Flashcards in Christianity Beliefs and Practices Deck (39):
Christian means “follower of Christ”.
The most important beliefs about Jesus include his incarnation, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven.
What Christians know about Jesus’ life comes from the Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible.
The Bible is the word of God- it is a source of authority to help people live in a good way.
Jesus’ death brought about salvation, after death Christians can hope to spend eternity in heaven with God. If they do not sin, Christians follow a good life and this will influence what happens when they die.
In order to develop a relationship with God they must worship.
Two of the most important expressions of Christian faith are baptism and Eucharist- Catholics and Anglican churches regard these as sacraments (other churches do not).
Pilgrimage is an expression of faith.
Celebration are important too- Easter and Christmas are important in the Christian calendar in Britain.
Mission and evangelism help the church to grow.
Charity work in the UK and abroad are also both important practices for Christians.
The nature of God
Transcendent (outside this world)
Creator of everything.
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided” (Exodus 14:21)
This story of God freeing the slaves from Egypt demonstrates God’s power.
God’s power is also shown in the creation story.
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15)
“ 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)
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 37-39)
Why is there evil and suffering?
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Christians argue suffering has a purpose. They say…
God has given people free will- they choose evil.
The devil is responsible for suffering
God shares our suffering
Suffering is a test
Suffering is a result of sin
Suffering allows you to become a better person.
The story of Job
The Old Testament explains the story of Job. He lives in Uz with his family and a lot of animals. He is described as a good man, who does good deeds and avoids evil. A righteous and upstanding person in the community, you could say.
The story explains how Satan appears before God in heaven. Satan thinks Job is only acting like such a good person because he has been blessed (favoured) by God. God disagrees. So a challenge is set. God allows Satan to punish Job to see if he turns away from God.
During the story, Job hears that his animals, servants and all ten of his children have died. Despite this, he still says prayers of thanks to God.
Satan asks God again if he can test Job again, and this time it would affect his body directly.
Job is indeed targeted personally, with terrible sores, but he remains faithful. Even his wife encourages him to think badly of God, but Job refuses.
Job is visited by three of his friends. They discuss the reasons why Job is suffering, and they suggest it is because Job has sinned. They accuse him of wrongdoing, but Job says this is not the reason why he is suffering. He is angry with his friends for suggesting this.
Finally, with the help of another friend, he asks God why he has had to put up with so much suffering. God refuses to answer this question. Instead Job is reminded of God’s power, such as when he created the world. God says, ‘Were you there Job?’ and Job finally understands; who is he to question the power and strength of God?
In the end, God blessed Job, giving him even more than he had in the first place. He had more children, many more animals, and a very long life.
God is one but made up of 3 persons
God the Father (all-powerful, creator , provider, personal relationship)
God the Son Jesus Christ (God in human form- incarnation)
The Holy Spirit (or Paraclete) (God everywhere to guide Christians to live the best possible life and strengthen faith)
The Apostles Creed
The Apostles’ Creed
I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
God as an all-powerful creator
Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit
Jesus suffered and crucified
Jesus was buried and rose from the dead
Jesus returned to heaven
There will be a Day of Judgement
There is one holy and universal church
God will forgive our sins
There will be a resurrection of the body, and an eternal afterlife
ALL Christian denominations would agree with these statements.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
Day 1- night and day
Day 2- the heavens
Day 3- land and plants
Day 4- sun, moon and stars
Day 5- birds and fish
Day 6- living creatures including man
Day 7- God rested “And God saw it was good”
Genesis 3- the Fall
Adam and Eve are tempted by the devil, in the form of a serpent- they eat the apple from the tree of knowledge which is against God’s will.
As punishment God send them out of the Garden of Eden, they can’t eat from the tree of life, so death enters the world.
It represents when the perfect relationship between humans and God was broken.
Some Christians believe that because of this all humans are born with “original sin”
God becoming human in the form of Jesus. “The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who is highly favoured! The Lord is with you… you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus” (Luke 1:28-33)
Jesus is seen as divine (God-like) because
The miracle of the virgin birth
The voice of God was heard at t5he baptism of Jesus
Jesus could do miracles
Jesus charged with blasphemy )lack of respect for religion or holy things)
Jesus is executed by the Romans
The soldiers mock him and put a crown of thorns on him
He is crucified in Golgotha
Two criminals are crucified with him
Jesus is mocked by people in the crowd
Jesus prays while on the cross
Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus suffers, this means God understands human suffering.
Jesus- Salvation and Atonement
Atonement- Jesus’ death on the cross healed the rift between humans and God.
The Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden ruined the relationship between humans and God and introduced sin into the world.
Christians believe that God sent Jesus to repair the broken relationship and that Jesus paid the price for human sin (atoned). This offers humans salvation- they can live in eternity with God in heaven after death.
Resurrection- the belief that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, conquering death.
It is the greatest miracle recorded in the New Testament and is evidence that Jesus was God.
Jesus appeared to 60-80 other people after his death according to accounts.
After a period of time, Jesus rose (ascended) to his father in heaven. Some Christians think that Jesus physically ascended to heaven. Others believe it is a symbolic story showing that Jesus’ time on earth was over.
It marks the end of Jesus on earth in a physical way.
The Bible is the sacred text for Christians or “scripture”
It is made up of 66 books written by a number of authors over a long period of time.
There is the Old Testament and the New Testament
It reveals information about God.
They believe it is a record of divine Law- the rules and law of God by which Christians choose to live.
Some think it is the word of God that is literally true. Others think it can be interpreted. Some take a liberal view and think it is a symbolic story.
The afterlife- eschatological beliefs
Eschatology refers to beliefs about “last things”, death, judgement, heaven and hell.
“If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished”
“I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
Christians believe there will be a judgement day when people will be judged by God for the quality of their lives. Jesus will return in a “second coming”.
This will mark the end of human existence on earth. This belief is known as “Parousia”.
The Bible describes how Jesus will separate the people who will go to heaven from those who will go to hell, just as shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
People will be bodily resurrected on this day but they will be transformed into a glorified state. Illness, pain and death will no longer exist and the world will be purified of sin.
Heaven and Hell
Christians believe that God is just and fair, and so cannot let evil go unpunished. Most believe in the idea of judgement after death, and that God will treat people in the afterlife according to how they lived their life on earth.
Although heaven is often mentioned in the Bible, it is rarely described. Christians therefore have very different ideas about it. Some believe that heaven is a physical place, where their body goes after death. Others believe that it is their soul that lives on, and that heaven is a state of being united with God.
The Bible is even less specific about hell, and Christians have very different ideas about this too. Some Christians believe that hell is a place of suffering, and of separation from God. Others (perhaps most) believe that hell is a spiritual state of being separated from God for eternity.
Some Christians, including Roman Catholics, believe in purgatory. This is an in-between state for the majority of people of waiting for heaven, a time of cleansing from sin and preparing for heaven.
Many Christians believe that there is a place in the Kingdom of God for members of other faiths, and for many who have not even believed in God on earth but have ‘done the will of God’ in many ways without knowing it.
Some Christians believe in the Second Coming (Parousia) - the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from heaven to earth. This will herald the general resurrection of the dead, the last judgement of the dead and the living, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Forms of worship
Liturgical- set structure which is more or less the same every time.
Informal- no set structure.
Individual- to form a personal relationship with God and worshipping alone is often part of this.
Prayer- different types
Adoration- deep love and respect for God
Confessional- statement of faith through prayer
Penitential- saying sorry
Praise- giving praise, which might include singing hymns
Thanksgiving- saying thank you
Supplication- asking for something.
Prayer- more types
Set prayers are a good way for people to learn prayers that have significance for them. They can then be repeated easily, such as the Lord’s Prayer.
Jesus instructed the disciples to use the Lord’s Prayer when they asked him how they should pray.
Set prayers are traditional, and link people with the past. They would have been initially been passed on by word of mouth. Many Protestant denominations use the set prayers found in the ‘Book of Common Prayer.’
This type of prayer has no set formula, and is spontaneous instead. Some Christians think this makes them more relevant because they reflect a moment in time, and therefore can be influenced by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Some Protestant churches only use the Lord’s prayer, and won’t use any set prayers. This is because people can just recite them, without engaging with their meaning.
Set prayers are usually written in formal English, but informal prayers are very different. Instead people would use day to day language, and talk to God as if they are talking to a friend.
They argue that this can make their prayers more heartfelt, spontaneous, and personal during moments of individual worship.
How do Quakers worship?
Quaker services are different to most other churches. There are no set prayers, and instead they sit in silence and stillness. This allows them to be closer to God because they can listen and reflect, without interruption. Quaker meetings are not led by anyone. Instead, at times, someone in the congregation may feel moved to speak. Others may listen in silence, or speak as well. Quakers say this helps them to become closer to God and to members of the congregation.
Evangelical worship is usually very informal. In churches such as the Pentecostal Church, Christians feel that they are moved by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people will speak in tongues or fall into a trance, for example. This type of worship is usually full of music, dancing and singing, and the whole congregation is encouraged to join in.
Sacraments- an outward sign of an invisible and inward blessing by God.
Baptism- initiates people into church. For some it washes away original sin. Can be as an infant or adult.
Confirmation- remaking promises made on behalf of the child at baptism.
Eucharist- sharing bread and wine in memory of Jesus
Penance- Catholics are required to confess their sins
Anointing the sick- priest will apply oil “anoint” the sick person
Holy orders- joining the priesthood or being ordained
Marriage- spiritual union of a couple and God.
It’s an important rite of passage that allows people to become members of the Church
Original sin is removed
It follows the example of Jesus who was baptised as an adult by JOhn the Baptist
Believers’ baptism gives people an opportunity to publicly proclaim their personal faith.
It is a covenant or agreement between human beings and God.
Jesus says “...go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
nstituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, the final meal he shared with disciples before his death.
Bread represents the body of Christ
Wine represents the blood of Christ
The Eucharist brings Christians closer to God.
Eucharist means thanksgiving- thanks for the life and death of Jesus for the Christian faith.
Different views about Eucharist
Catholics believe in transubstantiation- bread and wine become actual body and blood of Christ
Consubstantiation- idea that the body and blood of Christ are “in, with and under” and present in the bread and wine.
Some say it is symbolism or a spiritual representation.
Baptists say it is a ritual or act of remembrance (memorialism)
Celebrates the incarnation of Jesus.
Advent is set aside to build up to the special event. It begins 4 Sundays before Christmas.
Nativity- accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.
Christingle- shows Jesus was the light of the world.
Cards are exchanged
Homes are decorated
Midnight mass takes place on Christmas Eve.
Lent- 40 days lead up to Easter. Marks the time Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil. Starts on Ash Wednesday where there is a special church service. Something is given up, like Jesus fasted in the desert.
Palm Sunday- when Jesus rode into Jerusalem.
Maundy Thursday- Jesus’ last supper remembered. Chrisit and often have Holy Communion to remember this. Jesus also washed the feet of his dsicpiles. Some priests wash the feet of their congregation.
Good Friday- Jesus was crucified- a day of mourning. Some fast on this day, some re-enact the death of Jesus.
Easter Sunday- resurrection, cards are sent, Easter eggs given, church services, reading Bible, evening vigils, visiting cemeteries to leave flowers for deceased family and friends.
A journey to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion.
Jerusalem to walk in footsteps of Jesus.
Taize in France.
Pilgrimage is faith in action
Norfolk- holy place since 1061. Richeldis de Faverches dreamt that the Virign Mary asked her to build a replica of the house in Nazareth where the announcement of the birth of Jesus took place.
1150 a small monastic church was built on the site. It became a shrine.
1538 (Reformation, Henry VIII split the church and destroyed many monastries in Britian)
1829- Catholics were allowed to practise again and people could travel to Walshingham again.
Burgundy, Farnce. Founded in 1940 by Roger Shutz.
Monks go there from all over the world and live a life of communal prayer. The men who become monks are from all different Christian denominations, which is what makes it different from other monastic communities.
Over 100,000 young people go every year. The reasons young people go is: curiosity, adsventure, holiday, relgious devotion, walk in footsteps of people of faith, histroical reasons, act of atonement, to ask God for something.
They take part in acts carried out by monks (prayer, chants, music)
Uk laws, festivals and traditions
Christianity introduced to Britain by the Romans almost 2000 years ago.
It is embedded in many laws, festivals and traditions in the UK.
The Church of England is the “established” religion of England.
In the 16th century, Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope and made himself the head of the church. Today, the monarch is also head of the Church of England.
“Keep the Sabbath day holy” one of the commandments therefore shop opening hours are restricted.
In UK court of law people are asked to swear on holy books.
Christian hymns and readings are often made at public events.
Important events are marked like marriage in church, even if people aren’t religious
“Do not kill” “Do not steal”
Meetings at parliament open with a prayer
Church of England has a role in shaping laws in the UK
By law, all pupils must be taught RE, it should reflect that the traditions of the UK are, in the main, Christian.
Christmas and Easter- school holidays fall over these periods, shops/ businesses close.
Other relgious festivals are observed such as Ramadan, Diwali, Hannukah.
In Birmingahm 75,000 people celebrated the end of Ramadan in 2011.
Otehr festivals such as Bonfire Night, Notting Hill carnival represent diversity in the UK.
Non-religious festivals such a World Humanist Day (June) or Human Rights Day (December).
The role of the church in the local community
Place of worship
Refreshments given after church on Sunday
Weekly meals for homeless
Coffee mornings for the elderly
Mothers’ union meetings
Fitness classes or slimming groups
Christmas parties for the elderly
Family/ community centres
Creche facilities for young mothers
The worldwide church
Evangelism- preaching of the Gospel to others with the intention of converting others.
Mission- intended to bring people to the Christian faith, missionaries brought education, health support to poor and disadvantaged people around the world.
Church growth- there has been a decline in attendance to the church on a weekly basis. Some churches are thriving however. Fresh Expressions is a movement to change the way some churches and congregations meet to worship. It is an attempt to attract people to the church who wouldn’t normally go. Around the world Christianity is a growing religion.
TEARFUND IS A CHRISTIAN CHARITY CALLED TO FOLLOW JESUS WHEREVER THE NEED IS GREATEST
We work tirelessly to help communities around the world escape the very worst effects of poverty and disaster.
And we believe that the same people facing these troubles, also have the best idea as to how they can overcome them. Tearfund listens: helping people to rise out of their poverty, utilising their resourcefulness and determination. Tearfund works alongside local churches and other locally-based organisations to help realise these plans for a better future.
In 2006, we set an ambitious target: we launched a ten-year vision to see 50 million people lifted out of material and spiritual poverty through a worldwide network of 100,000 local churches.
A decade on, the statistics are striking. In ten years, we have touched the lives of more than 45 million people – the equivalent of almost the population of Spain. We reached more than 32 million people through our community development work and more than 13 million through our response to disasters.
Contributing hugely to this success is the fact that we have envisioned and mobilised more than 154,000 local churches, inspiring our Christian family to be catalysts for change.
We have spoken up with many poor communities, and acted on their behalf, and seen more than 300 policies influenced and changed as a result. We pray that our joint advocacy will bring a rich harvest in reducing poverty further over the next decade.
Persecution of Christians past and present
This has always taken place. Martyr is a word used to describe someone who dies for their relgious beleifs. Jesus was a martyr, many of the disciples became martyrs.
Today, some Christians are still mistreated. For expalme, in the Middle East, IS have targeted Christians, forced them out of theri homes and subjected them to violent attacks.
Open Doors (set up in 1955 who smuggled Bibles into the Soviet Union- Christianity not supported by communist system). It supports persecuted Christians across the world.
“Ecumenical” means relating to a number of different Christian denominations. It aims to bring the different faiths closer and promote unity throughout the world.
Began in 1910.
There is much more co-operation amongst different denominations such as: sharing common buildings, holding joint services.