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Portal:Christianity

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Common symbol of Christianity

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life, teachings, and miracles 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. Originating in the Roman province of Judea, it quickly spread to Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia and the Indian subcontinent, and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire. 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 Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. 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 Christian Bible, as established by the 5th century for the ancient undivided Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, a period sometimes referred to as the Great Church, before the East–West Schism in 1054.

Throughout the history of Christianity, theological and ecclesiological disputes have resulted in schisms with many distinct denominations. Worldwide, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, Protestantism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy. The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches broke communion with each other in the East–West Schism of 1054, and the Chalcedonian schism in 451. Protestantism, while not a single denomination but a collective term, emerged in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, splitting from the Catholic Church.

Selected article

Scutum fidei LAT.svg
The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram. In medieval England and France, this emblem was considered to be the heraldic arms of God (and of the Trinity), this diagram consists of four nodes (generally circular in shape) interconnected by six links. The three nodes at the edge of the diagram are labelled with the names of the three persons of the Trinity (traditionally the Latin-language names, or scribal abbreviations thereof): The Father ("PATER"), The Son ("FILIUS"), and The Holy Spirit ("SPIRITUS SANCTUS"). The node in the center of the diagram (within the triangle formed by the other three nodes) is labelled God (Latin "DEUS"), while the three links connecting the center node with the outer nodes are labelled "is" (Latin "EST"), and the three links connecting the outer nodes to each other are labelled "is not" (Latin "NON EST").

Selected scripture

Judgment of Solomon
Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it, but the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

Did you know...

...that Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches celebrate Mass, while Eastern Christian churches instead celebrate Divine Liturgy?
...that the length of a Church service can vary widely, depending on the denomination and priest, and can range from 40 minutes to 3 hours?
...that Mandarin Chinese translates the word "Christ" as Jidu (基督)?
...that the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire is listed by Guinness World Records as the largest church in the world?


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

The Life of Jesus Christ
Credit: User:Jayarathina

The Life of Christ as a narrative cycle in Christian art comprises a number of different subjects, which were often grouped in series or cycles of works in a variety of media, narrating the life of Jesus on earth, as distinguished from the many other subjects in art showing the eternal life of Christ, such as Christ in Majesty, and also many types of portrait or devotional subjects without a narrative element.

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