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Portal:Christianity

The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
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Introduction

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, also known by Christians as the Christ. It is the world's largest religion group, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, making up a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world. Its adherents believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Logos, and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament, as described in the Bible. Christianity and its ethics has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.

Christianity grew out of Judaism and began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their successors the Apostolic Fathers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Asia, despite initial persecution. After decriminalisation by the Edict of Milan (313), Emperor Constantine the Great, himself a convert, convened the First Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The First Council of Nicaea formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the development of the Christian biblical canons (5th century). This period during the initial stages of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, when the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy thrived in communion. This lasted until Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, and the Eastern Orthodox Church and Catholic Church (representing the Great Church in the east and west, respectively) separating in the East–West Schism (1054) especially over the authority of the Pope. Similarly, Protestantism, while not a single but numerous denominations, later split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological deviation.

While influencing Western civilisation, particularly in Europe during the Middle Ages, persecution has been an issue ever since the Roman Empire. This intensified from the Early Islamic conquests (622–750) on around what then became the Islamic world, and this persecution remains the main issue to this day. Nontheless, following the Age of Discovery (15th century), Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Conversely, in the Western world since the Late Modern era, various variants of state-sponsored secularist and marxist movements have been significant opponents.

Selected article

Icon of the Transfiguration (15th century, Novgorod)
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus was transfigured upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus becomes radiant, speaks with Moses and Elijah, and is called "Son" by God. The transfiguration put Jesus on par with the two preeminent figures of Judaism: Moses and Elijah. It also supports His identity as the Son of God. In keeping with the Messianic secret, Jesus tells the witnesses not to tell others what they saw.

In general, the events in Jesus's life that are said to have taken place in secret, such as the transfiguration, are given less weight by scholars of the historical Jesus than public events.

The original Greek term in the Gospels is metamorphothe, describing Jesus as having undergone metamorphosis.

The Synoptic Gospels, 2 Peter and the Gospel of John briefly allude to the event in their writings (2Peter 1:16-18, John 1:14). Peter describes himself as an eyewitness "of his sovereign majesty." Neither account identifies the "high mountain" of the scene by name. The earliest identification of the mountain as Tabor is in the 5th century Transitus Beatae Mariae Virginis. In the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus tells how his mother lifted him up by the hair and lifted him to Mount Tabor, which led Origen to identify the Holy Spirit as the Mother of Jesus.

Symbolic readings take Moses and Elijah to represent the Law and the Prophets respectively, and their recognition of and conversation with Jesus symbolize how Jesus fulfils "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17-19, see also Expounding of the Law).

In the narrative, after the cloud dissipates, Elijah and Moses disappear, and Jesus and the three Apostles head down the mountain, Jesus telling his Apostles to keep the event a secret until the "Son of Man" had risen from the dead. The Apostles are described as questioning among themselves as to what Jesus meant by "risen from the dead" (Mark 9:9-10) The Apostles are also described as questioning Jesus about Elijah, and he as responding "...Elijah comes first, and restores all things ... but ... Elijah has come indeed ..." (Mark 9:12-13). It was commonly believed that Elijah would reappear before the coming of the Messiah, as predicted in the Book of Malachi (Malachi 4), and the three Apostles are described as interpreting Jesus' statement as a reference to John the Baptist.

Selected scripture

Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Selected biography

Joseph W. Tkach was the appointed successor of Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Tkach became President and Pastor General of the church upon the death of Armstrong in 1986. Tkach spearheaded a major doctrinal transformation of the Worldwide Church of God, abandoning Armstrong's unconventional doctrines and bringing the church into accord with mainstream evangelical Christianity. His son, Joseph Tkach Jr., continued his work and in 1997 the Worldwide Church of God became a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.

During Tkach's tenure, the changes that he implemented stirred much controversy and significant dissent among those who continued to follow Armstrong's theology. The dissenters labelled the changes as heresy and many left to form new church organizations. Within the mainstream Christian community, some have hailed Tkach's reforms, which brought a church from the fringe to orthodoxy, as unprecedented in the history of the Christian church.

The first major change under Tkach's tenure was the WCG's doctrine on healing. Previously the church taught that true believers were healed by faith in God and not by doctors. Tkach asked the church leadership to study the question. Once Tkach was satisfied with the results of the study, he officially softened the church's teaching on the matter, encouraging members to seek proper treatment while retaining faith in God as healer.

Selected image

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Credit: User:Akumiszcza

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland

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