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{{pp-semi-indef|small=yes}}{{short description|An Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth}}{{fix}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2015}}{{Christianity|expanded=all}}Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament.BOOK, Christianity: A Very Short Introduction, Woodhead, Linda, 2004, Oxford University Press, Oxford, n.p, It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.WEB,weblink World’s largest religion by population is still Christianity, Pew Research Center, en-US, 2019-02-27, Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around Syria, the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. 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 as a religion began.Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity (312) and decriminalized it 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). The early history of Christianity's united church before major schisms is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church". 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,BOOK,weblink Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural understanding and practice, S. T. Kimbrough, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2005, 978-0-88141-301-4, 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. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Latin Catholic Church in the Reformation era (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. 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.BOOK,weblink Muslim-Christian Relations, Amsterdam University Press, The enthusiasm for evangelization among the Christians was also accompanied by the awareness that the most immediate problem to solve was how to serve the huge number of new Conversion to Christianity, converts. Simatupang said, if the number of the Christians were double or triple, then the number of the ministers should also be doubled or tripled and the tole of the laity should be maximized and Christian service to society through schools, universities, hospitals and orphanages, should be increased. In addition, for him the Christian mission should be involved in the struggle for justice amid the process of modernization., 18 October 2007, 978-90-5356-938-2, 2006, BOOK,weblink 77, Fred Kammer, Doing Faith Justice, Paulist Press, Theologians, bishops, and preachers urged the Christian community to be as compassionate as their God was, reiterating that creation was for all of humanity. They also accepted and developed the identification of Christ with the poor and the requisite Christian duty to the poor. Religious congregations and individual charismatic leaders promoted the development of a number of helping institutions-hospitals, hospices for Christian pilgrimage, pilgrims, orphanages, shelters for unwed mothers-that laid the foundation for the modern "large network of hospitals, orphanages and schools, to serve the poor and society at large.", 18 October 2007, 978-0-8091-4227-9, 1 May 2004, BOOK,weblink Christian Church Women: Shapers of a Movement, Chalice Press, In the central provinces of India they established schools, orphanages, hospitals, and churches, and spread the gospel message in zenanas., 18 October 2007, 978-0-8272-0463-8, March 1994, 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. The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1 %), Protestantism (920 million/36.7 %), the Eastern Orthodox Church (260 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (86 million/both together 11.9%), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism).NEWS,weblink Orthodox Church split: Five reasons why it matters, Peter, Laurence, October 17, 2018, October 17, 2018, BBC, Their creeds generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the logos incarnated—who ministred, 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 (scripture). 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 and Christian ethics played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization,Religions in Global Society. p. 146, Peter Beyer, 2006Cambridge University Historical Series, An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects, p. 40: Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era.Caltron J.H Hayas, Christianity and Western Civilization (1953), Stanford University Press, p. 2: "That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization—the civilization of western Europe and of America—have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo – Graeco – Christianity, Catholic and Protestant."Horst Hutter, University of New York, Shaping the Future: Nietzsche's New Regime of the Soul And Its Ascetic Practices (2004), p. 111: three mighty founders of Western culture, namely Socrates, Jesus, and Plato.Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p. 22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization. particularly around Europe from late antiquity and the Middle Ages. 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.WEB, Analysis,weblink Global Christianity, Pew Research Center, 19 December 2011, 17 August 2012, Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents.Pew Research Center Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world, especially in the Middle-East, Southeast and East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa."Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'". BBC News. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.Kay, Barbara. "Our politicians may not care, but Christians are under siege across the world". National Post. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.Wintour, Patrick. "Persecution of Christians coming close to genocide' in Middle East - report". The Guardian. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.


Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (), probably coming from (Isaiah 40:3), "prepare the way of the Lord."Larry Hurtado (August 17, 2017 ), "Paul, the Pagans’ Apostle"{{refn|group=note|It appears in the Acts of the Apostles, {{bibleverse|Acts|9:2|KJV}}, {{bibleverse|Acts|19:9|KJV}} and {{bibleverse|Acts|19:23|KJV}}). Some English translations of the New Testament capitalize 'the Way' (e.g. the New King James Version and the English Standard Version), indicating that this was how 'the new religion seemed then to be designated' Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 19,weblinkacts/19.htm accessed 8 October 2015 whereas others treat the phrase as indicative—'the way',Jubilee Bible 2000 'that way' American King James Version or 'the way of the Lord'.Douai-Rheims Bible The Syriac version reads, "the way of God" and the Vulgate Latin version, "the way of the Lord".Gill, J., Gill's Exposition of the Bible, commentary on Acts 19:23 accessed 8 October 2015}} According to (Acts 11:26), the term "Christian" () 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.E. Peterson (1959), "Christianus." In: Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, publisher: Herder, Freiburg, pp. 353–72 The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" () was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD.{{Sfn|Elwell|Comfort|2001|pp=266, 828}}


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.Olson, The Mosaic of Christian Belief.


File:Nicaea icon.jpg|thumb|An Eastern Christian icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of NicaeaFirst Council of Nicaea{{Wikisource|Apostles' Creed}}{{Wikisource|Nicene Creed}}Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds. They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.The Apostles' Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. 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. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome.Pelikan/Hotchkiss, Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. Its main points include:{{citation needed|date=November 2018}} The Nicene Creed was formulated, largely in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively,WEB,weblink "We Believe in One God....": The Nicene Creed and Mass, February 2005, Catholics United for the Fath, registration, 16 June 2014, Encyclopedia of Religion, "Arianism". and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.Catholic Encyclopedia, "Council of Ephesus".The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451,Christian History Institute, weblink" title="">First Meeting of the Council of Chalcedon. though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox,JOURNAL, The Oriental Orthodox Rejection of Chalcedon,weblink Glastonbury Review, Peter Theodore Farrington, February 2006, 113,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2008, 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.Pope Leo I, Letter to FlavianThe 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."Catholic Encyclopedia, "Athanasian Creed".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.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 14 January 2006, Our Common Heritage as Christians, The United Methodist Church, 31 December 2007, Many Evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another."Avis, Paul (2002) The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions, SPCK, London, {{ISBN|0-281-05246-8}} paperback{{rp|111}} 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.White, Howard A. The History of the Church.BOOK, Cummins, Duane D., A handbook for Today's Disciples in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Revised, Chalice Press, 1991, St Louis, MO,weblink 978-0-8272-1425-5, {{rp|14–15}}Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, {{ISBN|0-7369-1289-4}}{{rp|123}}


File:CompositeJesus.JPG|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Various depictions of Jesus ]]{{See also|Incarnation (Christianity)|Jesus in comparative mythology}}The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). 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. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. 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.Metzger/Coogan, Oxford Companion to the Bible, pp. 513, 649.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). Jesus, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin. As fully God, he rose to life again. According to the New Testament, he rose from the dead,{{Bibleref2|Acts|2:24}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|2:31–32}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|3:15}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|3:26}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|4:10}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|5:30}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|10:40–41}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|13:30}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|13:34}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|13:37}}, {{Bibleref2-nb|Acts|17:30–31}}, {{Bibleref2|Romans|10:9}}, {{bibleref2|1Cor|15:15 || 1 Cor. 15:15}}, {{bibleref2-nb|1Cor|6:14}}, {{bibleref2|2Cor|4:14 || 2 Cor. 4:14}}, {{Bibleref2|Gal|1:1}}, {{Bibleref2|Eph|1:20}}, {{Bibleref2|Col|2:12}}, {{bibleref2|1Thess|1:10 || 1 Thess. 11:10}}, {{Bibleref2|Heb.|13:20}}, {{bibleref2|1Pet|1:3 || 1 Pet. 1:3}}, {{bibleref2-nb|1Pet|1:21}} ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father,s:Nicene Creed]] and will ultimately return{{bibleref2c|Acts|1:9–11}} 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.According to the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus' childhood is recorded in the canonical gospels, although infancy gospels were popular in antiquity. 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. The biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and deeds.

Death and resurrection

{{See also|Template:Resurrection appearances|l1=Overview of resurrection appearances in the Gospels and Paul (table)}}File:Cristo crucificado.jpg|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Crucifixion, representing the death of Jesus on the Cross, painting by Diego VelázquezDiego VelázquezChristians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history.Hanegraaff. Resurrection: The Capstone in the Arch of Christianity. Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based.WEB,weblink The Significance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus for the Christian, Australian Catholic University National, 16 May 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 September 2007, dmy, 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.{{bibleref2c|Jn.|19:30–31}} {{bibleref2c|Mk.|16:1}} {{bibleref2c-nb|Mark|16:6}}The New Testament mentions several resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once",{{bibleref2c|1Cor|15:6}} before Jesus' ascension to heaven. 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.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.{{bibleref2 || John|3:16}}, {{bibleref2-nb|John|5:24}}, {{bibleref2-nb|John|6:39–40}}, {{bibleref2-nb|John|6:47}}, {{bibleref2-nb|John|10:10}}, {{bibleref2-nb|John|11:25–26}}, and {{bibleref2-nb|John|17:3}}Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions.This is drawn from a number of sources, especially the early Creeds, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, certain theological works, and various Confessions drafted during the Reformation including the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, works contained in the Book of Concord. 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.Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, p. 11. Some liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection,A Jesus Seminar conclusion held that "in the view of the Seminar, he did not rise bodily from the dead; the resurrection is based instead on visionary experiences of Peter, Paul, and Mary."Funk. The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?. seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues.Lorenzen. Resurrection, Discipleship, Justice: Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today, p. 13. 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."{{bibleref2c|1Cor|15:14}} Ball/Johnsson (ed.). The Essential Jesus.


(File:Lucas Cranach (I) - The Law and the Gospel.jpg|thumb|right|“The Law and the Gospel” by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1529); Moses and Elijah point the sinner to Jesus for salvation)Paul the Apostle, like Jews and Roman pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life.JOURNAL, Eisenbaum, Pamela, Winter 2004, A Remedy for Having Been Born of Woman: Jesus, Gentiles, and Genealogy in Romans, Journal of Biblical Literature, 123, 4, 671–702,weblink PDF, 3 April 2009, 10.2307/3268465, 3268465, subscription, 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".{{bibleref2c|Gal.|3:29}} Wright, N.T. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Oxford, 1997), p. 121. 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".{{bibleref2c|Rom.|8:9,11,16}} 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. According to Eastern Orthodox theology, based upon their understanding of the atonement as put forward by Irenaeus' recapitulation theory, Jesus' death is a ransom. 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. According to Catholic doctrine, Jesus' death satisfies the wrath of God, aroused by the offense to God's honour caused by human's sinfulness. 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.CCC 846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14See quotations from Council of Trent on Justification at In Protestant theology, Jesus' death is regarded as a substitionary penalty carried by Jesus, for the debt that has to be paid by humankind when it broke God's moral law. 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.Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals' salvation is pre-ordained by God. Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are completely incapable of self-redemption, but that sanctifying grace is irresistible.Westminster Confession, Chapter X {{webarchive |url= |date=28 May 2014 }};Spurgeon, A Defense of Calvinism {{webarchive |url= |date=10 April 2008 }}. In contrast Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus.WEB, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Grace and Justification,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 15 August 2010,


File:Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg|thumb|upright=0.9|The Trinity is the belief that God is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy SpiritDefinition of the Fourth Lateran Council quoted in (Catechism of the Catholic Church]] §253.)Trinity refers to the teaching that the one GodChristianity's status as monotheistic is affirmed in, among other sources, the Catholic Encyclopedia (article "Monotheism"); William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr;, Monotheistic Religion resources; Kirsch, God Against the Gods; Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Monotheism; The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, weblink" title="">monotheism; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul, pp. 496–499; Meconi. "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity". pp. 111ff. comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons: the Father, the Son (incarnate in Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Together, these three persons are sometimes called the Godhead,Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. pp. 87–90.Alexander. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. pp. 514ff.McGrath. Historical Theology. p. 61. although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead.Metzger/Coogan. Oxford Companion to the Bible. p. 782. 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".Kelly. The Athanasian Creed. They are distinct from another: the Father has no source, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Though distinct, the three persons cannot be divided from one another in being or in operation. 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. But still, God still existed as three persons in each of these times.Oxford, "Encyclopedia Of Christianity, pg1207 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. In some Early Christian sarcophagi the Logos is distinguished with a beard, "which allows him to appear ancient, even pre-existent."Heidi J. Hornik and Mikeal Carl Parsons, Interpreting Christian Art: Reflections on Christian art, Mercer University Press, 2003, {{ISBN|0-86554-850-1}}, pp. 32–35.The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. From earlier than the times of the Nicene Creed (325) Christianity advocatedExamples of ante-Nicene statements:}}}}
the triune mystery-nature of God as a normative profession of faith. 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.BOOK, Olson, Roger E., The Trinity, 2002, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 15,weblink 978-0-8028-4827-7, Fowler. World Religions: An Introduction for Students. p. 58.
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). 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. Regardless of this apparent difference, the three "persons" are each eternal and omnipotent. Other Christian religions including Unitarian Universalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism, do not share those views on the Trinity.The Greek word trias{{LSJ|tria/s1|τριάς|ref}}.{{refn|group=note|name=Trias-Trinitas|The Latin equivalent, from which English trinity is derived,{{OEtymD|trinity}} is trinitas though Latin also borrowed Greek trias verbatim.{{L&S|trias|ref}}}} 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".BOOK, Patrologiae Graecae, Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus, 6, Theophilus of Antioch, Apologia ad Autolycum, Book II.15,weblink Greek, Latin, Ὡσαύτως καὶ αἱ τρεῖς ἡμέραι τῶν φωστήρων γεγονυῖαι τύποι εἰσὶν τῆς Τριάδος, τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τοῦ Λόγου αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῆς Σοφίας αὐτοῦ., The term may have been in use before this time; its Latin equivalent,{{refn|group=note|name=Trias-Trinitas}} trinitas,{{L&S|trinitas|ref}} appears afterwards with an explicit reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in Tertullian.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. p. 50.{{citation|author=Tertullian|title=De Pudicitia|chapter=21|url=|language=Latin|quote=Nam et ipsa ecclesia proprie et principaliter ipse est spiritus, in quo est trinitas unius diuinitatis, Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus.}}. In the following century, the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 53.


Trinitarianism denotes Christians who believe in the concept of the Trinity. Almost all Christian denominations and churches hold Trinitarian beliefs. Although the words "Trinity" and "Triune" do not appear in the Bible, theologians, beginning in the 3rd century, developed the term and concept to facilitate comprehension of the New Testament teachings of God as being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 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). Rather, the Trinity is defined as one God in three persons.Moltman, Jurgen. The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. Tr. from German. Fortress Press, 1993. {{ISBN|0-8006-2825-X}}


Nontrinitarianism (or antitrinitarianism) refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Various nontrinitarian views, such as adoptionism or modalism, existed in early Christianity, leading to the disputes about Christology.Harnack, History of Dogma. Nontrinitarianism later appeared again 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,Pocket Dictionary of Church History Nathan P. Feldmeth p. 135 "Unitarianism. Unitarians emerged from Protestant Christian beginnings in the sixteenth century with a central focus on the unity of God and subsequent denial of the doctrine of the Trinity" in the 18th-century Enlightenment, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century.


File:Kohrvirab.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|The 7th-century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat; ArmeniaArmeniaThe 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. The major issues in Christian eschatology are the Tribulation, death and the afterlife, the Rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus, Resurrection of the Dead, Heaven and Hell, Millennialism, the Last Judgment, the end of the world, and the New Heavens and New Earth.Christians believe that the second coming of Christ will occur at the end of time, after a period of severe persecution (the Great Tribulation). All who have died will be resurrected bodily from the dead for the Last Judgment. Jesus will fully establish the Kingdom of God in fulfillment of scriptural prophecies.Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologicum, Supplementum Tertiae Partis questions 69 through 99WEB, Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book Three, Ch. 25,,weblink 1 January 2008,

Death and afterlife

Most Christians believe that human beings experience divine judgment and are rewarded either with eternal life or eternal damnation. This includes the general judgement at the resurrection of the dead as well as the belief (held by Catholics,Catholic Encyclopedia, "Particular Judgment".Ott, Grundriß der Dogmatik, p. 566. OrthodoxDavid Moser, What the Orthodox believe concerning prayer for the dead.Ken Collins, What Happens to Me When I Die? {{Webarchive|url= |date=28 September 2008 }}. and most Protestants) in a judgment particular to the individual soul upon physical death.In Catholicism, 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.WEB,weblink Audience of 4 August 1999,, 4 August 1999, 19 November 2010, Those who have attained this goal are called saints (Latin sanctus, "holy").Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Communion of Saints".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. 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. Jehovah's Witnesses hold to a similar view."The death that Adam brought into the world is spiritual as well as physical, and only those who gain entrance into the Kingdom of God will exist eternally. However, this division will not occur until Armageddon, when all people will be resurrected and given a chance to gain eternal life. In the meantime, "the dead are conscious of nothing." What is God's Purpose for the Earth?" Official Site of Jehovah's Witnesses. Watchtower, 15 July 2002.


{{See also|Mass (liturgy)|Reformed worship|Contemporary worship}}File:Thebible33.jpg|upright=1.05|thumb|Samples of Catholic religious objects – the Bible, a crucifix and a rosaryrosaryDepending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, 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. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.

Communal worship

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:Thus, as Justin described, Christians assemble for communal worship on Sunday, the day of the resurrection, though other liturgical practices often occur outside this setting. Scripture readings are drawn from the Old and New Testaments, but especially the gospel accounts. Often these are arranged on an annual cycle, using a book called a lectionary. Instruction is given based on these readings, called a sermon, or homily. 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. The Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, is regularly prayed.(File:Worship-team.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|A modern Protestant worship band leading a contemporary worship session)Some groups depart from this traditional liturgical structure. A division is often made between "High" church services, characterized by greater solemnity and ritual, and "Low" services, but even within these two categories, there is great diversity in forms of worship. Seventh-day Adventists meet on Saturday, while others do not meet on a weekly basis. Charismatic or Pentecostal congregations may spontaneously feel led by the Holy Spirit to action rather than follow a formal order of service, including spontaneous prayer. Quakers sit quietly until moved by the Holy Spirit to speak.Some evangelical services resemble concerts with rock and pop music, dancing and use of multimedia. For groups which do not recognize a priesthood distinct from ordinary believers, the services are generally led by a minister, preacher, or pastor. Still others may lack any formal leaders, either in principle or by local necessity. Some churches use only a cappella music, either on principle (for example, many Churches of Christ object to the use of instruments in worship) or by tradition (as in Orthodoxy).Nearly all forms of churchmanship celebrate the Eucharist (Holy Communion), which consists of a consecrated meal. 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".Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine (1937). Some Christian denominations practice closed communion. They offer communion to those who are already united in that denomination or sometimes individual church. Catholics restrict participation to their members who are not in a state of mortal sin. Most 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.Worship can be varied for special events like baptisms or weddings in the service or significant feast days. In the early church, Christians and those yet to complete initiation would separate for the Eucharistic part of the worship. In many churches today, adults and children will separate for all or some of the service to receive age-appropriate teaching. Such children's worship is often called Sunday school or Sabbath school (Sunday schools are often held before rather than during services).


{{See also|Sacraments of the Catholic Church|Anglican sacraments|Lutheran sacraments}}In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite, instituted by Christ, that confers grace, constituting a sacred mystery. The term is derived from the Latin word sacramentum, which was used to translate the Greek word for mystery. Views concerning both which rites are sacramental, and what it means for an act to be a sacrament, vary among Christian denominations and traditions.Cross/Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. pp. 1435ff.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. The two most widely accepted sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion), however, the majority of Christians also recognize five additional sacraments: Confirmation (Chrismation in the Orthodox tradition), Holy orders (ordination), Penance (or Confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony (see Christian views on marriage).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. Most other denominations and traditions typically affirm only Baptism and Eucharist as sacraments, while some Protestant groups, such as the Quakers, reject sacramental theology. Christian denominations, such as Baptists, which believe these rites do not communicate grace, prefer to call Baptism and Holy Communion ordinances rather than sacraments.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. These include Holy Leaven (Melka) and the sign of the cross.Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon.File:Skondals kyrka 2005.jpg|Baptism, specifically infant baptism, in the Lutheran traditionFile:Исповедь берн собор.jpg|A penitent confessing his sins in a Ukrainian Catholic churchFile:Methodistcommunion3.jpg|A Methodist minister celebrating the EucharistFile:Anglican confirmation in Helsinki.jpg|Confirmation being administered in an Anglican churchFile:Cheirotonia_Presbyter_1.jpeg|Ordination of a priest in the Eastern Orthodox traditionFile:Crowning in Syro-Malabar Nasrani Wedding by Mar Gregory Karotemprel.jpg|Crowning during Holy Matrimony in the Syro-Malabar Catholic ChurchFile:2017-04-12--Service of the Sacrament of Holy Unction, on Holy Wednesday.jpg|Service of the Sacrament of Holy Unction served on Great and Holy Wednesday

Liturgical calendar

{{See also|Calendar of saints}}Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Christians, and traditional Protestant communities frame worship around the liturgical year. 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, colours of paraments and vestments for clergy,WEB, Fortescue, Adrian, Christian Calendar,weblink The Catholic Encyclopedia., Robert Appleton Company, 18 July 2014, 1912, scriptural readings, themes for preaching and even different traditions and practices often observed personally or in the home.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. 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. 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. A few denominations make no use of a liturgical calendar.Hickman. Handbook of the Christian Year.


File:Nideggen-St.Johannes Baptist249.JPG|thumb|right|upright=1.15|The cross and the fish are two common symbols of Jesus Christ; letters of the Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ IchthysIchthysChristianity 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.The cross, today one of the most widely recognized symbols, was used by Christians from the earliest times.WEB,weblink ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second | Christian Classics Ethereal Library,, 1 June 2005, 5 May 2009, Minucius Felix speaks of the cross of Jesus in its familiar form, likening it to objects with a crossbeam or to a man with arms outstretched in prayer (Octavius of Minucius Felix, chapter XXIX). 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."At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign." (Tertullian, De Corona, chapter 3) Although the cross was known to the early Christians, the crucifix did not appear in use until the 5th century.Dilasser. The Symbols of the Church.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.Catholic Encyclopedia, "Symbolism of the Fish". 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),{{refn|group=note|Iesous Christos Theou Hyios Soter would be a more complete transliteration; in Greek though, the daseia or spiritus asper was not—commonly—marked in the majuscule script of the time.}} (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), a concise summary of Christian faith.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. These all derive from passages of the New Testament.


File:El bautismo de Jesús, por José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior.jpg|thumb|upright=0.9|The baptism of Jesus depicted by Almeida Júnior (1895)]]Baptism is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the Church. Beliefs on baptism vary among denominations. Differences occur firstly on whether the act has any spiritual significance. 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. 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. Secondly, there are differences of opinion on the methodology of the act. These methods are: by immersion; if immersion is total, by submersion; by affusion (pouring); and by aspersion (sprinkling). Those who hold the first view may also adhere to the tradition of infant baptism;"Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213 {{webarchive |url= |date=22 July 2016 }}); "Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God" (Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Episcopal ); "Baptism is the sacrament of initiation and incorporation into the body of Christ" (By Water and The Spirit – The Official United Methodist Understanding of Baptism (PDF) {{webarchive |url= |date=13 March 2016 }};"As an initiatory rite into membership of the Family of God, baptismal candidates are symbolically purified or washed as their sins have been forgiven and washed away" (William H. Brackney, Doing Baptism Baptist Style{{snd}} Believer's Baptism {{webarchive |url= |date=7 January 2010 }}) 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."After the proclamation of faith, the baptismal water is prayed over and blessed as the sign of the goodness of God's creation. The person to be baptized is also prayed over and blessed with sanctified oil as the sign that his creation by God is holy and good. And then, after the solemn proclamation of "Alleluia" (God be praised), the person is immersed three times in the water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Orthodox Church in America: Baptism)."In the Orthodox Church we totally immerse, because such total immersion symbolizes death. What death? The death of the "old, sinful man". After Baptism we are freed from the dominion of sin, even though after Baptism we retain an inclination and tendency toward evil.", Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, article "Baptism {{webarchive |url= |date=30 September 2014 }}". The Catholic Church also practices infant baptism,Catechism of the Catholic Church 403, 1231, 1233, 1250, 1252. usually by affusion, and utilizing the Trinitarian formula.Catechism of the Catholic Church 1240.


Jesus' teaching on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount displays a distinct lack of interest in the external aspects of prayer. A concern with the techniques of prayer is condemned as "pagan", and instead a simple trust in God's fatherly goodness is encouraged.{{bibleref2c|Mat.|6:5–15}} Elsewhere in the New Testament, this same freedom of access to God is also emphasized.{{bibleref2c|Phil.|4:6}}{{bibleref2c|Jam.|5:13–19}} This confident position should be understood in light of Christian belief in the unique relationship between the believer and Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Alexander, T.D., Rosner, B.S, 2001, Prayer, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, In subsequent Christian traditions, certain physical gestures are emphasized, including medieval gestures such as genuflection or making the sign of the cross. Kneeling, bowing, and prostrations (see also poklon) are often practiced in more traditional branches of Christianity. Frequently in Western Christianity, the hands are placed palms together and forward as in the feudal commendation ceremony. At other times the older orans posture may be used, with palms up and elbows in.Intercessory prayer is prayer offered for the benefit of other people. There are many intercessory prayers recorded in the Bible, including prayers of the Apostle Peter on behalf of sick persons{{bibleref2c|Acts|9:40}} and by prophets of the Old Testament in favor of other people.{{bibleref2c|1Ki|17:19–22}} In the Epistle of James, no distinction is made between the intercessory prayer offered by ordinary believers and the prominent Old Testament prophet Elijah.{{bibleref2c|Jam|5:16–18}} The effectiveness of prayer in Christianity derives from the power of God rather than the status of the one praying.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. Churches of the Protestant Reformation, however, rejected prayer to the saints, largely on the basis of the sole mediatorship of Christ.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Ferguson, S.B., Packer, J., yes, 1988, Saints, New Dictionary of Theology, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 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.Madeleine Gray, The Protestant Reformation, (Sussex Academic Press, 2003), p. 140.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."WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church: Part Four – Christian Prayer, Va, 19 November 2010, The Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican tradition is a guide which provides a set order for church services, containing set prayers, scripture readings, and hymns or sung Psalms.


File:Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01.jpg|upright=1.15|thumb|left|The BibleBibleChristianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. The Greek word referring to inspiration in {{bibleref2|2Timothy|3:16||2 Timothy 3:16}} is theopneustos, which literally means "God-breathed".BOOK, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, 2nd, Virkler, Henry A., Ayayo, Karelynne Gerber, 2007, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 978-0-8010-3138-0, 21, Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Still others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version.WEB, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 9 September 2010, (§105–108)Second Helvetic Confession, weblink" title="">Of the Holy Scripture Being the True Word of GodChicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, online text 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.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. These variations are a reflection of the range of traditions, and of the councils that have convened on the subject. Every version of the Old Testament always includes the books of the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic and Orthodox canons, in addition to the Tanakh, also include the deuterocanonical books as part of the Old Testament. These books appear in the Septuagint, but are regarded by Protestants to be apocryphal. 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. Some versions of the Bible include a separate Apocrypha section between the Old Testament and the New Testament.Metzger/Coogan, Oxford Companion to the Bible. p. 39. The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all churches.Modern scholarship has raised many issues with the Bible. 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".Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the Bible and why. San Francisco: Harper {{ISBN|978-0060738174}} pp. 183, 209 Much scholarship in the past several hundred years has gone into comparing different manuscripts in order to reconstruct the original text. Another issue is that several books are considered to be forgeries. The injunction that women "be silent and submissive" in 1 Timothy 2WEB,weblink 1 Timothy 2:11–12 NIV – A woman should learn in quietness and, Bible Gateway, 12 March 2013, is thought by many to be a forgery by a follower of Paul, a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 14,WEB,weblink 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 NIV – Women should remain silent in the, Bible Gateway, 12 March 2013, 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. 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",WEB,weblink 1 corinthians 11:2–16 NIV – On Covering the Head in Worship – I, Bible Gateway, 12 March 2013, contradict this verse.A final issue with the Bible is the way in which books were selected for inclusion in the New Testament. 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. 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),BOOK, Wright, N.T., The New Testament and the People of God, 1992, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 978-0-8006-2681-5, 435–443, 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. 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"),WEB,weblink The Gospel of Thomas Collection – Translations and Resources,, 12 March 2013, is reminiscent of Luke 17:20–21WEB,weblink Luke 17:20–21 NIV – The Coming of the Kingdom of God, Bible Gateway, 12 March 2013, WEB,weblink Reflections on religions,, 12 March 2013, —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 labelled proto-Gnostic. 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.

Catholic interpretation

File:View of saint Peter basilica from a roof.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic ChurchCatholic ChurchIn antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in Alexandria and Antioch. 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.Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. pp. 69–78.Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual.Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Holy Spirit, Interpreter of Scripture § 115–118. {{webarchive |url= |date=25 March 2015 }}The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into: Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds:

Protestant interpretation

File:Lutherbibel.jpg|thumb|The Luther Bible (shown above) was an early translation of the Bible by a Protestant. Another early unauthorised translation was Wycliffe's BibleWycliffe's Bible

Qualities of Scripture

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. This concept is known as sola scriptura.BOOK,weblink The Shape of Sola Scriptura, Keith A. Mathison, Canon Press, 2001, 978-1-885767-74-5, Introduction, 15, The Shape of Sola Scriptura, Protestants characteristically believe that ordinary believers may reach an adequate understanding of Scripture because Scripture itself is clear in its meaning (or "perspicuous"). Martin Luther believed that without God's help, Scripture would be "enveloped in darkness". He advocated for "one definite and simple understanding of Scripture".WEB, Foutz, Scott David,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 14 April 2000, Martin Luther and Scripture, Quodlibet Journal, 16 June 2014, John Calvin wrote, "all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light".John Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles 2 Peter 3:14–18 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.BOOK, Engelder, Theodore E.W.,weblink Popular Symbolics: The Doctrines of the Churches of Christendom and Of Other Religious Bodies Examined in the Light of Scripture, 28, Saint Louis, MO, Concordia Publishing House, 1934,

Original intended meaning of Scripture

Protestants stress the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, the historical-grammatical method.Sproul. Knowing Scripture, pp. 45–61; Bahnsen, A Reformed Confession Regarding Hermeneutics (article 6). The historical-grammatical method or grammatico-historical method is an effort in Biblical hermeneutics to find the intended original meaning in the text.BOOK, Baker Book House, 978-0-8010-3413-8, Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1984, 565, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 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.BOOK, Academie Books, 978-0-310-34160-4, Johnson, Elliott, Expository hermeneutics : an introduction, Grand Rapids Mich., 1990, The historical-grammatical method distinguishes between the one original meaning and the significance of the text. The significance of the text includes the ensuing use of the text or application. The original passage is seen as having only a single meaning or sense. 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. The moment we neglect this principle we drift out upon a sea of uncertainty and conjecture."BOOK, Zondervan Pub. House, Terry, Milton, Biblical hermeneutics : a treatise on the interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, Grand Rapids Mich., 1974, 205, (1890 edition page 103, view1, view2) Technically speaking, the grammatical-historical method of interpretation is distinct from the determination of the passage's significance in light of that interpretation. Taken together, both define the term (Biblical) hermeneutics.Some Protestant interpreters make use of typology.e.g., in his commentary on Matthew 1 (§III.1). Matthew Henry interprets the twin sons of Judah, Phares and Zara, as an allegory of the Gentile and Jewish Christians. For a contemporary treatment, see Glenny, Typology: A Summary Of The Present Evangelical Discussion.



Early Christianity

Apostolic Age

File:Inside of Saint Ananias.jpg|thumb|upright=1.05|right|Chapel of Saint Ananias, Damascus, SyriaSyriaFile:Ephesus IchthysCrop.jpg|thumb|upright=1.05|right|An early circular ichthys symbol, created by combining the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ into a wheel, EphesusEphesusFile:Mor-mattai.png|thumb|right|upright=1.05|The Monastery of St. Matthew, located atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraqnorthern IraqFile:Kadisha Valley cross.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.05|Kadisha Valley, LebanonLebanonChristianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism.BOOK, Catherine Cory, Christian Theological Tradition,weblink 13 August 2015, Routledge, 978-1-317-34958-7, y, p. 20 and forwards, BOOK, Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians,weblink 1984, Indiana University Press, 978-0-253-34286-7, y, p. 22 and forwards, 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, Saint Peter, and John. They had known Jesus, and, according to Paul, the arisen Christ had first appeared to James and Peter.Jewish Christianity soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, posing a problem for its Jewish religious outlook, which insisted on close observance of the Jewish commands. Paul the Apostle solved this by insisting that salvation by faith in Christ, and participation in His death and resurrection, sufficed. 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. Eventually, his departure from Jewish customs would result in the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion.

Ante-Nicene period

This formative period was followed by the early bishops, whom Christians consider the successors of Christ's apostles. From the year 150, Christian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith. These authors are known as the Church Fathers, and the study of them is called patristics. Notable early Fathers include Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen.According to the New Testament, Christians were from the beginning, subject to persecution by some Jewish and Roman religious authorities. This involved punishments, including death, for Christians such as Stephen{{bibleref2c|Acts|7:59}} and James, son of Zebedee.{{bibleref2c|Acts|12:2}} Further widespread persecution of the Church occurred under nine subsequent Roman emperors, most intensely under Decius and Diocletian.

Spread and acceptance in Roman Empire

File:Jesus-Christ-from-Hagia-Sophia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.05|An example of Byzantine pictorial art, the Deësis mosaic at the Hagia Sophia in ConstantinopleConstantinople{{See also|Edict of Thessalonica}}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.Michael Whitby, et al. eds. Christian Persecution, Martyrdom and Orthodoxy (2006) online edition 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. 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.Eusebius of Caesarea, the author of Ecclesiastical History in the 4th century, states that St. Mark came to Egypt in the first or third year of the reign of Emperor Claudius, i.e. 41 or 43 AD. "Two Thousand years of Coptic Christianity" Otto F.A. Meinardus p. 28.WEB,weblink A History of the Christian Church in Western North Africa, Neil Lettinga,weblink" title="">weblink 30 July 2001, dead, WEB,weblink,, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink 16 November 2010, dmy, Important Africans who influenced the early development of Christianity include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Cyprian, Athanasius, and Augustine of Hippo.By 201 or earlier, under King Abgar the Great, Osroene became the first Christian state.Cheetham, Samuel (1905). A History of the Christian Church During the First Six Centuries. Macmillan and Co. p. 58. King Trdat IV made Christianity the state religion in Armenia between 301 and 314.WEB, Gill, N.S., Which Nation First Adopted Christianity?,weblink, 8 October 2011, "Armenia is considered the first nation to have adopted Christianity as the state religion in a traditional date of c. A.D. 301.", WEB, CIA, The World Factbook: Armenia,weblink 8 October 2011, BOOK, Brunner, Borgna, Time Almanac with Information Please 2007, 685, 978-1-933405-49-0, 2006, Time Home Entertainment, New York,weblink 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.JOURNAL, Theo Maarten van Lint, The Formation of Armenian Identity in the First Millenium, Church History and Religious Culture, 2009, 89, 1/3, 269, 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.BOOK, Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium, Harris, Jonathan, Bloomsbury Academic, 2nd, 2017,weblink 38, 9781474254670, During his reign, state-sanctioned persecution of Christians was ended with the Edict of Toleration in 311 and the Edict of Milan in 313. At that point, Christianity was still a minority belief, comprising perhaps only five percent of the Roman population.BOOK, Christianity: A Global History, Chidester, David, HarperOne, 2000, 91, Influenced by his adviser Mardonius, Constantine's nephew Julian unsuccessfully tried to suppress Christianity.{{harvnb|Ricciotti|1999|p=}} On 27 February 380, Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II established Nicene Christianity as the State church of the Roman Empire.Theodosian Code XVI.i.2, in: Bettenson. Documents of the Christian Church. p. 31. As soon as it became connected to the state, Christianity grew wealthy; the Church solicited donations from the rich and could now own land.BOOK, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, Burbank, Jane, Copper, Frederick, Princeton University Press, 2010, Princeton, 64, 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 the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion, and many Protestant churches. Nicaea was the first of a series of ecumenical councils, which formally defined critical elements of the theology of the Church, notably concerning Christology.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 37ff. 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).In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization,{{harvnb|Cameron|2006|p=42}}. and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth, and culture.{{harvnb|Cameron|2006|p=47}}. There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek.{{harvnb|Browning|1992|pp=198–208}}. 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.{{harvnb|Browning|1992|p=218}}. 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).

Early Middle Ages

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. The church also entered into a long period of missionary activity and expansion among the various tribes. 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,Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 238–242. the Celtic, the Baltic and some Slavic peoples.Around 500, St. Benedict set out his Monastic Rule, establishing a system of regulations for the foundation and running of monasteries. 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.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. Part of the Muslims' success was due to the exhaustion of the Byzantine Empire in its decades long conflict with Persia.Mullin, 2008, p. 88. Beginning in the 8th century, with the rise of Carolingian leaders, the Papacy sought greater political support in the Frankish Kingdom.Mullin, 2008, pp. 93–94.The Middle Ages brought about major changes within the church. Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structure and administration.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 244–47. In the early 8th century, iconoclasm became a divisive issue, when it was sponsored by the Byzantine emperors. The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) finally pronounced in favor of icons.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, p. 260. In the early 10th century, Western Christian monasticism was further rejuvenated through the leadership of the great Benedictine monastery of Cluny.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 278–281.

High and Late Middle Ages

File:CouncilofClermont.jpg|thumb|left|Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached the First CrusadeFirst CrusadeIn 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). Previously, higher education had been the domain of Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), led by monks and nuns. Evidence of such schools dates back to the 6th century CE.Riché, Pierre (1978): "Education and Culture in the Barbarian West: From the Sixth through the Eighth Century", Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, {{ISBN|0-87249-376-8}}, pp. 126–127, 282–298 These new universities expanded the curriculum to include academic programs for clerics, lawyers, civil servants, and physicians.Rudy, The Universities of Europe, 1100–1914, p. 40 The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.BOOK, Verger, Jacques, 1999, :fr:Jacques Verger, Culture, enseignement et société en Occident aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, 1st, French, Presses universitaires de Rennes in Rennes, 978-2868473448,weblink 17 June 2014, harv, 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. The two principal mendicant movements were the FranciscansGonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 303–307, 310ff., 384–386. and the Dominicans,Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 305, 310ff., 316ff. founded by St. Francis and St. Dominic, respectively. Both orders made significant contributions to the development of the great universities of Europe. Another new order was the Cistercians, whose large isolated monasteries spearheaded the settlement of former wilderness areas. 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.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 321–323, 365ff.From 1095 under the pontificate of Urban II, the Crusades were launched.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 292–300. 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. The Crusades ultimately failed to stifle Islamic aggression and even contributed to Christian enmity with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.Riley-Smith. The Oxford History of the Crusades.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),The Western Church was called Latin at the time by the Eastern Christians and non Christians due to its conducting of its rituals and affairs in the Latin language and an Eastern, largely Greek, branch (the Eastern Orthodox Church). The two sides disagreed on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most notably papal primacy of jurisdiction.WEB,weblink The Great Schism: The Estrangement of Eastern and Western Christendom, Orthodox Information Centre, 26 May 2007, Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 91 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. However, the Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches.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'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.BOOK, MacCulloch, Diarmaid, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, Penguin, 2011,weblink 9781101189993, BOOK, Telushkin, Joseph, Jewish Literacy, HarperCollins, 192–193, 2008, 978-0-688-08506-3,weblink Beginning around 1184, following the crusade against Cathar heresy,Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 300, 304–305. 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.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, pp. 310, 383, 385, 391.

Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

File:95Thesen.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.05|The Ninety-five ThesesNinety-five Theses{{See also|European wars of religion}}The 15th-century Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in ancient and classical learning. During the Reformation, Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses 1517 against the sale of indulgences.Simon. Great Ages of Man: The Reformation. pp. 39, 55–61. Printed copies soon spread throughout Europe. In 1521 the Edict of Worms condemned and excommunicated Luther and his followers, resulting in the schism of the Western Christendom into several branches.Simon. Great Ages of Man: The Reformation. p. 7.Other reformers like Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Calvin, Knox, and Arminius further criticized Catholic teaching and worship. 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. The Reformation in England began in 1534, when King Henry VIII had himself declared head of the Church of England. Beginning in 1536, the monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved.Schama. A History of Britain. pp. 306–310.Thomas Müntzer, Andreas Karlstadt and other theologians perceived both the Catholic Church and the confessions of the Magisterial Reformation as corrupted. Their activity brought about the Radical Reformation, which gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations.File:Michelangelo's Pieta 5450 cropncleaned edit.jpg|thumb|upright=1.05|Michelangelo's 1498-99 Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica; the Catholic Church was among the patronages of the 0-395-88947-2}}BOOK, Levey, Michael, Early Renaissance, Penguin Books, 1967, 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.Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, pp. 242–244. The Council of Trent clarified and reasserted Catholic doctrine. During the following centuries, competition between Catholicism and Protestantism became deeply entangled with political struggles among European states.Simon. Great Ages of Man: The Reformation. pp. 109–120.Meanwhile, the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought about a new wave of missionary activity. 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.Throughout Europe, the division caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of religious violence and the establishment of separate state churches in Europe. Lutheranism spread into the northern, central, and eastern parts of present-day Germany, Livonia, and Scandinavia. Anglicanism was established in England in 1534. Calvinism and its varieties, such as Presbyterianism, were introduced in Scotland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, and France. Arminianism gained followers in the Netherlands and Frisia. Ultimately, these differences led to the outbreak of conflicts in which religion played a key factor. The Thirty Years' War, the English Civil War, and the French Wars of Religion are prominent examples. These events intensified the Christian debate on persecution and toleration.A general overview about the English discussion is given in Coffey, Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558–1689.


File:Madonna and Child, Kakure Kirishitan.jpg|thumb|upright=1.05|right|A depiction of Madonna and Child in a 19th-century Kakure Kirishitan Japanese woodcut ]]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.BOOK, Novak, Michael, Catholic social thought and liberal institutions: Freedom with justice, 1988, Transaction, 978-0-88738-763-0, 63,weblink Events ranged from mere anti-clericalism to violent outbursts against Christianity, such as the dechristianization of France during the French Revolution,Mortimer Chambers, The Western Experience (vol. 2) chapter 21. the Spanish Civil War, and certain Marxist movements, especially the Russian Revolution and the persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union under state atheism.Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival, by Christopher Marsh, p. 47. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011.Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History, by Dilip Hiro. Penguin, 2009.BOOK, Adappur, Abraham, Religion and the Cultural Crisis in India and the West,weblink 2000, Intercultural Publications, English, 978-81-85574-47-9, Forced Conversion under Atheistic Regimes: It might be added that the most modern example of forced "conversions" came not from any theocratic state, but from a professedly atheist government—that of the Soviet Union under the Communists., Geoffrey Blainey 2011). A Short History of Christianity; Viking; p. 494Especially pressing in Europe was the formation of nation states after the Napoleonic era. In all European countries, different Christian denominations found themselves in competition to greater or lesser extents with each other and with the state. Variables were the relative sizes of the denominations and the religious, political, and ideological orientation of the states. Urs Altermatt of the University of Fribourg, looking specifically at Catholicism in Europe, identifies four models for the European nations. In traditionally Catholic-majority countries such as Belgium, Spain, and Austria, to some extent, religious and national communities are more or less identical. Cultural symbiosis and separation are found in Poland, the Republic of Ireland, and Switzerland, all countries with competing denominations. 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. 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.BOOK, Altermatt, Urs, Religion und Nation: Katholizismen im Europa des 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, 2007, Kohlhammer, 978-3-17-019977-4, 15–34, Urs Altermatt, Franziska Metzger, German, Katholizismus und Nation: Vier Modelle in europäisch-vergleichender Perspektive, 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,BOOK, Heimann, Mary, Catholic Devotion in Victorian England, 1995, Clarendon Press, 978-0-19-820597-5, 165–73, 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. 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.Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own,NEWS,weblink BBC News, Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says, 22 March 2011, particularly in the Czech Republic and Estonia,WEB,weblink 図録▽世界各国の宗教,, 17 August 2012, while religious commitments in America have been generally high in comparison to Europe. 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. Approximately 7 to 10% of Arabs are Christians,BOOK, Fargues, Philippe, Christian Communities in the Middle East, Oxford University Press, 1998, 978-0-19-829388-0, A Demographic Perspective, Pacini, Andrea, most prevalent in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.


{{See also|Christendom|Christian state}}With around 2.4 billion adherents,31.4% of ≈7.4 billion world population (under the section 'People') WEB,weblink World, The World Factbook, CIA, WEB,weblink Christianity 2015: Religious Diversity and Personal Contact, January 2015,, 29 May 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2017, dead, split into three main branches of Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, Christianity is the world's largest religion.WEB,weblink The Global Religious Landscape, December 2012, Pew Research Center, 5 November 2018, 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. 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.Werner Ustorf. "A missiological postscript", in McLeod and Ustorf (eds), The Decline of Christendom in (Western) Europe, 1750–2000, (Cambridge University Press, 2003) pp. 219–20. 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.WEB,weblink The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010–2050, 24 June 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 6 May 2015, dead, dmy-all, {{rp|60}}File:Reabertura Museu de Arte Sacra (18626301050).jpg|thumb|BrazilBrazilFile:День Святой Троицы. Престольный праздник.jpg|thumb|Trinity Sunday in Russia; the alt=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.Johnstone, Patrick, "The Future of the Global Church: History, Trends and Possibilities", p. 100, fig 4.10 & 4.11Hillerbrand, Hans J., "Encyclopedia of Protestantism: 4-volume Set", p. 1815, "Observers carefully comparing all these figures in the total context will have observed the even more startling finding that for the first itime ever in the history of Protestantism, Wider Protestants will by 2050 have become almost exactly as numerous as Catholics – each with just over 1.5 billion followers, or 17 percent of the world, with Protestants growing considerably faster than Catholics each year." The so-called popular ProtestantismA flexible term; defined as all forms of Protestantism with the notable exception of the historical denominations deriving directly from the Protestant Reformation. is one of the fastest growing religious categories in the world.BOOK,weblink Religion in Global Civil Society, Mark, Juergensmeyer, 2005, Oxford University Press, 16, 978-0198040699, WEB,weblinkmeta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/3/9/8/7/pages39879/p39879-1.php, Engendering Charismatic Economies: Pentecostalism, Global Political Economy, and the Crisis of Social Reproduction, Barker, Isabelle V., 2005, American Political Science Association, 2, 8 and footnote 14 on page 8, 17 December 2013, March 25, 2010, 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.Todd M. Johnson, Gina A Zurlo, Albert W. Hickman, and Peter F. Grossing, "Christianity 2016: Latin America and Projecting Religions to 2050," International Bulletin of Mission Research, 2016, Vol. 40 (1) 22–29. Africa alone, by 2015, will be home to 230 million African Catholics.Barrett, 29. 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.Ross Douthat, "Fear of a Black Continent," The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2018, 9.Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, and Southern Africa. In Asia, it is the dominant religion in Georgia, Armenia, East Timor, and the Philippines.Encyclopædia Britannica table of religions, by region. Retrieved November 2007. {{webarchive |url= |date=18 February 2008 }} However, it is declining in many areas including the Northern and Western United States,WEB, ARIS 2008 Report: Part IA – Belonging,weblink American Religious Identification Survey 2008,, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2011, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), northern Europe (including Great Britain,WEB,weblink New UK opinion poll shows continuing collapse of 'Christendom',, 23 December 2006, 19 November 2010, 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,Barrett/Kurian.World Christian Encyclopedia, p. 139 (Britain), 281 (France), 299 (Germany).NEWS,weblink Christians in the Middle East, BBC News, 15 December 2005, 19 November 2010, WEB, Katz, Gregory,weblink Is Christianity dying in the birthplace of Jesus?,, 25 December 2006, 19 November 2010, South Korea,WEB,weblink Number of Christians among young Koreans decreases by 5% per year,, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 February 2009, dmy, Taiwan,WEB,weblink Christianity fading in Taiwan | American Buddhist Net,, 10 November 2007, 5 May 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2009, and MacauNEWS, Greenlees, Donald,weblink A Gambling-Fueled Boom Adds to a Church's Bane, Macao,, 26 December 2007, 30 June 2011, ).The Christian population is not decreasing in Brazil, the Southern United States,WEB,weblink PDF, American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008, Barry A. Kosmin, Ariela Keysar, 2009, Trinity College, Hartford, CN, 1 April 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2009, dmy, and the province of Alberta, Canada,WEB,weblink Religions in Canada – Census 2001,, 9 March 2010, 19 November 2010, but the percentage is decreasing. In countries such as AustraliaWEB,weblink Australian 2006 census – Religion,, 19 November 2010, and New Zealand,Table 28, 2006 Census Data – QuickStats About Culture and Identity – Tables. {{webarchive |url= |date=24 July 2011 }} the Christian population are declining in both numbers and percentage.Despite the declining numbers, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western World, where 70% are Christians. 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.WEB, Analysis,weblink Europe,, 19 December 2011, 17 August 2012, WEB, Analysis,weblink Americas,, 19 December 2011, 17 August 2012, WEB, Analysis,weblink Global religious landscape: Christians,, 19 December 2011, 17 August 2012, By 2010 about 157 countries and territories in the world had Christian majorities.However, there are many charismatic movements that have become well established over large parts of the world, especially Africa, Latin America, and Asia.David Stoll, "Is Latin America Turning Protestant?" published Berkeley: University of California Press. 1990WEB,weblink Pentecostalism, Jeff Hadden, 1997, 24 September 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2006, WEB,weblink Moved by the Spirit: Pentecostal Power and Politics after 100 Years, Pew Forum on Religion, Public Life, 24 April 2006, 24 September 2008, ENCYCLOPEDIA, Pentecostalism, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, 2007,weblink 21 December 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2009, WEB,weblink The CT Review: Pie-in-the-Sky Now, Ed Gitre, Christianity Today Magazine, 13 November 2000, Since 1900, primarily due to conversion, Protestantism has spread rapidly in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America.BOOK,weblink Encyclopedia of Protestantism, J. Gordon, Melton, 2005, Infobase Publishing, 978-0-8160-6983-5, 11, 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.BOOK, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, Milne, Bruce, 2010, InterVarsity Press, 332, 978-0-83082-576-9,weblink A study conducted by St. Mary's University estimated about 10.2 million Muslim converts to Christianity in 2015. The results also state that significant numbers of Muslims converts to Christianity in Afghanistan,WEB, USSD Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2009, International Religious Freedom Report 2009,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 2009-11-30, 2010-03-06, Albania,JOURNAL, Johnstone, Patrick, Miller, Duane Alexander, Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census, IJRR, 2015, 11, 10, 1–19,weblink 30 October 2015, Azerbaijan,WEB,weblink 5,000 Azerbaijanis adopted Christianity,, 7 July 2007, Russian, 30 January 2012, WEB,weblink Christian Missionaries Becoming Active in Azerbaijan, Tehran Radio, 19 June 2011, Azerbaijani, 12 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 19 February 2014, dead, Algeria,WEB,weblink Algeria: Situation of Christians, including the treatment of Christians by society and by the authorities; availability of state protection; the fire at Tafat church; whether there were convictions for proselytism (2010 – July 2013) [DZA104491.FE], Immigration and Refugee Board of, Canada, 17 July 2013, Muslims Turn to Christ – ChristianAction Belgium,WEB,weblink In Europe, many Muslims renounce Islam, embrace Christianity: Report, France, Germany,WEB,weblink 'Our second mother': Iran's converted Christians find sanctuary in Germany, Liana, Aghajanian, 12 May 2014, The Guardian, Iran,WEB, Gary Lane,weblink House Churches Growing in Iran,, 17 August 2012, India, Indonesia,BOOK, 2001, David B. Barrett, George Thomas Kurian, Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Encyclopedia, 374, Oxford University Press, 978-0195079630, Malaysia,WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 24 October 2011, What is Himpun about?, Ahmad Farouk Musa, Mohd Radziq Jalaluddin, Ahmasd Fuad Rahmat, Edry Faizal Eddy Yusuf, 22 October 2011, The Star, 16 December 2011, dmy-all, Morocco,WEB,weblink Christian Converts in Morocco Fear Fatwa Calling for Their Execution, Russia, the Netherlands,WEB,weblink Friesch Dagblad, Saudi Arabia,BOOK, Encyclopedia of religious freedom, Cookson, Catharine, 2003, Taylor & Francis, 978-0-415-94181-5, 207,weblink Tunisia, Turkey,WEB,weblink Turkey: Protestant church closed down – Church In Chains – Ireland :: An Irish voice for suffering, persecuted Christians Worldwide, WEB,weblink Ekklesia – Turkish Protestants still face 'long path' to religious freedom, 8 March 2011, WEB, khadijabibi,weblink 35,000 Muslims convert into Christianity each year in Turkey,, 30 October 2009, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2012, Kazakhstan,WEB,weblink Нац состав.rar, 24 July 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 July 2011, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo,WEB,weblink Conversion rate, 30 December 2008, The Economist, the United States,WEB,weblink Why Are Millions of Muslims Becoming Christian?, and Central Asia.WEB, Jeni Mitchell,weblink FREEradicals – Targeting Christians in Central Asia,, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2012, WEB,weblink Despite Government Set-backs, Christianity Is Alive in Central Asia,, 30 November 2011, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 January 2012, dmy-all, It is also reported that Christianity is popular among people of different backgrounds in India (mostly Hindus),NEWS,weblink BBC News, Narayan, Bareth, State to bar religious conversion, 23 February 2005, NEWS,weblink The Times of India, India, Religious Conversions, and Malaysia,WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 23 November 2007, 160,000 Have Converted Out of Hinduism in Malaysia in 25 Years,, 16 May 2005, 19 November 2010, Mongolia,WEB,weblink Religions in Mongolia,, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink 13 May 2011, dmy, Nigeria,Religious Demographic Profiles – Pew Forum {{webarchive |url= |date=21 April 2010 }} Vietnam,WEB, Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2005 – Vietnam, U.S. Department of State, 30 June 2005,weblink 11 March 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 October 2006, Singapore,WEB,weblink Christianity, non-religious register biggest growth: Census 2010,, 13 January 2011, 17 August 2012, Indonesia,WEB,weblink In Indonesia, Lunar New Year an old practice for young Christians,, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 November 2011, dmy, NEWS,weblink In Indonesia, the Chinese go to church,, 27 April 2006, 17 August 2012, China,WEB,weblink Christianity 2010: a view from the new Atlas of Global Christianity,, 1 January 2010, 17 August 2012, Japan,WEB,weblink More People Claim Christian Faith in Japan, and South Korea.NEWS, Landau, Christopher,weblink Will South Korea become Christian?, BBC News, 26 October 2009, 17 August 2012, 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.Putnam, Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, p. 408. Some sources view this simply as part of a drift away from traditional membership institutions,McGrath, Christianity: An Introduction, p. xvi. while others link it to signs of a decline in belief in the importance of religion in general.Peter Marber, Money Changes Everything: How Global Prosperity Is Reshaping Our Needs, Values and Lifestyles, p. 99. Europe's Christian population, though in decline, still constitutes the largest geographical component of the religion.Philip Jenkins God's Continent, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 56 According to data from the 2012 European Social Survey, around a third of European Christians say they attend services once a month or more,WEB,weblink The future of the world's most popular religion is African, 25 December 2015, The Economist, 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, in one form or another, is the sole state religion of the following nations: Argentina (Catholic),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Argentina, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, Tuvalu (Reformed), Tonga (Methodist), Norway (Lutheran),Løsere bÃ¥nd, men fortsatt statskirke {{Webarchive|url=|date=8 January 2014}}, ABC NyheterStaten skal ikke lenger ansette biskoper, NRKWEB,weblink Ingen avskaffelse: / Slik blir den nye statskirkeordningen, Human-Etisk, Forbund, Costa Rica (Catholic),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Costa Rica, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, the Kingdom of Denmark (Lutheran),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Denmark, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, England (Anglican),WEB,weblink Church and State in Britain: The Church of privilege, Centre for Citizenship, 11 May 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 May 2008, dmy, Georgia (Georgian Orthodox),WEB,weblink McCain Praises Georgia For Adopting Christianity As Official State Religion, BeliefNet, 11 April 2009, Greece (Greek Orthodox),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink El Salvador, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, Iceland (Lutheran),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Iceland, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, Liechtenstein (Catholic),WEB,weblink Liechtenstein, U.S. Department of State, 11 May 2008, Malta (Catholic),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Malta, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, Monaco (Catholic),ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Monaco, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, and Vatican City (Catholic).ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Vatican, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 May 2008, 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.WEB,weblink Cyprus, U.S. Department of State, 11 May 2008, {| class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:center" style="margin: 1em auto;"Pew Research Center, 2010 data)HTTP://WWW.PEWFORUM.ORG/2011/12/19/GLOBAL-CHRISTIANITY-EXEC/, Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population, 19 December 2011, ! cyrus="col" | Tradition! scope="col" | Followers! scope="col" | % of the Christian population! scope="col" | % of the world population! scope="col" | Follower dynamics! scope="col" | Dynamics in- and outside Christianity
style="background: yellow"| Catholic Church| 1,094,610,000| 50.1| 15.9| {{increase}} Growing| {{increase}} Growing
style="background: #B57EDC"| Protestantism| 800,640,000| 36.7| 11.6| {{increase}} Growing| {{increase}} Growing
style="background: #9F8170"| Orthodoxy| 260,380,000| 11.9| 3.8| {{decrease}} Declining| {{decrease}} Declining
style="background: cyan"| Other Christianity| 28,430,000| 1.3| 0.4| {{increase}} Growing| {{increase}} Growing
! Christianity! 2,184,060,000! 100! 31.7! {{increase}} Growing! {{nochange}} Stable
{| class= "wikitable sortable" "text-align:center" style="margin: 1em auto;"Pew Research Center, 18 December 2012, ! cyrus="col" | ! cyrus="col" | Christian median age in region (years)! scope="col" | Regional median age (years)
style=| World| 30| --
style=| Sub-Saharan Africa| 19| 18
style=| Latin America-Caribbean| 27| 27
style=| Asia-Pacific| 28| 29
style=| Middle East-North Africa| 29| 24
style=| North America| 39| 37
style=| Europe| 42| 40
(File:Christianity percent population in each nation World Map Christian data by Pew Research.svg|upright=4.55|thumb|center|The global distribution of Christians: Countries colored a darker shade have a higher proportion of Christians.WEB, Analysis,weblink Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Percentages,, 19 December 2011, 17 August 2012, )File:Christian world map.png|Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple while countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pinkFile:Map of state religions.svg|Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blueFile:Map of state religions (detailed).svg|Nations with Christianity as their state religion (detailed map; see legend for more)File:Catholic population.svg|Distribution of CatholicsFile:Countries by percentage of Protestants (2010).svg|Distribution of ProtestantsFile:Eastern Orthodoxy by country.png|Distribution of Eastern OrthodoxFile:Oriental Orthodoxy by country.png|Distribution of Oriental OrthodoxFile:Other Christians by country.png|Other Christians by number: black – more than 10 million; red – more than 1 million


{{Further|List of Christian denominations|List of Christian denominations by number of members}}{{Christian denomination tree}}The four primary divisions of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.{{rp|14}}WEB,weblink Divisions of Christianity, North Virginia College, 31 December 2007, 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. However, there are other presentWEB,weblink The LDS Restorationist movement, including Mormon denominations, Religious Tolerance, 31 December 2007, and historicalBOOK, Bart D., Ehrman, Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Oxford University Press, US, 2003, 978-0-19-514183-2, 1,weblink Christian groups that do not fit neatly into one of these primary categories.There is a diversity of doctrines and liturgical practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups may vary ecclesiologically in their views on a classification of Christian denominations.Sydney E. Ahlstrom, characterized denominationalism in America as "a virtual ecclesiology" that "first of all repudiates the insistences of the Catholic Church, the churches of the 'magisterial' Reformation, and of most sects that they alone are the true Church." (BOOK, Ahlstrom, Sydney E., Hall, David D., 2004,weblink A Religious History of the American People, Revised, Yale University Press, 978-0-300-10012-9, 381, );
  • BOOK, Nash, Donald A.,weblink Why the Churches of Christ are Not a Denomination, 17 June 2014, 1–3,weblink 28 January 2010, dead, dmy-all, ;
  • Wendell Winkler, Christ's Church is not a Denomination;
  • WEB,weblink Jesus Is Lord Free Online Bible Study Course Lesson 8, II. How Did Modern Denominations Begin?, David E. Pratte, 1999,, 17 June 2014, 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.WEB, Nicene Creed, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007,weblink 31 December 2007,
By reason of Protestant ecclesiology, ever since its emergence in the 16th century, Protestantism comprises the widest diversity of groupings and practices. In addition to the Lutheran and Reformed (or Calvinist) branches of the Reformation, Anglicanism appeared after the English Reformation. The Anabaptist tradition was largely ostracized by the other Protestant parties at the time, but has achieved a measure of affirmation in contemporary history. Adventist, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and other Protestant confessions arose in the following centuries.

Catholic Church

File:Franciscus in 2015.jpg|thumb|Pope FrancisPope FrancisThe 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.Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium {{webarchive |url= |date=6 September 2014 }}.Duffy, Saints and Sinners, p. 1. Like Eastern Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, through apostolic succession, traces its origins to the Christian community founded by Jesus Christ.Hitchcock, Geography of Religion, p. 281.Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History, pp. 11, 14. 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 communitiesSecond Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium {{webarchive |url= |date=6 September 2014 }}, chapter 2, paragraph 15.Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 865. {{webarchive |url= |date=12 August 2015 }} and works towards reconciliation among all Christians. The Catholic faith is detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.Marthaler, Introducing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Traditional Themes and Contemporary Issues (1994), preface.WEB, John Paul II, Pope, Laetamur Magnopere, Vatican, 1997,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2008, 9 March 2008, The 2,834 seesAnnuario Pontificio (2012), p. 1142. 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.Barry, One Faith, One Lord (2001), p. 71 With more than 1.1 billion baptized members, the Catholic Church is the largest Christian church and represents over half of all Christians as well as one sixth of the world's population.Central Intelligence Agency, CIA World Factbook (2007), Religions by, "Number of Catholics and Priests Rises {{webarchive |url= |date=25 February 2008 }}", 12 February 2007.

Eastern Orthodox Church

File:Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg|thumb|right|The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow is the tallest Eastern Orthodox Christian church in the world]]The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of those churches in communion with the patriarchal sees of the East, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.Cross/Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 1199. 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.A number of conflicts with Western Christianity over questions of doctrine and authority culminated in the Great Schism. Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents.WEB, Fairchild, Mary, Christianity:Basics:Eastern Orthodox Church Denomination,,weblink 22 May 2014, none,

Oriental Orthodoxy

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.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.WEB,weblink Oriental Orthodox Churches,, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 April 2010, These six churches, while being in communion with each other, are completely independent hierarchically.WEB,weblink An Introduction to the Oriental Orthodox Churches,, 15 March 2005, 19 November 2010, These churches are generally not in communion with Eastern Orthodox Church, with whom they are in dialogue for erecting a communion.WEB, OONS,weblink Syrian Orthodox Resources – Middle Eastern Oriental Orthodox Common Declaration,, 19 November 2010,

Assyrian Church of the East

File:Church of Saint John the Arab.jpg|thumb|A 6th-century Nestorian church, St. John the Arab, in the Assyrian village of Geramon in HakkariHakkariThe 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. It is an Eastern Christian church that follows the traditional christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East. 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.BOOK, harv, Baumer, Christoph, The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, 2006, London-New York, Tauris,weblink Its main spoken language is Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians. 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. 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).BOOK, harv, Hunter, Erica C.D., The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Leustean, Lucian N., Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, 2014, London & New York, Routledge, 601–620,weblink 9781317818663, The Ancient Church of the East distinguished itself from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964. 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.WEB,weblink CNEWA: Ronald G. Roberson, C.S.P. – The Assyrian Church of the East, 15 August 2018,weblink 29 October 2012, dead, dmy-all,


{{Protestantism}}In 1521, the Edict of Worms condemned Martin Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas.Fahlbusch, Erwin, and Bromiley, Geoffrey William, The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 3. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2003. p. 362. This split within the Roman Catholic church is now called the Reformation. Prominent Reformers included Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. The 1529 Protestation at Speyer against being excommunicated gave this party the name Protestantism. Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are far broader denominationally, and are referred to as the Reformed tradition.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. pp. 251–259.The Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and organized in the Anglican Communion. Some, but not all Anglicans consider themselves both Protestant and Catholic.Sykes/Booty/Knight. The Study of Anglicanism, p. 219. Some Anglicans consider their church a branch of the "One Holy Catholic Church" alongside of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, a concept rejected by the Catholic Church, some Eastern Orthodox, and many evangelical Anglicans themselves, for more on this, see Gregory Hallam, Orthodoxy and Ecumenism.Gregory Mathewes-Green, "Whither the Branch Theory?", Anglican Orthodox Pilgrim Vol. 2, No. 4. {{webarchive |url= |date=19 May 2012 }}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". 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. They are further distinguished by their rejection of infant baptism; they believe in baptism only of adult believers—credobaptism (Anabaptists include the Amish, Apostolic, Bruderhof, Mennonites, Hutterites and Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptist groups.)BOOK, Benedetto, Robert, Duke, James O., The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History, 2008, Westminster John Knox Press, 9780664224165, 22, BOOK, Littell, Franklin H., The Anabaptist View of the Church, 2000, The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., English, 978-1579788360, 79, In reviewing the records, the reader is struck with the Anabaptists' acute consciousness of separation from the "fallen" church—in which they included the Reformers as well as the Roman institution. Some writers have therefore concluded that Anabaptism is not merely a variant form of Protestantism, but rather an ideology and practice quite different in kind from those of both Rome and the Reformers., WEB,weblink Who We Are: A Quick Visual Guide, 2018, Mennonite Church US, English, 26 April 2018, Anabaptists: We are neither Catholic nor Protestant, but we share ties to those streams of Christianity. We cooperate as a sign of our unity in Christ and in ways that extend the reign of God's Kingdom on earth. We are known as "Anabaptists" (not anti-Baptist)—meaning "rebaptizers.", The term Protestant also refers to any churches which formed later, with either the Magisterial or Radical traditions. In the 18th century, for example, Methodism grew out of Anglican minister John Wesley's evangelical and revival movement.WEB,weblink About The Methodist Church, Methodist Central Hall Westminster, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 21 January 2007, Several Pentecostal and non-denominational churches, which emphasize the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, in turn grew out of Methodism.WEB,weblink Christianity: Pentecostal Churches, GodPreach, Inc., 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2015, dmy-all, Because Methodists, Pentecostals and other evangelicals stress "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior",WEB,weblink Statement of Belief, Cambridge Christ United Methodist Church, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2007, dmy, which comes from Wesley's emphasis of the New Birth,WEB,weblink The New Birth by John Wesley (Sermon 45), The United Methodist Church GBGM, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 September 2007, dmy, they often refer to themselves as being born-again.WEB,weblink God's Preparing, Accepting, and Sustaining Grace, The United Methodist Church GBGM, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 January 2008, dmy, WEB,weblink Total Experience of the Spirit, Warren Wilson College, 31 December 2007, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2006, dmy, Estimates of the total number of Protestants are very uncertain, but it seems clear that Protestantism is the second largest major group of Christians after Catholicism in number of followers, although the Eastern Orthodox Church is larger than any single Protestant denomination. Often that number is put at more than 800 million, corresponding to nearly 40% of world's Christians.WEB,weblink Pewforum: Christianity (2010), PDF, 14 May 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2013, dead, dmy-all, The majority of Protestants are members of just a handful of denominational families, i.e. Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Reformed (Calvinists),This branch was first called Calvinism by Lutherans who opposed it, and many within the tradition would prefer to use the word Reformed. It includes Presbyterians and Congregationalists. Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, evangelical, charismatic, neo-charismatic, independent, and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity.World Council of Churches: Evangelical churches: "Evangelical churches have grown exponentially in the second half of the 20th century and continue to show great vitality, especially in the global South. This resurgence may in part be explained by the phenomenal growth of Pentecostalism and the emergence of the charismatic movement, which are closely associated with evangelicalism. However, there can be no doubt that the evangelical tradition "per se" has become one of the major components of world Christianity. Evangelicals also constitute sizable minorities in the traditional Protestant and Anglican churches. In regions like Africa and Latin America, the boundaries between "evangelical" and "mainline" are rapidly changing and giving way to new ecclesial realities."Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves simply as "Christians" or "born-again Christians". They typically distance themselves from the confessionalism and creedalism of other Christian communitiesConfessionalism is a term employed by historians to refer to "the creation of fixed identities and systems of beliefs for separate churches which had previously been more fluid in their self-understanding, and which had not begun by seeking separate identities for themselves—they had wanted to be truly Catholic and reformed." (MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History, p. xxiv.) by calling themselves "non-denominational" or "evangelical". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.WEB,weblink Classification of Protestant Denominations, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life / U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 27 September 2009, (File:Protestant branches.svg|thumb|upright=2.95|left|Historical chart of the main Protestant branches)(File:Interdenominational movements & other Protestant developments.svg|thumb|upright=2.95|right|Links between interdenominational movements and other developments within Protestantism){{clear}}


File:Priesthood03080u.jpg|upright=0.8|thumb|right|A 19th-century drawing of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist. Latter Day Saints believe that the Priesthood ceased to exist after the death of the Apostles and therefore needed to be restored.]]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. They generally saw themselves as restoring the original church of Jesus Christ rather than reforming one of the existing churches.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 91ff. 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.WEB,weblink The Restorationist Movements, Religious Tolerance, 31 December 2007, In Asia, Iglesia ni Cristo is a known restorationist religion that was established during the early 1900s.Some of the churches originating during this period are historically connected to early 19th-century camp meetings in the Midwest and upstate New York. One of the largest churches produced from the movement is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.NEWS,weblink LDS Statistics and Church Facts {{!, Total Church Membership||access-date=2018-04-27|language=en}} 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. Others, including the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Christian Church in Canada,Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (2004)Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions (2009) 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. Other groups originating in this time period include the Christadelphians and the previously mentioned Latter Day Saints movement. While the churches originating in the Second Great Awakening have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly.


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.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.BOOK, Fahlbusch, Erwin, The Encyclodedia of Christianity, 2008, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, English, 978-0802824172, 208, BOOK, Fleming, John A., Rowan, Michael J., Chambers, James Albert, Folk Furniture of Canada's Doukhobors, Hutterites, Mennonites and Ukrainians, 2004, University of Alberta, English, 978-0888644183, 4, The English Quakers, who had made contact with the Doukhobors earlier, as well as the Philadelphia Society of Friends, also determined to help with their emigration from Russia to some other country—the only action which seemed possible.,weblink Messianic Judaism (or the Messianic Movement) is the name of a Christian movement comprising a number of streams, whose members may consider themselves Jewish. The movement originated in the 1960s and 1970s, and it blends elements of religious Jewish practice with evangelical Christianity. 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.BOOK, Ariel, Yaakov, Gallagher, Eugene V., Ashcraft, W. Michael, Jewish and Christian Traditions, September 9, 2015, Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, 2, 2006, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CN, 978-0-275-98714-5, 315689134, 208, Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism,weblink For example, Messianic Jews, without exception, believe that the way to eternal life is through the acceptance of Jesus as one's personal savior and that no obedience to the Jewish law or "works" is necessary in order to obtain that goal....Remarkably, it has been exactly this adherence to the basic Christian evangelical faith that has allowed Messianic Jews to adopt and promote Jewish rites and customs. They are Christians in good standing and can retain whatever cultural attributes and rites they choose., 2006022954, Esoteric Christians regard Christianity as a mystery religion,Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion: Selected Papers Presented at the 17th CongressBOOK, Besant, Annie, Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries, Adamant Media Corporation, City, 2001, 978-1-4021-0029-1, and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices,From the Greek ἐσωτερικός (esôterikos, "inner"). The term esotericism itself was coined in the 17th century. (Oxford English Dictionary Compact Edition, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 894.)Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, Jean-Pierre Brach, Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, Brill 2005. hidden from the public but accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.WEB,weblink Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: esotericism,, 13 August 2010, 19 November 2010, WEB,weblink Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: esoteric,, 19 November 2010, Some of the esoteric Christian institutions include the Rosicrucian Fellowship, the Anthroposophical Society, and Martinism.

Influence on western culture

{{Further|Protestant culture|Cultural Christian|Christian influences in Islam}}(File:Collage-Christian-culture.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|Set of pictures showcasing Christian culture and famous Christian leaders)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 cultural Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom". Many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.BOOK, Dawson, Christopher, Crisis in Western Education, 1961, 978-0813216836, reprint, Glenn Olsen, 108, 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.BOOK, Koch, Carl, The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission, 1994, St. Mary's Press, Early Middle Ages, 978-0-88489-298-4,weblink Until the Age of Enlightenment,BOOK, Koch, Carl, The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission, 1994, St. Mary's Press, The Age of Enlightenment, 978-0-88489-298-4,weblink Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science.BOOK, Dawson, Christopher, Crisis in Western Education, 1961, 978-0-8132-1683-6, reprint, Glenn, Olsen, Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature, etc.Christianity has had a significant impact on education, as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,Encyclopædia Britannica Forms of Christian 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. Historically, Christianity has often been a patron of science and medicine. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities, and hospitals, and many Catholic clergy;{{citation|title=Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man|url=|first=Susan Elizabeth|last=Hough|authorlink=Susan Hough|year=2007|publisher=Princeton University Press|isbn=978-0-691-12807-8|page=68}} Jesuits in particular,{{Sfn|Woods|2005|p=109}}Encyclopædia Britannica Jesuit have been active in the sciences throughout history and have made significant contributions to the development of science.Wallace, William A. (1984). Prelude, Galileo and his Sources. The Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo's Science. NJ: Princeton University Press. Protestantism also has had an important influence on science. 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.Sztompka, 2003 The civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare,Encyclopædia Britannica Church and social welfare founding hospitals,Encyclopædia Britannica Care for the sick economics (as the Protestant work ethic),Encyclopædia Britannica Property, poverty, and the poor,BOOK, Weber, Max, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1905, politics,Encyclopædia Britannica Church and state architecture,Sir Banister Fletcher, History of Architecture on the Comparative Method. literature,Buringh, Eltjo; van Zanden, Jan Luiten: "Charting the 'Rise of the West': Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries", The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2009), pp. 409–445 (416, table 1) personal hygiene,BOOK, Eveleigh, Bogs, Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation, Stroud, England: Sutton, 2002, BOOK, Henry Gariepy, Christianity in Action: The History of the International Salvation Army,weblink 2009, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 978-0-8028-4841-3, 16, and family life.Encyclopædia Britannica The tendency to spiritualize and individualize marriageEastern 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.Hill, Donald. Islamic Science and Engineering. 1993. Edinburgh Univ. Press. {{ISBN|0-7486-0455-3}}, p. 4BOOK, The Legend of the Middle Ages, Brague, Rémi,weblink 978-0-226-07080-3, 164, 2009, BOOK, Kitty Ferguson, Pythagoras: His Lives and the Legacy of a Rational Universe,weblink 2011, Icon Books Limited, 978-1-84831-250-0, 100, It was in the Near and Middle East and North Africa that the old traditions of teaching and learning continued, and where Christian scholars were carefully preserving ancient texts and knowledge of the ancient Greek language, They also excelled in philosophy, science, theology, and medicine.BOOK, Kaser, Karl, The Balkans and the Near East: Introduction to a Shared History,weblink 2011, LIT Verlag Münster, 978-3-643-50190-5, 135, Rémi Brague, Assyrians contributions to the Islamic civilizationBritannica, Nestorian Also, many scholars of the House of Wisdom were of Christian background.Hyman and Walsh Philosophy in the Middle Ages Indianapolis, 1973, p. 204' Meri, Josef W. and Jere L. Bacharach, Editors, Medieval Islamic Civilization Vol. 1, A–K, Index, 2006, p. 304.Christians have made a myriad of contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields,WEB,weblink Religion of History's 100 Most Influential People, including philosophy,WEB,weblink Religion of Great Philosophers, science and technology,WEB,weblink Christian Influences In The Sciences,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015, dmy-all, WEB,weblink World's Greatest Creation Scientists from Y1K to Y2K,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 15 January 2016, dmy-all, WEB,weblink 100 Scientists Who Shaped World History, WEB,weblink 50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God, Many well-known historical figures who influenced Western science considered themselves Christian such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Alessandro Volta, Michael Faraday, William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin and James Clerk Maxwell. fine arts and architecture,WEB,weblink Religious Affiliation of the World's Greatest Artists, politics, literatures, music,Hall, p. 100. and business.WEB,weblink Wealthy 100 and the 100 Most Influential in Business, According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of the Nobel Prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.Baruch A. Shalev, 100 Years of Nobel Prizes (2003), Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, p. 57: between 1901 and 2000 reveals that 654 Laureates belong to 28 different religions. Most (65%) have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. {{ISBN|978-0935047370}}PostchristianityG.C. Oosthuizen. Postchristianity in Africa. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (1968). {{ISBN|0-903983-05-2}} 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. It refers to the loss of Christianity's monopoly on values and world view in historically Christian societies.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 it. Another frequent application of the term is to distinguish political groups in areas of mixed religious backgrounds.


File:Taizé prayer.JPG|thumb|left|Ecumenical worship service at the monastery of TaizéTaizéChristian groups and denominations have long expressed ideals of being reconciled, and in the 20th century, Christian ecumenism advanced in two ways.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 581–584. 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.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. Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches united in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada,McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. pp. 413ff. and in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia. The Church of South India was formed in 1947 by the union of Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian churches.McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 498.The ecumenical, monastic Taizé Community is notable for being composed of more than one hundred brothers from Protestant and Catholic traditions.BOOK, The Oxford companion to Christian thought, 2000, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 978-0-19-860024-4,weblink 694, 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". The community is internationally known, attracting over 100,000 young pilgrims annually.Oxford, "Encyclopedia Of Christianity, p. 307.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;McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 373. the Anglican Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) working towards full communion between those churches since 1970;McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 583. 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. In 2006, the World Methodist Council, representing all Methodist denominations, adopted the declaration.WEB,weblink Methodist Statement, PDF, 19 November 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2010,

Criticism, persecution, and apologetics

File:SummaTheologiae.jpg|upright=0.9|thumb|right|A copy of the Summa Theologica by Thomas AquinasThomas Aquinas


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. {{Bibleref||Matthew|15:1–20|NIV}} and {{Bibleref||Mark|7:1–23|NIV}}).International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1982 {{ISBN|0-8028-3782-4}} p. 175 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.Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A.D. 70 to 135 by James D.G. Dunn 1999 {{ISBN|0-8028-4498-7}} pp. 112–113 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.Asher Norman Twenty-six Reasons why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus Feldheim Publishers 2007 {{ISBN|978-0-977-19370-7}} p. 11Keith Akers The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity. Lantern Books 2000 {{ISBN|978-1-930-05126-3}} p. 103 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.BOOK, Ferguson, Everett, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 1993, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 978-0-8028-0669-7, 562–564, second, BOOK, Thomas, Stephen, 2004, Celsus, The Westminster Handbook to Origen, Louisville, Kentucky, McGuckin, John Anthony, Westminster John Knox Press, 978-0-664-22472-1, 72–73, harv, 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.BOOK, McGuckin, John Anthony, 2004, The Scholarly Works of Origen, The Westminster Handbook to Origen,weblink Louisville, KY, Westminster John Knox Press, 978-0-664-22472-1, 32–34, harv, {{citation|last=Olson|first=Roger E.|date=1999|title=The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform|url=|location=Downers Grove, IL|publisher=InterVarsity Press|isbn=978-0-8308-1505-0|page=101|ref=harv}}By the 3rd century, criticism of Christianity had mounted, partly as a defense against it. 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.BOOK, Ferguson, Everett, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 1993, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 978-0-8028-0669-7, 556–561, second, JOURNAL, Sherwin-White, A.N., Why Were the Early Christians Persecuted? – An Amendment, Past and Present, 27, April 1964, 27, 23–27, 649759, 10.1093/past/27.1.23, The Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry wrote the fifteen-volume Adversus Christianos as a comprehensive attack on Christianity, in part building on the teachings of Plotinus.The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, Volume 1 by George Thomas Kurian and James Smith 2010 {{ISBN|0-8108-6987-X}} p. 527Apologetic Discourse and the Scribal Tradition by Wayne Campbell Kannaday 2005 {{ISBN|90-04-13085-3}} pp. 32–33By 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.A Dictionary Of Jewish-Christian Relations by Edward Kessler, Neil Wenborn 2005 {{ISBN|0-521-82692-6}} p. 168 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.The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche by Bernd Magnus, Kathleen Marie Higgins 1996 {{ISBN|0-521-36767-0}} pp. 90–93 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.Russell on Religion: Selections from the Writings of Bertrand Russell by Bertrand Russell, Stefan Andersson and Louis Greenspan 1999 {{ISBN|0-415-18091-0}} pp. 77–87Criticism 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: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath 2006 {{ISBN|1-4051-0899-1}} pp. 125–126. 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." The Christ Myth Theory and its Problems ", published 2011 by American Atheist press, Cranford, NJ, {{ISBN|1-57884-017-1}}


In 2017, Open Doors estimated approximately 215 million Christians are subjected annually to "high, very high, or extreme persecution"Weber, Jeremy. "'Worst year yet’: the top 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian". Christianity Today. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2019. with North Korea considered the most hazardous nation for Christians.Enos, Olivia. "North Korea is the world's worst persecutor of Christians". Forbes. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2019.In 2019, a reportMounstephen, Philip. "Interim report". Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians. April 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019. 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.Mounstephen, Philip. "Final Report and Recommendations". Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians. July, 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019. This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians.


Christian apologetics aims to present a rational basis for Christianity. The word "apologetic" (Greek: ἀπολογητικός apologētikos) comes from the Greek verb ἀπολογέομαι apologeomai, meaning "(I) speak in defense of".{{LSJ|a)pologhtiko/s|ἀπολογητικός}}, {{LSJ|a)pologe/omai|ἀπολογέομαι|shortref}}. Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries, starting with Paul the Apostle. 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.BOOK, Dulles, Avery Robert Cardinal, A History of Apologetics, 2005, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 978-0-89870-933-9, 120, BOOK, Classical Readings in Christian Apologetics, 1983, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 978-0-310-45641-4, L Russ Bush, 275, Another famous apologist, G. K. Chesterton, wrote in the early twentieth century about the benefits of religion and, specifically, Christianity. Famous for his use of paradox, Chesterton explained that while Christianity had the most mysteries, it was the most practical religion.WEB,weblink Why I Believe in Christianity – Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, JOURNAL, Hauser, Chris (History major, Dartmouth College class of 2014), Fall 2011, Faith and Paradox: G.K. Chesterton's Philosophy of Christian Paradox, (Dartmouth College publications#The Dartmouth Apologia, The Dartmouth Apologia: A Journal of Christian Thought), 6, 1, 16–20,weblink 29 March 2015, He pointed to the advance of Christian civilizations as proof of its practicality.WEB,weblink Christianity, 6 December 2010, 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.BOOK, Howson, Colin, Objecting to God, 2011, Cambridge University Press, 978-1139498562, 92, Nor is the agreement coincidental, according to a substantial constituency of religious apologists, who regard the inflationary Big Bang model as direct evidence for God. John Lennox, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, tells us that 'even if the non-believers don't like it, the Big Bang fits in exactly with the Christian narrative of creation'. ... William Lane Craig is another who claims that the Biblical account is corroborated by Big Bang cosmology. Lane Craig also claims that there is a prior proof that there is a God who created this universe.,

See also

{hide}Wikipedia books
|1=Abrahamic religions
|5=Christianity: A History






  • Albright, William F. From the Stone Age to Christianity.
  • Alexander, T. Desmond. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
  • Bahnsen, Greg. A Reformed Confession Regarding Hermeneutics (article 6).
  • Ball, Bryan; Johnsson, William (ed.). The Essential Jesus. Pacific Press (2002). {{ISBN|0-8163-1929-4}}.
  • Barrett, David; Kurian, Tom and others. (ed.). World Christian Encyclopedia. Oxford University Press (2001).
  • Barry, John F. One Faith, One Lord: A Study of Basic Catholic Belief. William H. Sadlier (2001). {{ISBN|0-8215-2207-8}}
  • Benton, John. Is Christianity True? Darlington, Eng.: Evangelical Press (1988). {{ISBN|0-85234-260-8}}
  • Bettenson, Henry (ed.). Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press (1943).
  • BOOK, Bokenkotter, Thomas, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, Doubleday, 2004, 978-0-385-50584-0, harv,weblink
  • BOOK, Browning, Robert, The Byzantine Empire, Washington, DC, The Catholic University of America Press, 1992, 978-0-8132-0754-4, harv,
  • Bruce, F.F. The Canon of Scripture.
  • BOOK, Cameron, Averil, Averil Cameron, The Byzantines, 2006, Oxford, Blackwell, 978-1-4051-9833-2, harv,
  • Chambers, Mortimer; Crew, Herlihy, Rabb, Woloch. The Western Experience. Volume II: The Early Modern Period. Alfred A. Knopf (1974). {{ISBN|0-394-31734-3}}.
  • Coffey, John. Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558–1689. Pearson Education (2000).
  • Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A. (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press (1997). {{ISBN|0-19-211655-X}}.
  • Deppermann, Klaus. Melchior Hoffman: Social Unrest and Apocalyptic Vision in the Age of Reformation. {{ISBN|0-567-08654-2}}.
  • Dilasser, Maurice. The Symbols of the Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press (1999). {{ISBN|0-8146-2538-X}}
  • Duffy, Eamon. Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes. Yale University Press (1997). {{ISBN|0-300-07332-1}}
  • BOOK, Elwell, Walter, Comfort, Philip Wesley, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publishers, 2001, 0-8423-7089-7, harv,
  • Esler, Philip F. The Early Christian World. Routledge (2004).
  • Farrar, F.W. Mercy and Judgment. A Few Last Words On Christian Eschatology With Reference to Dr. Pusey's, "What Is Of Faith?". Macmillan, London/New York (1904).
  • Ferguson, Sinclair; Wright, David, eds. New Dictionary of Theology. consulting ed. Packer, James. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press (1988). {{ISBN|0-85110-636-6}}
  • Foutz, Scott. weblink" title=""> Martin Luther and Scripture Martin Luther and Scripture.
  • Fowler, Jeaneane D. World Religions: An Introduction for Students, Sussex Academic Press (1997). {{ISBN|1-898723-48-6}}.
  • Fuller, Reginald H. The Foundations of New Testament Christology Scribners (1965). {{ISBN|0-684-15532-X}}.
  • Froehle, Bryan; Gautier, Mary, Global Catholicism, Portrait of a World Church, Orbis books; Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University (2003) {{ISBN|1-57075-375-X}}
  • Funk, Robert. The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?. Polebridge Press (1998). {{ISBN|0-06-062978-9}}.
  • Glenny, W. Edward. Typology: A Summary Of The Present Evangelical Discussion.
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation, Harper Collins Publishers, New York (1984).
  • Hanegraaff, Hank. Resurrection: The Capstone in the Arch of Christianity. Thomas Nelson (2000). {{ISBN|0-8499-1643-7}}.
  • Harnack, Adolf von. History of Dogma (1894).
  • Hickman, Hoyt L. and others. Handbook of the Christian Year. Abingdon Press (1986). {{ISBN|0-687-16575-X}}
  • Hinnells, John R. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (2005).
  • Hitchcock, Susan Tyler. Geography of Religion. National Geographic Society (2004) {{ISBN|0-7922-7313-3}}
  • Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines.
  • Kelly, J.N.D. The Athanasian Creed. Harper & Row, New York (1964).
  • Kirsch, Jonathan. God Against the Gods.
  • Kreeft, Peter. Catholic Christianity. Ignatius Press (2001) {{ISBN|0-89870-798-6}}
  • Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity in Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. P & R Publishing (2005). {{ISBN|0-87552-000-6}}.
  • Lorenzen, Thorwald. Resurrection, Discipleship, Justice: Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today. Smyth & Helwys (2003). {{ISBN|1-57312-399-4}}.
  • McLaughlin, R. Emmet, Caspar Schwenckfeld, reluctant radical: his life to 1540, New Haven: Yale University Press (1986). {{ISBN|0-300-03367-2}}.
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid, The Reformation: A History. Viking Adult (2004).
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid, (A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years). London, Allen Lane. 2009. {{ISBN|978-0-7139-9869-6}}
  • Marber, Peter. Money Changes Everything: How Global Prosperity Is Reshaping Our Needs, Values and Lifestyles. FT Press (2003). {{ISBN|0-13-065480-9}}
  • Marthaler, Berard. Introducing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Traditional Themes and Contemporary Issues. Paulist Press (1994). {{ISBN|0-8091-3495-0}}
  • Mathison, Keith. The Shape of Sola Scriptura (2001).
  • McClintock, John, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper &Brothers, original from Harvard University (1889)
  • McGrath, Alister E. Christianity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing (2006). {{ISBN|1-4051-0899-1}}.
  • McGrath, Alister E. Historical Theology.
  • McManners, John. Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Oxford University Press (1990). {{ISBN|0-19-822928-3}}.
  • Meconi, David Vincent. "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity", in: Journal of Early Christian Studies.
  • Metzger, Bruce M., Michael Coogan (ed.). Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press (1993). {{ISBN|0-19-504645-5}}.
  • Mullin, Robert Bruce. A short world history of Christianity. Westminster John Knox Press (2008).
  • Norman, Edward. The Roman Catholic Church, An Illustrated History. University of California (2007) {{ISBN|978-0-520-25251-6}}
  • Olson, Roger E., The Mosaic of Christian Belief. InterVarsity Press (2002). {{ISBN|978-0-8308-2695-7}}.
  • Orlandis, Jose, A Short History of the Catholic Church. Scepter Publishers (1993) {{ISBN|1-85182-125-2}}
  • Ott, Ludwig. Grundriß der Dogmatik. Herder, Freiburg (1965).
  • Otten, Herman J. Baal or God? Liberalism or Christianity, Fantasy vs. Truth: Beliefs and Practices of the Churches of the World Today.... Second ed. New Haven, Mo.: Lutheran News, 1988.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav; Hotchkiss, Valerie (ed.) Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. Yale University Press (2003). {{ISBN|0-300-09389-6}}.
  • Putnam, Robert D. Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society. Oxford University Press (2002).
  • BOOK, Ricciotti, Giuseppe, 1999, Julian the Apostate: Roman Emperor (361-363),weblink TAN Books, 978-1505104547, Giuseppe Ricciotti, harv,
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Oxford History of the Crusades. New York: Oxford University Press, (1999).
  • BOOK, Robinson, George, Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals, New York, Pocket Books, 2000, 978-0-671-03481-8, harv,
  • Schama, Simon . A History of Britain. Hyperion (2000). {{ISBN|0-7868-6675-6}}.
  • Servetus, Michael. Restoration of Christianity. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press (2007).
  • Simon, Edith. Great Ages of Man: The Reformation. Time-Life Books (1966). {{ISBN|0-662-27820-8}}.
  • Smith, J.Z. (1998).
  • Spitz, Lewis. The Protestant Reformation. Concordia Publishing House (2003). {{ISBN|0-570-03320-9}}.
  • Sproul, R.C. Knowing Scripture.
  • Spurgeon, Charles. weblink" title="">A Defense of Calvinism.
  • Sykes, Stephen; Booty, John; Knight, Jonathan. The Study of Anglicanism. Augsburg Fortress Publishers (1998). {{ISBN|0-8006-3151-X}}.
  • Talbott, Thomas. ''weblink" title="">Three Pictures of God in Western Theology" (1995).
  • Ustorf, Werner. "A missiological postscript", in: McLeod, Hugh; Ustorf, Werner (ed.). The Decline of Christendom in Western Europe, 1750–2000. Cambridge University Press (2003).
  • Walsh, Chad. Campus Gods on Trial. Rev. and enl. ed. New York: Macmillan Co., 1962, t.p. 1964. xiv, [4], 154 p.
  • Woodhead, Linda. An Introduction to Christianity.
  • BOOK, Woods, Thomas E., Thomas Woods, 2005, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Washington, DC, Regnery, harv,

Further reading

  • BOOK, Gill, Robin, Robin Gill (priest), The Cambridge companion to Christian ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2001, 978-0-521-77918-0,
  • BOOK, Gunton, Colin E., The Cambridge companion to Christian doctrine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1997, 978-0-521-47695-9,
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (Viking; 2010) 1,161 pp.; survey by leading historian
  • BOOK, MacMullen, Ramsay, Voting About God in Early Church Councils, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2006, 978-0-300-11596-3,
  • BOOK, Padgett, Alan G., Sally Bruyneel, Introducing Christianity, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y., 2003, 978-1-57075-395-4,
  • BOOK, Price, Matthew Arlen, Collins, Michael, The story of Christianity, Dorling Kindersley, New York, 1999, 978-0-7513-0467-1,
  • BOOK, Pope Benedict XVI, Ratzinger, Joseph, Introduction To Christianity (Communio Books), Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2004, 978-1-58617-029-5,
  • Roper, J.C., Bp. (1923), et al.. Faith in God, in series, Layman's Library of Practical Religion, Church of England in Canada, vol. 2. Toronto, Ont.: Musson Book Co. N.B.: The series statement is given in the more extended form which appears on the book's front cover.
  • BOOK, Rüegg, Walter, "Foreword. The University as a European Institution," in: A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1, Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 1992, 0-521-36105-2,
  • BOOK, Tucker, Karen, Wainwright, Geoffrey, The Oxford history of Christian worship, Oxford University Press, Oxford [Oxfordshire], 2006, 978-0-19-513886-3,
  • BOOK, Verger, Jacques, Culture, enseignement et société en Occident aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, 1st, 1999, Presses universitaires de Rennes in Rennes, 978-2868473448,weblink
  • BOOK, Wagner, Richard, Christianity for Dummies, For Dummies, 2004, 978-0-7645-4482-8,
  • BOOK, Webb, Jeffrey B., The Complete Idiot's Guide to Christianity, Alpha Books, Indianapolis, Ind, 2004, 978-1-59257-176-5,
  • Wills, Garry, "A Wild and Indecent Book" (review of David Bentley Hart, The New Testament: A Translation, Yale University Press, 577 pp.), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXV, no. 2 (8 February 2018), pp. 34–35. Discusses some pitfalls in interpreting and translating the New Testament.
  • BOOK, Woodhead, Linda, Christianity: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford [Oxfordshire], 2004, 978-0-19-280322-1,

External links

{{Sister project links |b=Subject:Christianity |s=Portal:Christianity |d=Q5043 |species=no |n=Portal:Christianity|m=no|mw=no|voy=Christianity}} {{Jesus footer}}{{Patriarchates in Christianity}}{{History of Christianity}}{{Christianity footer|uncollapsed}}{{Religion topics}}{{Western culture}}{{Authority control}}

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Eastern Philosophy
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M.R.M. Parrott