Search Results for New Testament
The New Testament is that part of the Christian Bible dealing with the birth, teachings, living examples, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is composed of the Four Gospels, the “Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles” and the “Apocalypse of John.”
The dominant scholarly view is that most if not all of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, the common language during the time of the Eastern Roman Empire. Although some say parts or, perhaps, all of the New Testament was written in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.
Different translations of the New Testament may rely on different scriptural sources and also the biased agendas of translators.
For instance, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), uses gender-neutral instead of originally masculine pronouns. And different translations of the Lord’s Prayer vary in length.
Meanwhile, the New International Version Bible (NIV) arguably tries to smooth out theological problems by firmly linking up the New and Old Testaments with the help of selective translating. Some see this as justified, others do not.
However, most Christians agree, in different ways and degrees, that the New Testament is a ‘fulfillment’ of the Old Testament, the latter being seen as a kind of blueprint for the arrival of Jesus Christ, the only true savior and messiah that the Jewish prophets had anticipated.
One of the most often cited passages of the Old Testament in support of this belief is (with the name Immanuel meaning “God with us”):
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
The Jewish people, of course, did not accept this idea because they believe it is blasphemous for any human being to claim equality with God, a view they share with Muslims. And some commentators say that the Jewish people expected their Messiah to be a kind of hero figure who would liberate them from the occupying Romans.
To this Christians reply that Jesus’ message is not about driving away enemies, gaining land or basking in Earthly glory. As Jesus says in the New Testament, his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
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Old Testament A Christian name for the books of the Hebrew Bible. This is a problematic term because Jewish people could easily find it disrespectful of their holy scripture. The designation comes from a Christian perspective with the unabashed implication that the New Testament fulfils the Old Testament, rendering the latter imperfect and somewhat lacking. This way of viewing the so-called Old Testament is prevalent within Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Fundamentalist forms of Christianity. » Adam, Bible, Book of Isaiah, Book of Job, Burning Bush, Daniel, Dead Sea Scrolls, Divination, El, Elohim, Eve, Father, Heaven, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Jonah, Just War, Kabbala, Koran, Lilith, Lot, Lot’s Wife, Miracles, Moses, Pollution, Torah, Yahweh
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The word Bible comes from the Latin after the Greek biblia, or “books.” Biblia is a form of byblos, meaning the papyrus paper exported from the ancient Phoenician port city of Biblos.
Also known as the Holy Bible, the Bible is a collection of writings complied over centuries, containing the Sacred Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Although some fundamentalists don’t like to explore the idea, mature biblical scholars, using various archeological findings and scholarly techniques, generally agree that many books of the Bible attributed to one author were likely not written by that author; possibly they were written by many authors and compiled over time.
The debates are fast and sometimes furious. But to most sober-minded people, it seems that in many books, the Bible did not drop down from God into mind of a single prophet/author.
This assertion does not, however, necessarily mean that the Bible does not come from God. Not unlike the idea of intelligent design (vs. creationism), the evolution of the Bible could very well have been overseen or, if you prefer the religious word, inspired by the Lord.
Jews and Christians each use the word “bible” but the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Bible differ.
The 39 books of Jewish Scripture are written in Hebrew, except for a few passages in Daniel and Ezra, which are written in Aramaic.
The Old Testament (or Jewish Bible) recounts God’s involvement with mankind from creation to the beginning of the Israelite’s religion, up to around the 2nd-century BCE.
The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The New Testament is regarded by Christians as a “new covenant” between God and his people, focusing on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and the formation of his early apostolic church.
Several early texts competed for inclusion into the orthodox canon. The Old Testament was not decided upon until 100 CE, at the council of Jabneh. Disagreements continued until 1546, however, at which time the council of Trent declared several books as canonical which Protestants would later regard as apocryphal (texts not recognized as holy scripture but containing some merit).
The Old Testament used by the Roman Catholic Church is the Jewish Bible plus seven other books (and additions); some of the additional books were originally written in Greek, as was the New Testament.
The Old Testament used by Protestants consists of the 39 books of the Jewish Bible. The remaining, unused books and additions are called the Apocrypha by Protestants, which are generally known as deuterocanonical books by Roman Catholics. However, many Catholics use the word Apocrypha to describe all that lies outside their Authorized Bible.
An early indication of a canonical list matching today’s New Testament is found in the 39th Easter letter of Athanasius in 367 CE, designating 27 books of the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament canon.
The New Testament (Christian Scripture)
The Gospels and Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Epistles or Letters
Book of Revelation or Apocalypse of St John
The Old Testament (Christian and Jewish Scripture)
Books of the Law (known as the Pentateuch)
Books of Poetry and Wisdom
Song of Solomon
Books of the Prophets
Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Prayer of Azariah
Song of the Three Young Men
History of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of the Manasseh
† The Roman Catholic Church includes Tobit, Judith, all of Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch in its canon.
- Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? (thesimplewomansdaybook.com)
- Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the Old Testament (vineoflife.net)
- What’s Missing from “A New New Testament”? (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
- HarperOne’s Bible e-book sale (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
- Reloading the Canon? (mtsweat.com)
- Outline for first bible study class – Comments? (grizzersbiblethoughts.wordpress.com)
- Biblica Cleans Up the Bible with New “Books of the Bible” Release (christianwritingtoday.com)
- Bible format – trying to understand it (revivers.wordpress.com)
- The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible: dispelling a Protestant myth. (1catholicsalmon.com)
- Contradictions in the Bible (richarddawkins.net)
The Bhagavad-Gita [Sanskrit: The song of the Lord] is a central scripture holy to Hindus that belongs to book VI of the epic Mahabharata. Believed by many scholars to be a more recent insert within the Mahabharata, the Gita synthesizes different, previously existing forms of yoga.
The main plot line revolves around Krishna urging Arjuna to fulfil the dharma (sacred duty) appropriate to his warrior caste (kshatrya). Taken literally, in the Gita this means Arjuna must slay kith and kin in the battlefield.
Krishna outlines additional dharmas appropriate for other castes, but Arjuna’s sacred task is to kill. Krishna further instructs Arjuna that his relatives will not really perish because the soul (atman) is eternal.
A gentler, psychological interpretation of the Gita sees the ‘killing’ in terms of the destruction of bad karma accumulated over past lives. These attributes manifest as outward aspects of the personality in the present life, not unlike that which Carl Jung terms the persona. Thus the ‘killing’ could be seen as the elimination or, perhaps, redirection of superficial and negative personality components that obscure awareness of the immortal soul (atman)
Because God’s grace is said to be central in overcoming negative past karma, some scholars believe that the Gita was written as late as 2nd-century CE, influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the precise date, Arjuna’s dharma seems to lie somewhere between Old Testament ideas concerning the problem of social justice (“an eye for an eye”) and the New Testament emphasis on spiritual salvation (“turn the other cheek”).
While some Christians may argue that the Gita’s message is clearly inferior to the New Testament’s prescription to love one’s enemies, this claim is complicated by the additional teaching of the so-called “Just War,” a teaching which is explicit or, perhaps, implicit to many Christian belief systems.
Having said that, it seems that a valid distinction may be made between what Jesus of the New Testament says we ought to do vs. what will happen.
Jesus of the New Testament says his followers ought not to be violent, nor to even think violently, even though conflict and war will inevitably break out among some members of the population. By way of contrast, the Krishna of the Gita essentially says killing is okay in certain circumstances. And this is something that Christ never advocates in the New Testament.
- Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in Hindi (full) (manishkamat.wordpress.com)
- #Review# : Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : Jnaneshwari: Bhavartha – Dipika Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Everyday Bhagavad-Gita. ~ Vrindavan Rao (elephantjournal.com)
- Bhagavad Gita Post #1 – The background (pflead73.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : The Bhagavad Gita or The Message of the Master (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Mahabharata for a Yogi (artoflivingsblog.com)
- Rahul invokes the Gita, Buddha at CII meet (news.in.msn.com)
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7 – Knowledge of Ultimate Truth (Gyan Vigyaan Yoga) (bhuwanchand.wordpress.com)
- Ahimsa: The Way of Nonviolence (thelastteahouse.wordpress.com)
Conversion is a total and complete change of allegiance, belief and practice from a secular to a religious outlook, or from one religious belief system to another.
This is the textbook definition. In actual fact, conversion is usually an ongoing process in which old elements of the personality (and related attitudes and beliefs) diminish and possibly die out while being replaced by new ones.
Alternately, aspects of the old personality may endure but be transformed and applied within a new outlook. For instance, a musician may at one time play predominantly for the love of music and to please people, self-aggrandize and make money. After a conversion experience he or she may play music to glorify God.
The term also has more popular uses, such as “I converted from meat eating to vegetarianism.”
In the New Testament we hear of some conversion experiences that are sudden and powerful, such as the persecutor of Christians Saul falling off his horse and becoming St. Paul. But these are typically rare. The norm seems to be a gradual conversion, characterized by moments of grace and spiritual dryness. Or perhaps an initially powerful conversion experience is followed by periods of dryness and grace.
When someone has a powerful conversion experience they usually claim to “know” instead of “believe,” which arguably could be an interpretive mistake. And new converts are often overzealous and intolerant of other forms of belief. At least for a while. If they’re inherently sensible, the school of life usually balances them out over time. But if they’re not sensible about their beliefs, converts may continue to be fanatical and, perhaps, alienate more than inspire others.
- Concepts and Dimensions of Conversion and Religious Experience (marbaniang.wordpress.com)
- Fear and faith: Derren Brown and the Confusion (pw201.livejournal.com)
- Conversion All-echoing (simonmarsh.org)
- Critically evaluate the relative merits of visions, voices, numinous, conversion, and corporate experiences for proving the existence of God (mentaltyranny.wordpress.com)
- Book of Acts Part 1 (brakeman1.com)
- Conversion (braggschurchofchrist.com)
- What is in the Word? (thomaspritchard.wordpress.com)
Confucius (551-479 BCE, Latinized from K’ung-Fu-Tzu = Great Master K’ung) was a Chinese philosopher and statesman.
Born in the state of Lu (modern Shantung), Confucius was orphaned as a child and grew up in poverty. Despite this, he devoted himself to education at age 15 and married at 19. He became a teacher in 531 BCE, and in 501 BCE Governor of Chung-tu. He was then Minister of Works, and later Minister of Justice. His quest for societal reform was popular among the common folk but political enemies forced him to leave Lu. As a result, he traveled a great deal.
Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.
Do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, prefigured in Leviticus 19:18).
In vain I have looked for a single person capable of seeing his own faults and bringing the charge home against himself.
You hypocrites, remove the plank from your own eye first, then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
A man with clever words and an ingratiating appearance is seldom a man of humanity.
Beware of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
Concerning this latter comparison, Confucius believed that humanity is, at heart, good (jen). If taught and guided by rules (li) that are in accord with the mandate of heaven (Tao), a young child naturally grows into a decent human being and attains nobility (chun tzu).
Apparently Confucius said that at age 50 he learned to control his speech, at 70 his actions were naturally aligned with the “Mandate of Heaven” and at 80 he gained mastery over his thoughts.
But some of Confucius’ ideas are rooted in ancient cultural biases that don’t fly today. For instance
Women and servants are most difficult to deal with. If you are familiar with them, they cease to be humble. If you keep a distance from them, they resent it.
This is interesting historical material but hardly a universal, timeless teaching. Following Confucius’ death in 479 BCE, various schools of Confucianism arose.
Related Posts » Face Reading
† Confucius quotations from Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1963.
- Confucianism (earthpages.wordpress.com)
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Clairaudience is the alleged inner hearing of sound different from, or beyond the range of, normal human hearing. Rosemary Ellen Guiley notes that the term comes from the French, “clear-hearing.”¹
The spiritually inclined see clairaudience as a phenomenon common to saints, mystics and seers throughout the ages.
The recently canonized Catholic Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-38) writes in her Divine Mercy Diary that she often heard a quiet inner voice, accompanied with a feeling of grace. This synchrony lead her to believe that the voice was from God.²
St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) heard voices which prompted her to masquerade as a man and enlist in the French army. She was eventually declared a heretic by the Catholic Church and burned at the stake at age 19 under a politically predetermined trial. Not until almost 500 years later did the Church canonize her in 1920.
St. Teresa of Ávila provides a more intellectual assessment of hearing voices, which she calls “locutions.” In her spiritual classic, Interior Castle, she says one must learn to discriminate among locutions that are from God, from the devil, and from the imagination. Locutions from God, she adds, are usually quite simple and accompanied with a strong and undeniable feeling of peace.³
In the Biblical Old Testament the voice of God tells King Solomon of his great wisdom. In the New Testament Christ beseeches Paul from the heavens, “Why do you persecute me?” Both of these example could be interpreted as instances of clairaudience.
Other possible examples of clairaudience are found in the religious and even philosophical literature. Plato’s Socrates, for instance, has a daimon hovering about him, forever cautioning him what not to say.
The Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo writes of a voice which lead him to establish an ashram in the French settlement at Pondicherry, India. Aurobindo also speaks of “false voices.” These, he says, come from dark beings, called asuras, which forever try to distract and deceive spiritual seekers.4
The Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung writes of a “ghost guru,” whom he called Philemon. Philemon apparently guided Jung via clairaudience until Jung got tired of his direction and stopped listening, at which point Philemon went away.5
The British scholar of religion Evelyn Underhill writes that mystics must apply rigorous logic and sincere self-analysis to ensure that inner voices are not products of the imagination or evil spiritual entities.6
With regard to the possibility of auditory hallucinations, contemporary psychiatry distinguishes between unhealthy hallucinations and healthy beliefs that are in keeping with one’s religious tradition. Psychiatry, however, still cannot fully explain how the brain creates hallucinations, leaving room for hypotheses concerning an interplay of biological, developmental and evil spiritual influences.
Concerning the notion of evil spiritual influences, practically every religious tradition in the world suggests that evil spirits actively deceive (or impart partial truths cleverly combined with lies), while Godly spiritual beings always tell the truth.
Along these lines the gospel writer of Matthew says that one may judge alleged prophets by their deeds—that is, by their fruit.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew NIV 7:15-20).
While many fundamentalists uncritically latch onto this passage, for thinking people, some methodological issues do arise. For instance, how long must one wait to determine whether a prophet’s utterances are true or not? For that matter, will a prophet’s truth be realized within a given lifetime?
According to the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ, himself, spoke actual words that the people around him did not understand. And it wasn’t until after his death that the subtlety and power of his prophesying was realized. For example, Jesus’ words “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19 NIV) is often interpreted to refer to Jesus’ own death, descent to hell and resurrection, a sequence of events which, according to scripture, lasted three days. But in his day, many would have supposed that Jesus was simply talking about a physical building.
With a misunderstanding like this arising from real, spoken words, it seems that ordinary people could be even more confused by inner voices.
¹ Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, 1991, p. 109.
² Saint Maria Faustina Helena Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 2nd edition, Stockbridge Mass.: Marian Press, 1990.
³ St. Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle, trans. E. Allison Peers. Image Books, 1961, pp. 138-148.
4 Aurobindo Ghose, The Riddle of This World, Calcutta: Arya Publishing House, 1933, pp. 56-57.
5 See more details here: http://www.bodysoulandspirit.net/mystical_experiences/read/notables/jung.shtml
6 Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness (New York: The New American Library, 1955 ), p. 361.
- An example of my Medium, Clairaudient and Claircognizant work (kevinhunter.wordpress.com)
- A shout out to Evelyn Underhill and her wonderful book (carlmccolman.com)
- Review – The Trickster and the Paranormal (Hardcover Book) (epages.wordpress.com)
- From language games to mysticism – Allan Watts and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (stottilien.wordpress.com)
- A brief summary of the unitive state (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
- Channeling (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- St. Teresa of Avila, “a woman extraordinarily gifted, both naturally and supernaturally…” (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- “St. John of the Cross” by Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Celibacy (earthpages.wordpress.com)
The word “church” has different meanings. Architecturally it refers to a building used for public religious worship.
Church also refers to an entire body of religious believers and usually the hierarchically ordained clergy who guide and instruct that body of worshippers.
Wikipedia tells us:
The above meanings may or may not apply to Christian belief. In today’s world, “church” also applies to Buddhism and, in fact, to any government-recognized religious body of believers and their creed.
These assemblies are usually tax exempt so stringent criteria must be met before a public assembly is designated as a church. And follow-up procedures are sometimes necessary to guard against the public being scammed by fraudsters setting up a “church” for the sole purpose of tax evasion.
Most Christian and Buddhist churches have undergone serious divisions, each splinter group claiming they’ve uniquely preserved and, perhaps, elaborated on the true source of their faith.
From the perspective of conventional reasoning all of the truth claims arising from the different churches (and their many divisions) cannot be correct. But also from conventional reasoning it doesn’t follow that all of these claims are necessarily incorrect.
It’s conceivable (if improbable) that one church teaches absolute, perfect truth while others contain no or, perhaps, partial truths. It’s also conceivable that one church is truest (but not absolutely true) while others remain somewhat less true.
Other perspectives suggest that all churches and the truths they proclaim are equally valid and true. This is the “anything goes” perspective we sometimes find among New Age enthusiasts. Interestingly, this perspective is allegedly supported by interior visions and other extraordinary experiences. Most mainstream currents of belief also tend to claim some kind of supernatural authority. However, these various ‘authorities’ usually say something entirely unique. It’s a fallacy to say that all religions teach the same thing. They do not—not when each religion is taken on its own terms, at any rate.
Alternately, some maintain that all churches and the truths they proclaim are bogus.
- Dighton churches to open their doors for holiday tour (tauntongazette.com)
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Church Fathers is the title usually given to those regarded as the brightest theological lights in the early Christian Church.
Influential and usually learned Christian thinkers contributing to the formation of Church dogma, aspects of their writings are often cited as supportive “truths” within the contemporary Roman Catholic Catechism.
The Church Fathers are considered exemplars of holiness and are usually, but not always, canonized. Tertullian (160–225) is a good example of a leading Christian who was never canonized.¹
The study of the Fathers’ writings is known as Patristics, although the Church Fathers fall into two periods, the Apostolic and the Patristic.
Since the 17th-century the Apostolic Fathers have been designated as those who wrote just after the New Testament period, to include Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Hermas, Polycarp and Papias. This list also includes the anonymous writers of the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle to Diognetus, Clement and the Didache.
The well-known theologian Origen (184–254) was too far interested Platonism and ideas similar to reincarnation to be taken as a Church Father. He was excommunicated by the Church but his work continues to interest scholars. And sort of slipping in the back door, as it were, Origen’s writings are often included in compilations under the heading, “Church Fathers.”
The Patristics wrote up to the 8th-century, to include Isidore of Seville (7th-century) and John of Damascus (8th- century).
Feminists point out that there are no Church Mothers, perhaps because of the sexist environment of the early Christian era. This type of discrimination persists through the ages and, so they say, remains in many contemporary religious and secular organizations.
¹ Tertullian also demonstrates that the Church Fathers could be quite harsh against their opponents, in this case, the early Gnostics. As the British philosopher of religion, John Hick, points out in Evil and the God of Love, Tertullian wrote scathing attacks against the Gnostics.
- Reading the Fathers: Clement of Rome (simuliustusetpeccator.com)
- Women priests and the Church censure of Father Bill Brennan (peaceandbread.com)
- History of Philosophy and the Early Church (patristicsandphilosophy.wordpress.com)
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- Abortion & Reincarnation (pathwaytoascension.wordpress.com)
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Christianity is the religion based on the life, teachings, moral example, crucifixion and resurrection of the New Testament figure, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the son of a young Jewish woman, Mary, who conceived while engaged to her carpenter fiance, Joseph. The Jesus story tells us that Mary didn’t have sexual relations with Joseph but, instead, was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her that she’d become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit—a calling which Mary willingly accepted. So technically, Joseph was Jesus’ foster father.
Founded in Jerusalem, the Christian religion emerged from the Jewish scriptural tradition, which Christians today call the Old Testament. Jesus, in fact, is seen by his followers as the long awaited prophet promised in Jewish scriptures.
As with contemporary Christianity, Early Christianity was shaped by the Jesus story. But this isn’t all. There’s also the living grace which believers claim to experience. So rather than their religion being a dry routine based on some distant past event, believers say they can feel the Holy Spirit acting in their lives, here and now.¹
These two elements – the teachings and example of the earthly Christ along with the perceived guidance and indwelling love of the heavenly Christ – forged an unshakable belief in many of Christ’s early followers.
Some early Christians believed that Christ’s promised return – signalling the end of the world – was imminent. In one letter St. Paul chastises believers for not working due to their misguided belief about the end-times occurring within their lifetimes (2 Thessalonians 3:10, Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32).
The religion spread throughout the Mediterranean’s Gentile (non-Jewish) population for about 20 years after Christ’s death. It was declared an “illegal assembly” under Roman Law. And the tyrant Nero publicly blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome of 64 CE.
Cruel and barbaric persecutions at the hands of the pagan Romans followed but the religion continued to spread. While some Christians denied their belief in Christ when threatened with horrendous torture and death, a good number willingly – some even joyously – went to their deaths at the hands of the pagan Romans.
The graceful and heroic courage of Christians being fed alive to lions in the Colosseum at Rome impressed some of the more sensitive Romans, leading to their conversion to this new monotheistic religion. Conversions didn’t just take place among the poor, as commonly believed. By 96 CE the radical egalitarianism of Christianity became increasingly apparent as members of the Roman Imperial family also converted away from their pagan past. By the end of the 2nd-century, Christianity had spread into Britain.
Why was Christianity so successful?
Some sociologists suggest that the Christian message gave hope of eternal reward to the powerless and oppressed. In other words, it’s a religion for losers. But historians more correctly note that the religion cut across all class lines, fostered warm communal love and complete forgiveness for past wrongs, along with the promise of power over demons and everlasting life in heaven. Theologians add that the spiritual power of the living Christ has always been present among believers in the form of the Holy Spirit, giving life, love and direction to their religious worship.
In 313 CE Constantine issued an edict of toleration in Milan, enabling Christians to worship without fear of persecution. In 381 CE Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire.
Some Christian sects in early Christianity emphasized either Christ’s humanity at the expense of his Divinity, or conversely, his Divinity at the expense of his humanity. The Church took great pains to officially resolve these as “heresies.”
Christianity continued to expand through the Roman empire. When the Western empire fell in 476 CE, the barbarian invaders were converted.
During the so-called Dark Ages, the Papal court fell into disrepute. Several Popes become blatantly corrupt. Murder, intrigue and absurd rationalizations for grave evils abounded. The flame of Christianity, however, was kept alive in the European monasteries. Monks by and large were disgusted with the scandalous and violent practices of the Papal court.
In the East, Christianity continued as ‘Byzantium’ until overrun my Muslim invaders in 1453 CE.
The Orthodox Church had become split by the 11th-century. Apart from subtle theological differences, the Western Church recognized the Pope while the Eastern Church did not.
Several additional heresies were squelched by the Western Church but the 16th-century rise of the Reformers and the Counter-Reformation created a decisive split between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
Protestant Churches, themselves, began to splinter, with many new denominations rising up, usually at the bidding of some charismatic reformer claiming to rekindle the “original truth” of Christianity.
Despite doctrinal differences among various branches of Christianity in the 21st-century, almost all Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. This is the belief that God reveals himself in three ‘persons’ of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three distinct persons are said to be equal, eternal and also a unity, sharing the same substance.
Today Christianity is a world-wide religion of over 2.2 billion followers, largely the result of colonization and missionary work among various Christian denominations.
¹ Problems arise when different believers claim opposing ‘truths’ based on the apparent experience of the Holy Spirit. Quite possibly some individuals mistake a kind of vital, perhaps even biochemical, energy for the true love and peace of the Holy Spirit.
- History of purgatory (divinelightblog.wordpress.com)
- Can’t we just work together? (tolivelifetothefull.wordpress.com)
- A Long Oral Tradition: Step four in the development of early Christian faith (mikerivageseul.wordpress.com)
- Changing the Face of Christianity Reports on the State of Christianity Today (prweb.com)
- rants: a pagan or atheist at heart? (christiannoob.wordpress.com)
- Our Righteousness in Christ (missiontopapua.wordpress.com)
- This is Good News – A Devotion (lthomason.wordpress.com)
- What Happened to the Old-Fashion Religion? (5ptsalt.com)
- Christianity Is Not a Religion!!!! (encounterss.wordpress.com)
- The Uniqueness of Christianity: 12 Objections Answered (insightscoop.typepad.com)