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[CHRISTIANITY]

Origins
Outline the historical and cultural context in which Christianity began

Born during a time where Judaism was at the forefront of religious tradition
The Roman Empire held great power, controlling land surrounding the Mediterranean,
including Judea
It was because of the lack of Jewish authority and the fact that the Romans had power
over religious practice that instability rose within the Jewish religion
Because of this, the Jews had organized themselves into several groups; the Pharisees,
Saducees, Essenes and Zealots
It was in these circumstances when there was much tension and a sense of disunity within
the Jewish tradition that Jesus was born into the world
Jesus sought to renew the Jewish religion but had not intended to lead a breakaway from
Judaism
The early followers of Christianity saw Jesus as being the Jewish Messiah, sent to the
people of Israel by God, to bring salvation and hope
Broke away from Judaism and gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire to establish
a separate tradition
To begin with, this community of followers just a sect within Judaism, but at the end of
the first century CE it had become the separate religion, known today as Christianity

Examine the principal events of Jesus life

Principal
event

Description

The birth of
Jesus
The beginning
of Jesus
ministry
Days in the
wilderness

Born in Bethlehem, to his mother Mary and father Joseph as a Jew.

The
parables/miracl
es of Jesus
Ministry in
Jerusalem
(Holy Week)

The passion,
arrest and
death of Jesus
Resurrection
and ascension

Spent most of his life in Nazareth as a carpenter. When Jesus was 30, he was
baptised by John the Baptist, in the Jordan River. This is when he began his
ministry that lasted for 3 years.
Withdrew to the desert of Judea for 40 days after his baptism, where he
reflected on his options. He chose to accept his role as Saviour of Humanity.
Met 1st disciples fisherman Simon, Peter, Andre, James and John.
Was a strong speaker who often used various forms of oratory to catch the
attention of his audience. Parables are short symbolic stories. Gospels report
Jesus performing numerous miracles, such as changing water into wine at a
wedding feast in Cana.
Jesus gained a huge following through the simplicity and effectiveness of his
message and healings. Religious and political opposition increased as his
popularity grew. First Sunday is Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters Jerusalem. On
Passover evening, Jesus and disciples celebrated the Last Supper where the
Eucharist was begun, and asked to be carried on by his followers.
When leaving the garden of Gethsemane, after praying, Jesus is arrested and
sentenced to death on the cross by Pontius Pilate. He is later nailed to the cross
and crucified on the Hill of Calvary.
When Jesus tomb was found empty, an angel appeared and explained Jesus
had risen from the dead. All 4 gospels report him rising and speaking to his

[CHRISTIANITY]
Pentecost

disciples. For 40 days, Jesus continued to appear and teach his disciples about
the kingdom of god. He then finally ascended into heaven.
10 days after ascension, the disciples, and Mary (Jesus mother) experienced
the Holy Spirit in form of tongues and fire. It was at this moment they realised
Jesus had overcome death.

Explain why Jesus is the model for Christian life

Embodiment of his Christian teachings


Practiced what he taught the love commandment (love yourself, others and your
enemies)
Is the perfect human Christian model from his attitudes towards God and others
Actions in social justice and admirable characteristics and personal qualities
Never sinned and had the ability to forgive
Was an average person meaning Christians can relate to him socioeconomic status
and humanity
Developed a genuine relationship with people had had concern for the poor and needs
of others
Jesus:
o lives a life of prayer
o lives a life of service to others
o acts as an advocate for the poor
o loves and forgives others

Describe the early development of Christian communities after the death of Jesus

Initially Jesus' disciples were confused but knew what they were to do after Pentecost:
spread the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, preaching and healing in
his name
Peter and James, two of Jesus' disciples (Palestine) and Paul of Tarsus (Hellenic world), led
the Jesus movement.
The letters of Paul to communities were the first Christian writings - helped assist their
understanding of beliefs and practises of Christianity
49 CE: Council of Jerusalem to settle differences in what it meant to be a Christian
between Hellenic and Palestinian Christianity
Persecution of Christians by the Romans until 313 CE when Emperor Constantine legalised
Christianity
Councils of Nicea and Ephesus clarified teachings on issues such as the humanity and
divinity of Jesus
1054 CE: East-West Schism. Split of the Christian Church with the Orthodox Church and the
Roman Catholic Church due to disputes over the authority of the pope in Rome and the
relationship between the persons of the Trinity

Outline the unique features of:


Anglicanism
Catholicism
Orthodoxy
Pentecostalism
Protestantism

[CHRISTIANITY]
Variant

Beginnin
gs

Head or
authority

Differential key beliefs

Anglicanis
m

1534
1535

Archbishop of
Canterbury

Catholicism

1052 with
the Great
Schism

The Pope

Orthodoxy

1054 with
the Great
Schism

Patriarchs of the
15 patriarchates
that make of the
church

Low or Evangelic Anglicans: stress the


importance of the Word and its significance; less
emphasis on ritual; related in custom to
Protestantism
High or Anglo-Catholic Anglicans: stress the
ritual or sacred dimension; linked to Catholicism
in beliefs
Emphasis on Mary as mother of God; Eucharist
as central act of worship; strong belief in
heaven, hell and purgatory; penance or
confession; observance of the 7 sacraments;
good works as an exhibition of faith and
salvation
Use of icons in services; long, elaborate liturgies
using incense, song, rich vestment and
ceremonial acts; observance of the 7
sacraments; rich symbolism and emphasis on
ceremony

Principal Beliefs
Outline the principal beliefs regarding the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ

God is fully divine and fully man


He has two distinct natures: both a human and divine nature both God and man
Each nature is full and complete he is fully God and fully man
Only one person
Without Jesus becoming fully human he could not have been the perfect sacrifice for our
salvation
Without being fully divine, we could not be saved through faith in him
Therefore if neither were present, Jesus would just be a character in a book
Explain the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians
Resurrection gives evidence to the immense power of God himself
It proves to Christians that there is life after death
Jesus death was important to destroy sin and give humanity the opportunity for
eternal life
The initial belief at this time for the Jewish people was that resurrection would not happen
for an individual like Jesus so when it did happen it was an unforeseen event for the
apostles
Christians believe in justification by faith, that through their belief in Jesus and his
death and resurrection, they can have a right relationship with God whose forgiveness was
made once and for all through the death of Jesus Christ

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Outline the beliefs about the nature of God and of the Trinity

God exists as three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit


The Trinity is a mystery in the sense it is the deepest reality which is beyond human

understanding or experience
Three key functions:
o
Bringing Gods new life to creation creating (Father)
o
Turning creation from sin and darkness redeeming (Son)
o
Blessing all creation sanctifying (Holy Spirit)
There is only one God
The Trinity helps us to understand the nature of God
All trinity is eternal
The Father is transcendent (not confined to the material world), the Son is immanent
(God is involved in the world) and the Spirit is both

Examine the Christian understanding of revelation


Defined as: the message of God to all humanity, fully expressed in the person of
Christ
Simply means the transmission of knowledge from the divine to the human
A loving and free invitation to join in friendship with God
Calling us to respond in action, accepting beliefs and doctrines
Gods fullest revelation takes place through the actions of Jesus Christ; his words,
deeds and events
Gods revelation is revealed through the Bible
Continues to happen today God speaks to us throughout human history
Evident in creation and through the person of the Holy Spirit, interacting with the world
Describe the Christian understanding of salvation
The Christian paradigm that humanity can be delivered from their sins and the
consequences of their sins by having faith in Christ
Allows Christians to be brought to the fullness of life by the grace of God; this primary
goal thus impacts adherents morals, actions and relationships
Initial salvation can be experienced in the present because of Jesus sacrifice. It cannot be
fully realised until one is in Heaven, in the presence of God
Salvation cannot be achieved alone; through the grace of God humans can attain salvation
Jesus Christ is central; humanity is saved through his life, death, and resurrection
Obtained through:
o Faith belief in the good news of Jesus death and resurrection.
o In some Christian denominations i.e. Christianity faith is not enough; salvation is
obtained through faith AND good works
o Repentance/Atonement
o Prayer

Sacred Texts and Writings

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Identify the importance of the Bible in Christianity

Inspired by God > The Word of God through which God speaks to followers
Documents the life of Jesus Christ
Deepens an adherents understanding of the principal beliefs of Christianity
Parables give us morals and ethical guidelines (The Beatitudes, the Ten
Commandments, the Love Commandment)
Key events in human history and proof of this
Human interaction with God
Informs Christian ceremony
Foundation for private reading and study

Examine extracts from the Bible which demonstrate the principal beliefs of Christianity
The divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ
Jesus wept. John 11:35 (humanity)
The nature of God and the Trinity
In Genesis (1: 26) God says "Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of

ourselves" which seems to point to God's Trinitarian nature because otherwise God would
have possibly said "I will make man in my image"
Revelation
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets but in these late days he
has spoken to us by his Son. Hebrews 1:1-2
Salvation
We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Core Ethical Teachings


Outline the principal ethical teachings in:
the Ten Commandments
the Beatitudes
Jesus commandment of love
The Ten Commandments

Succinct summary of Christian ethics, and emphasises the importance of human life
and the need to respect family and personal integrity

Basic rules for relating to God and others

The first four commandments describe one's relationship with God and the other six are
about maintaining good relationships with one's neighbour

Framework for the key principles of Christian ethics


The Beatitudes
Contains some of Jesus most significant ethical statements
Describes a life directed towards holiness

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Provide a model for the Christian life because it warns against an approach which
values only material strength and power, by pointing to an inversion of values
whereby things that are only regarded as having no value according to the dominant culture
are celebrated in the reign of God
Provide an ethical stance which stands in contrast to the dominant culture

Jesuslove commandment
Can be distilled into the primary covenantal notions of love of God and love of neighbour

In the ministry of Jesus, Christians are required not only to love their neighbour but also to
love their enemies

Love is identified as the defining characteristic of the Christian life

Love is seen as the fulfillment of the law because love is the essential quality that gives
meaning to all other virtues

Describe the importance of ethical teachings in the life of adherents

Determines Christians responses to a wide range of issues


Guidance to contemporary ethical issues such as sexual morality, bioethics,
international economics, ecological concerns and the use of force in international conflicts
Ethical teachings on issues of economic, ecological and military significance are more in
line with progressive elements in society
Is expected that Christians would strive to live their lives in line with the principles
espoused in the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Love. The ethical teaching of
Christianity provides broad, overall guidance to the followers of the tradition
Another form of ethical guidance for Christians is through the example of Jesus. Christians
seek to model their lives on his life and ministry and as such the ethical standards
practiced by Jesus in the course of his life become guides for the actions of
Christians

Personal Devotion
Describe the different types of personal prayer

Vocal prayer words are recited, spoken or sung. May be structured traditional prayers
e.g. Lords Prayer, Hail Mary, liturgical texts (bible) or may be original and spontaneous
based on personal experience
Mental prayer process of reflection that involves the mind, imagination and will
Meditation generally understood as the excursing of ones spiritual memory based on
repetition of words and phrases. Usually pronounced aloud and accompanied by vocal and
bodily rhythm (used to focus attention on the Divine and block out distractions)
Contemplative prayer difficult to explain using words, it is often experienced as a
simple prayer of quite where the mind and imagination are free to wander. It is understood
as the pure gift of God. It is focused on a perception of Gods living presence

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