Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply. Groups of local churches are governed by a higher assembly of elders known as the presbytery or classis. Responsibility for conduct of church services is reserved to an ordained minister or pastor known as a teaching elder, or a minister of the word and sacrament. Presbyterian polity was developed as a rejection of governance by hierarchies of single bishops, but differs from the congregationalist polity in which each congregation is independent. In contrast to the other two forms, authority in the presbyterian polity flows both from the top down and from the bottom up; this theory of governance developed in Geneva under John Calvin and was introduced to Scotland by John Knox after his period of exile in Geneva. It is associated with French, Dutch and Scottish Reformation movements, the Reformed and Presbyterian churches.
Among the early church fathers, it was noted that the offices of elder and bishop were identical, were not differentiated until and that plurality of elders was the norm for church government. St. Jerome "In Epistle Titus", vol. iv, said, "Elder is identical with bishop. After it was... decreed throughout the world that one chosen from among the presbyters should be placed over the others." This observation was made by Chrysostom in "Homilia i, in Phil. I, 1" and Theodoret in "Interpret ad. Phil. Iii", 445. Presbyterianism was first described in detail by Martin Bucer of Strasbourg, who believed that the early Christian church implemented presbyterian polity; the first modern implementation was by the Geneva church under the leadership of John Calvin in 1541. Presbyterian polity is constructed on specific assumptions about the form of the government intended by the Bible: "Bishop" and "elder" are synonymous terms. Episcopos means overseer and describes the function of the elder, rather than the maturity of the officer.
A bishop holds the highest office of the church. Preaching and the administration of the sacraments is ordinarily entrusted to specially trained elders in each local congregation, approved for these tasks by a governing presbytery, or classis, called by the local congregation. In addition to these ministers, there are "others … with gifts for government … call "elders" or "ruling elders". Pastoral care, church discipline and legislation are committed to the care of ruling assemblies of presbyters among whom the ministers and "ruling elders" are equal participants. All Christian people together are the priesthood, on behalf of whom the elders are called to serve by the consent of the congregation. Presbyterianism uses a conciliar method of church government. Thus, the presbyters and "elders" govern together as a group, at all times the office is for the service of the congregation, to pray for them and to encourage them in the faith; the elders together exercise oversight over the local congregation, with superior groups of elders gathered on a regional basis exercising wider oversight.
Presbyterians have viewed this method of government as approximating that of the New Testament and earliest churches. However, sometimes it is admitted that episcopacy was a form of government, used early in the church for practical reasons. Presbyterianism is distinct from congregationalism, in that individual congregations are not independent, but are answerable to the wider church, through its governing bodies. Moreover, the ordained ministry possesses a distinct responsibility for preaching and sacraments. Congregational churches are sometimes called "Presbyterian" if they are governed by a council of elders. Thus, these are ruled by elders only at the level of the congregations, which are united with one another by covenants of trust. There are two types of elder. An excerpt from Miller expands this. In every Church organized, that is, furnished with all the officers which Christ has instituted and which are necessary for carrying into full effect the laws of his kingdom, there ought to be three classes of officers, viz: at least one Teaching Elder, Bishop, or Pastor — a bench of Ruling Elders — and Deacons.
The first to "minister in the Word a
A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by religious institutions, or other groups or organizations; the degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, the type of job held or personal choices. The concept of holidays originated in connection with religious observances; the intention of a holiday was to allow individuals to tend to religious duties associated with important dates on the calendar. In most modern societies, holidays serve as much of a recreational function as any other weekend days or activities. In many societies there are important distinctions between holidays designated by governments and holidays designated by religious institutions. For example, in many predominantly Christian nations, government-designed holidays may center on Christian holidays, though non-Christians may instead observe religious holidays associated with their faith.
In some cases, a holiday may only be nominally observed. For example, many Jews in the Americas and Europe treat the minor Jewish holiday of Hanukkah as a "working holiday", changing little of their daily routines for this day; the word holiday has differing connotations in different regions. In the United States the word is used to refer to the nationally, religiously or culturally observed day of rest or celebration, or the events themselves, whereas in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations, the word may refer to the period of time where leave from one’s duties has been agreed, is used as a synonym to the US preferred vacation; this time is set aside for rest, travel or the participation in recreational activities, with entire industries targeted to coincide or enhance these experiences. The days of leave may not coincide with any specific laws. Employers and educational institutes may designate ‘holidays’ themselves which may or may not overlap nationally or culturally relevant dates, which again comes under this connotation, but it is the first implication detailed that this article is concerned with.
The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg. The word referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school. Winter in the Northern Hemisphere features many holidays that involve feasts; the Christmas and holiday season surrounds the Christmas and other holidays, is celebrated by many religions and cultures. This period begins near the start of November and ends with New Year's Day. Holiday season in the US corresponds to the period that begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year's Eve; some Christian countries consider the end of the festive season to be after the feast of Epiphany. Sovereign nations and territories observe holidays based on events of significance to their history. For example, Americans celebrate Independence Day, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Other secular holidays are observed nationally and across multi-country regions.
The United Nations Calendar of Observances dedicates decades to a specific topic, but a complete year, month and days. Holidays dedicated to an observance such as the commemoration of the ending of World War II, or the Shoah, can be part of the reparation obligation as per UN OHCHR Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law. Another example of a major secular holiday is the Lunar New Year, celebrated across Asia. Many other days are marked to celebrate events or people, but are not holidays as time off work is given; these are holidays. These holidays are celebrated by various individuals; some promote a cause, others recognize historical events not recognized, others are "funny" holidays celebrated with humorous intent. For example, Monkey Day is celebrated on December 14, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is observed on September 19, Blasphemy Day is held on September 30.
Other examples are April Fool's Day on April 1 and Liberation Day on May 31. Various community organizers and marketers promote odd social media holidays. Many holidays are linked to religions. Christian holidays are defined as part of the liturgical year, the chief ones being Easter and Christmas; the Orthodox Christian and Western-Roman Catholic patronal feast day or "name day" are celebrated in each place's patron saint's day, according to the Calendar of saints. Jehovah's Witnesses annually commemorate "The Memorial of Jesus Christ's Death", but do not celebrate other holidays with any religious significance such as Easter, Christmas or New Year's; this holds true for those holidays that have combined and absorbed rituals, overtones or practices from non-Christian beliefs into the celebration, as well as those holidays that distract from or replace the worship of Jehovah. In Islam, the largest holidays are Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
Religion in Scotland
Christianity is the largest religion in Scotland. In the 2011 census, 53.8% of the Scottish population identified as Christian when asked: "What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?". The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination known as The Kirk, is recognised in law as the national church of Scotland, it is independent of state control. However, it is the largest religious grouping in Scotland, with 32.4% of the population according to the 2011 census. The other major Christian church is the Roman Catholic Church, the form of Christianity in Scotland prior to the Reformation, which accounts for 15.9% of the population and is important in West Central Scotland and parts of the Highlands. Scotland's third largest church is the Scottish Episcopal Church. There are multiple smaller Presbyterian churches, all of which either broke away from the Church of Scotland or themselves separated from churches which did so. In recent years other religions have established a presence in Scotland through immigration and higher birth rates among ethnic minorities.
Those with the most adherents in the 2011 census are Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. Other minority faiths include small Neopagan groups. There are various organisations which promote humanism and secularism, included within the 36.7% who indicated no religion in the 2011 census. In July 2017, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, conducted by ScotCen Social Research found that 58% of Scots identified themselves as non-religious, compared to 40% in 1999. Since 2016, humanists have conducted more weddings in Scotland each year than either the Catholic Church, Church of Scotland, or any other religion; the statistics from the 2011 census and the 2001 census are set out below. Christianity was introduced to what is now southern Scotland during the Roman occupation of Britain, it was spread by missionaries from Ireland from the 5th century and is associated with St Ninian, St Kentigern, St Columba. The Christianity that developed in Ireland and Scotland differed from that led by Rome over the method of calculating Easter and the form of tonsure, until the Celtic church accepted Roman practices in the mid-7th century.
Christianity in Scotland was influenced by monasticism, with abbots being more significant than bishops. In the Norman period, there were a series of reforms resulting in a clearer parochial structure based around local churches; the Scottish church established its independence from England, developing a clear diocesan structure and becoming a "special daughter of the see of Rome" but continued to lack Scottish leadership in the form of archbishops. In the late Middle Ages the Crown was able to gain greater influence over senior appointments, two archbishoprics had been established by the end of the 15th century. There was a decline in traditional monastic life but the mendicant orders of friars grew in the expanding burghs. New saints and cults of devotion proliferated. Despite problems over the number and quality of clergy after the Black Death in the 14th century, evidence of heresy in the 15th century, the Church in Scotland remained stable. During the 16th century, Scotland underwent a Protestant Reformation that created a predominantly Calvinist national kirk, Presbyterian in outlook.
A confession of faith, rejecting papal jurisdiction and the mass, was adopted by Parliament in 1560. The kirk found it difficult to penetrate the Highlands and Islands, but began a gradual process of conversion and consolidation that, compared with reformations elsewhere, was conducted with little persecution. James VI of Scotland supported the bishops. Charles I of England brought in reforms seen by some as a return to papal practice; the result was the Bishop's Wars in 1639–40, ending in virtual independence for Scotland and the establishment of a Presbyterian system by the dominant Covenanters. After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Scotland regained its kirk, but the bishops. In the south-west many of the people began to attend illegal field conventicles. Suppression of these assemblies in the 1680s was known as "the Killing Time". After the "Glorious Revolution" in 1688, Presbyterianism was restored; the Church of Scotland had been created in the Reformation. The late 18th century saw the beginnings of its fragmentation around issues of government and patronage, but reflecting a wider division between the Evangelicals and the Moderate Party.
In 1733 the First Secession led to the creation of a series of secessionist churches, the second in 1761 to the foundation of the independent Relief Church. These churches gained strength in the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century. Penetration of the Highlands and Islands remained limited; the efforts of the Kirk were supplemented by missionaries of the SSPCK. Episcopalianism declined because of its associations with Jacobitism. Beginning in 1834 the "Ten Years' Conflict" ended in a schism from the church, led by Dr Thomas Chalmers, known as the Great Disruption of 1843. A third of the clergy from the North and Highlands, formed the separate Free Church of Scotland; the evangelical Free Churches grew in the Highlands and Islands. In the late 19th century, major debates, between fundamentalist Calvinists and theological liberals, resulted in a further split in the Free Church as the rigid Calvinists broke away to form the Free Presbyterian Chu
In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism, confirmation is seen as the sealing of Christianity created in baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. In some denominations, such as the Anglican Communion and Methodist Churches, confirmation bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation "renders the bond with the Church more perfect", while a baptized person is a member, "reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace". Roman Catholics, Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Churches view confirmation as a sacrament. In the East it is conferred after baptism. In the West, this practice is followed when adults are baptized, but in the case of infants not in danger of death it is administered, ordinarily by a bishop, only when the child reaches the age of reason or early adolescence.
Among those Catholics who practice teen-aged confirmation, the practice may be perceived, secondarily, as a "coming of age" rite. In traditional Protestant denominations, such as the Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed Churches, confirmation is a rite that includes a profession of faith by an baptized person, it is required by most Protestant denominations for full membership in the respective Church, in particular for traditional Protestant churches, in which it is recognized secondarily as a coming of age ceremony. Confirmation is not practiced in Baptist and other groups that teach believer's baptism. Thus, the sacrament or rite of confirmation is administered to those being received from those aforementioned groups, in addition to those converts from non-Christian religions; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church do not practice infant baptism, but baptize only after the "age of accountability" is reached. Confirmation occurs either following baptism, or on the following Sunday.
The baptism is not considered complete or efficacious until confirmation is received. There is an analogous ceremony called confirmation in Reform Judaism, it was created in the 1800s by Israel Jacobson. The roots of confirmation are found in the Church of the New Testament. In the Gospel of John 14, Christ speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. After his Resurrection, Jesus breathed upon them and they received the Holy Spirit, a process completed on the day of Pentecost; that pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit was the sign of the messianic age foretold by the prophets. Its arrival was proclaimed by Apostle Peter. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God." After this point, the New Testament records the apostles bestowing the Holy Spirit upon others through the laying on of hands. Three texts make it certain that a laying on of hands for the imparting of the Spirit — performed after the water-bath and as a complement to this bath — existed in the earliest apostolic times.
These texts are: Acts 8:4-20 and 19:1-7, Hebrews 6:1-6. In the Acts of the Apostles 8:14–17 different "ministers" are named for the two actions, it is not deacon Philip, the baptiser, but only the apostles who were able to impart the pneuma through the laying on of hands. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them, they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit. Further on in the text, connection between the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gesture of laying on of hands appears more clearly. Acts 8:18-19 introduces the request of Simon the magician in the following way: "When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands..." In Acts 19, baptism of the disciples is mentioned in quite general terms, without the minister being identified. If we refer to 1 Cor 1:17 we may presume.
But Acts 19:6 expressly states that it was Apostle Paul who laid his hands upon the newly baptised. Hebrews 6:1-6 distinguishes "the teaching about baptisms" from the teaching about "the laying on of hands"; the difference may be understood in the light of the two passages in Acts 8 and 19. In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, known as Chrismation, is one of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ for the conferral of sanctifying grace and the strengthening of the union between individual souls and God; the Catechism of the Catholic Church in its paragraphs 1302–1303 states: It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. From this it roots us more in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!". Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East and Lutheran churches or denominations, other churches founded independently from these lineages. Churches with an episcopal polity are governed by bishops, practicing their authorities in the dioceses and conferences or synods, their leadership is both constitutional. Bishops are considered to derive their authority from an unbroken, personal apostolic succession from the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bishops with such authority are said to represent the historical historic episcopate. Churches with this type of government believe that the Church requires episcopal government as described in the New Testament. In some systems, bishops may be subject to bishops holding a higher office, they meet in councils or synods.
These gatherings, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops make important decisions, though the synod or council may be purely advisory. For much of the written history of institutional Christianity, episcopal government was the only known form of church organization; this changed at the Reformation. Many Protestant churches are now organized by either congregational or presbyterian church polities, both descended from the writings of John Calvin, a Protestant reformer working and writing independently following the break with the Roman Catholic Church precipitated by The Ninety-Five Theses of Martin Luther; the definition of the word episcopal has variation among Christian traditions. There are subtle differences in governmental principles among episcopal churches at the present time. To some extent the separation of episcopal churches can be traced to these differences in ecclesiology, that is, their theological understanding of church and church governance. For some, "episcopal churches" are churches that use a hierarchy of bishops that regard themselves as being in an unbroken, personal apostolic succession.
"Episcopal" is commonly used to distinguish between the various organizational structures of denominations. For instance, "Presbyterian" is used to describe a church governed by a hierarchy of assemblies of elected elders, referred to as Presbyterian polity. "episcopal" is used to describe a church governed by bishops. Self-governed local congregations, governed neither by elders nor bishops, are described as "congregational". More the capitalized appellation "Episcopal" is applied to several churches based within Anglicanism, including those still in communion with the Church of England. Using these definitions, examples of specific episcopal churches include: The Catholic Church The Eastern Orthodox Church The Oriental Orthodox churches The Assyrian Church of the East The Churches of the Anglican Communion The Old Catholic churches Numerous smaller "catholic" churches Certain national churches of the Lutheran confession The African Methodist Episcopal Church The United Methodist ChurchSome Lutheran churches practice congregational polity or a form of presbyterian polity.
Others, including the Church of Sweden, practice episcopal polity. Many Methodist churches retain the form and function of episcopal polity, although in a modified form, called connexionalism. Since all trace their ordinations to an Anglican priest, John Wesley, it is considered that their bishops do not share in apostolic succession, though United Methodists still affirm that their bishops share in the historic episcopate. All orthodox Christians were in churches with an episcopal government, that is, one Church under local bishops and regional Patriarchs. Writing between ca. 85 and 110, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Patriarch of Antioch, was the earliest of the Church fathers to define the importance of episcopal government. Assuming Ignatius' view was the Apostolic teaching and practice, the line of succession was unbroken and passed through the four ancient Patriarchal sees, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Rome was the leading Patriarchate of the ancient four by virtue of its founding by Saints Peter and Paul and their martyrdom there, not to mention being the political center of the Roman empire at the time.
Some organizations, though aloof from the political wranglings of imperial Christianity also practiced episcopal polity. Shortly after the Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity in 321, he constructed an elaborate second capital of the Roman Empire located at Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople, in 324; the single Roman Empire was divided between these two autonomous administrative centers and Constantinopolitan, West and East, Latin speaking and Greek speaking. This
William Brewster (Mayflower passenger)
William Brewster was an English official and Mayflower passenger in 1620. In Plymouth Colony, by virtue of his education and existing stature with those immigrating from the Netherlands, Brewster, a separatist, became senior elder and the leader of the community. William Brewster was born in 1568, most in Scrooby, England, he was the son of William Brewster and he had a number of half-siblings. His paternal grandparents were William Brewster, Maud Mann from Scotland, he studied at Peterhouse, before entering the service of William Davison in 1584. Brewster was the only Pilgrim with diplomatic experience. With his mentor in prison, Brewster had returned home to Scrooby for a time, where he took up his father's former position as postmaster. Cambridge was a centre of thought concerning religious reformism, but Brewster had spent time in the Netherlands in connection with Davison's work, giving him opportunity to hear and see more of reformed religion. While, in the 1550s, reformers had hoped to amend the Anglican church, by 1600, many were looking toward splitting from it.
Restrictions and pressures applied by the authorities convinced the congregation of a need to immigrate to the more sympathetic atmosphere of Holland, but leaving England without permission was illegal at the time, so that departure was a complex matter. On its first attempt, in 1607, the group was arrested at Scotia Creek, but in 1608, Brewster and others were successful in leaving from The Humber. In 1609, he was selected as ruling elder of the congregation. William lived near St. Peter's church in Leiden with his wife and children, he taught English to Leiden University students and was a printer of religious pamphlets. His son, was a ribbonweaver. William was chosen as assistant and as an elder to Pastor John Robinson, he was still an elder when he travelled to Plymouth Colony in 1620. In Leiden, the group managed to make a living. Brewster taught English and in 1616–1619, as the partner of one Thomas Brewer and published religious books for sale in England, though they were proscribed there.
In 1619 Brewster and Edward Winslow published a religious tract, Perth Assembly, critical of the English king and his bishops. James ordered Brewster's arrest, when the king's agents in Holland came to seize the Pilgrim elder, Brewster was forced into hiding just as preparations to depart for America entered the most critical phase; the printing type was seized by the authorities from the English ambassador, Sir Dudley Carleton, Brewster's partner was arrested. Brewster escaped and, with the help of Robert Cushman and Sir Edwin Sandys, obtained a land patent from the London Virginia Company on behalf of himself and his colleagues. With Brewster in hiding, the Separatists looked to their deacon John Carver and to Robert Cushman to carry on negotiations with the appropriate officials in London. In 1620 when it came time for the Mayflower departure, Elder Brewster returned to the Leiden congregation, he had been hiding out in Holland and even England for the last year. At the time of his return, Brewster was the highest-ranking layperson of the congregation and would be their designated spiritual leader in the New World.
Brewster joined the first group of Separatists aboard the Mayflower on the voyage to North America. Brewster was accompanied by his wife, Mary Brewster, his sons: Love Brewster and Wrestling Brewster. Among the people boarding the Mayflower were four unaccompanied children from Shropshire, they were placed as indentured servants with senior Separatists William Brewster, John Carver and Robert Cushman, on behalf of Samuel More, husband of the children's mother, Katherine More. The children were placed without their mother's permission after four rancorous years between the Mores over charges of adultery against Katherine and her longtime lover, the children's alleged father. Two children were placed with Mary Brewster; the Mayflower departed Plymouth in England in September 1620. The 100-foot vessel carried 102 passengers and a crew of 30 to 40 in cramped conditions. During the voyage, the ship was buffeted by strong westerly gales; the caulking of its planks was failing to keep out sea water, the passengers' berths were not always dry.
On the journey there were a crew member and a passenger. After being blown off course by gales, the Mayflower made a landing at Cape Cod. Finding the area near Provincetown occupied by indigenous people, the ship's company decided to continue exploring along the nearby coast; the group arrived in the area near present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 21, 1620. In the space of several months half the passengers perished in the cold, harsh New England winter; when the passengers of the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Colony, Brewster became the senior elder, so served as the religious leader of the colony. Brewster's son Jonathan joined the family in November 1621, arriving at Plymouth on the ship Fortune, daughters Patience and Fear arrived in July 1623 aboard the Anne; as the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony's religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.
"He was tenderhearted and compassionate of such as were in misery," Bradford wrote, "but of such as had been of good estate and rank and fallen unto want and poverty."Brewster was granted land amongst the islands of Boston Harbor, four of the outer islands (Great Brewster, Little Brewster, Middle
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." 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. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most 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 and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith 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