Christianity is founded on the worship of Jesus Christ as Son of God, the unique self-revelation of God to the human race. At the same time it remembers this same Jesus is a historical figure, a man of insignificant social standing who during his life was unknown outside the obscure corner of the Roman Empire where he lived and died.
Almost all we know about Jesus come from the four accounts of his life which we find in the New Testament. The account that follows is based on those Gospels.
Christians follow the teaching of and about Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus). He was a Jewish teacher who lived around 2,000 years ago. He was executed by the Romans for his teachings, and beliefs. Most Christians regard him as the son of God, and believe he existed before the creation of the world, and that he was born of a , and was resurrected three days after his death.
Today an estimated 33% of the world is considers themselves Christians, or about 2 billion. And an estimated 87% of North American's identify themselves as Christians, this number has been slowly dropping in recent years.
Every person who identifies themselves as Christian has these similar beliefs:
He was hailed as a prophet , a man sent by God. In his preaching, teaching and healing he matched up to that role, and as such he is one of a long and noble sequence of God's people before and since. But Christians believe, and as his own life and teachings suggest he is much more than that. He called for faith in and loyalty to himself, and presented himself as the final arbiter of people's destiny. He not only proclaimed forgiveness and salvation: but by his one life and suffering he achieved it. He is the messenger and also is the heart of the message. He calls people to God but is also himself the way to God. During Jesus' earthly life his disciples only dimly understood all this though thy understood enough to make them tenaciously loyal to him.. But after his "resurrection" they quickly came to speak of him as more than just a man, and to worship him as they worshipped his Father.
The Gospels sum up Jesus' teaching in Galilee in the challenge: "The time has come; the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Here is a short summary of his message:
The Early Church has separated into 3 distinct groups that can distinguished from each other. They are:
The history of these branches can be easily defined and the time of the split is easily determined. The Early Church split into two groups Eastern Orthodox, and Western Catholic, during a period of time called the Great Schism. The Western Catholic Church in turn separated into the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism, also known as Churches of the Reformation, which has many denominations underneath itself. This split occurred during a period known as the Reformation and Counter Reformation.
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