What are the three main attributes that Christians believe about God?
Why do Christians believe God is omnipotent?
- God is all powerful, there is nothing he cannot do
- God created the world from nothing
Why do Christians believe God is omnibenevolent?
- God is all-loving, full of mercy and compassion
- God so loved the world that he sent his only son so that people could have eternal life
What do Christians believe about their being evil and suffering in the world?
- Suffering results from sin
- God shares in people’s sufferings
What do Non-Literalist Christians believe about Creation?
- Nothing existed before God created the world - Creation Ex Nihilo
- Only God creates because he is omnipotent
- This belief can be found in the Bible in Genesis.
- They believe it is a symbolic story.
- The world was NOT created in 6 days exactly as it says.
Which Catholic scholar talks about Creation ex nihilo?
What happens in Genesis 1?
God creates the world in 6 days and rests on the 7th. He looks at all he has made and sees that it is good. He creates humans on the 6th day.
What happens in Genesis 2?
Adam names all the animals in the world but is still lonely. God creates Eve from Adams rib.
What do Literalist Christians (Creationists or Fundamentalists) believe about the creation story?
- They believe that the Bible account is accurate and is exactly how the world was created.
- The world was created in 6 calendar days.
- They believe this because the Bible is the word of God and is never mistaken.
What do Non-Literalist Christians believe about the Big Bang?
- They believe in the Big Bang.
- The theory supports their believe of creation out of nothing.
- The Big Bang theory was put forward by a Catholic Priest.
- ‘Let there be light’ could be reference to the explosion.
- Science explains HOW the universe came about and Genesis explains WHY.
Is there a problem between science and religion?
- No - for Catholics there is no conflict.
- Yes - for people who take the Bible literally (Creationists) there is a conflict.
What does Creation Ex Nihilo mean?
Creation out of nothing.
What does Genesis 1 each us about God and his qualities?
- God is transcendent - he exists outside of space and time (God created the heavens and the earth)
- Eternal - God already existed and has no beginning.
- Omnipotent - God can speak the world into creation and God creates from nothing - only God can do this.
What does Genesis 2 tell us about Gods qualities?
- Omnibenevolent - God loved humans so much that he created a world that had everything on it that they needed to survive.
- Omnibenevolent - God doesn’t want man to be alone so he creates Eve.
- Omnipresent - God is involved in creation and he creates everything.
What do the Genesis creation stories tell us about human beings?
- Sanctity of Life - We are created last and are the high point of God’s creation.
- Humans were created in the image of God
- We were made Male and Female to have children.
- God gave us free-will.
- We were made stewards of creation.
What do Christians think about stewardship?
- We should all be stewards of creation.
- Christians believe God made humans superior to other animals by giving them reason and free will and this is why they should look after the world.
- Every individual has a duty to care for their neighbours around the world.
What is the incarnation?
- This means ‘made flesh’
- The Christian belief that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.
What does it say in John 1:1 about Jesus as ‘the word’?
‘In the beginning there was the word…and the word became flesh and dwelled among us’
Jesus was there at creation and he became human. It is clear that ‘the word’ or Jesus is a separate person from God.
What does John 1:1 mean about Jesus as ‘the word’?
- In the beginning there was the word - Jesus was there before the world began
- The word was with God - Jesus was with God
- And the word was God - Jesus was God
- He was with God in the beginning - Both Jesus and God were there at the start
- Through him all things were made - Through Jesus all things were made
- Without him nothing was made that has been made - Without Jesus nothing was made that has been made
What is crucifixion?
- A form of Roman execution
- Criminals were nailed to a wooden cross and left to hang until they were dead
What is the Christian teaching on Jesus’ crucifixion?
- The death of Jesus was part of Gods plan to bring about salvation of humanity
- It is the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies.
- The crucifixion was necessary for the Resurrection to take place
Why is the crucifixion important to Christians?
- The death of Jesus was an act of atonement for the sins of the people of the world
- The death of Jesus is part of humanities redemption/salvation
- The death of Jesus was necessary to allow the resurrection to take place
What is the meaning of salvation for Christians?
- Christians believe Salvation is part of God’s plan.
- Original Sin brought the need for salvation to repair our broken relationship with God.
- Jesus offers salvation and we were saved by his life on earth, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
- ‘Dying he destroyed our death, in rising he restored out life’
- ‘lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world’
What do Christians believe about Salvation?
- Humans rejected God by their sins; humans are so important to God that God sent Jesus to free humans from the effects of sinfulness.
- Their relationship with God depends on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Without it, they cannot be close to God or obtain forgiveness for their sins.
- They need to repent of their sins, asking God for forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as Son of God and saviour of the world.
What is the role of grace in redemption/salvation?
- Grace is the love and mercy shown by God because God wants people to have it, not because they have done anything to earn or deserve it, because he WANTS to give it.
- Christians believe they do not deserve it but they are given it freely and they must freely accept it from God.
What happened at the death of Jesus?
- After the Last Supper, Jesus went with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane.
- Jesus prayed at the Garden and shortly after was betrayed by Judas and arrested.
- He was tried by the Jewish religious leaders and found guilty of blasphemy (insulting God)
- He was put to death on the cross by Pontius Pilate.
- He was mocked and beat by the soldiers before his crucifixion.
What does Jesus’ death have to do with sacrifice?
- We explain Jesus’ death through sacrifice.
- Jesus hoped to mend our relationship for God.
- The animal making the sacrifice takes blame for something it did not do - Jesus did not commit everyone’s sins yet he freed human beings from the sins they had committed.
- Jesus total obedience to God was so powerful taht it made up for the sins of human beings in a way that other sacrifices could not.
What is the importance of the resurrection?
- It is the central belief to Christianity.
- Christians believe Jesus overcoming death proves he was the Son of God - only God can conquer death.
- The resurrection demonstrates that Jesus is our saviour.
What is the ascension?
When Jesus was taken up to heaven 40 days after his resurrection.
Why is the ascension important to Christians?
- Jesus’ mission on the earth was complete
- He had completed everything God the Father wanted him to.
- Jesus returns to heaven to prepare a place for his followers.
- Jesus’ ascension prepared the way for the Holy Spirit to come.
What happens at the ascension of Jesus?
- After the resurrection while Jesus was with his disciples he lifted his hands to bless them
- As he did Jesus was lifted up to the sky
- The disciples knelt down in worship
- This is the lifting up of Jesus into heaven
What happened at Jesus resurrection?
- On Sunday morning Mary Magdalene, Mary (James’ mother) and Salome went to anoint Jesus’ body.
- The stone had been rolled away
- A young man was standing there who said Jesus had risen from the dead (an angel)
- They flee from the tomb and say nothing because they are afraid
What do Chistians believe about life after death?
- Jesus rose from the dead and there will be life after death.
- They believe in eternal life.
- They will have a spiritual resurrection body given by God.
What do Christians believe about the survival of the soul?
- It is a non-physical thing which lives on after death.
- Most Christians believe in the immortality of the soul. They believe that when the body dies, the soul leaves the body to live with God.
- Other Christians say the body and soul are one and cannot be separated. After death the soul is temporarily apart from the body, but then the body and soul will be reunited on Judgement day.
What are the parables of judgement?
- The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
- The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
- The Parable of the Sheep and the goats.
What do Christians believe about Judgement?
- When a person dies, God passes judgement on their soul.
- Each person is responsible for their own actions.
- There will be a final judgement ‘judgement day’ when the whole of creation will be judged.
What do Christians believe about heaven?
- A person who has lived a holy life will be rewarded with eternal happiness in heaven.
- Heaven is described in the Bible as a ‘banquet’ or ‘feast’
- The Bible teaches there is no sadness, suffering or pain in heaven.
- Christians believe it is a holy, happy and peaceful place to be with God.
- It is beyond human experience.
What do Christians believe about Hell?
- It is a place where unrepentant sinners go after death.
- It is often thought of a place where eternal fire burns and you suffer.
- It is a place of eternal separation from God.
What do Catholics believe about purgatory?
- The world to come will be different from now - so we need to prepare for that change.
- We need to transfer from sinful to pure.
- This happens in purgatory - it means to cleanse and get rid of sin.
- Purgatory is a place where we prepare for heaven.
- Catholics believe you can help souls in purgatory by praying for them.
What do Christians believe about bodily resurrection?
- St Paul says our heavenly bodies will be unlike our earthly bodies.
- Heavenly bodies will be glorious
What does St Paul believe about the soul?
- Our soul gives us our identity.
- As our earthly bodies are body and soul, so are our heavenly bodies.
Why do Christians believe in resurrection?
- Jesus rose from the dead
- It cannot be proven or disproven that Jesus rose from the dead.
How do some Christians use prayer books to worship?
- The Church of England services follow the 1662 Book of Common Prayer or the 2000 Common Worship.
- Morning and Evening prayer is included in these works and is an important source of worship
What is liturgical worship?
- Liturgical worship is worship which is set. The order of worship is usually printed.
- It is the most common worship form for Catholics and Protestants.
- Catholics celebrate the Eucharist almost every day because it is such an important source of grace.
- Most Protestants only celebrate on Sundays or as little as once a month.
- Some groups do not celebrate at all.
What is informal worship?
- Worship which is not set and is usually not as concrete.
- It is an informal kind of worship.
- It typically consists of hymns, prayers and preaching.
What is the importance of Prayer?
- This is how Christians communicate with God.
- Christians can pray on their own (private) or as a congregation (public)
- Christians can use formulaic prayers. These are prayers which are set and have been passed down. E.G the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.
- Or they might make up their own prayer. This is extempore prayer. These are spontaneous prayers.
What is the Lords Prayer?
- Jesus taught it to his disciples.
- It is a model for prayer because it contains Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS)
What do the prayer types ACTS stand for?
- Adoration: It means worship. Christians praise God for what he has done.
- Confession: Telling God what you have done wrong and asking for forgiveness.
- Thanksgiving: Being thankful to God.
- Supplication: Praying for your own needs and the needs of others.
When do Christians pray?
- Before important moments
- At all times ‘Pray constantly’ (St Paul)
- At particular moments which are set aside
What is formal prayer?
- Prayer using formula and words from Church Tradition
- E.G. The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary etc.
What is extempore prayer?
Prayer which is informal using a person’s own words without planning or preparation.
What do Christians think about praying in private?
- Matthew says prayer should not be done for show, but should be heartfelt and something which seeks a deeper relationship with God.
- ‘Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret’
What is popular piety?
- A form of devotion.
- It refers to forms of worship or prayer that are inspired by culture rather than the liturgical worship of the church E.G the rosary.
What is a Sacrament?
- An outward sign of an inward grace.
- Christians believe while Jesus was on earth everything, he did was a visible sign of God’s love.
- We can connect with this through the Sacraments.
How do the Sacraments help us experience God?
- They experience Gods nourishing, forgiving, healing and strengthening power in a special way.
- It helps them build their relationship with God and become more like Jesus.
What are the 7 Sacraments of the Catholic Church?
- Holy Communion/Eucharist
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the Sick
What are the 3 Sacraments of Protestant Churches?
- Eucharist/Holy Communion
They have marriage but do not see it as a sacrament
What are the sacraments of the Salvation Army or the Society of friends?
- They don’t have any
- They believe these kinds of actions are internal spiritual experiences
- They have marriage but do not see it as a sacrament
What is Baptism?
- It is the first step in the lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship
- water is poured on the babies head and the priest says: ‘I baptise you in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit’
What is the meaning and significance of baptism?
- The person baptised becomes part of the family of God.
- Baptism takes away original sin and gives new life with the Holy Sprit
What is confirmation?
- The person chooses to continue their faith
- Confirmation is done when Christians are older.
- It is usually given by the bishop
- The bishop lays his hands on the persons head and anoints them with oil
What is the meaning and significance of confirmation?
- It completes the sacrament of baptism
- It gives the strength to follow Jesus and become more involved in the mission he left to the church.
What is Eucharist/Holy Communion?
- At the last supper Jesus took bread and wine and asked his followers to re-enact the meal when they come together.
- Christians receive the bread and wine at mass.
What is the meaning and significance of Eucharist/Holy Communion?
- It is both a sacrifice and a meal
- They believe in the real presence of Jesus who died for our sins.
- They receive his body and blood and are fed spiritually.
What are the different attitudes to the Eucharist/Holy Communion throughout Christianity?
- The bread and wine is significant to all Christians - it is their spiritual food which is needed
- Catholics believe the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus (transubstantiation)
- Most Protestant churches believe that the bread and wine is symbolic of the body and blood and Jesus’ presence is a spiritual one.
- Baptists and Pentecostals think that the Communion service is an act of remembrance.
What is a pilgrimage?
A journey toward heaven and a special occasion when Christians can renew prayer.
Where are some places Christians might go on pilgrimage?
- The Holy land
Why might Christians go on pilgrimage to Walsingham?
- Walsingham was the site at which a noblewoman had a vision of the Virgin Mary.
- She was told to build a copy of the house of the Holy Family in Nazareth.
- This was to honour ‘The Annunciation’
- 1897 saw the restoration of the ‘sliper chapel’ where pilgrims used to rest on their way to Walsingham.
- In 1931, the Anglican shrine was built very close to the 11th century one.
What happens at Walsingham?
- There are masses every day
- There is a national pilgrimage every year when pilgrims walk slowly to the shrine
Why might Christians go to Jerusalem?
- It is where Jesus taught, was arrested, tried, crucified and buried.
- The resurrection and ascension also took place in Jerusalem.
- Pilgrims visit these sites as well as many churches, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Dormition.
Why might people go to Taize on pilgrimage?
- The community at Taizé, a small village in central France, is an ecumenical monastic order with a devotion to peace and justice, achieved through prayer and meditation.
- Made up of 100 Catholic and Protestant monks from over 30 countries across the world, prayer and silence are at the heart of the community.
- Ecumenism is the promotion of unity among the Christian churches of the world.
What is Advent?
- Advent literally means ‘coming’ in Latin.
- It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Day.
- It is a time of penitence and fasting in preparation for Christmas.
What is the Advent wreath?
- A wreath of four or five candles is placed in a prominent position in the church.
- Readings on the first Sunday are about the Old Testament patriarchs and the first candle is lit, often called the candle of hope.
- On the second Sunday, readings are about Christ’s birth and prophecies and the candle of Bethlehem/the way/the Prophets is lit.
- Gaudete Sunday has readings based on John the Baptist and the rose candle is lit to represent the joy of the shepherds.
- The readings on the fourth Sunday relate to the Annunciation of Christ’s birth and the Angel candle is lit.
- The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve.
What is Christingle?
- This tradition was started by Bishop Johannes de Watteville in Germany in 1747.
- It includes an orange which represents the world.
- A candle in the centre of the orange, which represents Jesus Christ as the Light of the World.
- Around the orange is a red ribbon representing the blood of Christ.
- Dried fruits or sweets are pushed into the orange, representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons.
What is Christmasa and how do Christians celebrate?
- The moment of the incarnation, when Jesus was ‘God made man’.
- It is a family event, celebrating the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
- The tradition of giving presents remembers the gifts brought by the wise men of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Children will often perform a Nativity play
What is Holy Week?
Holy Week remembers the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
What happens during the first half of Holy Week? (Sunday - Thursday)
- The days from Palm Sunday to Holy Thursday are known as Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Spy Wednesday (or Holy Wednesday).
- Jesus’ predictions of his own death are observed on Holy Tuesday.
- The story of Judas arranging his betrayal of Jesus to the high priests is recalled on Spy Wednesday.
What happens on Good Friday?
- Good Friday remember the crucifixion of Jesus, his death and his suffering.
- For Catholics, Holy Communion is given at the Service of the Passion of the Lord.
- The altar is bare in Catholic churches and is covered in black in Lutheran and Methodist churches.
What happens on Holy Thursday?
Holy or Maundy Thursday remembers the Last Supper when the bread and wine were blessed and includes the denial of Peter.
What is the Paschal Triduum?
The period of three days from Maundy Thursday to the Easter Vigil.
What happens on Holy Saturday?
- This is the day when the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection are remembered
- Catholics only celebrate Mass after sundown.
- The lamp of the tabernacle is extinguished as the tabernacle itself is left open and empty.
What is the Easter Vigil?
- The Easter Vigil is the beginning of Easter Day.
- The Paschal Candle is lit from the new fire kindled and blessed by the priest, symbolising Christ’s resurrection.
- The water of the baptismal font is blessed.
- A special Eucharist happens to celebrate Jesus’ conquering of death.
What is Lent?
- A 40 day period of preparation
- It starts on Ash Wednesday
- It remembers the time when Jesus went to the desert and prayed and fasted
- People often ‘give up’ something for Lent
What is Ash Wednesday?
- Ash is made from the palm crossed used at Easter the year before
- Ash is marked on people’s foreheads at a special service
What is the changing nature of Christianity in Britain?
- The 2011 census showed Christianity was the largest religion (59.3% of the population)
- There was a decrease by 12.4% of Christians in Britain
- The North-East, and North-West had the highest proportion of Christians
How is Britain a multi-faith society?
- We have strong Christian Heritage, however, there are lots of different religions including Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.
- In the UK people have religious freedom.
- Atheism is also much more common now.
What is inter-faith dialogue?
A co-operative and constructive engagement between people of different faiths or people of no faith to:
- Promote mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and harmony
- Identify common ground
- Engage in shared action for the common good of society.
Why do we need inter-faith dialogue?
- Living in a multi-faith society has many benefits - food, culture, clothes, music and literature for example.
- By living and working with each other we can gain greater tolerance, respect and understanding towards other people.
- This leads to a happy and safe society.
What festivals, laws and traditions does the UK have?
- ‘Keep the Sabbath holy’ - Shopping hours are restricted on Sunday
- People often swear on the Bible in curt
- Christian hymns and readings often feature in national or public events
- Many people get married in Churches even though they are not otherwise religious
What is the role of the Church in the local community?
- Christians have a responsibility to serve others in their community.
- Jesus taught that love should be shown practically
- Christians have set up food banks to support the poorer members of their community
- There are also Christian organisations of street pastors, who work to make the streets safer.
- When the Christian community gathers, it prays for those in need.
What is a parish?
Parishes are the local groupings of Christians. They are centred around the local church and the house of the priest.
Has there been any growth in Christian churches?
- There has been a decline in UK church attendance
- Evangelical churches have grown in recent years due to their lively worship services
- Christianity has grown in other parts in the world such as Africa, Asia and South America
What do Christians believe about evangelisation?
- Evangelism means preaching the ‘good news’
- We are called to continue the work of announcing the gospel.
- Evangelisation does not mean forcing people to convert.
- It is about sharing and living out the message.
What is ‘mission’?
- The mission of the church
- To tell others of the Christian message
- To help Christians to have a life of faith and to grow in that faith
What is evangelisation?
- It is to enlighten those who may be in the dark and don’t have the truth.
- Evangelisation brings salvation and the possibility of eternal life through Christ.
- There is a dilemma for Christians who believe that faith in Jesus is a truth but who also live in a multi-faith society.
How were Christians persecuted in the Early Church?
- The Roman Emperor Nero in the 1st century killed Christians.
- He fed them to rabid dogs and crucified them
How are Christians persecuted now?
- Christians are currently being persecuted in some Communist countries.
- Sometimes, Christians face imprisonment and even violence for what they believe in, for example in China.
- Those who have the courage to proclaim their faith despite this are honoured.
- St Maximilian Kolbe was sent to Auschwitz and died there because of his work providing shelter for refugees.
- Christians often believe that a willingness to suffer is a better witness to the Gospel than violence.
Can you give an example of a Christian Charity which shows relief in action?
- A Christian charity that tries to end poverty
- It works to help places around the world escape poverty and disaster
Why is tearfund important?
- It campaigns against the causes of poverty
- It gives practical help in order to act out the teachings of Jesus to help others
- It encourages self-help for individuals and communities
What is the Ecumenical movement?
- A movement which tries to bring different Christian denominations closer together to promote Christian unity throughout the world
- It has led to the formation of the World Council of Churches
- They host conferences and councils to promote unity
- It brings about greater Christian cooperation between Christian churches
What is the World Council of Churches?
- It attempts to bring a common Christian witness across the world
- Holds a week of prayer for Christian Unity each year
- Works in over 110 countries across the world
- ‘Churches together in England’ came from their work
- Catholics are not officially part of the WCC but they do take part in some events