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Christianity

Introduction Christianity is the name given to a religion based on the first century CE life and ministry of Jesus The followers of Jesus claimed that he was the Jewish Messiah, long awaited deliverer sent to the people of Israel by God to bring hope and salvation During 1st Century the followers of Jesus broke away from Judaism, and Christianity spread through the Roman Empire Early Christianity centred on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Source of information= Gospels and the work of early missionaries Christianitys Jewish heritage was fundamental to the major text- Bible Christianity is profoundly influenced by various events 381CE Christianity was confirmed as the central religion of the Roman empire By the 11th Century, Christianity had split, Church of the West (Roman Church), Church of the West (Orthodox) 16th Century Reformation in Europe + England

The Jewish Context Christianity began in Judea where Jerusalem was the main religious + economic centre Jewish people centred around the story of Exodus, held them together + gave them meaning Their beliefs had survived the oppression and domination of Egyptians, etc The Greeks were determined to destroy Judaism as a religious tradition The oppression of the Greek rule gave rise to expectations of the future of the intervention of God- evil was so present, expected a new Moses to return When the Roman Empire gained almost complete control over Judea (64BCE), religious and political tension rose The Jews worried their God had abandoned them Jews needed a central authority It was then Jesus came-his followers recognised him as the Messiah

Jesus Christ All four gospels tell of Jesuss life, however only Mathew and Luke tell of Jesus birth Jesus- born in Bethlehem (6BCE), Angel visiting Mary and telling her son would be reign of God Jesus sought to renew Judaism, however became the founder of Christianity Lived in Nazareth 30 years, Carpenter, Baptised by John the Baptist, unmarried + celibate

Wandering preacher and healer in villages among ordinary people (Galilee), Had disciples including women, Jesus Taught in parables concerning the reign of God Jesus teaching brought himself to conflict with Jewish authorities. Went to Jerusalem arrested, brought before Pontius Pilate, sentenced to death by crucifixion for being a threat to the Romans, Tomb found empty

Public Ministry After Jesus Baptism, the gospels tell us that Jesus began his ministry in Galilee Initial message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come. Jesus, however shifted his message more to the joy of salvation for those who heard Gods message 12 particular disciples, honoured women disciples as well Kingdom of God understood by Jesus, said all were welcome to the kingdom United in battle to overthrow oppressors Favourite teachings were parables: turning everything upside down, rich ate with the poor, everyone welcome to the kingdom, including lepers, blind Jesus also worked miracles: healing the sick, casting out demons. Jesus came into to conflict with Roman authorities In holy week (last week of his life), entered into arguments with Pharisees and Sadducees about paying taxes and life after death Passover with disciples Jesus was arrested and brought to trial before Pontius Pilate. Crucified on Good Friday, Body not found in tomb, Risen from the dead

The Model of Christianity The focus of Christianity is Jesus message that all are welcome into the Kingdom of God, that he was sent by God to preach the word of God Jesus left in his teaching the ethical behaviour of Christians, e.g. Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) Showed compassion to the poor, healed the sick and taught the love of God Philosopher/teacher of values, teacher of wisdom who calls Christians to a radically personal relationship with God. Calls upon forgiveness, transformation and counter-cultural lifestyle The portraits of Jesus in the Gospels provide the framework for the beliefs, rituals and behaviour for Christians Journey of transformation into the same image as Christ

The development of early Christian communities Gospels and Acts of the Apostles recount that Jesus chose 12 disciples There were two early Christian leadersPeter (original leader of the disciples), first Bishop of the Roman Church, James next Christian leader Saul was also a major Christian leader, starting off as a persecutor to converting and becoming a Christian, taking the name Paul The early development of Christianity can by identified in four major stages: 1. Jesus death and resurrection (Pentecost)

2. The Church learns its first lesson about expansionGospel message is tied to Jerusalem 3. Church learns next lessonyou need not to be a Jew to be Jesus disciple 4. The Church expands through Pauls missionary journeys Jesus intentionPreach the Gospels, Christian communities founded very quickly in Ephesus and Antioch The word Church refers to both local community and whole communion Women were frequently referred to as disciples, e.g. Ruth, Mary Magdalene Christianity was official religion of the Roman Empire

Major variants of Christianity History of Christianity is known for its divisions for political and social reasons Division between East and West Reformation- Europe, Britain developed Anglicanism and major Protestant denominations The division between the East and West lead to development of Rome and Constantinople The east became the Orthodox Church, The west became the Roman Catholic Church Great Schism 1054- West looked for guidance from the Bishop of Rome, whilst East looked towards the Patriarch of Constantinople 16th Century- Reformation, occurred in the Western Catholic Church The movement began in order to purify the life and teachings of the Catholic Church, led to establishment of Christian Churches All of these variants follow specific beliefs however they have other different beliefs Denomination Beliefs/ history Anglicanism Emerged from the Catholic Church during the reign of Henry 8th in belief of the head of the Church in England Doctrinal basis of the 39 Articles of Religion Heavily influenced by the Theology of Martin Luther, John Calvin Salvation grounded in faith alone The role of sacraments in salvation Independence from Papal control Anglican communion is a fellowship within one Married Clergy 2 strands- High and Low Church Catholicism Consists of Eastern and Western Traditions, consists of Melkites, Coptics Includes 8 distinctive Catholic rites Recognise the pope as their head of Church Eucharist as their centre act of worship, recognise 7 sacraments Strong Emphasis on Mary as mother of the Church + Communion of saints Strong belief on existence on heaven, hell and purgatory Salvation by faith and good works

Orthodoxy Principal Beliefs

Pentecostalism

Protestantism

Strong monastic traditions from which active religious orders have developed Priests must be male and not married Currently 15 self governing churches within the Orthodox communion, includes 4 patriarchates: Constantinople + Alexandria Authority of the pope not accepted Use of Icons + Incense, singing and long services Sacramental view of existence Part of the Church is hidden by a curtain/barrier Monasticism is an important element of the Churches Married male priests Began in USA during the early 20th Century Sought to restore the gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts bestowed on the Church during Pentecost Corporate element of Worship, group response of the congregation Speaking in tongues, Baptism in the Holy Spirt Examples in Australia: Apostolic, Assemblies of God churches System of Christian faith based on the acceptance of the principles of the Reformation Major reformers: Martin Luther and John Calvin Branches of Lutheranism, Calvinism + Presbyterian Do not acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope and do not include the sacramental aspects of Catholic Christianity The Bible is the only source of revealed truth Salvation is through faith alone Baptism + Eucharist are the central sacraments Priesthood of all believers Transcendence of God Emphasis on preaching and hearing the word of God

Christianity has organised its beliefs into a systematic theology that draws from its scared writings and traditions There are degrees of difference to which these beliefs are interpreted

The Divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ Jesus was both truly divine and truly human Jesus was created by God Jesus was born human- knew sadness, suffering, uncertainty and Joy Council of Nicea developed the doctrine of the Trinity

The death and resurrection of Jesus The gospels tell of Jesus being trialled before Pontius Pilot and put to death by crucifixion among other criminals.

The Gospel affirms that Jesus rose from the and was seen by many of his followers Jesus was ascended to heaven after his resurrection From the beginning Christians believed in the resurrection of the bodythat each believer will one day be completely human but transformed- body and soul for all eternity, and share in the glorious life of Jesus Christ. This belief is based on the event that is the heart and foundation of all Christian beliefs.

The nature of God and the Trinity Christians believe that God is One and the Creator of all things God has three distinct persons: Father/Creator, Son/Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit When one person in the trinity acts so do the other two. Each person acts in isolation from the others The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (Corinthian 13:14) The Trinity traditionally has been described in relation to three key functions: o Creating (brining Gods new life to all creation) o Sanctifying (blessing and making holy all creation) o Redeeming (turning all creation from sin and darkness and more fully towards God)

Revelation Transmission of knowledge from the divine to the human Revelation of the knowledge given by God to human beings about persons, events and things previously hidden or only partly known Christians believe that revelation is a loving and free invitation to join in friendship with God God calls human beings through the revelation to respond in faith action daily The most famous revelation was to Moses at mount Sinai Revelation continues to happen as God continues to speak throughout human history.