Christianity: History, Branches and Future

Introduction

What is Christianity?

Christianity, which is a Hebrew word messiah meaning the anointed one, founded by Jesus Christ himself around two thousand years ago is one of the most influential religions in the history of the world (Brown 67). It is a monotheistic religion built on the moral lessons and natural life history of Christ as described in the New Testament. It is founded on the teachings, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Christians, followers of Christian religion, believes dates back to a thousand years before Christ. They solely believe on one God who is the creator of earth, universe, and the heavens. However, the epicenter of Christian’s belief is the Christ’ demise and reappearance.

This is clearly elaborated in the New Testament, where God orders us to not only love ourselves, but others as well, and instruct that we be untainted by evading sin. The omission of all these commands means that Christianity has no root, no establishment, and no focal point. An individual may never really study and comprehend the manner of living a Christian way of life, if he/she fails to appreciate the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even though the Christianity aspect started as a minute group of Judaism in ancient Israel, the religion has great presence in all horns of the world with approximately two billion cliques.

Christianity or Christianities

According to Madise (334), there is no single Christianity. Christianity has several branches and forms with different variety accompanying beliefs and practices. Markedly, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy form the three key divisions of Christianity with several subdivisions within their different categories. Factually, power and doctrines of the church delineate separations between these sets. Matters that create distinction between one denomination and others include the view of Jesus, the power of apostolic elevation, papal primacy, as well as the study of human being’s ultimate destiny.

The Catholic Church with a population of about a billion people, that is about half the number of all Christianity claims to be the only true church. It begun around the seventh century and proclaims the dogmas and believe in Mary’s sinlessness. From the analysis, the Vicar of Christ is the divine heir of St. Peter and the observable and evident top manager of the church in the globe. He has the supreme authority and the Roman Catholic believes in his infallibility.

The Vatican II Council placed critical weight on worshipping and reverencing in the vernacular. However, at the time, traditional Latin Masses were also put in use (Brown 56). However, mass is the centre of worship as they also consider sacred tradition as a source of heavenly revelation beside Holy religious texts, and both are inferred or deduced by the instructions and lessons of church ability.

In Roman Catholic, marriage is considered as a permanent bond; it is believed to be a reunion of the church and Christ. They do not allow remarriage when separation takes place. Nonetheless, the church may grants an annulment to a member if there are some undisputed obstacles in the marriage. The Catholic Church commonly uses the title “mother of God,” and it has since remained among the Marian dogmas of this group. Just like other branches of Christianity, Catholicism claims endurance in connection to the Apostolic Succession with the ancient religious structures.

Apart from believing that salvation is by grace and its maintenance is through sacrament, they also believe that purgatory exist, a place where the dead are cleansed and prepared for heaven. All elected clergy in Roman Catholic should be male and celibate. However, Catholicism comprises of not only the Catholic Church, but also made up of varied movements and autonomous churches that identify themselves as Catholic. The church’s Catechism contains all components of the Catholic faith; it explains the expectations of the congregations in their daily Christian life.

Eastern Orthodox Church is composed of about a quarter of a billion people in the world. Its distinctive claim is that bishops in fellowship rule the church with the patriarch of Constantinople (Madise 334). It also considers itself as One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ. Although it is found in many other parts of the world, Eastern Orthodoxy remains strongest in Eastern Europe and in Russia. From this aspect, it is evident that the church does not regard itself a sect but somewhat a pre-denominational, that is, the indigenous Church of Christ.

The center of orthodox spirituality is the Divine Liturgy. Even though they sometimes used Greek during worship sessions, local dialect is the most preferred semantic. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, tradition is the only option of seeking heavenly disclosure, and the religious texts makes the oral section, which also includes the literatures of the holy persons and ecumenical council’s verdicts among other critical issues. In Catholicism, salvation is regarded as a “faith working through love,” and, according to the church doctrines, believers should view it as a development in their entire life.

That notwithstanding, they also recognize suffering; they believe that purification and cleansing take place in the natural life, not in the life after death as other religious groups may hold. The Eastern Orthodox Church believe in pope as the bishop of Rome and his primacy honor, however, the popes authority is no greater than the Bishops are.

They reject the papal infallibility and believe that the Holy Spirit is critical in guiding the denomination into truthful occurrences or acts through ecumenical councils. Celibacy is only restricted to Bishops, but deacons and pastors can opt to wed only before conferment. Christianity considers marriage as a union between a man and a woman and it can only grant divorce in cases of adultery (Ambalu 27). They also believe that Mary is the mother of God in human form, she is the first amongst the saints, and is forever virgin.

Protestantism refers to the churches, which repudiated the papal authority, and separated after a forceful cut off from the Roman communion in the reformation of the 16th century and of any of the bodies of Christians descended from them. Its main distinctive belief is a general conservative view of the Bible as the only infallible written word of God and the understanding of the gospel as a message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Protestants have a wide variety of worshiping styles. Some of the instances comprise of the numerous customary exaltation of the Anglican Church in the Catholic custom and the naturalness of the Pentecostal basilicas.

According to Protestants, Salvation is an unwarranted offering or present from the Lord, and they acquire it unrestricted by grace through only son of God, Jesus Christ. Protestants do not believe in purgatory. To them, the death of Christ is enough to get rid of the punishment of evils. Protestants largely acknowledge only two ceremonies: the Eucharist and baptism popularly referred to as Holy Communion. In spite of believing that the Pope Catholic Church’s head, he has no power to communicate or voice his concerns on behalf of the church in entirety.

Despite the majority of Protestants not believing on celibacy as a condition for clergy election, the practice of female ordination is common among many protestant churches (Ambalu 27). Besides, they consider marriage as a contract and allow separation as an indication of humankind’s flaws. However, certain sects among the protestant churches allow remarriage in front of the congregation. Although they consider Mary as a holy woman who bear the son of God, her perpetual virginity intercession are not acceptable.

Compatibility of Christianity with other religions

Religion simply refers to ceremonial observance of a set of beliefs in worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power considered being divine or having control of human destiny. The three major religions that relate to Christianity include the Hinduism, Islamic, and the Judaism. The term Hinduism simply refers to a wide variety of religious traditions and philosophies that have developed in India over thousands of years (Schouten par. 3). Although it is an ancient world religion with no known founder, it has an adherence of about 9 million worldwide.

This religion has faith in one supreme veracity, Braham, who exhibits himself in several gods and goddesses. Buddhism uses the term Yoga to designate any kind of spiritual exercise assumed, while Hinduism uses the term to mean the eight limps of yoga. In spite of believing that humans are servitude to obliviousness and deception, and can evade this drive, rebirth is an endless course until enlightment. Their holy texts include the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad, and Ramayana among others. Christianity will definitely lose its essence if it incorporates these practices and will no longer remain Christianity.

Islamic is a monotheistic religion founded by Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century A.D and has around 1.3 million, Sunni – 940, believes in the globe. Islam’s sacred text is the Quran. Five Pillars of Islam guide the behaviors and value systems of the Muslim Community. The five key columns include alms, prayer, pilgrimage, faith, and fasting. Islamic followers, Muslims, believe in paradise or hell after death (McLeod 297).

Although the Quran is rooted on the old testament of the bible, Islamic religion do not believe in Christ as the son of God and that God exist in three, the trinity, God the father, the son and the holy spirit. In spite of that, there are some Islamic believes that if incorporated into Christianity can improve its essence. These are total submission of humans to the will of God, observation of the dress code between males and females, total respect of the Holy Scripture and prohibition of use of alcohol, which is harmful to humans’ health.

Judaism is a monotheistic faith; it is one of the ancient faiths in the world today, which stretches back through the times of the Hebrews and Israelites. Markedly, history, practices, and beliefs are the elementary specifics that are present in the Judaism religion. They believe that religion in itself is life. The Hebrew religious texts talks about the major themes in life, and it is imperative to have confidence in their attestations. The right doctrine and theology, which is centralized in the doctrine of God, is the most important fundamentals in Judaism (Ambalu 49). Judaism also believes that humans should focus on this life more than the next, obey Gods commandments, and live ethically.

Observation of the Sabbath is very crucial to Jews and they conduct Saturday services in the synagogues. Other practices of the Jews include circumcision of the male at birth, baptism at adulthood, and no consumption of non- kosher foods (Placher 162). Christianity should emulate some of the Jewish practices as they are rooted in the bible, which is the holy book for Christianity faith and believe.

Christians should not only dwell in the New Testament and wrong interpretation of the bible, but also observance of the Sabbath. Saturday, the day of worship blessed by God Himself and set aside for worship, should be observed since it is one of the Ten Commandments followed by Christians. Christians should incorporate Baptism at adulthood rather than at childhood. If all these elements are put into practice by Christians, lives of Christians will improve and hence reduction of evolution of more sects in Christianity due to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the bible.

The future of Christianity

With a lot of sincerity, Christianity with exception of few denominations is soon going back to where it originates. Most Christian denominations have gone outside what the bible teaches hence misleading their believers. If Christianity does not go back to the drawing board, it will lose its essence and cease to exist because as more version of bible continues to emerge, the truth is lost and Christians continue to get confused day by day. All these will lead to more Christians leaving Christianity and joining other religions with the urge of finding the truth (Chidester 74). Most authors of the recent version of the bible are not Christians, which leads to omission of some chapters and verses of the bible for their own benefits and drawing most Christians to their religions.

Works Cited

Ambalu, Shulamit. The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. New York: DK Publishing, 2013. Print.

Brown, Alan. Christianity. London: Chrysalis Education, 2003. Print.

Chidester, David. Christianity: A Global History. London: HarperOne, 2000. Print.

Schouten, Jan Peter. Jesus as Guru: The Image of Christ among Hindus and Christians in India. 1949. Web.

Madise, Mokhele. “World Christianities C. 1914–c. 2000.” Religion and Theology 16.3 (2009): 333-34. Print.

McLeod, Hugh. World Christianities C. 1914-C. 2000. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2006. Print.

Placher, William. A History of Christian Theology: An Introduction. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983. Print.