Christianity Dot Points Essay
Outline the principal beliefs regarding the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ The Christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries were debates regarding the nature of Christ, and in particular the issue of his humanity versus his divinity.
Docetism is a position which undermines the integrity of the humanity of Jesus because it claims that Jesus is fully divine but not truly human, because he is God merely adopting the appearance of being human. Arianism is the belief that Jesus is superior to the rest of creation but not equal to God because Jesus was created by God and thus is not eternal unlike God. The Council of Nicaea in 325 was called to fight against Arianism.
The Council developed the Nicene Creed which states that the Father and the Son are of one essence and hence Jesus is fully divine. The Council of Constantinople reaffirmed this decision. Nestorius undermined the unity of Jesus by claiming that Mary was the Mother of the human Jesus but not the divine Jesus, to suggest that there were two persons within Jesus. The Council of Ephesus in 431 CE rejected this view and confirmed the notion that there was only one person in Jesus and therefore Mary could rightfully be called the Mother of God.
Explain the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians Christians have traditionally believed that Jesus died for our sins and this belief has given rise to some questionable explanations like the idea that God would be appeased with the execution of an innocent person. Other questionable inferences include the idea that Jesus became human simply for him to be sacrificed because he is the only person of sufficient value to pay a ransom to God or Satan.
More adequate reflections on the death of Jesus highlight the notion that death is an integral part of the human condition and one which is shared by Jesus. Other ways of appreciating the importance of the death of Jesus include seeing the death of Jesus as evidence of the unconditional love of God, or seeing Jesus’ selflessness even unto death as a model for discipleship. The fundamental Christian belief in the resurrection of the body, as evident in the Nicene Creed is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Whilst Jesus’ resurrection and ascension are depicted slightly differently in the Gospels of John and Luke, both stress the importance of the resurrection as carrying the meaning of eternal life that overcomes the limitations of human mortality. Theologians have long debated the nature of the risen Jesus. The difficulty is reconciling the physical resurrection with the spiritual resurrection, without downplaying either aspect Examine the Christian understanding of Revelation
God is intimately involved with all aspects of human life and thus God is revealed to humankind in and through the experiences of human history. The revelation is understood to be an ongoing process. God is the only source of revelation. God’s revelation takes place through a number of vehicles. One vehicle is God’s Spirit that dwells within human beings which enlivens the faith of Christians by bringing to them a knowledge of God. The revelation is also communicated through the Bible, which Christians believe is inspired by God.
Similarly, the teaching tradition of the Church is believed to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit. Even though all Christian groups believe that the Bible is the normative text, they understand this inspiration in different ways. In comparison with Protestant denominations, Orthodox and Catholic denominations place a greater emphasis on the teaching authority of the Church, which is seen to be adjunct with the sacred scripture in communicating the revelation Outline the beliefs about the nature of God and the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one existing as three persons, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit as sanctifier. The belief in the trinity is a central view of Christian belief. God’s promise of salvation has been fulfilled through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, thus God is revealed as trinity. God the Son is revealed in the Christian Scriptures. God the Spirit is revealed in the Church.
The Trinitarian doctrine states that there are three co-eternal, equal persons in God, which is the notion of unity within community. The Trinitarian doctrine was further developed and defined at the councils of Nicaea in 325 CE and Constantinople in 381 CE. God was always trinity, however gradually this reality became known through revelation. Jesus calls God and speaks of the spirit which indicates a plurality in God.
The difficulty is reconciling the concept of monotheism with the notion of God existing as three persons. The divine essence is common to all three, however the three persons have attributes or properties which distinguished them eg Fatherhood, sonship and sanctifying power. Once essence means that the actions (creation, redemption, sanctification) are attributable to all. Mutual relations is the concept that the terms Father and Son are not titles but expressions of a relationship and thus all three persons are co-equal
Describe the Christian understanding of salvation.
Christians believe that salvation is a gift from God that is offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This gift is accessed through faith in Jesus. The Christian understanding of salvation draws heavily from the Jewish tradition of Moses and the Exodus, where the Hebrew people are liberated from slavery due to the saving intervention of God.
From this, the Hebrew prophetic tradition calls the people of Israel to be faithful to their covenantal relationship with God. In particular the prophets remind the people of their obligation to care for the anawim who are the poor and defenceless members of society. In his own preaching, Jesus’ association with the Hebrew prophetic tradition is clear in his emphatic identification of himself as the fulfilment of the promise of salvation.
The major aspects of the Christian belief regarding salvation are as follows: Firstly God is the one who saves, secondly God’s saving action is liberating and has a particular concern for those who are the most vulnerable in society. Thirdly that Jesus in his life and ministry embodies the saving action of God. Finally that Christians are called to accept the gift of God’s saving action through their faith in Jesus and their own actions on behalf of those in need .
There is a considerable difference in the understanding of salvation among Christian groups. “Born again” Christians believe that salvation is solely dependent on an individual’s personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in a moment of personal conversion. On the other hand, other Christians believe that the key indicator to salvation is not personal faith but works of merit, especially in the way a person has treated the most vulnerable people in society. In between these views lies the understanding that the requirement is a sincere faith which is enlivened with good works
Using specific examples from sacred scriptures, evaluate the importance of the bible for Christians. Sacred Scriptures are very important for Christian. They are found in the bible, which is made up of the old and new testament. The testaments contain mainly books on the prophets, historical letters, epistles, the four gospels and more. The sacred Scriptures reinforce beliefs and reconnects adherents to their God and the trinity. The Sacred scriptures set a moral conduct by which adherents should live their lives. In Exodus 20, we find the 10 commandments. “Worship God but me….. respect your father and your mother… do not commit murder”
This scripture regulates behaviour and teaches adherents the rules for living a good life, as it provides guidance on what is morally right or wrong. It also affirms the absolute supremacy of God. In Luke 10:21-37 we find the Parable of the Good Samaritan, this story teaches adherents to treat people with respect and compassion regardless of ethnic, gender, and age. The Sacred Scriptures are a tangible source through which a standard of living and behaviour set.
They provide a history, identify and reinforce and provide guidance. Outline the principal ethical teachings of Christianity contained in the Ten Commandments, The beatitudes and Great Commandment. The principal ethical teachings of Christianity are contained within the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes and the Great Commandment. The 10 commandments “I, the lord, am your God. You shall not have strange Gods beside me “You shall not kill…… You shall not cover your neighbours good” etc.
These are a form of rules and regulations for Christian adherents. They provide adherents with a code of moral conduct; giving guidance on what is right and wrong, help bring a sense of community and create order so that the faith may be passed on. The Beatitudes one of which is “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”. Give hope to adherents with their promise to eternal happiness.
They reinforce belief in salvation and encourage the acceptance of Gods plan; they teach adherents of the rewards of good actions and so encourage a certain standard of behaviour and give them something to aspire to. The Great Commandment “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul. This reinforces belief in God and so continues the faith. The 10 commandments, Beatitudes and Great Commandment spread the churches message and reinforce faith.
Analyse the value of personal devotion for Christians in today’s society Personal devotion refers to various types of religious observances, whether public or private; and is of great value for Christians in today’s society. Personal devotion is often characterized by a strong attachment towards a set of believers and for many is seen as a way of fostering/ reaffirmation faith and spirituality. Personal devotion recognises an adherents relationship with God and reinforces the belief that God relates to each of us with great compassion and goodness.
There are several different prayer practices that Christians use in their daily lives such as vocal prayer, Mental prayer, contemplative prayer and meditation. These prayer practices focus Christian adherents for their involvement in the world and can be practiced in a public or private matter. Personal devotion is of great value because it gives Christians the opportunity to express and practice their faith gives them a sense of direction and guidance when they feel last and a feeling of belonging and community, when they feel alone.
Prayer brings adherents into contact with their faith – it allows them to reconnect with God and reflect on their own life. It creates individual and communicate meaning and helps adherents to form a relationship with God Evaluate the importance of the four sections of an ethical system for an adherent of Christianity Every Religion tradition, including Christianity has an ethical system made up of Sacred Scriptures, beliefs, lived experiences and teaching authority. Such as ethical systems are very important to an adherent of Christianity because they help gain a better understanding of their faiths viewpoint and opinion of certain issues in society.
The Christian sacred scriptures are found in the old and new testament of the bible and are an important part of the ethical system. The bible is a tangible source which reinforces the beliefs of Christians and provides adherents with a history.
The 10 commandments found in Exodus 20 set standards and rules by which adherents live their lives and they provide a code of acceptable moral conduct, teaching what is right and wrong. This sets a benchmark of behaviour and gives guidance to adherents. Parables such as the story of the Good Samaritan, give followers a story to relate to, they provide them with a message and guidance, in this case we should love a neighbour as we love ourselves. The Christian beliefs such as those in one God, the angels, revelation and salvation are also of great importance to believers.
The beliefs such as those in salvation provide a sense of security and hope as well as setting a standard of behaviour. The beliefs also provide an explanation for practices and rituals. The lived experience for Christian faith is Jesus Christ, who acts as a role model for Christians throughout the world. A lived experience is an important aspect of a religious ethical system because they set an example of how the faith should be carried out and set a standard of moral behaviour.
They are both a motivation and inspiration, giving adherents something to aim for or aspire to. Lived experiences such a Jesus Christ are historical, tangible source and practical examples of how adherents should behave. Teaching authority is the final aspect of an ethical system and is important for the interpretations and teachings they provide. In Christian faith the Pope, Bishops and priests (etc) interpret and teach the faith to the community.
They make the faith relevant to today’s society and verify the churches stand on certain issue. The far parts of an ethical system are very important for Christian adherent because it allows them to gain a further understanding of the Christian belief of view point in regards to issues in society and it enables adherents to make their own ethical decision