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Portal:Christianity

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The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
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Introduction

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as the Christ, or "Messiah", who is the focal point of the Christian faiths. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, known as Christians. Christians make up a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries and territories in the world. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.

Christianity grew out of Judaism and began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century in the Roman province of Judea. It quickly spread to Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Asia, and become the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.

Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Nicene Creed, in addition to the Bible. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell and rose from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus physically ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit and that he will return to judge the living and the dead and grant eternal life to his followers. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as "the gospel", meaning "good news". The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus' life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—are considered canonical and included in the Bible. The Nicene Creed (325) and the biblical canon (5th century) were established by the ancient undivided Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church, a period sometimes referred to as the Great Church, a unity lasting until the East–West Schism in 1054.

Selected article

Catholic doctrine regarding the Ten Commandments is largely based on the Old and New Testaments and the writings of the early Church Fathers. In the New Testament, Jesus acknowledged their validity and instructed his disciples to go further, demanding a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. Summarized by Jesus into two "great commandments" that teach love of God and love of neighbor, they instruct individuals on their relationships with both, the first three commandments demand respect for God's name, observation of the Lord's Day and prohibit the worship of other gods. The others deal with the relationships between individuals, such as that between parent and child; they include prohibitions against lying, stealing, murdering, adultery and covetousness. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church — the official exposition of the Catholic Church's Christian beliefs—the Commandments are considered essential for spiritual good health and growth, and serve as the basis for Catholic social teaching. A review of the Commandments is one of the most common types of examination of conscience used by Catholics before receiving the sacrament of Penance.

Selected scripture

The Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha is the site where some Christians believe the feeding of the five thousand to have taken place
Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?”
This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little.”
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”
Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired.
When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost.”
So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.
When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, “This is truly the prophet who comes into the world.”
Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Did you know...

....that ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and is thus also the official language of Vatican City?
....that although raised as a Christian, C. S. Lewis spent most of his youth being an atheist until discussions with close friends such as J. R. R. Tolkien gradually persuaded him to reconvert?
...that The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, a Christian allegorical novel written in 1675 by John Bunyan while imprisoned in England, is regarded as one of the greatest classics of literature and has been widely translated into more than 100 languages other than its original English text?
...that the Amish are a denomination of Anabaptists, found primarily in the United States and Canada, who do not vote, join the military, pay or draw Social Security, or accept any form of assistance from the government?


Selected biography

Joseph W. Tkach was the appointed successor of Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Tkach became President and Pastor General of the church upon the death of Armstrong in 1986. Tkach spearheaded a major doctrinal transformation of the Worldwide Church of God, abandoning Armstrong's unconventional doctrines and bringing the church into accord with mainstream evangelical Christianity, his son, Joseph Tkach Jr., continued his work and in 1997 the Worldwide Church of God became a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

During Tkach's tenure, the changes that he implemented stirred much controversy and significant dissent among those who continued to follow Armstrong's theology, the dissenters labelled the changes as heresy and many left to form new church organizations. Within the mainstream Christian community, some have hailed Tkach's reforms, which brought a church from the fringe to orthodoxy, as unprecedented in the history of the Christian church.

The first major change under Tkach's tenure was the WCG's doctrine on healing. Previously the church taught that true believers were healed by faith in God and not by doctors. Tkach asked the church leadership to study the question. Once Tkach was satisfied with the results of the study, he officially softened the church's teaching on the matter, encouraging members to seek proper treatment while retaining faith in God as healer.

Selected picture

Salt Lake Temple
Credit: User:Entheta

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), a temple is a building dedicated to be a House of the Lord, and they are considered by church members to be the most sacred structures on earth. Upon completion, temples are usually open to the public for a short period of time (an "Open House"), during the Open House, the church conducts tours of the temple with missionaries and members from the local area serving as tour guides, and all rooms of the temple are open to the public. Mormon temples are used for their baptism for the dead, washing and anointing (or "initiatory" ordinances), the endowment, and Mormon marriages, the temple is then dedicated as a "House of the Lord", after which only members who are deemed worthy are permitted entrance (tithing is paid in full). Thus, they are not churches (meetinghouses) but rather places to do Mormon practices, the church is a prolific builder of temples as they hold a key place in LDS theology.

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