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What is Christianity? World Religion or Amazing Way of Life?


What is Christianity? World Religion or Amazing Way of Life?
Christianity is a world religion of 2.2 billion. It offers an amazing Way of Life, a personal relationship with Jesus, the Son of God.

Our last article on when Christianity was founded, gave the 2-thousand-year history of our faith, and broke it down into DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES FOR ITS FOUNDING.

The key historical division here is between what early Christians believed in the first 300 years after Jesus and the 1800 years after when Christianity become a world religion.

Let’s look at the world religion situation first and then finish up with what the early Christians believed, and what Bible-believing Christians believe today. (It’s pretty much the same thing.)


What is Christianity? a World Religion?

When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome, he invited 1800 bishops to the Council of Council of Nicaea in 325 which defined orthodoxy via the NICENE CREED based on the doctrine of the Trinity.


  • There is one God who exists in three persons.

  • God the Father is the creator of all things.

  • Jesus, as God the Son, suffered and died as a fully human being to save other humans from sin.

  • Jesus rose from the dead and is seated in Heaven as the Son of God.

  • God the Holy Spirit gives life to all things.

  • The Holy Spirit inspires people and shows them the will of God.


This document and Constantine’s establishment of the church as the state religion of Rome answer our question “When was Christianity founded?” with a bold exclamation point! It also answers the “What is Christianity?” question with a solid definition of its main points!

This creed has been foundational in the definition of Christianity to this day.

Those who do not accept it, particularly the belief in the Trinity, are not considered Christians; among them are Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science practitioners and Mormons.

In the late 20th century “non-denominational” churches became popular, their identification as Christian coming through their acceptance of the Nicene Creed.

From the 4th century on, Christianity was unified in the acceptance of the Creed and its doctrines, but diversions occurred because of different understandings of these doctrines and their impact on worship and church government.


Bishops at first were overseers of one congregation and all were considered equals, much as the apostles had been. But gradually hierarchies developed, largely after the fall of Rome.

By the 11th century, the bishop of Rome had assumed the role of leader of the church.

The Pope was accepted in the West but not in the East. In 1054 the Great Schism occurred over this issue and the idea of purgatory.

In the east, self-governing patriarchs led the 5 groups of churches while in the west the bishop of Rome assumed the title of Pope as head of the church but with some temporal power as well.


From this time on, we have a divided church, the Roman Catholic Church in the West, and the Orthodox church in the East.

Closely linked to hierarchy was the establishment of large churches and cathedrals constructed to glorify God or a saint, but also to serve as the seat of a bishop.

There were often conflicts about the Pope and his power and authority, at times there were two popes, but all retained the creed and its foundational doctrine

What is Christianity? A Protestant Answer

In the 15th century, a major turning point came 1455 – Gutenberg Bible. As people read it, they conflict between its teaching and those of the Church. Hence the Protestant Reformation.


The critical issue now was whether the highest spiritual authority was the Pope and the Church, or the Bible and the individual believer. Here are some of the significant Protestant churches that took the latter view:

1517 – The Lutheran church 1529 — Church of England 1729 — Methodist Church 1845 –Southern Baptist Church


During these Protestant developments, the Roman Catholic Church adopted 2 new “dogmas.”


1854 Dogma of Immaculate Conception 1870 Dogma of Papal Infallibility

Back to Protestant developments again:


1916 Pentecostal Church formed 2005 Over 20,000 Christian “denominations”

And in the East:


2005 1,972 years of Orthodoxy Christianity that claims Note: All Christian churches can be traced back historically to the ORTHODOX CHURCH founded by the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is Christianity? A local answer

But over all these years, there have been churches that were not a part of the World Religion Christianity has become. They were like those local churches of believers of the first three centuries, and many have continued to worship the same way through the centuries recognizing no larger church government than that of the LOCAL CONGREGATION. These continue to the present day.

What is Christianity? The Bible’s Answer

If Jesus did not come to start a World Religion. Why did He come?

In the very first chapter of the New Testament, Matthew records the message an angel gave to Joseph:


Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21

He came for His people, that’s you and me. God has always had a people from Adam and Eve until today. When Jesus was born, God’s people were the Jews, and they were waiting for the Messiah, the Deliverer God had promised Adam and Eve 4 thousand years before. And now He had finally come to “save His people from their sins.”

The whole idea of salvation and sin and redemption is a universal topic for World Religions, and the Church has powerful doctrines revealing God’s eternal truth regarding these spiritual matters. But Jesus was interested in His people!

Sadly, His people had fallen into grievous sin. Although they had a religion, a Temple, and Holy Scriptures to guide them (what we might call a “World Religion”), that religion became a barrier to knowing God.


It got in the way. Its hierarchy, rituals and wealth blinded them to God’s righteousness and His love for them. But they knew His promises and were looking for the Messiah, and that’s why Jesus came.

But He couldn’t get through their religion even though God had sent many prophets. In Jesus’ day He sent His last one, John the Baptist who called God’s people to repentance, and many of them came.


Those who repented and were baptized by John accepted Jesus and were saved.
But those who did not, were blinded by their place of authority and wealth so that they used the very same law, temple, and scriptures to reject, oppose and condemn Jesus to death.

But the common people “heard Him gladly” and believed. He loved them, was moved with compassion for them, healed them, cast out demons that had possessed them, and forgave their sins.

He told His friend John:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. – John 10:10

He loved them/us so much that He willingly died for us, shedding His blood on the cross to wash us of our sins so that we might join Him in His everlasting Kingdom where He is even now building a place for us. Praise God!


How wonderful that people saw this and came to love Him and accept His offer of eternal life! More wonderful still was His promise to Whosoever believeth on me shall not perish but have eternal life! He extended the identify of His people to the world that God loved!

Jesus’ love and great compassion are so powerful that those who see Him are changed; old things are passed away and all things become new!

It has been so since Jesus walked with His people in Judea and Galilee, but His power remains the same.

What is Christianity? Some individual witnesses


Peter was a sinful man, a denier of Jesus, but Jesus forgave him and him called to be the first great evangelist in the New Testament. What changed him? He saw Jesus risen and ascending into heaven.

Paul was more sinful still, a hater, persecutor, murderer, “the chiefest of sinners,” who became the greatest missionary of all time! Why the change? Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus.


There are others:

Constantine was raised as a pagan in what is now Serbia. God gave him dream of Chi Rho, ☧, the sign of Jesus Christ. The next day, Eusebius tells us , “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer“; this occurred while he was marching at midday. He was converted and so was Rome.

Patrick was captured at 16 by Irish pirates and enslaved for 6 years. When he finally escaped had a vision of an Irish man asking for help, and Jesus told him to go back to Ireland. He did and all of Ireland was converted.

Francis of Assisi was a wealthy young man who lived carelessly. Jesus appeared to him and told him to rebuild His Church. Francis left everything and lived in poverty taking care of the poor and sick and preaching the Gospel. He died young and poor but led thousands to Jesus.

Thomas Aquinas was the greatest scholar of the Middle Ages. While still at work on his magnum opus, he saw Jesus and stopped at once. “All I’ve written seems like straw,” he said after seeing Jesus.

Martin Luther left his life’s work and religion behind after God showed him salvation was by faith. He began the Reformation, translated the Bible into German and established the Lutheran church.
He declared that all men were priests and could approach God directly through the Grace of Jesus Christ.
The Bible was the sole infallible revelation of God’s will and through it anyone could learn all that was necessary to be saved.

Jonathan Edwards was born again at 17 after reading 1 Timothy 1:17: Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. He gave his life to God and became a missionary and America’s most famous scholar and preacher. He sparked the Great Awakening.

Charles Finney was a prominent lawyer who was saved, baptized in the Holy Ghost and became the greatest evangelist of his time. He rejected Calvinism and preached “whosoever will,” initiated altar calls and led thousands to Jesus.

Samuel Morris (Prince Kaboo) was delivered from a raiding party when a light from heaven shone on him, his bonds fell off and a voice told him to run. He escaped into the jungle, was saved, and was filled with a hunger for the Holy Spirit. He miraculously found his way to New York and inspired the young people at Taylor University to go to Africa. He died at 20 of pneumonia and assured others “better qualified than me” would go to Africa for Jesus.

Watchman Nee (Nee Shu-tsu) was saved at 17 after seeing a vision of Jesus’ arms stretched out on the cross. He began to write and publish in 1923, and all of his works are centered on the Lord Jesus Christ’s Supremacy and how to live in Him.
He founded churches throughout China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and was imprisoned for this by the Chinese Communists.
He died in prison at age 68, but the churches he planted continue to this day and have been key elements in the salvation of millions of souls in the world’s most populated country.
Today, missionaries say, there are more evangelical Christians in China than in the United States. Nee was a GREAT instrument of this awakening.

Bob Dylan was raised Jewish and rose to the top of pop culture as a singer and poet in the 1960s. Dylan, 39, said that he accepted Jesus in his heart in 1978 after a “vision and feeling” during which the room moved: “There was a presence in the room that couldn’t have been anybody but Jesus.”

“Jesus put his hand on me,” he went on, “It was a physical thing. I felt it. I felt it all over me. I felt my whole body tremble. The glory of the Lord knocked me down and picked me up.”

His songs were changed, filled with the Gospel. Jesus’ power is life-changing even in pop culture.

Ken Kalis . I hesitate to put my own biography into this article. But it speaks to my character and integrity.
Before he even went to kindergarten, he remembers Jesus entering his room and healing him from an asthma attack as he listened to George Beverly Shea sing “When Jesus Comes,” by Oswald Smith.
A few years later, his mother took him to New York to be prayed for by William Branham. Branham said, “Little mother, your son has asthma, he was born with it. If you only believe, Jesus will heal him right now.”
As the crowd sang Paul Rader’s “Only Believe” with Branham and Mrs. Kalis, Ken was healed.
All of this has been preface to my life now as a missionary blogger – all made possible by Jesus!

What is Christianity? The Most Important Answer: Yours and mine.

All these had personal encounters with Jesus that show us He is just as loving and wonderful a Savior today as when He walked in old Judea. How amazing and humbling it is that He continues to reveal Himself to us individually today.

This very same Jesus the Church has upheld in truth, faith, and doctrine for all these years. We need the Church; indeed, we are part of His Church, but we must have fellowship and community with those who also love Jesus and uphold His word, His truth, and His worship! But most of all, we need Jesus! The Jesus of the Bible, our Savior, and Friend of Calvary:

hear and sing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npbh3AD-RZg

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Refrain


Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a Friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end.


I have called you friends. Jesus in John 15:15

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