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Please read Learning Module Christianity part 2 and Revel Living Religions chapter 9 Christianity.

1. Comment on the following proposition: “The differences among Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians nowadays are less doctrinal and moral than they are cultural”.

2.Based on the

Burning Times

documentary please indulge in your opinions concerning women in the Christian Church, past and present.

3.What is your intake after watching this documentary? Do you believe there is a “feminine side” of God and if yes, why is no longer visible?

here are some to help u

Up to 4th century early followers of Jesus Christ were not organized centrally, had no hierarchical structure of authority and no established worship rituals. They were seen as a radical sect within Judaism that freed itself from conservative Jewish regulations in order to allow more people to come and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ their new Messiah.

Women were converting to Christianity in large numbers. Paul’s statement “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” from Galatians 3:28 was one of the reasons why women had been accepted as equals and valued in early churches.

After Christianity has become the only official religion of the Roman Empire (4th century ) it gained enormous power, more men started to convert to become Christians, taking over the majority in the religious society. Since then, women’s power in Christianity started to decline; hierarchical structure of the church had been established to allowing only the males to have the power to rule the Church.

In the early Church, women with the power to perform miracles were considered to be sacred. However, as time passed by, women who possessed the same power began to be considered as witches, who dealt with demons to obtain the power.

Please watch this documentary that that takes in-depth look at the witch hunts in Europe. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and violence again women in 16th-17th centuries.

Following the video

Burning Times

please indulge in your opinions concerning women in the Christian Church, past and present. What is your intake after watching this documentary?  Do you believe there is a “feminine side” of God and if yes, why is no longer visible?

Who is Jesus Christ? Who is a true follower of Christ? How to understand the meaning of Jesus’ teachings and his crucifixion? What is Christian church? How should churches be organized and who is in charge? What scriptures to read and follow for spiritual life?

The early followers of Jesus Christ that spoke a variety of languages, lived in various places and were not organized centrally struggled with these very questions.There were no canon, no accepted theology, no hierarchical structure of authority, no church buildings and established worship rituals to support their spiritual lives.

The first authoritative collection of Christian scriptures (also known as Christian canon), the creed, and institutional structure of the Christian church emerged only by the end of the fourth century as a result of political vision of the Roman Emperor Constantine and theological unity of the first church leaders in general council of elders

in Nicea in 371 CE.

Christian leaders ( also known as church fathers) had varying lists of their favourite scriptures to include in the official canon. The process of selection took over 300 years; the oldest surviving text that approximates the current Christian New Testament was put together in 367 CE by Bishop of Alexandria.

The Council of Nicea ( 371 CE) adopted orthodox ( literally “straight”, “correct”) and catholic ( literally “universal”) position that Jesus’ divine nature was the same as that of God and articulated the Holy Trinity doctrine ( also known as “symbol of faith”)

. All different variations and interpretations of Jesus’ nature and his teaching that circulated in early communities, such as foe example gnosticism, were declared heretical and blasphemy.

Please click on the link above to read more about the determination of the Christian canon.

When Christianity becamethe official religion of the Roman Empire late in 380 CE, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, the cross became an official symbol of Christianity.

Emperor Constantine was himself baptized in the late fourth century, he and many of his successors vigorously supported the new church:

Christendom

( literally the domain of Christ), has been established as an ideal form of

theocratic government

, with the one universal (Catholic) church guiding the hand of the Christian emperor, who, in turn has become a protector of the church.

Christian understanding of God is complex. Christian emphasis on God giving his son, or the Son ( who is also God) coming down to earth for the sake of humanity out of love, is an essential difference between Christianity and other monotheistic religions.

The Holy Trinity might not make sense as addition ( 1+1+1=3 gods), but rather as multiplication (1X1X1=1 God).

One of my students suggested to explain the Trinity by using water as an example. Water can take three forms, solid ice ( frozen), liquid water or  gas ( vapour). Three different forms but the same substance.

Holy Trinity doctrine

– speaks of three equal “persons” within one divine being: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Father  is the one who sends the Son to become incarnate in Jesus with the mission to reveal God’s love to the world.

This Son enters human history as Jesus Christ, the Saviour.

The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, who Jesus promises will be sent after his death, is the power and presence of God, actively guiding the faithful. Thus there are three persons within one divinity.

Jesus

is of a perfectly divine nature as well as a perfectly human nature. Jesus is both fully God and fully human, two “natures” in one person.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, the mother of God  gave birth to the Son of God (who is, himself, likewise God), who was formed  in her by the Spirit of God.   Mary did not have sexual relationships with any humans prior to the birth of Jesus.  Jesus was innocent of any sin.

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, believers are forgiven of sins and reconciled to God.

The Holy Spirit

is sent to them by Christ, to bring hope and lead mankind into true knowledge of God and His purposes, and help them grow in holiness.

Christian Trinity belief ( doctrine) is expressed formally in the Nicene  Creed ( 325-381), also known as “symbol of faith”

.

In its long history, Christianity has shaped and been shaped by many political and cultural contexts.

Despite its ideal of unity, Christianity has always experienced divisions from within, some of which exist to this day.

The three great families in Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox,Protestant)

arose from specific circumstances between 11th and 16th centuries and

today have  distinct and usually competing versions of the religion:

each of them claims to best represent the essence of Christianity;

each of them claims a particular kind of continuity with Christian origin;

all of them share the same basic story, creed, and moral teaching but differ most on questions of organization, theological issues and worship;

all of them share the same Holy Bible, creed, and morality, their differences tend to be found on points of theological emphasis, worship, and forms of organization.

Contemporary Christianity is diverse and complex, yet all great Christian families accept the canon of the New Testament, confess the apostolic creed and affirm the Trinity doctrine and specific forms of church institution.

Three great families in Christianity

Similarities

Differences

Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant

The Holy Bible , creed, morality.

Head of the Church: Jesus Christ

Worship, forms of organization.

Living Religions
Tenth Edition
Chapter 9
Christianity: the
early Christian
church and Christian
denominations
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
The early Church
• Jesus’ followers persecuted
• By 380 CE, Christianity became official religion of
Roman Empire
• 312 CE: Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision
of the cross.
• Constantine was baptized as a Christian just
before his death.
• By the fifth century, Christianity was the faith of
the majority of the vast former Roman Empire.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
From persecution to empire
• Apostle: Christian missionary from early church.
• 50 days after Passover (Pentecost), 3,000 people
converted to Christianity
• Paul
–
–
–
–
–
Originally named Saul, a Pharisee tentmaker
Conversion after vision of Jesus on road to Damascus
New name Paul
Martyred in Rome
Tried to convince Jews that Jesus was fulfillment of
Old Testament
– Also attempted to convert Gentiles
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Evolving organization and theology
• Gnosticism: mystical perception of knowledge
• Holy Trinity: three equal persons—Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit
• Church developed a number of creeds
• 325 CE: Council of Nicaea adopted Nicene
Creed
• Christology: attempt to define the nature of
Jesus
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Church administration:
• Bishop of Rome eventually known as the pope; the Roman pope
claimed universal authority.
• Major seats of Christianity: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria,
Antioch, Jerusalem.
• In the fifth century, Pope Leo I argued that all popes were apostolic
successors of Peter.
• Gregory I (“the Great”)
– Founded monasteries and fed the poor
– Sent missionaries to England
• Worship of relics was a major feature of popular Christianity.
• Those who disagreed with church authority could be
excommunicated or removed from participation in the sacrament
and, thereby, redemption.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Christian denominations
• Unity as an ideal expressed in the New
Testament (‘all in one”)
• conflict and division throughout Christian
history
• The three major denominations ( Catholic,
Orthodox, Protestant) arose from specific
circumstances between 11th ( 1054) and 16th
centuries: three distinct and usually
competing versions of the religion.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
East–West division: 1054 split
• 1054: leaders of Eastern and Western churches
excommunicated one another over:
– Theological (Disagreement about Holy Spirit)
– Political (Papal claim)
• 1204: Western Christian crusaders began
• Eastern Church divided after Council of Chalcedon, 451 CE
• Bishops who did not accept that Jesus was both divine and
human were declared “out of communion” with both Eastern
and Western Churches and excommunicated.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
The Protestant Reformation
• Church sold indulgences for remission of sins and
decreased time in Purgatory (intermediate place
of suffering while awaiting heaven)
• Martin Luther (1483–1546)
– Questioned the selling of indulgences
– Argued for justification through faith
– Believed the only sacraments were baptism (ritual to
cleanse sin) and Eucharist (partaking of bread and
wine)
– 1517: nailed theses about doctrine to university door
– 1521: excommunicated
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The Protestant Reformation
• Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531) rejected practices not in the
Bible
• Protestantism grew from these reforms
• Movement was never monolithic but developed into
several denominations (organized groups of
congregations)
• John Calvin (1509–1564)
–
–
–
–
–
Salvation by faith alone
Exclusive authority of Bible
The priesthood of all believers
Afterlife predestined
Movement became known as Calvinism
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
The Protestant Reformation
• Church of England:
– Henry VII declared English Church’s independence
– 1559: Elizabeth I finalized breach with Rome
– Now called Anglicanism
• Methodism
– Originated with evangelist John Wesley (1703–1791)
– Emphasis on holiness and methodological devotion
• The reformation of the German Church became
known as Lutheranism.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
The Protestant Reformation
• Calvinism led to two major Reformed Churches:
– Scottish Presbyterianism (led by presbyters)
– Congregationalism (emphasis on independence of local church)
• Anabaptists
– Rejected infant baptism
– Continued as Baptists, Mennonites, and Amish
– Related to Quakers, who have no planned liturgy
• Nineteenth- and twentieth-century denominations
– Seventh-day Adventists believe the second coming is imminent.
– Jehovah’s Witnesses criticize other churches for developing false
doctrines.
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
The Roman Catholic Reformation
• “Counter-Reformation” in response to
Protestant Reformation
• Started with Council of Trent (1545–1563)
– Good works and faith
– transubstantiation: bread and wine transformed
into the body and blood of Jesus
– Emphasized its dogmas: authoritative truths
• Jesuits—the “army of God”—missionized Asia
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Orthodox world today
• synod: council of officials
• Philokalia: writings of the saints of the Church
• Distinctive feature: veneration of icons, stylized
paintings of Jesus, Mary, and saints
• 15 self-governing Orthodox Churches worldwide
• Patriarchate of Constantinople plays central role
• Patriarchate of Alexandria includes all of Africa
• Greek Orthodox Church dominates Greek religious life
• Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus is also a political
leader
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The Second Vatican Council
• Called by Pope John XXIII in 1962 to update
and energize the Church
• Allowed for liturgy in local languages
• Greater emphasis on sacred music
• Major focus on ecumenism among branches
of Christianity
• Opened dialogue with Judaism and Islam
Copyright © 2017, 2014, 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Ecumenical movement
• Contemporary attempt to unite all Christian
churches around points of agreement
• World Council of Churches
– Founded in 1948
– Cooperation of all denominations regardless of
doctrinal disagreements
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