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Universal religion
LanguageAramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin
Origin1st century AD
Judaea, Roman Empire
Separated fromJudaism
Number of followersc.2.4 billion (referred to as Christians)

Christianity (

global population.[1][2] Its adherents, known as Christians, are estimated to make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories,[3] and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament in Christianity) and chronicled in the New Testament.[4]

Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, and doctrinally diverse concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. The creeds of various Christian denominations generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the Logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of humankind; and referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". The four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe Jesus's life and teachings, with the Old Testament as the gospels' respected background.

Western civilization, particularly in Europe from late antiquity and the Middle Ages.[7][8][9][10]

The six major

decline in adherence, with about 70% of that population identifying as Christian.[16][17] Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents.[16] Christians remain greatly persecuted in many regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia.[18][19]


Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as 'The Way' (

Antioch by the non-Jewish inhabitants there.[25] The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity/Christianism" (Χρῑστῐᾱνισμός, Khrīstiānismós) was by Ignatius of Antioch around 100 AD.[26]


While Christians worldwide share basic convictions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based.[27]


Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea
(325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

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.[28]



This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of the

apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome.[29]
Its points include:



Oriental Orthodox,[34] taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably": one divine and one human, and that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are nevertheless also perfectly united into one person.[35]

The 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 Substance".[36]

Most Christians (

Protestant alike) accept the use of creeds and subscribe to at least one of the creeds mentioned above.[37]


Evangelical Protestants, though not all of them, reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, and the Churches of Christ.[38][39]: 14–15 [40]
: 123 


Various depictions of Jesus

The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in

the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[42]

While there have been many

resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the final establishment of the Kingdom of God

According to the

Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus's childhood is recorded in the canonical gospels, although infancy gospels were popular in antiquity.[46] In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, is well documented in the gospels contained within the New Testament, because that part of his life is believed to be most important. The biblical accounts of Jesus's ministry include: his baptism, miracles
, preaching, teaching, and deeds.

Death and resurrection

Cross, painting by Diego Velázquez
, c. 1632

Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history.[47] Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based.[48] 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.[49]


twelve apostles and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once",[50] before Jesus's ascension to heaven. Jesus's death and resurrection are commemorated by Christians in all worship services, with special emphasis during Holy Week, which includes Good Friday and Easter

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 eternal life.[51]

Christian churches accept and teach the

myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues.[56] 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".[57][58]


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".

— John 3:16, NIV[59]

The Law and the Gospel by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1529); Moses and Elijah point the sinner to Jesus for salvation.

pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life.[60] 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"[61][62] 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".[63][60]

Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be

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.[64] 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.[65]

Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals' salvation is pre-ordained by God. Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are

Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus.[67]


Holy Spirit.[68]

Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God

sarcophagi the Logos is distinguished with a beard, "which allows him to appear ancient, even pre-existent".[76]


mystery-nature of 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.[78][79]

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

omnipotent. Other Christian religions including Unitarian Universalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormonism
, do not share those views on the Trinity.

The Greek word trias[80][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".[84] The term may have been in use before this time; its Latin equivalent,[note 3] trinitas,[82] appears afterwards with an explicit reference to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in Tertullian.[85][86] In the following century, the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen.[87]


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.[88]


Nontrinitarianism (or antitrinitarianism) refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Various nontrinitarian views, such as

Protestant Reformation of the 16th century,[90] in the 18th-century Enlightenment, among Restorationist groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century, and most recently, in Oneness Pentecostal


The end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world, broadly speaking, is Christian eschatology; the study of the destiny of humans as it is revealed in the Bible. The major issues in Christian eschatology are the

New Heavens and New Earth

Christians believe that the second coming of Christ will occur at the

Kingdom of God in fulfillment of scriptural prophecies.[91][92]

Death and afterlife

Most Christians believe that human beings experience divine judgment and are rewarded either with eternal life or

resurrection of the dead as well as the belief (held by Catholics,[93][94] Orthodox[95][96] and most Protestants) in a judgment particular to the individual soul
upon physical death.

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.[97] Those who have attained this goal are called saints (Latin sanctus, "holy").[98]

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.[99]


Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at a Catholic parish church in Woodside, New York City, U.S.
Conservative Anabaptist women, for modesty, wear cape dresses and headcoverings, the latter of which is taught as a church ordinance.[100]

Depending on the specific

ordained clergy who lead regular communal worship services.[101]

Communal worship

First Apology (c. 150) to Emperor Antoninus Pius
, and his description remains relevant to the basic structure of Christian liturgical worship:

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.[106]

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.

worship songs, and other church music may be sung.[108][109] Services can be varied for special events like significant feast days.[110]

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

Confessional Lutheran churches continue to practice 'closed communion'.[113] 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.[114] Many other churches, such as Anglican Communion and the Methodist Churches (such as the Free Methodist Church 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.[115][116][117]

Sacraments or ordinances

2nd-century description of the Eucharist

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.

Justin Martyr[106]

In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is 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.[118]

The most conventional functional definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, that conveys an inward, spiritual grace through Christ. The two most widely accepted sacraments are

Taken together, these are the

Conservative Mennonite Anabaptist churches, which include "baptism, communion, footwashing, marriage, anointing with oil, the holy kiss, and the prayer covering".[100]

In addition to this, the Church of the East has two additional sacraments in place of the traditional sacraments of Matrimony and the Anointing of the Sick. These include Holy Leaven (Melka) and the sign of the cross.[120]

Liturgical calendar

Catholics, Eastern Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans and other traditional Protestant communities frame worship around the liturgical year.[121] 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 paraments and vestments for clergy,[122] 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

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 Christmas, Easter, and 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.[123]


ΙΧΘΥΣ into a wheel, Ephesus
, Asia Minor

Most Christian denominations have not generally practiced aniconism,[124] the avoidance or prohibition of devotional images, even if early Jewish Christians, invoking the Decalogue's prohibition of idolatry, avoided figures in their symbols.[125]

The cross, today one of the most widely recognized symbols, was used by Christians from the earliest times.[126][127] 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.[128] Although the cross was known to the early Christians, the crucifix did not appear in use until the 5th century.[129]

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.[130] 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.[130]

Other major Christian symbols include 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.[129]


Baptist Union of Great Britain

Baptism is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the

Anabaptist Christians practice believer's baptism, in which an adult chooses to receive the ordinance after making a decision to follow Jesus.[141] Anabaptist denominations such as the Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites use pouring as the mode to administer believer's baptism, whereas Anabaptists of the Schwarzenau Brethren and River Brethren traditions baptize by immersion.[142][143][144][145]


"... ‘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’".

— The Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9–13, EHV[146]

In the

Gospel of Saint Matthew, Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer, which has been seen as a model for Christian prayer.[147] The injunction for Christians to pray the Lord's prayer thrice daily was given in the Didache and came to be recited by Christians at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm.[148][149]

In the second century

The Apostolic Tradition directed that the sign of the cross be used by Christians during the minor exorcism of baptism, during ablutions before praying at fixed prayer times, and in times of temptation.[154]

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[155] and by prophets of the Old Testament in favor of other people.[156] In the Epistle of James, no distinction is made between the intercessory prayer offered by ordinary believers and the prominent Old Testament prophet Elijah.[157] The effectiveness of prayer in Christianity derives from the power of God rather than the status of the one praying.[158]

The ancient church, in both

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".[162] 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.[163] 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.


The Bible is the sacred book in Christianity.

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".[164]

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.[165][166][167] 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;[168] 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.[169] The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek
, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all major churches.

Some denominations have

Catholic interpretation

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic Church

In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in

theoria) could only be accepted if based on the literal meaning.[171]

Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual.[172]

The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into:

Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds:

  • The injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the literal[174][175]
  • That the historicity of the Gospels must be absolutely and constantly held[176]
  • That scripture must be read within the "living Tradition of the whole Church"[177] and
  • That "the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome".[178]

Protestant interpretation

Qualities of Scripture

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;[179][180] 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.[179][181] 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".[182] He advocated for "one definite and simple understanding of Scripture".[182] John Calvin wrote, "all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guide, find in the Scripture a clear light".[183] 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 to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life.[184]

Original intended meaning of Scripture

Protestants stress the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, the

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".[188] 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.[186]
Some Protestant interpreters make use of typology.[189]


Early Christianity

Apostolic Age

The Cenacle on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost

Christianity developed during the 1st century AD as a

James the Just, the brother of Jesus, Peter, and John.[193]

Jewish Christianity soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, posing a problem for its

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.[195]

Ante-Nicene period

A folio from Papyrus 46, an early-3rd-century collection of Pauline epistles

This formative period was followed by the early bishops, whom Christians consider the successors of Christ's apostles. From the year 150, Christian teachers began to produce theological and apologetic works aimed at defending the faith. These authors are known as the Church Fathers, and the study of them is called patristics. Notable early Fathers include Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Origen.

James, son of Zebedee.[197] The Decian persecution was the first empire-wide conflict,[198] when the edict of Decius in 250 AD required everyone in the Roman Empire (except Jews) to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Diocletianic Persecution beginning in 303 AD was also particularly severe. Roman persecution ended in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan


Jewish Christians continuing to follow the Law of Moses, including practices such as circumcision. By the fifth century, they and the Jewish–Christian gospels
would be largely suppressed by the dominant sects in both Judaism and Christianity.

Spread and acceptance in Roman Empire

Monastery of St. Matthew, located atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraq, is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence.[199]

Christianity spread to


The 7th-century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat; Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as the state religion, in AD 301.[204]

King Tiridates III made Christianity the state religion in Armenia between 301 and 314,[204][205][206] 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.[207]

State church of the Roman Empire.[211] As soon as it became connected to the state, Christianity grew wealthy; the Church solicited donations from the rich and could now own land.[212]

Constantine was also instrumental in the convocation of the

Protestant churches.[213][37] Nicaea was the first of a series of ecumenical councils, which formally defined critical elements of the theology of the Church, notably concerning Christology.[214] The Church of the East did not accept the third and following ecumenical councils and is still separate today by its successors (Assyrian Church of the East

In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the

Christian world in size, wealth, and culture.[216] There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek.[217] Byzantine art and literature held a preeminent place in Europe, and the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the West during this period was enormous and of long-lasting significance.[218] The later rise of Islam in North Africa reduced the size and numbers of Christian congregations, leaving in large numbers only the Coptic Church in Egypt, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the Horn of Africa and the Nubian Church
in the Sudan (Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia).

Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages

Christendom by AD 600 after its spread to Africa and Europe from the Middle East

With the decline and

Slavic peoples

Around 500, Christianity was thoroughly integrated into Byzantine and

monasteries.[219] Monasticism became a powerful force throughout Europe,[219] and gave rise to many early centers of learning, most famously in Ireland, Scotland, and Gaul, contributing to the Carolingian Renaissance
of the 9th century.

In the 7th century,

The Middle Ages brought about major changes within the church.

Pope Gregory the Great dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structure and administration.[223] In the early 8th century, iconoclasm became a divisive issue, when it was sponsored by the Byzantine emperors. The Second Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) finally pronounced in favor of icons.[224] In the early 10th century, Western Christian monasticism was further rejuvenated through the leadership of the great Benedictine monastery of Cluny.[225]

High and Late Middle Ages

Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached the First Crusade. Illustration by Jean Colombe from the Passages d'outremer, c. 1490.

In the West, from the 11th century onward, some older cathedral schools became universities (see, for example, University of Oxford, University of Paris and University of Bologna). Previously, higher education had been the domain of Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), led by monks and nuns. Evidence of such schools dates back to the 6th century CE.[226] These new universities expanded the curriculum to include academic programs for clerics, lawyers, civil servants, and physicians.[227] The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[228][229][230]

Accompanying the rise of the "new towns" throughout Europe,

consecrated religious life out of the monastery and into the new urban setting. The two principal mendicant movements were the Franciscans[231] and the Dominicans,[232] 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 Romanesque and Gothic architecture and the building of the great European cathedrals.[233]

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 Fourth Crusade.[236]

The Christian Church experienced internal conflict between the 7th and 13th centuries that resulted in a

schism between the Latin Church of Western Christianity branch, the now-Catholic Church, and an Eastern, largely Greek, branch (the Eastern Orthodox Church). The two sides disagreed on a number of administrative, liturgical and doctrinal issues, most prominently Eastern Orthodox opposition to papal supremacy.[237][238] The Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) attempted to reunite the churches, but in both cases, the Eastern Orthodox refused to implement the decisions, and the two principal churches remain in schism to the present day. However, the Catholic Church has achieved union with various smaller eastern churches

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.[239][240]

Beginning around 1184, following the crusade against

Cathar heresy,[241] 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.[242]

Modern era

Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Martin Luther initiated the Reformation with his Ninety-five Theses in 1517.

The 15th-century

Edict of Worms condemned and excommunicated Luther and his followers, resulting in the schism of the Western Christendom into several branches.[244]

Other reformers like

declared head of the Church of England. Beginning in 1536, the monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved.[245]

Thomas Müntzer, Andreas Karlstadt and other theologians perceived both the Catholic Church and the confessions of the Magisterial Reformation as corrupted. Their activity brought about the Radical Reformation, which gave birth to various Anabaptist denominations.

Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica; the Catholic Church was among the patronages of the Renaissance.[246][247][248]

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.[249] 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.[250]

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.

Throughout Europe, the division caused by the Reformation led to outbreaks of

Christian debate on persecution and toleration.[251]

In the revival of neoplatonism


In the era known as the

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.[265]

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,[266] 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.[267]

Ordination of new pastors in Cameroon, 2014

Christian commitment in Europe dropped as modernity and secularism came into their own,

Christians,[273] most prevalent in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon


With around 2.4 billion adherents according to a 2020 estimation by

global South were cited as the reasons for the Christian population growth.[279][280] 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.[281] 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.[282]
: 60 

A Christian procession in Brazil, the country with the largest Catholic population in the world[3]
Trinity Sunday in Russia; the Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a great revival since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a country that had a policy of state atheism.[283]
Igreja da Cidade in São José dos Campos, affiliated with the Brazilian Baptist Convention

According to some scholars, Christianity ranks at first place in net gains through

Protestants and other Christians are on the rise in the developing world.[286][287][288] The so-called popular Protestantism[note 7] is one of the fastest growing religious categories in the world.[289][290][291] 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.[292] Africa alone, by 2015, will be home to 230 million African Catholics.[293] 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.[294] According to Pew Research Center, Africa is expected to be home to 1.1 billion African Christians by 2050.[282]

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.[16] Christianity is the predominant religion in Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Sub-Saharan Africa.[16] There are also large Christian communities in other parts of the world, such as Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.[16] In Asia, it is the dominant religion in Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia, East Timor, and the Philippines.[295] However, it is declining in some areas including the northern and western United States,[296] some areas in Oceania (Australia[297] and New Zealand[298]), northern Europe (including Great Britain,[299] 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,[300][301][302] and Macau[303]).

The Christian population is not decreasing in Brazil, the southern United States,

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.[16] Christianity remains the largest religion in Western Europe, where 71% of Western Europeans identified themselves as Christian in 2018.[311] 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.[3][16] By 2010 about 157 countries and territories in the world had Christian majorities.[3]

There are many

Pentecostal forms.[319]
A study conducted by St. Mary's University estimated about 10.2 million
university degree.[308] According to scholar Juliette Koning and Heidi Dahles of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam there is a "rapid expansion" of Christianity in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea.[308] According to scholar Terence Chong from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, since the 1980s Christianity is expanding in China, Singapore,[326] Indonesia, Japan,[327][328] Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea,[16] and Vietnam.[329]

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.[330] Some sources view this as part of a drift away from traditional membership institutions,[331] while others link it to signs of a decline in belief in the importance of religion in general.[332] Europe's Christian population, though in decline, still constitutes the largest geographical component of the religion.[333] According to data from the 2012 European Social Survey, around a third of European Christians say they attend services once a month or more.[334] 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.[334] 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.[335]

Kingdom of Denmark (Lutheran),[338] England (Anglican),[339] Greece (Greek Orthodox),[340] Iceland (Lutheran),[341] Liechtenstein (Catholic),[342] Malta (Catholic),[343] Monaco (Catholic),[344] Norway (Lutheran),[345] Samoa,[346] Tonga (Methodist), Tuvalu (Reformed), and Vatican City (Catholic).[347]

There are numerous other countries, such as Cyprus, which although do not have an

established church, still give official recognition and support to a specific Christian denomination.[348]

Demographics of major traditions within Christianity (Pew Research Center, 2020 data)[1]
Tradition Followers % of the Christian population % of the world population Follower dynamics Dynamics in- and outside Christianity
Roman Catholic Church 1,329,610,000 50.1 15.9 Increase Growing Increase Growing
Protestantism 900,640,000 36.7 11.6 Increase Growing Increase Growing
Eastern Orthodox Church 220,380,000 11.9 3.8 Increase Growing Decrease Declining
Other Christianity 28,430,000 1.3 0.4 Increase Growing Increase Growing
Christianity 2,382,750,000 100 31.7 Increase Growing Steady Stable
Christians (self-described) by region (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)[3][16]
Region Christians % Christian
Europe 558,260,000 75.2
Latin AmericaCaribbean 531,280,000 90.0
Sub-Saharan Africa 517,340,000 62.9
Asia Pacific
286,950,000 7.1
North America 266,630,000 77.4
Middle EastNorth Africa 12,710,000 3.7
World 2,173,180,000 31.5
Regional median ages of Christians compared with overall median ages (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)[3]
Christian median age
in region (years)
Regional median
age (years)
World 30 29
Sub-Saharan Africa 19 18
Latin America-Caribbean 27 27
28 29
Middle East-North Africa 29 24
North America 39 37
Europe 42 40

The global distribution of Christians: Countries colored a darker shade have a higher proportion of Christians.[349]

  • Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple; countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink.

    Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple; countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink.

  • Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blue.

    Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blue.

  • Distribution of Catholics

    Distribution of Catholics

  • Distribution of Protestants

    Distribution of Protestants

  • Distribution of Eastern Orthodox

    Distribution of Eastern Orthodox

  • Distribution of Oriental Orthodox

    Distribution of Oriental Orthodox

  • Distribution of other Christians

    Distribution of other Christians

Churches and denominations

Christianity can be taxonomically divided into six main groups: Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, and Restorationism.[14][350] A broader distinction that is sometimes drawn is between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, which has its origins in the East–West Schism (Great Schism) of the 11th century. Recently, neither Western or Eastern World Christianity has also stood out, for example, in African-initiated churches. However, there are other present[351] and historical[352] Christian groups that do not fit neatly into one of these primary categories.

There is a diversity of doctrines and liturgical practices among groups calling themselves Christian. These groups may vary ecclesiologically in their views on a classification of Christian denominations.[353] 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.[354]

(Not shown are non-Nicene, nontrinitarian, and some restorationist denominations.)

Catholic Church

Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church consists of those

subsists fully in the Catholic Church, but also acknowledges other Christian churches and communities[359][360] and works towards reconciliation among all Christians.[359] The Catholic faith is detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[361][362]

Of its

health care in the world.[365]
Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organizations.


As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution,[371] it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization.[372] The 2,834 sees[373] are grouped into 24 particular autonomous Churches (the largest of which being the Latin Church), each with its own distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering of sacraments.[374] With more than 1.1 billion baptized members, the Catholic Church is the largest Christian church and represents 50.1%[16] all Christians as well as one sixth of the world's population.[375][376][377] Catholics live all over the world through missions, diaspora, and conversions.

Eastern Orthodox Church

St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul: It has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople whose leader is regarded as the primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[378]

The Eastern Orthodox Church consists of those churches in communion with the patriarchal sees of the East, such as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.[379] Like the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church also traces its heritage to the foundation of Christianity through apostolic succession and has an episcopal structure, though the autonomy of its component parts is emphasized, and most of them are national churches.

priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions

Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with an estimated 230 million adherents, although

Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.[383] The majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live mainly in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus, Georgia, and parts of the Caucasus region, Siberia, and the Russian Far East. Over half of Eastern Orthodox Christians follow the Russian Orthodox Church, while the vast majority live within Russia.[384] There are also communities in the former Byzantine regions of Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, and in the Middle East. Eastern Orthodox communities are also present in many other parts of the world, particularly North America, Western Europe, and Australia, formed through diaspora, conversions, and missionary

Oriental Orthodoxy

Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, the seat of the Ethiopian Orthodox; the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches


Miaphysite christology

The Oriental Orthodox communion consists of six groups:

Armenian Apostolic churches.[385] These six churches, while being in communion with each other, are completely independent hierarchically.[386] These churches are generally not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church, with whom they are in dialogue for erecting a communion.[387] Together, they have about 62 million members worldwide.[388][389][390]

As some of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Oriental Orthodox Churches have played a prominent role in the history and culture of

episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarized in that the churches recognize the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.[393]

Some Oriental Orthodox Churches such as the

Eritrean Orthodox, places a heavier emphasis on Old Testament teachings than one might find in other Christian denominations, and its followers adhere to certain practices: following dietary rules that are similar to Jewish Kashrut,[394] require that their male members undergo circumcision,[395] and observes ritual purification.[396][397]

Church of the East

Geramon in Hakkari
, southeastern Turkey.


communion with those in the Roman Empire until the Council of Ephesus condemned Nestorius in 431. Continuing as a dhimmi community under the Sunni Caliphate after the Muslim conquest of Persia (633–654), the Church of the East played a major role in the history of Christianity in Asia. Between the 9th and 14th centuries, it represented the world's largest Christian denomination in terms of geographical extent. It established dioceses and communities stretching from the Mediterranean Sea and today's Iraq and Iran, to India (the Saint Thomas Syrian Christians of Kerala), the Mongol kingdoms in Central Asia, and China during the Tang dynasty (7th–9th centuries). In the 13th and 14th centuries, the church experienced a final period of expansion under the Mongol Empire
, where influential Church of the East clergy sat in the Mongol court.


communion with any other church, it belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and uses the East Syriac Rite in its liturgy.[398]

Saint Mary Church; an ancient Assyrian church located in the city of Urmia, Iran

Its main spoken language is

Assyrian diaspora.[399] It is officially headquartered in the city of Erbil in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, and its original area also spreads into south-eastern Turkey and north-western Iran, corresponding to ancient Assyria. Its hierarchy is composed of metropolitan bishops and diocesan bishops, while lower clergy consists of priests and deacons, who serve in dioceses (eparchies) and parishes throughout the Middle East, India, North America, Oceania, and Europe (including the Caucasus and Russia).[400]

The Ancient Church of the East distinguished itself from the Assyrian Church of the East in 1964. It is one of the Assyrian churches that claim continuity with the historical Church of the East, one of the oldest Christian churches in Mesopotamia.[401] It is officially headquartered in the city of Baghdad, Iraq.[402] The majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians.[402]


In 1521, the

Edict of Worms condemned Martin Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas.[403] This split within the Roman Catholic church is now called the Reformation. Prominent Reformers included Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin. The 1529 Protestation at Speyer against being excommunicated gave this party the name Protestantism. Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are far broader denominationally, and are referred to as the Reformed tradition.[404] Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, and many other fields.[405][406]

The Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and organized in the Anglican Communion. Some, but not all Anglicans consider themselves both Protestant and Catholic.[407][408]

Since the Anglican, Lutheran, and the Reformed branches of Protestantism originated for the most part in cooperation with the government, these movements are termed the "

The term Protestant also refers to any churches which formed later, with either the Magisterial or Radical traditions. In the 18th century, for example,

Protestantism is the second largest major group of Christians after Catholicism by number of followers, although the Eastern Orthodox Church is larger than any single Protestant denomination.

neo-charismatic, independent, and other churches are on the rise, and constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity.[422]

Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenets identify themselves as "Christians" or "

evangelical". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little affiliation with historic denominations.[424]



The 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.[425] 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.[426] In Asia, Iglesia ni Cristo is a known restorationist religion that was established during the early 1900s.

Some of the churches originating during this period are historically connected to early 19th-century camp meetings in the Midwest and upstate New York. One of the largest churches produced from the movement is

Latter Day Saints movement. While the churches originating in the Second Great Awakening have some superficial similarities, their doctrine and practices vary significantly.[430]


Unitarian Church of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca

Within Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Transylvania, Hungary, Romania, and the United Kingdom,


Various smaller

Independent Catholic communities, such as the Old Catholic Church,[434] include the word Catholic in their title, and arguably have more or less liturgical practices in common with the Catholic Church but are no longer in full communion with the Holy See.[435]

Spiritual Christians, such as the Doukhobors and Molokans, broke from the Russian Orthodox Church and maintain close association with Mennonites and Quakers due to similar religious practices; all of these groups are furthermore collectively considered to be peace churches due to their belief in pacifism.[436][437]

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.[438]

esoteric doctrines or practices,[442][443] hidden from the public and accessible only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.[444][445]

Cultural influence

Sistine chapel ceiling, Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, Eastern Orthodox wedding, Christ the Redeemer statue, Nativity scene

The history of the

Latin Christendom rose to the central role of the Western world

The Bible has had a profound influence on Western civilization and on cultures around the globe; it has contributed to the formation of

art, texts, and education.[458][459][460] 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.[460]

Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.[471]

Outside the Western world, Christianity has had an influence on various cultures, such as in Africa, the Near East, Middle East, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Christians in the Middle East have made significant contributions to Arab and Islamic civilization since the introduction of Islam, and they have had a significant impact contributing the culture of the Mashriq, Turkey, and Iran.[480][472]

Influence on Western culture

Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman Empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Western Europe.[482] Until the Age of Enlightenment,[482] Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science.[482][451] Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature, and so on.

Christianity has had a significant impact on education, as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,

Puritanism and German Pietism on the one hand, and early experimental science on the other.[491][492][493]
The civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare,

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.[503]

world view in historically Christian societies.[504]


Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona and Bishop Steven Delzer of Evangelical Lutheran Southeastern Minnesota Synod leading a Reformation Day
service (2017)

Christian groups and

Edinburgh Missionary Conference of Protestants in 1910, the Justice, Peace and Creation Commission of the World Council of Churches founded in 1948 by Protestant and Orthodox churches, and similar national councils like the National Council of Churches in Australia, which includes Catholics.[505]

The other way was an institutional union with united churches, a practice that can be traced back to unions between Lutherans and Calvinists in early 19th-century Germany. Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches united in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada,[507] and in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia. The Church of South India was formed in 1947 by the union of Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian churches.[508]

The Christian Flag is an ecumenical flag designed in the early 20th century to represent all of Christianity and Christendom.[509]

The ecumenical, monastic Taizé Community is notable for being composed of more than one hundred brothers from Protestant and Catholic traditions.[510] 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".[510] The community is internationally known, attracting over 100,000 young pilgrims annually.[511]

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;[512] the Anglican Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) working towards full communion between those churches since 1970;[513] 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.[514]

Criticism, persecution, and apologetics


A copy of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

Criticism of Christianity and Christians goes back to the

scribes (e.g., Matthew 15:1–20 and Mark 7:1–23).[515] 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.[516] Additionally, a sacrifice to remove sins in advance, for everyone or as a human being, did not fit the Jewish sacrifice ritual; furthermore, God in Judaism is said to judge people on their deeds instead of their beliefs.[517][518] 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.[519][520][521] 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.[522][521]

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.[523][524] The Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry wrote the fifteen-volume Adversus Christianos as a comprehensive attack on Christianity, in part building on the teachings of Plotinus.[525][526]

By the 12th century, the

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.[528] 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.[529]

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.[530] 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.[531]


Christians are one of the most

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.[539][538] This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians.[19]


Christian apologetics aims to present a

Creationist apologetics is apologetics that aims to defend creationism

See also


  1. Baptists, Irvingianism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Moravianism/Hussites, Pentecostalism, Plymouth Brethren, Quakerism, Reformed Christianity (Congregationalists, Continental Reformed, and Presbyterians), and Waldensianism are the main families of Protestantism. Other groups that are sometimes regarded as Protestant include non-denominational Christian congregations.[11]
  2. English translations of the New Testament capitalize 'the Way' (e.g. the New King James Version and the English Standard Version), indicating that this was how 'the new religion seemed then to be designated'[20] whereas others treat the phrase as indicative—'the way',[21] 'that way'[22] or 'the way of the Lord'.[23] The Syriac version reads, "the way of God" and the Vulgate Latin version, "the way of the Lord".[24]
  3. ^
    better source needed] is trinitas[82] though Latin also borrowed Greek trias verbatim.[83]
  4. ^ 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".[105]
  5. ^ Often these are arranged on an annual cycle, using a book called a lectionary.
  6. majuscule
    script of the time.
  7. ^ A flexible term, defined as all forms of Protestantism with the notable exception of the historical denominations deriving directly from the Protestant Reformation.
  8. Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement are tied to associations such as the Churches of Christ or the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).[446][447]


  1. ^ a b c "Religion Information Data Explorer | GRF". Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  2. ^ Jan Pelikan, Jaroslav (13 August 2022). "Christianity". Encyclopædia Britannica. It has become the largest of the world's religions and, geographically, the most widely diffused of all faiths.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Analysis (19 December 2011). "Global religious landscape: Christians" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  4. ^ Woodhead 2004, p. n.p
  5. .
  6. . Nevertheless, it is clear in Asia that Christianity spread as a result of both trade and military power.
  7. ^ Religions in Global Society. p. 146, Peter Beyer, 2006
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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."
  10. ^ Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some Exemplary Voices (2004), p. 22: Western civilization is also sometimes described as "Christian" or "Judaeo- Christian" civilization.
  11. .
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ a b c "Status of Global Christianity, 2019, in the Context of 1900–2050" (PDF). Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
  14. ^ .
  15. ^ Peter, Laurence (17 October 2018). "Orthodox Church split: Five reasons why it matters". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population" (PDF). Pew Research Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 August 2019.
  17. .
  18. ^ "Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'". BBC News. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  19. ^ a b Wintour, Patrick. "Persecution of Christians coming close to genocide' in Middle East – report". The Guardian. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  20. ^ Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Acts 19, accessed 8 October 2015
  21. ^ Jubilee Bible 2000
  22. American King James Version
  23. Douai-Rheims Bible
  24. ^ Gill, J., Gill's Exposition of the Bible, commentary on Acts 19:23 accessed 8 October 2015
  25. ^ E. Peterson (1959), "Christianus." In: Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, publisher: Herder, Freiburg, pp. 353–72
  26. ^ Elwell & Comfort 2001, pp. 266, 828.
  27. ^ Olson, The Mosaic of Christian Belief.
  28. .
  29. ^ Pelikan/Hotchkiss, Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition.
  30. ^ ""We Believe in One God....": The Nicene Creed and Mass". Catholics United for the Fath. February 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  31. ^ Encyclopedia of Religion, "Arianism".
  32. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, "Council of Ephesus".
  33. ^ Christian History Institute, First Meeting of the Council of Chalcedon.
  34. ^ Peter Theodore Farrington (February 2006). "The Oriental Orthodox Rejection of Chalcedon". Glastonbury Review (113). Archived from the original on 19 June 2008.
  35. ^ Pope Leo I, Letter to Flavian Archived 20 June 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, "Athanasian Creed".
  37. ^ a b "Our Common Heritage as Christians". The United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 14 January 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
  38. ^ White, Howard A. The History of the Church Archived 30 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  39. .
  40. ^ Woodhead 2004, p. 45
  41. ^ Metzger/Coogan, Oxford Companion to the Bible, pp. 513, 649.
  42. ^ Acts 2:24, 2:31–32, 3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40–41, 13:30, 13:34, 13:37, 17:30–31, Romans 10:9, 1 Cor. 15:15, 6:14, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:20, Col 2:12, 1 Thess. 11:10, Heb. 13:20, 1 Pet. 1:3, 1:21
  43. ^ s:Nicene Creed
  44. ^ Acts 1:9–11
  45. – via Google Books.
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  47. ^ "The Significance of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus for the Christian". Australian Catholic University National. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  48. ^ Jn. 19:30–31 Mk. 16:1 16:6
  49. ^ 1Cor 15:6
  50. ^ John 3:16, 5:24, 6:39–40, 6:47, 10:10, 11:25–26, and 17:3
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology, p. 11.
  53. visionary experiences of Peter, Paul, and Mary
  54. ^ Funk. The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?.
  55. ^ Lorenzen. Resurrection, Discipleship, Justice: Affirming the Resurrection Jesus Christ Today, p. 13.
  56. ^ 1Cor 15:14
  57. ^ Ball/Johnsson (ed.). The Essential Jesus.
  58. ^ "John 3:16 New International Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  59. ^ (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  60. ^ Gal. 3:29
  61. ^ Wright, N.T. What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Oxford, 1997), p. 121.
  62. ^ Rom. 8:9,11,16
  63. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 846.
  64. , 1920), p. 191: 'Before the Reformation only a few hints of a Penal theory can be found.'
  65. ^ Westminster Confession, Chapter X Archived 28 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine;
    Spurgeon, A Defense of Calvinism Archived 10 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  66. ^ "Grace and Justification". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010.
  67. Fourth Lateran Council quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 253
  68. Cultural Literacy, monotheism; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul Archived 20 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
    , pp. 496–499; Meconi. "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity". pp. 111ff.
  69. ^ Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. pp. 87–90.
  70. ^ Alexander. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. pp. 514ff.
  71. ^ McGrath. Historical Theology. p. 61.
  72. ^ Metzger/Coogan. Oxford Companion to the Bible. p. 782.
  73. ^ Kelly. The Athanasian Creed.
  74. .
  75. , pp. 32–35.
  76. ^ Examples of ante-Nicene statements:

    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: 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...

    — St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies, ch.X, v.I, Donaldson, Sir James (1950), Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus,

    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

  77. .
  78. ^ Fowler. World Religions: An Introduction for Students. p. 58.
  79. Perseus Project
  80. ^ Harper, Douglas. "trinity". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  81. ^
    Perseus Project
  82. Perseus Project
  83. Patrologiae Graecae
    Cursus Completus (in Greek and Latin). Vol. 6. Ὡσαύτως καὶ αἱ τρεῖς ἡμέραι τῶν φωστήρων γεγονυῖαι τύποι εἰσὶν τῆς Τριάδος, τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τοῦ Λόγου αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῆς Σοφίας αὐτοῦ.
  84. ^ McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. p. 50.
  85. ^ Tertullian, "21", De Pudicitia (in Latin), Nam et ipsa ecclesia proprie et principaliter ipse est spiritus, in quo est trinitas unius diuinitatis, Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus..
  86. ^ McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, p. 53.
  87. ^ Harnack, History of Dogma.
  88. ^ 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"
  89. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologicum, Supplementum Tertiae Partis questions 69 through 99
  90. ^ Calvin, John. "Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book Three, Ch. 25". Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  91. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, "Particular Judgment".
  92. ^ Ott, Grundriß der Dogmatik, p. 566.
  93. ^ David Moser, What the Orthodox believe concerning prayer for the dead.
  94. ^ Ken Collins, What Happens to Me When I Die? Archived 28 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  95. ^ "Audience of 4 August 1999". 4 August 1999. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  96. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Communion of Saints".
  97. ^ "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.
  98. ^ .
  99. ^ a b White 2010, pp. 71–82
  100. .
  101. . the ancient church had three important languages: Greek, Latin, and Syriac.
  102. . the ancient church had three important languages: Greek, Latin, and Syriac.
  103. .
  104. ^ a b Justin Martyr, First Apology §LXVII
  105. ^ White 2010, p. 36
  106. . Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  107. ^ Wallwork, Norman (2019). "The Purpose of a Hymn Book" (PDF). Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  108. ^ For example, The Calendar, Church of England, retrieved 25 June 2020
  109. ^ Ignazio Silone, Bread and Wine (1937).
  110. .
  112. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 1415.
  113. ^ "An open table: How United Methodists understand communion – The United Methodist Church". United Methodist Church. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  114. ^ "Order of Worship". Wilmore Free Methodist Church. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  115. ^ "Canon B28 of the Church of England".
  116. ^ a b c Cross/Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. pp. 1435ff.
  117. ^ 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.
  118. ^ Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon.
  119. . 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.
  120. ^ a b Fortescue, Adrian (1912). "Christian Calendar". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  121. ^ Hickman. Handbook of the Christian Year.
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  124. ^ "ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second | Christian Classics Ethereal Library". 1 June 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  125. ^ 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).
  126. ^ "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)
  127. ^ a b Dilasser. The Symbols of the Church.
  128. ^ a b Hassett, Maurice M. (1913). "Symbolism of the Fish" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  129. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 1213. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission.
  130. ^ "Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God" (Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Episcopal) Archived 19 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  131. ^ "Baptism is the sacrament of initiation and incorporation into the body of Christ" (By Water and The Spirit – The Official United Methodist Understanding of Baptism (PDF) Archived 13 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  132. ^ "As an initiatory rite into membership of the Family of God, baptismal candidates are symbolically purified or washed as their sins have been forgiven and washed away" (William H. Brackney, Doing Baptism Baptist Style – Believer's Baptism Archived 7 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine)
  133. ^ "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 Wayback Machine
  134. ^ "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 "Baptism Archived 30 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine".
  135. ^ Olson, Karen Bates (12 January 2017). "Why infant baptism?". Living Lutheran. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  136. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 403.
  137. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraphs 1231, 1233, 1250, 1252.
  138. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 1240.
  139. ^ 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.
  140. . 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.
  141. . All Amish, Hutterites, and most Mennonites baptized by pouring or sprinkling.
  142. . ...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.
  143. . 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.
  144. ^ "Matthew 6:9–13 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)". Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  145. . 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.
  146. . 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.).
  147. . 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.
  148. . 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.
  149. . 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).
  150. ^ Kurian, Jake. ""Seven Times a Day I Praise You" – The Shehimo Prayers". Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  151. ^ 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.
  152. ^ Hippolytus. "Apostolic Tradition" (PDF). St. John's Episcopal Church. pp. 8, 16, 17. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  153. ^ Acts 9:40
  154. ^ 1Ki 17:19–22Template:Bibleverse with invalid book
  155. ^ Jam 5:16–18Template:Bibleverse with invalid book
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  164. ^ Second Helvetic Confession, Of the Holy Scripture Being the True Word of God
  165. ^ Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, online text
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  168. ^ John Bowker, 2011, The Message and the Book, UK, Atlantic Books, pp. 13–14
  169. ^ Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. pp. 69–78.
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  172. ^ Thomas Aquinas, "Whether in Holy Scripture a word may have several senses" Archived 6 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
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  177. ^ a b "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.
  178. .
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  180. ^ a b Foutz, Scott David. "Martin Luther and Scripture". Quodlibet Journal. Archived from the original on 14 April 2000. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
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  187. Jewish Christians. For a contemporary treatment, see Glenny, Typology: A Summary Of The Present Evangelical Discussion
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  210. . 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."
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  457. . ... Many of the scientists who contributed to these developments were Christians...
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  534. . 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.


Further reading

External links