Open main menu

Portal:Christianity

The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Main   Indices   Projects

Introduction

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, also known by Christians as the Christ. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, making up a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world. Its believers affirm that Jesus is the Son of God, the Logos, and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament of the Bible, and chronicled in the New Testament. Christianity and its ethics have played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization. Early statements of essential beliefs were the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed.

Christianity grew out of Judaism and began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their successors the Apostolic Fathers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Asia, despite initial persecution. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the First Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The council formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the compilation of the Christian Bible (5th century). The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united communion of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy before their schisms. 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 Pope. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes.

Christianity was a leading influence on the development of Western civilisation in Europe during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.

Selected article

The parable of the talents (as depicted in this 1712 woodcut) is often cited in support of prosperity theology
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) is a religious belief among some Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being is always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations will increase one's material wealth. It is based on interpretations of the Bible traditional in Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity. The parable of the talents is often cited in support of prosperity theology.

The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be happy. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.

It was during the Healing Revivals of the 1950s that prosperity theology first came to prominence in the United States, although commentators have linked the origins of its theology to the New Thought movement which began in the 19th century. The prosperity teaching later figured prominently in the Word of Faith movement and 1980s televangelism. In the 1990s and 2000s, it was adopted by influential leaders in the Charismatic Movement and promoted by Christian missionaries throughout the world. Prominent leaders in the development of prosperity theology include E. W. Kenyon, Oral Roberts, TD Jakes, A. A. Allen, Robert Tilton, T. L. Osborn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Reverend Ike and Kenneth Hagin.

Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders in various Christian denominations, including within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, who maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture.

Selected scripture

Stained glass window based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Charleston, South Carolina
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”
He told them this parable.
“Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn’t light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’
Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.”
He said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ He divided his livelihood between them. Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living.
When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any.
But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”’
“He arose, and came to his father.
But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate; for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’
They began to celebrate.
“Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on.
He said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.’
But he was angry, and would not go in.
Therefore his father came out, and begged him. But he answered his father, ‘Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
“He said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’”

Selected biography

Gravestone marking the burial site of Justus in St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury
Justus (occasionally Iustus) (died on 10 November between 627 and 631) was the fourth Archbishop of Canterbury. He was sent from Italy to England by Pope Gregory the Great, on a mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons, probably arriving with the second group of missionaries despatched in 601. Justus became the first Bishop of Rochester in 604, and attended a church council in Paris in 614. Following the death of King Æthelberht of Kent in 616, Justus was forced to flee to Gaul, but was reinstated in his diocese the following year. In 624 Justus became Archbishop of Canterbury, overseeing the despatch of missionaries to Northumbria. After his death he was revered as a saint, and had a shrine in St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury.

Selected image

The First Vision of Joseph Smith
Credit: User:COGDEN

The First Vision (also called the grove experience) refers to a vision that Joseph Smith said he received in the spring of 1820, in a wooded area in Manchester, New York, which his followers call the Sacred Grove.

Did you know...

...that Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Roman Catholic Church did not have the authority to change the Biblical Sabbath, and therefore keep Saturdays holy instead of Sunday?
...that one of the most often quoted verses from the Bible is John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life"?
...that Ukrainian Eastern Catholic Josyf Cardinal Slipyj's 20 year internment in a Siberian Soviet labor camp and later rise to the rank of Cardinal inspired the 1963 novel The Shoes of the Fisherman, a number 1 best seller on the Publishers Weekly fiction list?
...that Christian demonology has assigned the colours red and black to represent Satan?

.... that the Christians divided themselves up into different churches because some were beginning to contradict certain parts of the bible. Even though the were reading the same scriptures, many didn't believe certain things. So, they branched off and made Churches of there own with their own doctrines.

...that Christians believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to destroy the works of Satan by fulfilling the Laws God established, and through Him we might all be saved from God's Wrath.