Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (
Koinē Greek: τῆς ὁδοῦ, romanized: tês hodoû), probably coming from
Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord".[note 2] According to
Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" (Χρῑστῐᾱνός, Khrīstiānós), meaning "followers of Christ" in reference to Jesus's
disciples, was first used in the city of
Antioch by the non-Jewish inhabitants there. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity/Christianism" (Χρῑστῐᾱνισμός, Khrīstiānismós) was by
Ignatius of Antioch around 100 AD.
While Christians worldwide share basic convictions, there are also differences of interpretations and opinions of the
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 later expanded during the
Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. "
Jesus is Lord" is the earliest creed of Christianity and continues to be used, as with the
World Council of Churches.
This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of 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. Its points include:
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
Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see
1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history. Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based. 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.
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
Christian churches accept and teach the
New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions. 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. Some
liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection, seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing
myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious
interfaith dialogues.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".
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. 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" 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".
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 honor 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. In Protestant theology, Jesus' death is regarded as a
substitutionary penalty carried by Jesus, for the debt that has to be paid by humankind when it broke God's moral law.
Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God 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, although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead. 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". 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. 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 Christiansarcophagi the Logos is distinguished with a beard, "which allows him to appear ancient, even pre-existent".
Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. From earlier than the times of the Nicene Creed (325) Christianity advocated the triune
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.
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
omnipotent. Other Christian religions including
Jehovah's Witnesses, and
Mormonism, do not share those views on the Trinity.
The Greek word trias[note 3] 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". The term may have been in use before this time; its Latin equivalent,[note 3]trinitas, appears afterwards with an explicit reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in
Tertullian. In the following century, the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of
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, beginning in the 3rd century theologians developed the term and concept to facilitate
apprehension 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.
In the Catholic branch of Christianity, 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. Those who have attained this goal are called saints (Latin sanctus, "holy").
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.
And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the
president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying
Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.
Thus, as Justin described, Christians assemble for communal worship typically 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 gospels.[note 5] Instruction is given based on these readings, in the form of a
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.Psalms,
worship songs, and other
church music may be sung. Services can be varied for special events like significant
Nearly all forms of worship incorporate the Eucharist, which consists of a 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". In the
early church, Christians and those yet to complete initiation would separate for the Eucharistic part of the service. Some denominations such as
Confessional Lutheran churches continue to practice '
closed communion'. They offer communion to those who are already united in that denomination or sometimes individual church. Catholics further restrict participation to their members who are not in a state of
mortal sin. Many other churches, such as
Anglican Communion and
United Methodist Church, practice '
open communion' since they view communion as a means to unity, rather than an end, and invite all believing Christians to participate.
And this food is called among us Eukharistia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.
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.
Catholics, Eastern Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans and other 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, colors of
vestments for clergy, 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
Pentecost: these are the celebrations of Christ's birth, resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, respectively. A few denominations such as
Quaker Christians make no use of a liturgical calendar.
cross, today one of the most widely recognized symbols, was used by Christians from the earliest times. 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. Although the cross was known to the early Christians, the
crucifix did not appear in use until the 5th century.
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. Its popularity seemingly arose from the Greek word ichthys (fish) forming an
acrostic for the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter (Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ),[note 6] (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior), a concise summary of Christian faith.
Other major Christian symbols include the
chi-rho monogram, the
dove and olive branch (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.
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.
Plymouth Brethren 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 (or mode) of the act. These modes 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; 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. The Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church also practice infant baptism, usually by affusion, and utilizing the
Trinitarian formula.Anabaptist Christians practice
believer's baptism, in which an adult chooses to receive the ordinance after making a decision to follow Jesus. Anabaptist denominations such as the
pouring as the mode to administer believer's baptism, whereas Anabaptists of the
Schwarzenau Brethren and
River Brethren traditions baptize by
"... ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’".
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[Acts 9:40] and by
prophets of the Old Testament in favor of other people.[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.[Jam 5:16–18] The effectiveness of prayer in Christianity derives from the power of God rather than the status of the one praying.
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". The Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican tradition is a guide which provides a set order for services, containing set prayers, scripture readings, and hymns or sung Psalms. Frequently in Western Christianity, when praying, 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.
Christianity, 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 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos, which literally means "God-breathed".
Some believe that divine inspiration makes 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. 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 canon of the Old Testament accepted by Protestant churches, which is only the
Tanakh (the canon of the
Hebrew Bible), is shorter than that accepted by the Orthodox and Catholic churches which also include the
deuterocanonical books which appear in the
Septuagint, the Orthodox canon being slightly larger than the Catholic; Protestants regard the latter as
apocryphal, 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. The New Testament, originally written in
Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all major churches.
In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in
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.
Many Protestant Christians, such as Lutherans and the Reformed, believe in the doctrine of sola scriptura—that the Bible is a self-sufficient revelation, the final authority on all Christian doctrine, and
revealed all truth necessary for salvation; other Protestant Christians, such as Methodists and Anglicans, affirm the doctrine of prima scriptura which teaches that Scripture is the primary source for Christian doctrine, but that "tradition, experience, and reason" can nurture the Christian religion as long as they are in harmony with the Bible. 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".John Calvin wrote, "all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light". 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.
Original intended meaning of Scripture
Protestants stress the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, the
historical-grammatical method. The historical-grammatical method or grammatico-historical method is an effort in
Biblical hermeneutics to find the intended original meaning in the text. 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. 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". 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
Jewish Christianity soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, posing a problem for its
Jewish religious outlook, which insisted on close observance of the Jewish commandments.
Paul the Apostle solved this by insisting that salvation by
faith in Christ, and
participation in his death and resurrection by their baptism, 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.
King Tiridates III made Christianity the
state religion in
Armenia between 301 and 314, thus Armenia became the first officially Christian state. 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.
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. Beginning in the 8th century, with the rise of
Carolingian leaders, the Papacy sought greater political support in the
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
Franciscans and the
Dominicans, founded by
Francis of Assisi and
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
Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals.
Christian nationalism emerged during this era in which Christians felt the impulse to recover lands in which Christianity had historically flourished. From 1095 under the pontificate of
Urban II, the
First Crusade was launched. 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
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.
Beginning around 1184, following the crusade against
Cathar heresy, 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.
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. 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.
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.
Especially 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.
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, 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.
Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own, particularly in the
Czech Republic and
Estonia, while religious commitments in America have been generally high in comparison to Europe. Changes in worldwide Christianity over the last century have been significant, since 1900, Christianity has spread rapidly in the
Global South and Third World countries. 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
Christians, most prevalent in Egypt,
With around 2.4 billion adherents according to a 2020 estimation by
Pew Research Center, split into three main branches of Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, Christianity is the
world's largest religion. High birth rates and
conversions in the
global South were cited as the reasons for the Christian population growth. 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 Western Europe and North America. According to a 2015
Pew Research Center study, within the next four decades, Christianity will remain the largest religion; and by 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion.: 60
A Christian procession in
Brazil, the country with the largest Catholic population in the world
According to some scholars, Christianity ranks at first place in net gains through
religious conversion. As a percentage of Christians, the
Catholic Church and
Oriental) are declining in some 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. The so-called popular Protestantism[note 7] is one of the fastest growing religious categories in the world. 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. Africa alone, by 2015, will be home to 230 million African Catholics. 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. According to Pew Research Center, Africa is expected to be home to 1.1 billion
African Christians by 2050.
In 2010, 87% of the world's Christian population lived in countries where Christians are in the majority, while 13% of the world's Christian population lived in countries where Christians are in the minority. Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa. There are also large Christian communities in other parts of the world, such as
Central Asia, the
Middle East and North Africa,
Southeast Asia, and the
Indian subcontinent. In Asia, it is the dominant religion in Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, East Timor, and the Philippines. However, it is declining in some areas including the northern and western United States, some areas in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), northern Europe (including Great Britain, Scandinavia and other places), France, Germany, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, and some parts of Asia (especially the Middle East, due to the
Christian emigration, and Macau).
Despite a decline in adherence in the
West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of that population identifying as Christian. Christianity remains the largest religion in
Western Europe, where 71% of Western Europeans identified themselves as Christian in 2018. 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. By 2010 about 157 countries and territories in the world had
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. Some sources view this as part of a drift away from traditional membership institutions, while others link it to signs of a decline in belief in the importance of religion in general. Europe's Christian population, though in decline, still constitutes the largest geographical component of the religion. According to data from the 2012 European Social Survey, around a third of
European Christians say they attend services once a month or more. Conversely, according to the
World Values Survey, about more than two-thirds of Latin American Christians, and about 90% of
African Christians (in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe) said they attended church regularly. According to a 2018 study by the
Pew Research Center, Christians in Africa and Latin America and the United States have high levels of commitment to their faith.
There is a diversity of
liturgical practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups may vary
ecclesiologically in their views on a classification of
Christian denominations. The Nicene Creed (325), however, is typically accepted as authoritative by most Christians, including the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and major Protestant (such as Lutheran and Anglican) denominations.
Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves as "Christians" or "
born-again Christians". They typically distance themselves from the
creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves "
non-denominational" or "
evangelical". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.
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. 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. In Asia,
Iglesia ni Cristo is a known restorationist religion that was established during the early 1900s.
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.
The Bible has had a profound influence on Western civilization and on cultures around the globe; it has contributed to the formation of
texts, and education. With a literary tradition spanning two millennia, the Bible is one of the most influential works ever written. From practices of
personal hygiene to philosophy and ethics, the Bible has directly and indirectly influenced politics and law, war and peace, sexual morals, marriage and family life, toilet etiquette, letters and learning, the arts, economics, social justice, medical care and more.
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 practicing or nominal Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom". Many historians even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified
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 the religion.
monasticTaizé Community is notable for being composed of more than one hundred
brothers from Protestant and Catholic traditions. 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
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; the Anglican Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) working towards full communion between those churches since 1970; 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.
Criticism of Christianity and Christians goes back to the
Apostolic Age, with the New Testament recording friction between the followers of Jesus and the
Matthew 15:1–20 and
Mark 7:1–23). 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. 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 in Judaism is said to judge people on their deeds instead of their beliefs. 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. 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.
By the 3rd century, criticism of Christianity had mounted. 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. The
Porphyry wrote the fifteen-volume Adversus Christianos as a comprehensive attack on Christianity, in part building on the teachings of
By the 12th century, the
Mishneh Torah (i.e.,
RabbiMoses Maimonides) was criticizing Christianity on the grounds of idol worship, in that Christians attributed divinity to Jesus, who had a physical body. 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. 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.
Criticism of Christianity continues to date, e.g.
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. 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.
Christians are one of the most
persecuted religious group in the world, especially in the
North Africa and South and East Asia. In 2017,
Open Doors estimated approximately 260 million Christians are subjected annually to "high, very high, or extreme persecution" with North Korea considered the most hazardous nation for Christians. In 2019, a report 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. This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians.
^Frequently a distinction is made between "liturgical" and "non-liturgical" churches based on how elaborate or antiquated the worship; in this usage, churches whose services are unscripted or improvised are described as "non-liturgical".
^Iesous Christos Theou Hyios Soter may be a more complete transliteration; in
Koine Greek, the daseia or
spiritus asper had largely ceased being pronounced and was not—commonly—marked in the
majuscule script of the time.
^A flexible term, defined as all forms of Protestantism with the notable exception of the historical denominations deriving directly from the Protestant Reformation.
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^Religions in Global Society. p. 146, Peter Beyer, 2006
^Cambridge 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."
^Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p. 22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization.
^Muslim-Christian Relations. Amsterdam University Press. 2006.
ISBN978-90-5356-938-2. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 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
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 role 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.
^Kammer, Fred (1 May 2004).
Doing Faith Justice.
Paulist Press. p. 77.
ISBN978-0-8091-4227-9. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 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
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."
^"Christian Traditions". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 19 December 2011. About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic (50%), while more than a third are Protestant (37%). Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians.
^Henderso, Errol A; Maoz, Zeev (2020). Scriptures, Shrines, Scapegoats, and World Politics: Religious Sources of Conflict and Cooperation in the Modern Era. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. pp. 129–130.
^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.
^Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, p. 11.
Hence all the power of magic became dissolved; and every bond of wickedness was destroyed, men's ignorance was taken away, and the old kingdom abolished God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life.
— St. Ignatius of Antioch in Letter to the Ephesians, ch.4, shorter version, Roberts-Donaldson translation
We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For 'the Word was made flesh.' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts
— St. Ignatius of Antioch in Letter to the Ephesians, ch.7, shorter version, Roberts-Donaldson translation
The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: ...one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father 'to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all...
For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water
— Justin Martyr in First Apology, ch. LXI, Donaldson, Sir James (1950), Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,
^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"
^"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.
abHartzler, Rachel Nafziger (30 April 2013). No Strings Attached: Boundary Lines in Pleasant Places: A History of Warren Street / Pleasant Oaks Mennonite Church. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
^Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Baha'i Faith. State University of New York Press. p. 6.
^Nakashima Brock, Rita (2008). Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire. Beacon Press. p. 446.
ISBN978-0-8070-6750-5. the ancient church had three important languages: Greek, Latin, and Syriac.
^A. Lamport, Mark (2020). The Rowman & Littlefield Handbook of Christianity in the Middle East. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 135.
ISBN978-0-8070-6750-5. the ancient church had three important languages: Greek, Latin, and Syriac.
^Understanding Closed Communion, stating "Therefore, our Congregation and our Denomination practices what is called ‘close or closed Communion’, meaning that before you take Communion at our Churches, we ask you to take a Communion Class first to properly learn what Communion is all about.", by
abcCross/Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. pp. 1435ff.
^Krahn, Cornelius; Rempel, John D. (1989).
Ordinances. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia. The term "ordinance" emphasizes the aspect of institution by Christ and the symbolic meaning.
^Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon.
^Senn, Frank C. (2012). Introduction to Christian Liturgy. Fortress Press. p. 103.
ISBN978-1-4514-2433-1. For example, days of Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist (e.g., August 15, March 19, June 24, respectively) are ranked as solemnities in the Roman Catholic calendar; in the Anglican and Lutheran calendars they are holy days or lesser festivals respectively.
abFortescue, Adrian (1912).
"Christian Calendar". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
^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).
^"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)
^"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).Archived 12 October 2010 at the
^"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 "
BaptismArchived 30 September 2014 at the
^Eby, Edwin R.
"Early Anabaptist Positions on Believer's Baptism and a Challenge for Today". Pilgrim Mennonite Conference. Archived from
the original on 11 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022. They concluded according to the Scriptures that baptism must always follow a conscious decision to take up "following Christ." They believed that a regenerated life becomes the experience of an adult who counts the cost of following Christ, exercises obedience to Christ, and is therefore baptized as a sign of such commitment and life.
^Kurian, George Thomas; Day, Sarah Claudine (14 March 2017). The Essential Handbook of Denominations and Ministries. Baker Books.
ISBN978-1-4934-0640-1. The Conservative Mennonite Conference practices believer's baptism, seen as an external symbol of internal spiritual purity and performed by immersion or pouring of water on the head; Communion; washing the feet of the saints, following Jesus's example and reminding believers of the need to be washed of pride, rivalry, and selfish motives; anointing the sick with oil--a symbol of the Holy Spirit and of the healing power of God--offered with the prayer of faith; and laying on of hands for ordination, symbolizing the imparting of responsibility and of God's power to fulfill that responsibility.
^Kraybill, Donald B. (1 November 2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites. JHU Press. p. 23.
ISBN978-0-8018-9911-9. All Amish, Hutterites, and most Mennonites baptized by pouring or sprinkling.
^Nolt, Steven M.; Loewen, Harry (11 June 2010). Through Fire and Water: An Overview of Mennonite History. MennoMedia.
ISBN978-0-8316-9701-3. ...both groups practiced believers baptism (the River Brethren did so by immersion in a stream or river) and stressed simplicity in life and nonresistance to violence.
^Brackney, William H. (3 May 2012). Historical Dictionary of Radical Christianity. Scarecrow Press. p. 279.
ISBN978-0-8108-7365-0. The birthdate in 1708 marked the baptism by immersion of the group in the River Eder, thus believer's baptism became one of the primary tenets of The Brethren.
^Jordan, Anne (2000). Christianity. Nelson Thornes.
ISBN978-0-7487-5320-8. When he was standing on a hillside, Jesus explained to his followers how they were to behave as God would wish. The talk has become known as the Sermon on the Mount, and is found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, 6 and 7. During the talk Jesus taught his followers how to pray and he gave them an example of suitable prayer. Christians call the prayer the Lord's Prayer, because it was taught by the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is also known as the Pattern Prayer as it provides a pattern for Christians to follow in prayer, to ensure that they pray in the way God and Jesus would want.
^Milavec, Aaron (2003). The Didache: Faith, Hope, & Life of the Earliest Christian Communities, 50–70 C.E. Paulist Press.
ISBN978-0-8091-0537-3. Given the placement of the Lord's Prayer in the Didache, it was to be expected that the new member of the community would come to learn and to pray the Lord's Prayer at the appointed hours three times each day only after baptism (8:2f.).
^Beckwith, Roger T. (2005). Calendar, Chronology And Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism And Early Christianity. BRILL.
ISBN978-90-04-14603-7. So three minor hours of prayer were developed, at the third, sixth and ninth hours, which, as Dugmore points out, were ordinary divisions of the day for worldly affairs, and the Lord's Prayer was transferred to those hours.
^Chadwick, Henry (1993). The Early Church. Penguin.
ISBN978-1-101-16042-8. Hippolytus in the Apostolic Tradition directed that Christians should pray seven times a day – on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight, and also, if at home, at the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion. Prayers at the third, sixth, and ninth hours are similarly mentioned by Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, and must have been very widely practised. These prayers were commonly associated with private Bible reading in the family.
^Lössl, Josef (17 February 2010). The Early Church: History and Memory. A&C Black. p. 135.
ISBN978-0-567-16561-9. Not only the content of early Christian prayer was rooted in Jewish tradition; its daily structure too initially followed a Jewish pattern, with prayer times in the early morning, at noon and in the evening. Later (in the course of the second century), this pattern combined with another one; namely prayer times in the evening, at midnight and in the morning. As a result seven 'hours of prayer' emerged, which later became the monastic 'hours' and are still treated as 'standard' prayer times in many churches today. They are roughly equivalent to midnight, 6 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Prayer positions included prostration, kneeling and standing. ... Crosses made of wood or stone, or painted on walls or laid out as mosaics, were also in use, at first not directly as objections of veneration but in order to 'orientate' the direction of prayer (i.e. towards the east, Latin oriens).
^Mary Cecil, 2nd Baroness Amherst of Hackney (1906). A Sketch of Egyptian History from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. Methuen. p. 399. Prayers 7 times a day are enjoined, and the most strict among the Copts recite one of more of the Psalms of David each time they pray. They always wash their hands and faces before devotions, and turn to the East.
ab"Methodist Beliefs: In what ways are Lutherans different from United Methodists?". Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. 2014.
Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. The United Methodists see Scripture as the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. They emphasize the importance of tradition, experience, and reason for Christian doctrine. Lutherans teach that the Bible is the sole source for Christian doctrine. The truths of Scripture do not need to be authenticated by tradition, human experience, or reason. Scripture is self authenticating and is true in and of itself.
^Wylen, Stephen M., The Jews in the Time of Jesus: An Introduction, Paulist Press (1995),
ISBN0-8091-3610-4, Pp. 190–192.; Dunn, James D.G., Jews and Christians: The Parting of the Ways, A.D. 70 to 135, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (1999),
ISBN0-8028-4498-7, Pp. 33–34.; Boatwright, Mary Taliaferro & Gargola, Daniel J & Talbert, Richard John Alexander, The Romans: From Village to Empire, Oxford University Press (2004),
ISBN0-19-511875-8, p. 426.
^Michael Whitby, et al. eds. Christian Persecution, Martyrdom and Orthodoxy (2006)
^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.
^Burbank, Jane; Copper, Frederick (2010). Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 64.
^McTavish, T. J. (2010). A Theological Miscellany: 160 Pages of Odd, Merry, Essentially Inessential Facts, Figures, and Tidbits about Christianity. Thomas Nelson.
ISBN978-1-4185-5281-7. The Nicene Creed, as used in the churches of the West (Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and others), contains the statement, "We believe [or I believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son."
^McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 37ff.
^Verger, Jacques. "The Universities and Scholasticism," in The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume V c. 1198–c. 1300. Cambridge University Press, 2007, 257.
^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,
ISBN0-521-36105-2, pp. XIX–XX
^Sharratt, Michael (1994). Galileo: Decisive Innovator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 17, 213.
^"Because he would not accept the Formula of Concord without some reservations, he was excommunicated from the Lutheran communion. Because he remained faithful to his Lutheranism throughout his life, he experienced constant suspicion from Catholics." John L. Treloar, "Biography of Kepler shows man of rare integrity. Astronomer saw science and spirituality as one." National Catholic Reporter, 8 October 2004, p. 2a. A review of James A. Connor Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order amid Religious War, Political Intrigue and Heresy Trial of His Mother, Harper San Francisco.
^Geoffrey Blainey 2011). A Short History of Christianity; Viking; p. 494
^Altermatt, Urs (2007). "Katholizismus und Nation: Vier Modelle in europäisch-vergleichender Perspektive". In Urs Altermatt, Franziska Metzger (ed.). Religion und Nation: Katholizismen im Europa des 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (in German).
Kohlhammer Verlag. pp. 15–34.
^Heimann, Mary (1995). Catholic Devotion in Victorian England. Clarendon Press. pp. 165–73.
^The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History Helmut Walser Smith, p. 360, OUP Oxford, 29 September 2011
^Hillerbrand, 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 time 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."
^Some scholars suggest that Pentecostalism is the fastest growing religion in the world:
^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.
^Blainey, Geoffrey (2011). A Short History of Christianity. Penguin Random House Australia.
ISBN978-1-74253-416-9. Since the 1960s, there has been a substantial increase in the number of Muslims who have converted to Christianity
^Miller, Duane Alexander (2016). Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-Making and Ex-Muslim Christians. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 435–481.
^W. Robinson, David (2012). International Handbook of Protestant Education. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 521.
ISBN9789400723870. A 2006 Gallup survey, however, is the largest to date and puts the number at 6%, which is much higher than its previous surveys. It notes a major increase among Japanese youth professing Christ.
^Peter, Laurence (17 October 2018).
"Orthodox Church split: Five reasons why it matters".
BBC. The Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church has at least 150 million followers – more than half the total of Orthodox Christians. ... But Mr Shterin, who lectures on trends in ex-Soviet republics, says some Moscow-linked parishes will probably switch to a new Kiev-led church, because many congregations 'don't vary a lot in their political preferences.'
^"Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 8 November 2017. Oriental Orthodoxy has separate self-governing jurisdictions in Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Armenia and Syria, and it accounts for roughly 20% of the worldwide Orthodox population.
^Appiah, Anthony; Gates, Henry Louis (2005). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. Oxford University Press. p. 566.
^N. Stearns, Peter (2008). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World.
Oxford University Press. p. 179.
ISBN9780195176322. Uniformly practiced by Jews, Muslims, and the members of Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, male circumcision remains prevalent in many regions of the world, particularly Africa, South and East Asia, Oceania, and Anglosphere countries.
^H. Bulzacchelli, Richard (2006). Judged by the Law of Freedom: A History of the Faith-works Controversy, and a Resolution in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
University Press of America. p. 19.
ISBN9780761835011. The Ethiopian and Coptic Churches distinguishes between clean and unclean meats, observes days of ritual purification, and keeps a kind of dual Sabbath on both Saturday and Sunday.
^Eduardo Campo, Juan (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. p. 142.
ISBN9781438126968. the Assyrian Church of the East (found mainly in northern Iraq, southern Turkey, Iran, southwest India, and now the United States).
^Benedetto, Robert; Duke, James O. (2008). The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 22.
^Littell, Franklin H. (2000). The Anabaptist View of the Church. The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. p. 79.
ISBN978-1-57978-836-0. 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.
^"Who We Are: A Quick Visual Guide". Mennonite Church US. 2018. Retrieved 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."
^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
^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."
abConfessionalism 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.)
^Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (2004)
^Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions (2009)
^Manuscript History of the Church, LDS Church Archives, book A-1, p. 37; reproduced in
Dean C. Jessee(comp.) (1989). The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings(Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) 1:302–303.
^J. Gordon Melton, Encyclopedia of Protestantism, 2005, p. 543: "Unitarianism – The word unitarian [italics] means one who believes in the oneness of God; historically it refers to those in the Christian community who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity (one God expressed in three persons). Non-Trinitarian Protestant churches emerged in the 16th century in ITALY, POLAND, and TRANSYLVANIA."
^Fahlbusch, Erwin; Bromiley, Geoffrey William; Lochman, Jan Milic; Mbiti, John; Pelikan, Jaroslav (14 February 2008). The Encyclodedia of Christianity, Vol. 5. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 603.
^Bochenski, Michael I. (14 March 2013). Transforming Faith Communities: A Comparative Study of Radical Christianity in Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism and Late Twentieth-Century Latin America. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
^Ariel, Yaakov (2006).
"Judaism and Christianity Unite! The Unique Culture of Messianic Judaism". In Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (eds.). Jewish and Christian Traditions. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. Vol. 2. Westport, CN:
Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 208.
OCLC315689134. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 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.
^Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (21 September 2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition [6 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 620.
^Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion: Selected Papers Presented at the 17th Congress
^Besant, Annie (2001). Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries. City: Adamant Media Corporation.
^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.
abcThe Journal of American History.
Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 1400. Richard T. Hughes, professor of religion at Pepperdine University, argues that the Churches of Christ built a corporate identity around "restoration" of the primitive church and the corresponding belief that their congregations represented a nondenominational Christianity.
abBarnett, Joe R. (2020).
"Who are the Churches of Christ". Southside Church of Christ. Retrieved 7 December 2020. Not A Denomination: For this reason, we are not interested in man-made creeds, but in the New Testament pattern. We do not conceive of ourselves as being a denomination–nor as Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish—but as members of the church which Jesus established and for which he died. And that, incidentally, is why we wear his name. The term "church of Christ" is not used as a denominational designation, but rather as a descriptive term indicating that the church belongs to Christ.
^Hughes, Richard Thomas; Roberts, R. L. (2001). The Churches of Christ. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 63.
ISBN978-0-313-23312-8. Barton Stone was fully prepared to ally himself with Alexander Campbell in an effort to promote nondenominational Christianity, though it is evident that the two men came to this emphasis by very different routes.
^Cherok, Richard J. (14 June 2011). Debating for God: Alexander Campbell's Challenge to Skepticism in Antebellum America.
ISBN978-0-89112-838-0. Later proponents of Campbell's views would refer to themselves as the "Restoration Movement" because of the Campbellian insistence on restoring Christianity to its New Testament form. ... Added to this mix were the concepts of American egalitarianism, which gave rise to his advocacy of nondenominational individualism and local church autonomy, and Christian primitivism, which led to his promotion of such early church practices as believer's baptism by immersion and the weekly partaking of the Lord's Supper.
^G. Koenig, Harold (2009). Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press. p. 31.
ISBN9780521889520. The Bible is the most globally influential and widely read book ever written. ... it has been a major influence on the behavior, laws, customs, education, art, literature, and morality of Western civilization.
^Burnside, Jonathan (2011). God, Justice, and Society: Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. XXVI.
^A. Spinello, Richard (2012). The Encyclicals of John Paul II: An Introduction and Commentary. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 147.
ISBN978-1-4422-1942-7. ... The insights of Christian philosophy "would not have happened without the direct or indirect contribution of Christian faith" (FR 76). Typical Christian philosophers include St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure, and St. Thomas Aquinas. The benefits derived from Christian philosophy are twofold....
^Gilley, Sheridan; Stanley, Brian (2006). The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 8, World Christianities C.1815-c.1914. Cambridge University Press. p. 164.
ISBN0-521-81456-1. ... Many of the scientists who contributed to these developments were Christians...
^Steane, Andrew (2014). Faithful to Science: The Role of Science in Religion. OUP Oxford. p. 179.
ISBN978-0-19-102513-6. ... the Christian contribution to science has been uniformly at the top level, but it has reached that level and it has been sufficiently strong overall ...
^S. Kroger, William (2016). Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in Medicine, Dentistry and Psychology. Pickle Partners Publishing.
ISBN978-1-78720-304-4. Many prominent Catholic physicians and psychologists have made significant contributions to hypnosis in medicine, dentistry, and psychology.
^W. Williams, Peter (2016). Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression. University of North Carolina Press. p. 176.
^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 (65.4%) have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.
abCurtis, Michael (2017). Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East. Routledge. p. 173.
^D. Barr, Michael (2012). Cultural Politics and Asian Values. Routledge. p. 81.
^Hill, Donald. Islamic Science and Engineering. 1993. Edinburgh Univ. Press.
ISBN0-7486-0455-3, p. 4
^Weber, Max (1905). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
^Hillerbrand, Hans J. (2016). Encyclopedia of Protestantism: 4-volume Set. Pickle Partners Publishing. p. 174.
ISBN978-1-78720-304-4. ... In the centuries succeeding the REFORMATION the teaching of Protestantism was consistent on the nature of work. Some Protestant theologians also contributed to the study of economics, especially the nineteenth-century Scottish minister THOMAS CHALMERS....
^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)
^Christianity has always placed a strong emphasis on hygiene:
Warsh, Cheryl Krasnick; Strong-Boag, Veronica (2006). Children's Health Issues in Historical Perspective. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 315.
ISBN978-0-88920-912-1. ... From Fleming's perspective, the transition to Christianity required a good dose of personal and public hygiene ...
Warsh, Cheryl Krasnick (2006). Children's Health Issues in Historical Perspective. Veronica Strong-Boag. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 315.
ISBN9780889209121. ... Thus bathing also was considered a part of good health practice. For example, Tertullian attended the baths and believed them hygienic. Clement of Alexandria, while condemning excesses, had given guidelines for Christians who wished to attend the baths ...
Squatriti, Paolo (2002). Water and Society in Early Medieval Italy, AD 400–1000, Parti 400–1000. Cambridge University Press. p. 54.
ISBN9780521522069. ... but baths were normally considered therapeutic until the days of Gregory the Great, who understood virtuous bathing to be bathing "on account of the needs of body" ...
Eveleigh, Bogs (2002). Baths and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation. Stroud, England: Sutton.
Christianity's role in the development and promotion of spas:
Bradley, Ian (2012). Water: A Spiritual History. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Contribution of the Christian missionaries of better health care of the people through hygiene and introducing and distributing the soaps:
Channa, Subhadra (2009). The Forger's Tale: The Search for Odeziaku. Indiana University Press. p. 284.
ISBN9788177550504. A major contribution of the Christian missionaries was better health care of the people through hygiene. Soap, tooth–powder and brushes came to be used increasingly in urban areas.
Thomas, John (2015). Evangelising the Nation: Religion and the Formation of Naga Political Identity. Routledge. p. 284.
ISBN9781317413981. cleanliness and hygiene became an important marker of being identified as a Christian
^Rawson, Beryl Rawson (2010). A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds. John Wiley & Sons. p. 111.
ISBN978-1-4443-9075-9. ...Christianity placed great emphasis on the family and on all members from children to the aged...
^Pritchard, Colin Pritchard (2006). Mental Health Social Work: Evidence-Based Practice. Routledge. p. 111.
^James D. Mallory, Stanley C. Baldwin, The kink and I: a psychiatrist's guide to untwisted living, 1973,
^G.C. Oosthuizen. Postchristianity in Africa. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (1968).
abMcManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, pp. 581–584.
^" The Christ Myth Theory and its Problems ", published 2011 by American Atheist press, Cranford, NJ,
^James L. Barton, Turkish Atrocities: Statements of American Missionaries on the Destruction of Christian Communities in Ottoman Turkey, 1915–1917. Gomidas Institute, 1998,
^Kaplan, S. (1 January 2005). ""Religious Nationalism": A Textbook Case from Turkey". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 25 (3): 665–676.
^Howson, Colin (2011). Objecting to God. Cambridge University Press. p.
ISBN978-1-139-49856-2. 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.
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.
Rüegg, Walter (1992). "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.
Tucker, Karen; Wainwright, Geoffrey (2006). The Oxford history of Christian worship. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press.