This paper will explore Christianity in general. It will include a brief history of how Christianity begun, the major groups that comprise of Christianity, and the various important Christian aspects. It will also explore how various groups differ on different beliefs. The paper also contains information on major Christian doctrines. Church activities are also mentioned therein. The various requirements for one to become a Christian have been described, and so have the various expectations of a true Christian.
The word “Christian” originated from the Greek word “Khristos”, which meant “Christ”. Christianity is a religion that is monotheistic, and is based on Jesus’ life and teachings. It is the world’s largest religion, boasting of around 2.1 billion people in the world. The religion started roughly 2000 years ago in Israel (but was known as Judea at the time) with Jesus and his 12 disciples. Christianity is widely accepted by both the church and secular world as the faith followed by the disciples and believers of Jesus Christ.
In the 1st century, Christianity started as part of a Jewish sect. It originated in the Mediterranean coast, and rapidly spread to reach Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, and Asia. Within a few decades it had already dominated Rome as the main religion. In the Middle Ages, the whole of Europe accepted Christianity. Before long, the religion had spread to Australia, Africa, and the rest of the world through the intense missionary work that was taking place.
Initially, Christianity was part of Judaism. However it detached itself from Judaism because Christians started viewing Jesus teachings and laws as superior to those in Judaism. Nevertheless, Jesus’ relationship with God was the cause of most of the disagreements between Christians [ CITATION Joh08 \l 2057 ]. Christians continue to disagree on various laws to date; such as whether to worship on Saturday or Sunday, in reference to one of the requirements of the Law. Current conflicts facing the Church include the issue of homosexuals in the Church and the various approaches to cultic and ethical standards.
With Christianity, it all begins with God the creator of everything as we know it. Christianity teaches about the trinity, which is the unity of three things: the Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is believed to be a Jew, born off a virgin, Mary and an earthly father, Joseph who was a carpenter. Upon Jesus’ death his main followers, the disciples took upon themselves to continue spreading the gospel as Jesus wanted them to and this has been going on to this day.
Christians often refer to Jesus as “’Messiah’’ or ‘’Christ’’ which means “anointed”. The three major groups comprising of Christians in the world are: the Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Christianity also teaches that Jesus suffered, died to signify humanity, was buried and on the third day rose from the dead to open the gates of heaven to those who repent their sins. He ascended to heaven to rule by the right side of His father, God[ CITATION Joh08 \l 2057 ]. It’s believed that He will come back to pass judgement to both the living and the dead and grant immortality to those believing in him and following his teachings.
Christianity comprises of three important aspects, namely a way of life, set of beliefs, and community of people. Although various Christian groups have differing thoughts about these three aspects, they all incorporate them in their teachings. These three aspects place their strength in the teachings and life of Jesus Christ (The basics of Christian beliefs, n.d). Moreover, Christians share several practices and beliefs with other religions, especially Islam and Judaism. All three religions believe in one God, and that following Him commits us to several rules and principles. They also believe that prayer is the main way to communicate with God, and that He answers prayers of His faithful children.
Christianity tends to emphasize more on the significance of proper belief as opposed to other religions. These beliefs are set in agreement with the various standards established by the Christian religion. Most Christians argue that one does not just become a Christian merely by virtue of birth or simply by the fact that they respect some of Jesus’ teachings. One can only be termed as a true Christian when they acknowledge the main Christian beliefs, follow in the way of life as taught by Jesus and decide to join the Christian community.
Although Christians are expected to follow the set of guidelines and beliefs, they are allowed to question them and express their uncertainties. Religious leaders and teachers are therefore expected to address these questions and restore the beliefs of the followers (The basics of Christian beliefs, n.d). Different religious groups have different standards for their beliefs and also varying degrees of conformity. Some groups are therefore more formal and strict than others. Christians use the Bible as their basis of doctrines and teachings about God. Although there are many versions of the Bible, the message conveyed is still the same.
Baptism is the Christian symbol of cleansing one’s sins and starting anew. It involves the ritual use of water to signify a Christian sacrament. Through it, one is considered a member of the Christian Church. To some Churches, baptism signifies one being purified from sin and their full devotion to God. Others believe that baptism is a type of exorcism from evil. Yet others teach that baptism is a vital step of conformity in a believer’s life, and does not have power in itself to save or cleanse one from sin. However, all Christians agree that baptism is important provided one wants to be considered a true Christian.
The Ten Commandments are the Christians’ guide to living a life that is acceptable to God. They are acknowledged as the moral foundation for all true Christians. These Commandments affirm that the Lord is the one true God, forbid worshiping of idols, promise love for those who love God, and punishment to those who disobey Him. They prohibit blasphemy, command on observing the Sabbath and honouring one’s father and mother. They forbid murder, theft, adultery, false testimony, and coveting of someone else’s goods. All these Commandments carry a lot of weight and should be treated with the seriousness they deserve.
The Apostle’s Creed is one of the most important doctrines among Christians. It states the beliefs in God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It also emphasizes on the fact that Jesus was crucified, died, and resurrected on the third day to heaven. It also teaches about the holiness of God’s house, the second coming of Christ, Judgement Day, and salvation of those who believe in God. This creed forms an essential part of prayer and worship to date.
Salvation is an important aspect to Christianity. Most Churches today are very concerned with how humans can be saved from sin and death. Both Protestant and Catholic doctrines demonstrate that salvation can only come from the death and resurrection of Jesus (What is the meaning of our salvation? n.d). Saved Christians must be ones who have faith and live with the principles of love for God and their neighbours. In addition to that, they must also be baptized. Protestants also declare that salvation can only reach an individual through God’s grace, and not just from baptism. To Christians, Heaven and hell are a definite destination; Born-again Christians will go to heaven, while sinners will go to hell.
Most Christians gather every Sunday to listen to the Word of God, praise and worship together with other believers. The sermon is usually delivered by an anointed servant of God. A variety of prayers are delivered throughout the service during different times. Some are recited, while others are sung. The Lord’s Prayer is the most common prayer for most Churches. The Holy Communion is also an integral part of the service. Every true Christian is expected to attend all Church services and the extra prayer and intercessor sessions that take place during the week.
Christianity is therefore about one’s relationship with God and fellow human beings; love for God and one’s neighbours should be the first priority. Every Christian should also strive to lead a holy and blameless life, so as to provide a good example for the rest of the people, especially non-believers. However, Christians should always try not to judge other people for their actions whether good or bad, since all judgement belongs to God.
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