experience on the one hand and the search for church order on the other, by analyzing new-found texts, by subjecting canonical texts to further scrutiny, and by an examination of the passage of New Testament texts to canonical status. Christianity_sentence_232

Some denominations have additional canonical holy scriptures beyond the Bible, including the standard works of the Latter Day Saints movement and Divine Principle in the Unification Church. Christianity_sentence_233

Catholic interpretation Christianity_section_19

Main article: Catholic theology of Scripture Christianity_sentence_234

In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in Alexandria and Antioch. Christianity_sentence_235

The Alexandrian interpretation, exemplified by Origen, tended to read Scripture allegorically, while the Antiochene interpretation adhered to the literal sense, holding that other meanings (called theoria) could only be accepted if based on the literal meaning. Christianity_sentence_236

Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual. Christianity_sentence_237

The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. Christianity_sentence_238

The spiritual sense is further subdivided into: Christianity_sentence_239


Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds: Christianity_sentence_240


  • The injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the literalChristianity_item_3_13
  • That the historicity of the Gospels must be absolutely and constantly heldChristianity_item_3_14
  • That scripture must be read within the "living Tradition of the whole Church" andChristianity_item_3_15
  • That "the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome".Christianity_item_3_16

Protestant interpretation Christianity_section_20

Qualities of Scripture Christianity_section_21

Protestant Christians believe that the Bible is a self-sufficient revelation, the final authority on all Christian doctrine, and revealed all truth necessary for salvation. Christianity_sentence_241

This concept is known as sola scriptura. Christianity_sentence_242

Protestants characteristically believe that ordinary believers may reach an adequate understanding of Scripture because Scripture itself is clear in its meaning (or "perspicuous"). Christianity_sentence_243

Martin Luther believed that without God's help, Scripture would be "enveloped in darkness". Christianity_sentence_244

He advocated for "one definite and simple understanding of Scripture". Christianity_sentence_245

John Calvin wrote, "all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light". Christianity_sentence_246

Related to this is "efficacy", that Scripture is able to lead people to faith; and "sufficiency", that the Scriptures contain everything that one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life. Christianity_sentence_247

Original intended meaning of Scripture Christianity_section_22

Protestants stress the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, the historical-grammatical method. Christianity_sentence_248

The historical-grammatical method or grammatico-historical method is an effort in Biblical hermeneutics to find the intended original meaning in the text. Christianity_sentence_249

This original intended meaning of the text is drawn out through examination of the passage in light of the grammatical and syntactical aspects, the historical background, the literary genre, as well as theological (canonical) considerations. Christianity_sentence_250

The historical-grammatical method distinguishes between the one original meaning and the significance of the text. Christianity_sentence_251

The significance of the text includes the ensuing use of the text or application. Christianity_sentence_252

The original passage is seen as having only a single meaning or sense. Christianity_sentence_253

As Milton S. Terry said: "A fundamental principle in grammatico-historical exposition is that the words and sentences can have but one significance in one and the same connection. Christianity_sentence_254

The moment we neglect this principle we drift out upon a sea of uncertainty and conjecture." Christianity_sentence_255

Technically speaking, the grammatical-historical method of interpretation is distinct from the determination of the passage's significance in light of that interpretation. Christianity_sentence_256

Taken together, both define the term (Biblical) hermeneutics. Christianity_sentence_257

Some Protestant interpreters make use of typology. Christianity_sentence_258

History Christianity_section_23

Main article: History of Christianity Christianity_sentence_259

Early Christianity Christianity_section_24

Apostolic Age Christianity_section_25

Main article: Christianity in the 1st century Christianity_sentence_260

Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism. Christianity_sentence_261

An early Jewish Christian community was founded in Jerusalem under the leadership of the Pillars of the Church, namely James the Just, the brother of the Lord, Peter, and John. Christianity_sentence_262

Jewish Christianity soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, posing a problem for its Jewish religious outlook, which insisted on close observance of the Jewish commands. Christianity_sentence_263

Paul the Apostle solved this by insisting that salvation by faith in Christ, and participation in his death and resurrection, sufficed. Christianity_sentence_264

At first he persecuted the early Christians, but after a conversion experience he preached to the gentiles, and is regarded as having had a formative effect on the emerging Christian identity as separate from Judaism. Christianity_sentence_265

Eventually, his departure from Jewish customs would result in the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. Christianity_sentence_266

Ante-Nicene period Christianity_section_26

Main article: Christianity in the ante-Nicene period Christianity_sentence_267

This formative period was followed by the early bishops, whom Christians consider the successors of Christ's apostles. Christianity_sentence_268

From the year 150, Christian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith. Christianity_sentence_269

These authors are known as the Church Fathers, and the study of them is called patristics. Christianity_sentence_270

Notable early Fathers include Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Christianity_sentence_271

Persecution of Christians occurred intermittently and on a small scale by both Jewish and Roman authorities, with Roman action starting at the time of the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. Christianity_sentence_272

Examples of early executions under Jewish authority reported in the New Testament include the deaths of Saint Stephen and James, son of Zebedee. Christianity_sentence_273

The Decian persecution was the first empire-wide conflict, when the edict of Decius in 250 AD required everyone in the Roman Empire (except Jews) to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods. Christianity_sentence_274

The Diocletianic Persecution beginning in 303 AD was also particularly severe. Christianity_sentence_275

Roman persecution ended in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan. Christianity_sentence_276

While Proto-orthodox Christianity was becoming dominant, heterodox sects also existed at the same time, which held radically different beliefs. Christianity_sentence_277

Gnostic Christianity developed a duotheistic doctrine based on illusion and enlightenment rather than forgiveness of sin. Christianity_sentence_278

With only a few scriptures overlapping with the developing orthodox canon, most Gnostic texts and Gnostic gospels were eventually considered heretical and suppressed by mainstream Christians. Christianity_sentence_279

A gradual splitting off of Gentile Christianity left Jewish Christians continuing to follow the Law of Moses, including practices such as circumcision. Christianity_sentence_280

By the fifth century, they and the Jewish–Christian gospels would be largely suppressed by the dominant sects in both Judaism and Christianity. Christianity_sentence_281

Spread and acceptance in Roman Empire Christianity_section_27

See also: Edict of Thessalonica Christianity_sentence_282

Christianity spread to Aramaic-speaking peoples along the Mediterranean coast and also to the inland parts of the Roman Empire and beyond that into the Parthian Empire and the later Sasanian Empire, including Mesopotamia, which was dominated at different times and to varying extents by these empires. Christianity_sentence_283

The presence of Christianity in Africa began in the middle of the 1st century in Egypt and by the end of the 2nd century in the region around Carthage. Christianity_sentence_284

Mark the Evangelist is claimed to have started the Church of Alexandria in about 43 CE; various later churches claim this as their own legacy, including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Christianity_sentence_285

Important Africans who influenced the early development of Christianity include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian, Athanasius, and Augustine of Hippo. Christianity_sentence_286

King Tiridates III made Christianity the state religion in Armenia between 301 and 314, thus Armenia became the first officially Christian state. Christianity_sentence_287

It was not an entirely new religion in Armenia, having penetrated into the country from at least the third century, but it may have been present even earlier. Christianity_sentence_288

Constantine I was exposed to Christianity in his youth, and throughout his life his support for the religion grew, culminating in baptism on his deathbed. Christianity_sentence_289

During his reign, state-sanctioned persecution of Christians was ended with the Edict of Toleration in 311 and the Edict of Milan in 313. Christianity_sentence_290

At that point, Christianity was still a minority belief, comprising perhaps only five percent of the Roman population. Christianity_sentence_291

Influenced by his adviser Mardonius, Constantine's nephew Julian unsuccessfully tried to suppress Christianity. Christianity_sentence_292

On 27 February 380, Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II established Nicene Christianity as the State church of the Roman Empire. Christianity_sentence_293

As soon as it became connected to the state, Christianity grew wealthy; the Church solicited donations from the rich and could now own land. Christianity_sentence_294

Constantine was also instrumental in the convocation of the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which sought to address Arianism and formulated the Nicene Creed, which is still used by in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and many other Protestant churches. Christianity_sentence_295

Nicaea was the first of a series of ecumenical councils, which formally defined critical elements of the theology of the Church, notably concerning Christology. Christianity_sentence_296

The Church of the East did not accept the third and following ecumenical councils and is still separate today by its successors (Assyrian Church of the East). Christianity_sentence_297

In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization, and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth, and culture. Christianity_sentence_298

There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek. Christianity_sentence_299

Byzantine art and literature held a preeminent place in Europe, and the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the West during this period was enormous and of long-lasting significance. Christianity_sentence_300

The later rise of Islam in North Africa reduced the size and numbers of Christian congregations, leaving in large numbers only the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Horn of Africa and the Nubian Church in the Sudan (Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia). Christianity_sentence_301

Early Middle Ages Christianity_section_28

With the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the West, the papacy became a political player, first visible in Pope Leo's diplomatic dealings with Huns and Vandals. Christianity_sentence_302

The church also entered into a long period of missionary activity and expansion among the various tribes. Christianity_sentence_303

While Arianists instituted the death penalty for practicing pagans (see the Massacre of Verden, for example), what would later become Catholicism also spread among the Hungarians, the Germanic, the Celtic, the Baltic and some Slavic peoples. Christianity_sentence_304

Around 500, St. Christianity_sentence_305

Benedict set out his Monastic Rule, establishing a system of regulations for the foundation and running of monasteries. Christianity_sentence_306

Monasticism became a powerful force throughout Europe, and gave rise to many early centers of learning, most famously in Ireland, Scotland, and Gaul, contributing to the Carolingian Renaissance of the 9th century. Christianity_sentence_307

In the 7th century, Muslims conquered Syria (including Jerusalem), North Africa, and Spain, converting some of the Christian population to Islam, and placing the rest under a separate legal status. Christianity_sentence_308

Part of the Muslims' success was due to the exhaustion of the Byzantine Empire in its decades long conflict with Persia. Christianity_sentence_309

Beginning in the 8th century, with the rise of Carolingian leaders, the Papacy sought greater political support in the Frankish Kingdom. Christianity_sentence_310

The Middle Ages brought about major changes within the church. Christianity_sentence_311

Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structure and administration. Christianity_sentence_312

In the early 8th century, iconoclasm became a divisive issue, when it was sponsored by the Byzantine emperors. Christianity_sentence_313

The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) finally pronounced in favor of icons. Christianity_sentence_314

In the early 10th century, Western Christian monasticism was further rejuvenated through the leadership of the great Benedictine monastery of Cluny. Christianity_sentence_315

High and Late Middle Ages Christianity_section_29

In the West, from the 11th century onward, some older cathedral schools became universities (see, for example, University of Oxford, University of Paris and University of Bologna). Christianity_sentence_316

Previously, higher education had been the domain of Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), led by monks and nuns. Christianity_sentence_317

Evidence of such schools dates back to the 6th century CE. Christianity_sentence_318

These new universities expanded the curriculum to include academic programs for clerics, lawyers, civil servants, and physicians. Christianity_sentence_319

The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting. Christianity_sentence_320

Accompanying the rise of the "new towns" throughout Europe, mendicant orders were founded, bringing the consecrated religious life out of the monastery and into the new urban setting. Christianity_sentence_321

The two principal mendicant movements were the Franciscans and the Dominicans, founded by St. Christianity_sentence_322

Francis and St. Christianity_sentence_323

Dominic, respectively. Christianity_sentence_324

Both orders made significant contributions to the development of the great universities of Europe. Christianity_sentence_325

Another new order was the Cistercians, whose large isolated monasteries spearheaded the settlement of former wilderness areas. Christianity_sentence_326

In this period, church building and ecclesiastical architecture reached new heights, culminating in the orders of Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals. Christianity_sentence_327

Christian nationalism emerged during this era in which Christians felt the impulse to recover lands in which Christianity had historically flourished. Christianity_sentence_328

From 1095 under the pontificate of Urban II, the Crusades were launched. Christianity_sentence_329

These were a series of military campaigns in the Holy Land and elsewhere, initiated in response to pleas from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I for aid against Turkish expansion. Christianity_sentence_330

The Crusades ultimately failed to stifle Islamic aggression and even contributed to Christian enmity with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Christianity_sentence_331

The Christian Church experienced internal conflict between the 7th and 13th centuries that resulted in a schism between the so-called Latin or Western Christian branch (the Catholic Church), and an Eastern, largely Greek, branch (the Eastern Orthodox Church). Christianity_sentence_332

The two sides disagreed on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most notably papal primacy of jurisdiction. Christianity_sentence_333

The Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) attempted to reunite the churches, but in both cases, the Eastern Orthodox refused to implement the decisions, and the two principal churches remain in schism to the present day. Christianity_sentence_334

However, the Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches. Christianity_sentence_335

In the thirteenth century, a new emphasis on Jesus' suffering, exemplified by the Franciscans' preaching, had the consequence of turning worshippers' attention towards Jews, on whom Christians had placed the blame for Jesus' death. Christianity_sentence_336

Christianity's limited tolerance of Jews was not new—Augustine of Hippo said that Jews should not be allowed to enjoy the citizenship that Christians took for granted—but the growing antipathy towards Jews was a factor that led to the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290, the first of many such expulsions in Europe. Christianity_sentence_337

Beginning around 1184, following the crusade against Cathar heresy, various institutions, broadly referred to as the Inquisition, were established with the aim of suppressing heresy and securing religious and doctrinal unity within Christianity through conversion and prosecution. Christianity_sentence_338

Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation Christianity_section_30

Main articles: Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation Christianity_sentence_339

See also: European wars of religion and Renaissance Papacy Christianity_sentence_340

The 15th-century Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in ancient and classical learning. Christianity_sentence_341

During the Reformation, Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses 1517 against the sale of indulgences. Christianity_sentence_342

Printed copies soon spread throughout Europe. Christianity_sentence_343

In 1521 the Edict of Worms condemned and excommunicated Luther and his followers, resulting in the schism of the Western Christendom into several branches. Christianity_sentence_344

Other reformers like Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Calvin, Knox, and Arminius further criticized Catholic teaching and worship. Christianity_sentence_345

These challenges developed into the movement called Protestantism, which repudiated the primacy of the pope, the role of tradition, the seven sacraments, and other doctrines and practices. Christianity_sentence_346

The Reformation in England began in 1534, when King Henry VIII had himself declared head of the Church of England. Christianity_sentence_347

Beginning in 1536, the monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved. Christianity_sentence_348

Thomas Müntzer, Andreas Karlstadt and other theologians perceived both the Catholic Church and the confessions of the Magisterial Reformation as corrupted. Christianity_sentence_349

Their activity brought about the Radical Reformation, which gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations. Christianity_sentence_350

Partly in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reform. Christianity_sentence_351

The Council of Trent clarified and reasserted Catholic doctrine. Christianity_sentence_352

During the following centuries, competition between Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply entangled with political struggles among European states. Christianity_sentence_353

Meanwhile, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought about a new wave of missionary activity. Christianity_sentence_354

Partly from missionary zeal, but under the impetus of colonial expansion by the European powers, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Christianity_sentence_355

Throughout Europe, the division caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of religious violence and the establishment of separate state churches in Europe. Christianity_sentence_356

Lutheranism spread into the northern, central, and eastern parts of present-day Germany, Livonia, and Scandinavia. Christianity_sentence_357

Anglicanism was established in England in 1534. Christianity_sentence_358

Calvinism and its varieties, such as Presbyterianism, were introduced in Scotland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, and France. Christianity_sentence_359

Arminianism gained followers in the Netherlands and Frisia. Christianity_sentence_360

Ultimately, these differences led to the outbreak of conflicts in which religion played a key factor. Christianity_sentence_361

The Thirty Years' War, the English Civil War, and the French Wars of Religion are prominent examples. Christianity_sentence_362

These events intensified the Christian debate on persecution and toleration. Christianity_sentence_363

In the revival of neoplatonism Renaissance humanists did not reject Christianity; quite the contrary, many of the greatest works of the Renaissance were devoted to it, and the Catholic Church patronized many works of Renaissance art. Christianity_sentence_364

Much, if not most, of the new art was commissioned by or in dedication to the Church. Christianity_sentence_365

Some scholars and historians attributes Christianity to having contributed to the rise of the Scientific Revolution, Many well-known historical figures who influenced Western science considered themselves Christian such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle. Christianity_sentence_366

Post-Enlightenment Christianity_section_31

In the era known as the Great Divergence, when in the West, the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific revolution brought about great societal changes, Christianity was confronted with various forms of skepticism and with certain modern political ideologies, such as versions of socialism and liberalism. Christianity_sentence_367

Events ranged from mere anti-clericalism to violent outbursts against Christianity, such as the dechristianization of France during the French Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, and certain Marxist movements, especially the Russian Revolution and the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union under state atheism. Christianity_sentence_368

Especially pressing in Europe was the formation of nation states after the Napoleonic era. Christianity_sentence_369

In all European countries, different Christian denominations found themselves in competition to greater or lesser extents with each other and with the state. Christianity_sentence_370

Variables were the relative sizes of the denominations and the religious, political, and ideological orientation of the states. Christianity_sentence_371

Urs Altermatt of the University of Fribourg, looking specifically at Catholicism in Europe, identifies four models for the European nations. Christianity_sentence_372

In traditionally Catholic-majority countries such as Belgium, Spain, and Austria, to some extent, religious and national communities are more or less identical. Christianity_sentence_373

Cultural symbiosis and separation are found in Poland, the Republic of Ireland, and Switzerland, all countries with competing denominations. Christianity_sentence_374

Competition is found in Germany, the Netherlands, and again Switzerland, all countries with minority Catholic populations, which to a greater or lesser extent identified with the nation. Christianity_sentence_375

Finally, separation between religion (again, specifically Catholicism) and the state is found to a great degree in France and Italy, countries where the state actively opposed itself to the authority of the Catholic Church. Christianity_sentence_376

The combined factors of the formation of nation states and ultramontanism, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, but also in England to a much lesser extent, often forced Catholic churches, organizations, and believers to choose between the national demands of the state and the authority of the Church, specifically the papacy. Christianity_sentence_377

This conflict came to a head in the First Vatican Council, and in Germany would lead directly to the Kulturkampf, where liberals and Protestants under the leadership of Bismarck managed to severely restrict Catholic expression and organization. Christianity_sentence_378

Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own, particularly in Czechia and Estonia, while religious commitments in America have been generally high in comparison to Europe. Christianity_sentence_379

The late 20th century has shown the shift of Christian adherence to the Third World and the Southern Hemisphere in general, with the West no longer the chief standard bearer of Christianity. Christianity_sentence_380

Approximately 7 to 10% of Arabs are Christians, most prevalent in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Christianity_sentence_381

Demographics Christianity_section_32

Main articles: Christianity by country and Christian population growth Christianity_sentence_382

See also: Christendom and Christian state Christianity_sentence_383

With around 2.4 billion adherents, split into three main branches of Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Christianity_sentence_384

The Christian share of the world's population has stood at around 33% for the last hundred years, which means that one in three persons on Earth are Christians. Christianity_sentence_385

This masks a major shift in the demographics of Christianity; large increases in the developing world have been accompanied by substantial declines in the developed world, mainly in Europe and North America. Christianity_sentence_386

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, within the next four decades, Christians will remain the world's largest religion; and by 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. Christianity_sentence_387

As a percentage of Christians, the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy (both Eastern and Oriental) are declining in parts of the world (though Catholicism is growing in Asia, in Africa, vibrant in Eastern Europe, etc.), while Protestants and other Christians are on the rise in the developing world. Christianity_sentence_388

The so-called popular Protestantism is one of the fastest growing religious categories in the world. Christianity_sentence_389

Nevertheless, Catholicism will also continue to grow to 1.63 billion by 2050, according to Todd Johnson of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. Christianity_sentence_390

Africa alone, by 2015, will be home to 230 million African Catholics. Christianity_sentence_391

And if in 2018, the U.N. projects that Africa's population will reach 4.5 billion by 2100 (not 2 billion as predicted in 2004), Catholicism will indeed grow, as will other religious groups. Christianity_sentence_392

Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, and Southern Africa. Christianity_sentence_393

In Asia, it is the dominant religion in Georgia, Armenia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Christianity_sentence_394

However, it is declining in many areas including the Northern and Western United States, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), northern Europe (including Great Britain, Scandinavia and other places), France, Germany, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and parts of Asia (especially the Middle East, due to the Christian emigration, South Korea, Taiwan, and Macau). Christianity_sentence_395

The Christian population is not decreasing in Brazil, the Southern United States, and the province of Alberta, Canada, but the percentage is decreasing. Christianity_sentence_396

In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, the Christian population are declining in both numbers and percentage. Christianity_sentence_397

Despite the declining numbers, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western World, where 70% are Christians. Christianity_sentence_398

A 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that 76% of Europeans, 73% in Oceania and about 86% in the Americas (90% in Latin America and 77% in North America) identified themselves as Christians. Christianity_sentence_399

By 2010 about 157 countries and territories in the world had Christian majorities. Christianity_sentence_400

However, there are many charismatic movements that have become well established over large parts of the world, especially Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Christianity_sentence_401

Since 1900, primarily due to conversion, Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. Christianity_sentence_402

From 1960 to 2000, the global growth of the number of reported Evangelical Protestants grew three times the world's population rate, and twice that of Islam. Christianity_sentence_403

A study conducted by St. Mary's University estimated about 10.2 million Muslim converts to Christianity in 2015. Christianity_sentence_404

The results also state that significant numbers of Muslims converts to Christianity in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iran, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Russia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, the United States, and Central Asia. Christianity_sentence_405

It is also reported that Christianity is popular among people of different backgrounds in India (mostly Hindus), and Malaysia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Japan, and South Korea. Christianity_sentence_406

In most countries in the developed world, church attendance among people who continue to identify themselves as Christians has been falling over the last few decades. Christianity_sentence_407

Some sources view this simply as part of a drift away from traditional membership institutions, while others link it to signs of a decline in belief in the importance of religion in general. Christianity_sentence_408

Europe's Christian population, though in decline, still constitutes the largest geographical component of the religion. Christianity_sentence_409

According to data from the 2012 European Social Survey, around a third of European Christians say they attend services once a month or more, Conversely about more than two-thirds of Latin American Christians; according to the World Values Survey, about 90% of African Christians (in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwand], South Africa and Zimbabwe) said they attended church regularly. Christianity_sentence_410

Christianity, in one form or another, is the sole state religion of the following nations: Argentina (Catholic), Tuvalu (Reformed), Tonga (Methodist), Norway (Lutheran), Costa Rica (Catholic), the Kingdom of Denmark (Lutheran), England (Anglican), Georgia (Georgian Orthodox), Greece (Greek Orthodox), Iceland (Lutheran), Liechtenstein (Catholic), Malta (Catholic), Monaco (Catholic), and Vatican City (Catholic). Christianity_sentence_411

There are numerous other countries, such as Cyprus, which although do not have an established church, still give official recognition and support to a specific Christian denomination. Christianity_sentence_412


Demographics of major traditions within Christianity (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)Christianity_table_caption_0
TraditionChristianity_header_cell_0_0_0 FollowersChristianity_header_cell_0_0_1 % of the Christian populationChristianity_header_cell_0_0_2 % of the world populationChristianity_header_cell_0_0_3 Follower dynamicsChristianity_header_cell_0_0_4 Dynamics in- and outside ChristianityChristianity_header_cell_0_0_5
Catholic ChurchChristianity_cell_0_1_0 1,094,610,000Christianity_cell_0_1_1 50.1Christianity_cell_0_1_2 15.9Christianity_cell_0_1_3 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_1_4 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_1_5
ProtestantismChristianity_cell_0_2_0 800,640,000Christianity_cell_0_2_1 36.7Christianity_cell_0_2_2 11.6Christianity_cell_0_2_3 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_2_4 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_2_5
OrthodoxyChristianity_cell_0_3_0 260,380,000Christianity_cell_0_3_1 11.9Christianity_cell_0_3_2 3.8Christianity_cell_0_3_3 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_3_4 DecliningChristianity_cell_0_3_5
Other ChristianityChristianity_cell_0_4_0 28,430,000Christianity_cell_0_4_1 1.3Christianity_cell_0_4_2 0.4Christianity_cell_0_4_3 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_4_4 GrowingChristianity_cell_0_4_5
ChristianityChristianity_header_cell_0_5_0 2,184,060,000Christianity_header_cell_0_5_1 100Christianity_header_cell_0_5_2 31.7Christianity_header_cell_0_5_3 GrowingChristianity_header_cell_0_5_4 StableChristianity_header_cell_0_5_5


Regional median ages of Christians compared with overall median ages (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)Christianity_table_caption_1
Christianity_header_cell_1_0_0 Christian median age in region (years)Christianity_header_cell_1_0_1 Regional median age (years)Christianity_header_cell_1_0_2
WorldChristianity_cell_1_1_0 30Christianity_cell_1_1_1 --Christianity_cell_1_1_2
Sub-Saharan AfricaChristianity_cell_1_2_0 19Christianity_cell_1_2_1 18Christianity_cell_1_2_2
Latin America-CaribbeanChristianity_cell_1_3_0 27Christianity_cell_1_3_1 27Christianity_cell_1_3_2
Asia-PacificChristianity_cell_1_4_0 28Christianity_cell_1_4_1 29Christianity_cell_1_4_2
Middle East-North AfricaChristianity_cell_1_5_0 29Christianity_cell_1_5_1 24Christianity_cell_1_5_2
North AmericaChristianity_cell_1_6_0 39Christianity_cell_1_6_1 37Christianity_cell_1_6_2
EuropeChristianity_cell_1_7_0 42Christianity_cell_1_7_1 40Christianity_cell_1_7_2


  • Christianity_item_4_17
  • Christianity_item_4_18
  • Christianity_item_4_19
  • Christianity_item_4_20
  • Christianity_item_4_21
  • Christianity_item_4_22
  • Christianity_item_4_23

Churches and denominations Christianity_section_33

Further information: List of Christian denominations, List of Christian denominations by number of members, and List of schisms in Christianity Christianity_sentence_413

See also: Ecclesiology Christianity_sentence_414

The four primary divisions of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Christianity_sentence_415

A broader distinction that is sometimes drawn is between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, which has its origins in the East–West Schism (Great Schism) of the 11th century. Christianity_sentence_416

Recently, neither Western or Eastern World Christianity has also stood out, for example, African-initiated churches. Christianity_sentence_417

However, there are other present and historical Christian groups that do not fit neatly into one of these primary categories. Christianity_sentence_418

There is a diversity of doctrines and liturgical practices among groups calling themselves Christian. Christianity_sentence_419

These groups may vary ecclesiologically in their views on a classification of Christian denominations. Christianity_sentence_420

The Nicene Creed (325), however, is typically accepted as authoritative by most Christians, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and major Protestant (including Anglican) denominations. Christianity_sentence_421


Catholic Church Christianity_section_34

Main article: Catholic Church Christianity_sentence_422

The Catholic Church consists of those particular churches, headed by bishops, in communion with the pope, the bishop of Rome, as its highest authority in matters of faith, morality, and church governance. Christianity_sentence_423

Like Eastern Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, through apostolic succession, traces its origins to the Christian community founded by Jesus Christ. Christianity_sentence_424

Catholics maintain that the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" founded by Jesus subsists fully in the Catholic Church, but also acknowledges other Christian churches and communities and works towards reconciliation among all Christians. Christianity_sentence_425

The Catholic faith is detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Christianity_sentence_426

As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. Christianity_sentence_427

The 2,834 sees are grouped into 24 particular autonomous Churches (the largest of which being the Latin Church), each with its own distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering of sacraments. Christianity_sentence_428

With more than 1.1 billion baptized members, the Catholic Church is the largest Christian church and represents 50.1% all Christians as well as one sixth of the world's population. Christianity_sentence_429

Eastern Orthodox Church Christianity_section_35

Main article: Eastern Orthodox Church Christianity_sentence_430

The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of those churches in communion with the patriarchal sees of the East, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Christianity_sentence_431

Like the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church also traces its heritage to the foundation of Christianity through apostolic succession and has an episcopal structure, though the autonomy of its component parts is emphasized, and most of them are national churches. Christianity_sentence_432

A number of conflicts with Western Christianity over questions of doctrine and authority culminated in the Great Schism. Christianity_sentence_433

Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with an estimated 230 million adherents, although Protestants collectively outnumber them, substantially. Christianity_sentence_434

As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East. Christianity_sentence_435

Oriental Orthodoxy Christianity_section_36

Main article: Oriental Orthodoxy Christianity_sentence_436

The Oriental Orthodox Churches (also called "Old Oriental" churches) are those eastern churches that recognize the first three ecumenical councils—Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus—but reject the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon and instead espouse a Miaphysite christology. Christianity_sentence_437

The Oriental Orthodox communion consists of six groups: Syriac Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (India), and Armenian Apostolic churches. Christianity_sentence_438

These six churches, while being in communion with each other, are completely independent hierarchically. Christianity_sentence_439

These churches are generally not in communion with Eastern Orthodox Church, with whom they are in dialogue for erecting a communion. Christianity_sentence_440

And together have about 62 million members worldwide. Christianity_sentence_441

Assyrian Church of the East Christianity_section_37

Main article: Assyrian Church of the East Christianity_sentence_442

The Assyrian Church of the East, with an unbroken patriarchate established in the 17th century, is an independent Eastern Christian denomination which claims continuity from the Church of the East—in parallel to the Catholic patriarchate established in the 16th century that evolved into the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Pope. Christianity_sentence_443

It is an Eastern Christian church that follows the traditional christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East. Christianity_sentence_444

Largely aniconic and not in communion with any other church, it belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and uses the East Syriac Rite in its liturgy. Christianity_sentence_445

Its main spoken language is Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians. Christianity_sentence_446

It is officially headquartered in the city of Erbil in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, and its original area also spreads into south-eastern Turkey and north-western Iran, corresponding to ancient Assyria. Christianity_sentence_447

Its hierarchy is composed of metropolitan bishops and diocesan bishops, while lower clergy consists of priests and deacons, who serve in dioceses (eparchies) and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia). Christianity_sentence_448

The Ancient Church of the East distinguished itself from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964. Christianity_sentence_449

It is one of the Assyrian churches that claim continuity with the historical Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon—the Church of the East, one of the oldest Christian churches in Mesopotamia. Christianity_sentence_450

Protestantism Christianity_section_38

Main articles: Protestantism and Proto-Protestantism Christianity_sentence_451

See also: Protestant ecclesiology Christianity_sentence_452

In 1521, the Edict of Worms condemned Martin Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas. Christianity_sentence_453

This split within the Roman Catholic church is now called the Reformation. Christianity_sentence_454

Prominent Reformers included Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. Christianity_sentence_455

The 1529 Protestation at Speyer against being excommunicated gave this party the name Protestantism. Christianity_sentence_456

Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. Christianity_sentence_457

Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are far broader denominationally, and are referred to as the Reformed tradition. Christianity_sentence_458

Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, and many other fields. Christianity_sentence_459

The Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and organized in the Anglican Communion. Christianity_sentence_460

Some, but not all Anglicans consider themselves both Protestant and Catholic. Christianity_sentence_461

Since the Anglican, Lutheran, and the Reformed branches of Protestantism originated for the most part in cooperation with the government, these movements are termed the "Magisterial Reformation". Christianity_sentence_462

On the other hand, groups such as the Anabaptists, who often do not consider themselves to be Protestant, originated in the Radical Reformation, which though sometimes protected under Acts of Toleration, do not trace their history back to any state church. Christianity_sentence_463

They are further distinguished by their rejection of infant baptism; they believe in baptism only of adult believers—credobaptism (Anabaptists include the Amish, Apostolic, Mennonites, Hutterites and Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptist groups.) Christianity_sentence_464

The term Protestant also refers to any churches which formed later, with either the Magisterial or Radical traditions. Christianity_sentence_465

In the 18th century, for example, Methodism grew out of Anglican minister John Wesley's evangelical and revival movement. Christianity_sentence_466

Several Pentecostal and non-denominational churches, which emphasize the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, in turn grew out of Methodism. Christianity_sentence_467

Because Methodists, Pentecostals and other evangelicals stress "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior", which comes from Wesley's emphasis of the New Birth, they often refer to themselves as being born-again. Christianity_sentence_468

Protestantism is the second largest major group of Christians after Catholicism by number of followers, although the Eastern Orthodox Church is larger than any single Protestant denomination. Christianity_sentence_469

Estimates vary, mainly over the question of which denominations to classify as Protestant. Christianity_sentence_470

Yet, the total number of Protestant Christians is generally estimated between 800 million and 1 billion, corresponding to nearly 40% of world's Christians. Christianity_sentence_471

The majority of Protestants are members of just a handful of denominational families, i.e. Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Reformed (Calvinists), Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals. Christianity_sentence_472

Nondenominational, evangelical, charismatic, neo-charismatic, independent, and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Christianity_sentence_473

Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as "Christians" or "born-again Christians". Christianity_sentence_474

They typically distance themselves from the confessionalism and creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves "non-denominational" or "evangelical". Christianity_sentence_475

Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations. Christianity_sentence_476

Restorationism Christianity_section_39

Main article: Restorationism Christianity_sentence_477

The Second Great Awakening, a period of religious revival that occurred in the United States during the early 1800s, saw the development of a number of unrelated churches. Christianity_sentence_478

They generally saw themselves as restoring the original church of Jesus Christ rather than reforming one of the existing churches. Christianity_sentence_479

A common belief held by Restorationists was that the other divisions of Christianity had introduced doctrinal defects into Christianity, which was known as the Great Apostasy. Christianity_sentence_480

In Asia, Iglesia ni Cristo is a known restorationist religion that was established during the early 1900s. Christianity_sentence_481

Some of the churches originating during this period are historically connected to early 19th-century camp meetings in the Midwest and upstate New York. Christianity_sentence_482

One of the largest churches produced from the movement is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christianity_sentence_483

American Millennialism and Adventism, which arose from Evangelical Protestantism, influenced the Jehovah's Witnesses movement and, as a reaction specifically to William Miller, the Seventh-day Adventists. Christianity_sentence_484

Others, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ, have their roots in the contemporaneous Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, which was centered in Kentucky and Tennessee. Christianity_sentence_485

Other groups originating in this time period include the Christadelphians and the previously mentioned Latter Day Saints movement. Christianity_sentence_486

While the churches originating in the Second Great Awakening have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly. Christianity_sentence_487

Other Christianity_section_40

Various smaller Independent Catholic communities, such as the Old Catholic Church, include the word Catholic in their title, and arguably have more or less liturgical practices in common with the Catholic Church, but are no longer in full communion with the Holy See. Christianity_sentence_488

Spiritual Christians, such as the Doukhobor and Molokan, broke from the Russian Orthodox Church and maintain close association with Mennonites and Quakers due to similar religious practices; all of these groups are furthermore collectively considered to be peace churches due to their belief in pacifism. Christianity_sentence_489

Messianic Judaism (or the Messianic Movement) is the name of a Christian movement comprising a number of streams, whose members may consider themselves Jewish. Christianity_sentence_490

The movement originated in the 1960s and 1970s, and it blends elements of religious Jewish practice with evangelical Christianity. Christianity_sentence_491

Messianic Judaism affirms Christian creeds such as the messiahship and divinity of "Yeshua" (the Hebrew name of Jesus) and the Triune Nature of God, while also adhering to some Jewish dietary laws and customs. Christianity_sentence_492

Esoteric Christians regard Christianity as a mystery religion, and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices, hidden from the public but accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people. Christianity_sentence_493

Some of the esoteric Christian institutions include the Rosicrucian Fellowship, the Anthroposophical Society, and Martinism. Christianity_sentence_494

Influence on Western culture Christianity_section_41

Main articles: Christian culture and Role of Christianity in civilization Christianity_sentence_495

Further information: Protestant culture and Christian influences in Islam Christianity_sentence_496

Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and a large portion of the population of the Western Hemisphere can be described as practicing or nominal Christians. Christianity_sentence_497

The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom". Christianity_sentence_498

Many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity. Christianity_sentence_499

Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Western Europe. Christianity_sentence_500

Until the Age of Enlightenment, Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science. Christianity_sentence_501

Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature, etc. Christianity_sentence_502

Christianity has had a significant impact on education, as the church created the bases of the Western system of education, and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world, as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting. Christianity_sentence_503

Historically, Christianity has often been a patron of science and medicine; many Catholic clergy, Jesuits in particular, have been active in the sciences throughout history and have made significant contributions to the development of science. Christianity_sentence_504

Protestantism also has had an important influence on science. Christianity_sentence_505

According to the Merton Thesis, there was a positive correlation between the rise of English Puritanism and German Pietism on the one hand, and early experimental science on the other. Christianity_sentence_506

The civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare, founding hospitals, economics (as the Protestant work ethic), architecture, politics, literature, personal hygiene (ablution), and family life. Christianity_sentence_507

Eastern Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) contributed to the Arab Islamic civilization during the reign of the Ummayad and the Abbasid, by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards, to Arabic. Christianity_sentence_508

They also excelled in philosophy, science, theology, and medicine. Christianity_sentence_509

Christians have made a myriad of contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields, including philosophy, science and technology, fine arts and architecture, politics, literatures, music, and business. Christianity_sentence_510

According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of the Nobel Prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. Christianity_sentence_511

Postchristianity is the term for the decline of Christianity, particularly in Europe, Canada, Australia, and to a minor degree the Southern Cone, in the 20th and 21st centuries, considered in terms of postmodernism. Christianity_sentence_512

It refers to the loss of Christianity's monopoly on values and world view in historically Christian societies. Christianity_sentence_513

Cultural Christians are secular people with a Christian heritage who may not believe in the religious claims of Christianity, but who retain an affinity for the popular culture, art, music, and so on related to the religion. Christianity_sentence_514

Ecumenism Christianity_section_42

Main article: Ecumenism Christianity_sentence_515

Christian groups and denominations have long expressed ideals of being reconciled, and in the 20th century, Christian ecumenism advanced in two ways. Christianity_sentence_516

One way was greater cooperation between groups, such as the World Evangelical Alliance founded in 1846 in London or the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of Protestants in 1910, the Justice, Peace and Creation Commission of the World Council of Churches founded in 1948 by Protestant and Orthodox churches, and similar national councils like the National Council of Churches in Australia, which includes Catholics. Christianity_sentence_517

The other way was an institutional union with united churches, a practice that can be traced back to unions between Lutherans and Calvinists in early 19th-century Germany. Christianity_sentence_518

Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches united in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada, and in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia. Christianity_sentence_519

The Church of South India was formed in 1947 by the union of Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian churches. Christianity_sentence_520

The Christian Flag is an ecumenical flag designed in the early 20th century to represent all of Christianity and Christendom. Christianity_sentence_521

The ecumenical, monastic Taizé Community is notable for being composed of more than one hundred brothers from Protestant and Catholic traditions. Christianity_sentence_522

The community emphasizes the reconciliation of all denominations and its main church, located in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, France, is named the "Church of Reconciliation". Christianity_sentence_523

The community is internationally known, attracting over 100,000 young pilgrims annually. Christianity_sentence_524

Steps towards reconciliation on a global level were taken in 1965 by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, mutually revoking the excommunications that marked their Great Schism in 1054; the Anglican Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) working towards full communion between those churches since 1970; and some Lutheran and Catholic churches signing the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999 to address conflicts at the root of the Protestant Reformation. Christianity_sentence_525

In 2006, the World Methodist Council, representing all Methodist denominations, adopted the declaration. Christianity_sentence_526

Criticism, persecution, and apologetics Christianity_section_43

Main articles: Christian apologetics, Criticism of Christianity, and Persecution of Christians Christianity_sentence_527

Criticism Christianity_section_44

Criticism of Christianity and Christians goes back to the Apostolic Age, with the New Testament recording friction between the followers of Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes (e.g. and ). Christianity_sentence_528

In the 2nd century, Christianity was criticized by the Jews on various grounds, e.g. that the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible could not have been fulfilled by Jesus, given that he did not have a successful life. Christianity_sentence_529

Additionally, a sacrifice to remove sins in advance, for everyone or as a human being, did not fit to the Jewish sacrifice ritual; furthermore, God is said to judge people on their deeds instead of their beliefs. Christianity_sentence_530

One of the first comprehensive attacks on Christianity came from the Greek philosopher Celsus, who wrote The True Word, a polemic criticizing Christians as being unprofitable members of society. Christianity_sentence_531

In response, the church father Origen published his treatise Contra Celsum, or Against Celsus, a seminal work of Christian apologetics, which systematically addressed Celsus's criticisms and helped bring Christianity a level of academic respectability. Christianity_sentence_532

By the 3rd century, criticism of Christianity had mounted. Christianity_sentence_533

Wild rumors about Christians were widely circulated, claiming that they were atheists and that, as part of their rituals, they devoured human infants and engaged in incestuous orgies. Christianity_sentence_534

The Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry wrote the fifteen-volume Adversus Christianos as a comprehensive attack on Christianity, in part building on the teachings of Plotinus. Christianity_sentence_535

By the 12th century, the Mishneh Torah (i.e., Rabbi Moses Maimonides) was criticizing Christianity on the grounds of idol worship, in that Christians attributed divinity to Jesus, who had a physical body. Christianity_sentence_536

In the 19th century, Nietzsche began to write a series of polemics on the "unnatural" teachings of Christianity (e.g. sexual abstinence), and continued his criticism of Christianity to the end of his life. Christianity_sentence_537

In the 20th century, the philosopher Bertrand Russell expressed his criticism of Christianity in Why I Am Not a Christian, formulating his rejection of Christianity in the setting of logical arguments. Christianity_sentence_538

Criticism of Christianity continues to date, e.g. Jewish and Muslim theologians criticize the doctrine of the Trinity held by most Christians, stating that this doctrine in effect assumes that there are three gods, running against the basic tenet of monotheism. Christianity_sentence_539

New Testament scholar Robert M. Price has outlined the possibility that some Bible stories are based partly on myth in The Christ Myth Theory and its problems. Christianity_sentence_540

Persecution Christianity_section_45

Main article: Persecution of Christians Christianity_sentence_541

Christians are one of the most persecuted religious group in the world, especially in the Middle-East, North Africa and South and East Asia. Christianity_sentence_542

In 2017, Open Doors estimated approximately 260 million Christians are subjected annually to "high, very high, or extreme persecution" with North Korea considered the most hazardous nation for Christians. Christianity_sentence_543

In 2019, a report commissioned by the United Kingdom's Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to investigate global persecution of Christians found persecution has increased, and is highest in the Middle East, North Africa, India, China, North Korea, and Latin America, among others, and that it is global and not limited to Islamic states. Christianity_sentence_544

This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians. Christianity_sentence_545

Apologetics Christianity_section_46

Christian apologetics aims to present a rational basis for Christianity. Christianity_sentence_546

The word "apologetic" (Greek: ἀπολογητικός apologētikos) comes from the Greek verb ἀπολογέομαι apologeomai, meaning "(I) speak in defense of". Christianity_sentence_547

Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul the Apostle. Christianity_sentence_548

The philosopher Thomas Aquinas presented five arguments for God's existence in the Summa Theologica, while his Summa contra Gentiles was a major apologetic work. Christianity_sentence_549

Another famous apologist, G. Christianity_sentence_550 K. Chesterton, wrote in the early twentieth century about the benefits of religion and, specifically, Christianity. Christianity_sentence_551

Famous for his use of paradox, Chesterton explained that while Christianity had the most mysteries, it was the most practical religion. Christianity_sentence_552

He pointed to the advance of Christian civilizations as proof of its practicality. Christianity_sentence_553

The physicist and priest John Polkinghorne, in his Questions of Truth, discusses the subject of religion and science, a topic that other Christian apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, and William Lane Craig have engaged, with the latter two men opining that the inflationary Big Bang model is evidence for the existence of God. Christianity_sentence_554

See also Christianity_section_47


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: