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. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues. This restores the relation with God, who is loving and reaches out to humanity, and offers the possibility of theosis c. 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.
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See Article History Christianity, major religion stemming from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ, or the Anointed One of God in the 1st century ce. It has a constituency of more than two billion believers. Significant movements within the broader Christian world and sometimes transcending denominational boundaries are Pentecostalism , Charismatic Christianity, Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism. In addition, there are numerous independent churches throughout the world.
Mosaic in the apse of Santa Pudenziana basilica, Rome, — ce. De Antonis This article first considers the nature and development of the Christian religion, its ideas, and its institutions. This is followed by an examination of several intellectual manifestations of Christianity. Finally, the position of Christianity in the world, the relations among its divisions and denominations, its missionary outreach to other peoples, and its relations with other world religions are discussed.
For supporting material on various topics, see angel and demon ; Bible ; biblical literature ; canon law ; creed ; Christology ; doctrine and dogma ; ecumenism ; eschatology ; exegesis ; faith ; grace ; heaven ; hell ; heresy ; Jesus Christ ; liturgical movement ; millennialism ; miracle ; monasticism ; monotheism ; New Testament ; Old Testament ; original sin ; papacy ; prayer ; priesthood ; purgatory ; sacrament ; salvation ; schism ; scripture ; theism ; theology ; and worship.
The church and its history The essence and identity of Christianity At its most basic, Christianity is the faith tradition that focuses on the figure of Jesus Christ. As a tradition , Christianity is more than a system of religious belief. It also has generated a culture , a set of ideas and ways of life, practices, and artifacts that have been handed down from generation to generation since Jesus first became the object of faith. Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind.
The agent of Christianity is the church, the community of people who make up the body of believers. Few Christians, however, would be content to keep this reference merely historical. Although their faith tradition is historical—i.
Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today While there is something simple about this focus on Jesus as the central figure, there is also something very complicated.
That complexity is revealed by the thousands of separate churches, sects, and denominations that make up the modern Christian tradition. To project these separate bodies against the background of their development in the nations of the world is to suggest the bewildering variety. To picture people expressing their adherence to that tradition in their prayer life and church-building, in their quiet worship or their strenuous efforts to change the world, is to suggest even more of the variety.
Given such complexity, it is natural that throughout Christian history both those in the tradition and those surrounding it have made attempts at simplification. Modern scholars have located the focus of this faith tradition in the context of monotheistic religions.
Christianity addresses the historical figure of Jesus Christ against the background of, and while seeking to remain faithful to, the experience of one God. It has consistently rejected polytheism and atheism. A second element of the faith tradition of Christianity, with rare exceptions, is a plan of salvation or redemption.
That is to say, the believers in the church picture themselves as in a plight from which they need rescue. For whatever reason , they have been distanced from God and need to be saved. The agent of that redemption is Jesus Christ. It is possible that through the centuries the vast majority of believers have not used the term essence to describe the central focus of their faith.
The term is itself of Greek origin and thus represents only one part of the tradition, one element in the terms that have gone into making up Christianity. Essence refers to those qualities that give something its identity and are at the centre of what makes that thing different from everything else.
To Greek philosophers it meant something intrinsic to and inherent in a thing or category of things, which gave it its character and thus separated it from everything of different character. Thus, Jesus Christ belongs to the essential character of Christianity and gives it a unique identity.
If most people are not concerned with defining the essence of Christianity, in practice they must come to terms with what the word essence implies.
Whether they are engaged in being saved or redeemed on the one hand, or thinking and speaking about that redemption, its agent, and its meaning on the other, they are concentrating on the essence of their experience.
Those who have concentrated from within the faith tradition have also helped to give it its identity. It is not possible to speak of the essence of a historical tradition without referring to how its ideal qualities have been discussed through the ages. Yet one can take up the separate subjects of essence and identity in sequence, being always aware of how they interrelate.
See Article History Christianity, major religion stemming from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ, or the Anointed One of God in the 1st century ce. It has a constituency of more than two billion believers. Significant movements within the broader Christian world and sometimes transcending denominational boundaries are Pentecostalism , Charismatic Christianity, Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism. In addition, there are numerous independent churches throughout the world. Mosaic in the apse of Santa Pudenziana basilica, Rome, — ce. De Antonis This article first considers the nature and development of the Christian religion, its ideas, and its institutions. This is followed by an examination of several intellectual manifestations of Christianity.
History of Christianity
Christianity started about years ago in Judea present-day Israel with Jesus Christ and His faithful group of disciples. During this period, Judea was a cross-cultural mecca of bustling cities and farms. The emperor of Rome was the ruler. The Jews at that time hated Roman rule -- it was but another reminder of the historical oppression they faced as a people. The polytheistic cultural beliefs of Rome were also pagan and intrusive to Jewish life. Some Jews saw that their only hope was to conform to this change. Others became religious zealots who formed pockets of guerilla resistance against Rome.
The history of Christianity
How much Christianity Constantine adopted at this point is difficult to discern,  but his accession of was a turning point for the Christian Church. Constantine supported the Church financially, built various basilicas , granted privileges e. In , he acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the Donatist controversy. More significantly, in he summoned the Council of Nicaea , the first ecumenical council. Constantine thus established a precedent for the emperor as responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus with a duty to maintain orthodoxy. The emperor was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity. Arianism and the first ecumenical councils[ edit ] Spread of Arianism in the Western Europe Further information: Germanic Christianity A popular doctrine of the 4th century was Arianism , the denial of the divinity of Christ, as propounded by Arius.
History Of Christianity
The relation of the early church to late Judaism Christianity began as a movement within Judaism at a period when the Jews had long been dominated culturally and politically by foreign powers and had found in their religion rather than in their politics or cultural achievements the linchpin of their community. In the Hellenistic Age bce—3rd century ce , the dispersion of the Jews throughout the kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean and the Roman Empire reinforced this universalistic tendency. But the attempts of foreign rulers, especially the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes in — bce , to impose Greek culture in Palestine provoked zealous resistance on the part of many Jews, leading to the revolt of Judas Maccabeus against Antiochus. In Palestinian Judaism the predominant note was separation and exclusiveness.