Living the Christ Life: A Collection of Daily Readings by Classic Deeper-Life Authors

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Lilburn Alliance Church now has members who were born in 64 different nations of the world. He is the founder and president of the College of Prayer with over 34, campuses and over a million students around the world. He also enjoys running, golf, and playing with his grandchildren.

Welcome to CLC Publications! Bestsellers New Releases Classics. Add to cart Show Details. Rated 5. These include:. The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ , enabling him to fulfil his work on earth. Particular actions of the Holy Spirit include:. Christians believe the " Fruit of the Spirit " consists of virtuous characteristics engendered in the Christian by the action of the Holy Spirit.

They are those listed in Galatians —23 : "But the fruit of the Spirit is love , joy , peace , patience , kindness , goodness , faithfulness , gentleness , and self-control. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit gives 'gifts' to Christians. These gifts consist of specific abilities granted to the individual Christian. The New Testament provides three different lists of such gifts which range from the supernatural healing, prophecy, tongues through those associated with specific callings teaching to those expected of all Christians in some degree faith.

Most consider these lists not to be exhaustive, and other have compiled their own lists. Spirit of Wisdom; 2. Spirit of Understanding; 3. Spirit of Counsel; 4. Spirit of Strength; 5. Spirit of Knowledge; 6. Spirit of Godliness; 7. Spirit of Holy Fear. It is over the nature and occurrence of these gifts, particularly the supernatural gifts sometimes called charismatic gifts , that the greatest disagreement between Christians with regard to the Holy Spirit exists.

One view is that the supernatural gifts were a special dispensation for the apostolic ages, bestowed because of the unique conditions of the church at that time, and are extremely rarely bestowed in the present time. The alternate view, espoused mainly by Pentecostal denominations and the charismatic movement, is that the absence of the supernatural gifts was due to the neglect of the Holy Spirit and his work by the church.

Although some small groups, such as the Montanists , practiced the supernatural gifts they were rare until the growth of the Pentecostal movement in the late 19th century. Believers in the relevance of the supernatural gifts sometimes speak of a Baptism of the Holy Spirit or Filling of the Holy Spirit which the Christian needs to experience in order to receive those gifts. Many churches hold that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is identical with conversion, and that all Christians are by definition baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The various authors of the Old and New Testament provide glimpses of their insight regarding cosmology. The cosmos was created by God by divine command, in the best-known and most complete account in the Bible, that of Genesis 1. Within this broad understanding, however, there are a number of views regarding exactly how this doctrine ought to be interpreted. It is a tenet of Christian faith Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant that God is the creator of all things from nothing , and has made human beings in the Image of God , who by direct inference is also the source of the human soul.

In Chalcedonian Christology , Jesus is the Word of God , which was in the beginning and, thus, is uncreated, and hence is God , and consequently identical with the Creator of the world ex nihilo. Roman Catholicism uses the phrase special creation to refer to the doctrine of immediate or special creation of each human soul.

In , the International Theological Commission, then under the presidency of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger , published a paper in which it accepts the current scientific accounts of the history of the universe commencing in the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago and of the evolution of all life on earth including humans from the micro organisms commencing about 4 billion years ago. In him.

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Christian anthropology is the study of humanity , especially as it relates to the divine. This theological anthropology refers to the study of the human "anthropology" as it relates to God. It differs from the social science of anthropology , which primarily deals with the comparative study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity across times and places. One aspect studies the innate nature or constitution of the human, known as the nature of mankind.

It is concerned with the relationship between notions such as body , soul and spirit which together form a person, based on their descriptions in the Bible. There are three traditional views of the human constitution— trichotomism , dichotomism and monism in the sense of anthropology. The semantic domain of Biblical soul is based on the Hebrew word nepes , which presumably means "breath" or "breathing being".

The New Testament follows the terminology of the Septuagint , and thus uses the word psyche with the Hebrew semantic domain and not the Greek, [93] that is an invisible power or ever more, for Platonists , immortal and immaterial that gives life and motion to the body and is responsible for its attributes. In Patristic thought, towards the end of the 2nd century psyche was understood in more a Greek than a Hebrew way, and it was contrasted with the body.

In the 3rd century, with the influence of Origen , there was the establishing of the doctrine of the inherent immortality of the soul and its divine nature. Inherent immortality of the soul was accepted among western and eastern theologians throughout the middle ages , and after the Reformation, as evidenced by the Westminster Confession. It is often used interchangeably with "soul", psyche , although trichotomists believe that the spirit is distinct from the soul.

Christians have traditionally believed that the body will be resurrected at the end of the age. The apostle Paul contrasts flesh and spirit in Romans 7—8. The Bible teaches in the book of Genesis the humans were created by God. Some Christians believe that this must have involved a miraculous creative act, while others are comfortable with the idea that God worked through the evolutionary process.

The book of Genesis also teaches that human beings, male and female, were created in the image of God. The exact meaning of this has been debated throughout church history. Christian anthropology has implications for beliefs about death and the afterlife. The Christian church has traditionally taught that the soul of each individual separates from the body at death, to be reunited at the resurrection.

This is closely related to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The question then arises: where exactly does the disembodied soul "go" at death? Theologians refer to this subject as the intermediate state. The Old Testament speaks of a place called sheol where the spirits of the dead reside.

In the New Testament , hades , the classical Greek realm of the dead, takes the place of sheol. In particular, Jesus teaches in Luke —31 Lazarus and Dives that hades consists of two separate "sections", one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous. His teaching is consistent with intertestamental Jewish thought on the subject. Fully developed Christian theology goes a step further; on the basis of such texts as Luke and Philippians , it has traditionally been taught that the souls of the dead are received immediately either into heaven or hell, where they will experience a foretaste of their eternal destiny prior to the resurrection.

Roman Catholicism teaches a third possible location, Purgatory , though this is denied by Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. Some Christian groups which stress a monistic anthropology deny that the soul can exist consciously apart from the body. For example, the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that the intermediate state is an unconscious sleep; this teaching is informally known as " soul sleep ". In Christian belief, both the righteous and the unrighteous will be resurrected at the last judgment. The righteous will receive incorruptible, immortal bodies 1 Corinthians 15 , while the unrighteous will be sent to hell.

Traditionally, Christians have believed that hell will be a place of eternal physical and psychological punishment. In the last two centuries, annihilationism has become popular. The study of the Blessed Virgin Mary , doctrines about her, and how she relates to the Church, Christ, and the individual Christian is called Mariology. Catholic Mariology is the Marian study specifically in the context of the Catholic Church. Most descriptions of angels in the Bible describe them in military terms. For example, in terms such as encampment Gen.

Its specific hierarchy differs slightly from the Hierarchy of Angels as it surrounds more military services, whereas the Hierarchy of angels is a division of angels into non-military services to God. Cherubim are depicted as accompanying God's chariot-throne Ps. Exodus —22 refers to two Cherub statues placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant, the two cherubim are usually interpreted as guarding the throne of God.

Other guard-like duties include being posted in locations such as the gates of Eden Gen. Cherubim were mythological winged bulls or other beasts that were part of ancient Near Eastern traditions. This angelic designation might be given to angels of various ranks. An example would be Raphael who is ranked variously as a Seraph, Cherub, and Archangel. It is not known how many angels there are but one figure given in Revelation for the number of "many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders" was "ten thousand times ten thousand", which would be million.

In most of Christianity , a fallen angel is an angel who has been exiled or banished from Heaven. Often such banishment is a punishment for disobeying or rebelling against God see War in Heaven. The best-known fallen angel is Lucifer. Lucifer is a name frequently given to Satan in Christian belief. This usage stems from a particular interpretation, as a reference to a fallen angel, of a passage in the Bible Isaiah —20 that speaks of someone who is given the name of "Day Star" or "Morning Star" in Latin , Lucifer as fallen from heaven.

Allegedly, fallen angels are those which have committed one of the seven deadly sins. Therefore, are banished from heaven and suffer in hell for all eternity. Demons from hell would punish the fallen angel by ripping out their wings as a sign of insignificance and low rank. Christianity has taught Heaven as a place of eternal life , in that it is a shared plane to be attained by all the elect rather than an abstract experience related to individual concepts of the ideal.

The Christian Church has been divided over how people gain this eternal life. From the 16th to the late 19th century, Christendom was divided between the Roman Catholic view, the Orthodox view, the Coptic view, the Jacobite view, the Abyssinian view and Protestant views. See also Christian denominations. Heaven is the English name for a transcendental realm wherein human beings who have transcended human living live in an afterlife.

Christianity maintains that entry into Heaven awaits such time as, "When the form of this world has passed away. I Thess — Two related and often confused concepts of heaven in Christianity are better described as the "resurrection of the body" , which is exclusively of biblical origin, as contrasted with the " immortality of the soul ", which is also evident in the Greek tradition.

In the first concept, the soul does not enter heaven until the last judgement or the "end of time" when it along with the body is resurrected and judged. In the second concept, the soul goes to a heaven on another plane such as the intermediate state immediately after death. These two concepts are generally combined in the doctrine of the double judgement where the soul is judged once at death and goes to a temporary heaven, while awaiting a second and final physical judgement at the end of the world.

One popular medieval view of Heaven was that it existed as a physical place above the clouds and that God and the Angels were physically above, watching over man. Heaven as a physical place survived in the concept that it was located far out into space, and that the stars were "lights shining through from heaven". Many of today's biblical scholars, such as N.

Wright , in tracing the concept of Heaven back to its Jewish roots, see Earth and Heaven as overlapping or interlocking. Heaven is known as God's space, his dimension, and is not a place that can be reached by human technology. This belief states that Heaven is where God lives and reigns whilst being active and working alongside people on Earth. Religions that teach about heaven differ on how and if one gets into it, typically in the afterlife. In most, entrance to Heaven is conditional on having lived a "good life" within the terms of the spiritual system.

A notable exception to this is the ' sola fide ' belief of many mainstream Protestants, which teaches that one does not have to live a perfectly "good life," but that one must accept Jesus Christ as one's saviour, and then Jesus Christ will assume the guilt of one's sins ; believers are believed to be forgiven regardless of any good or bad "works" one has participated in. Many religions state that those who do not go to heaven will go to a place "without the presence of God", Hell , which is eternal see annihilationism. Some religions believe that other afterlives exist in addition to Heaven and Hell, such as Purgatory.

One belief, universalism , believes that everyone will go to Heaven eventually, no matter what they have done or believed on earth. Some forms of Christianity believe Hell to be the termination of the soul. Various saints have had visions of heaven 2 Corinthians —4. The Orthodox concept of life in heaven is described in one of the prayers for the dead : " The Church bases its belief in Heaven on some main biblical passages in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures Old and New Testaments and collected church wisdom.

Heaven is the Realm of the Blessed Trinity , the angels [] and the saints. The essential joy of heaven is called the beatific vision , which is derived from the vision of God's essence.

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The soul rests perfectly in God, and does not, or cannot desire anything else than God. After the Last Judgment , when the soul is reunited with its body, the body participates in the happiness of the soul. It becomes incorruptible, glorious and perfect. Any physical defects the body may have laboured under are erased.

Heaven is also known as paradise in some cases. The Great Gulf separates heaven from hell. Upon dying, each soul goes to what is called "the particular judgement " where its own afterlife is decided i. Heaven after Purgatory, straight to Heaven, or Hell. This is different from "the general judgement" also known as "the Last judgement " which will occur when Christ returns to judge all the living and the dead.

The term Heaven which differs from "The Kingdom of Heaven " see note below is applied by the biblical authors to the realm in which God currently resides. Eternal life, by contrast, occurs in a renewed, unspoilt and perfect creation, which can be termed Heaven since God will choose to dwell there permanently with his people, as seen in Revelation There will no longer be any separation between God and man. The believers themselves will exist in incorruptible, resurrected and new bodies; there will be no sickness, no death and no tears.

Some teach that death itself is not a natural part of life, but was allowed to happen after Adam and Eve disobeyed God see original sin so that mankind would not live forever in a state of sin and thus a state of separation from God. Many evangelicals understand this future life to be divided into two distinct periods: first, the Millennial Reign of Christ the one thousand years on this earth, referred to in Revelation —10 ; secondly, the New Heavens and New Earth , referred to in Revelation 21 and This millennialism or chiliasm is a revival of a strong tradition in the Early Church that was dismissed by Augustine of Hippo and the Roman Catholic Church after him.

Not only will the believers spend eternity with God, they will also spend it with each other. John's vision recorded in Revelation describes a New Jerusalem which comes from Heaven to the New Earth, which is seen to be a symbolic reference to the people of God living in community with one another. See also World to Come. Purgatory is the condition or temporary punishment [25] in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven. This is a theological idea that has ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, while the poetic conception of purgatory as a geographically situated place is largely the creation of medieval Christian piety and imagination.

The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in the Eastern sui juris churches or rites it is a doctrine, though often without using the name "Purgatory" ; Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief. John Wesley , the founder of Methodism , believed in an intermediate state between death and the final judgment and in the possibility of "continuing to grow in holiness there.

Hell in Christian beliefs, is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved will suffer the consequences of sin. The Christian doctrine of Hell derives from the teaching of the New Testament , where Hell is typically described using the Greek words Gehenna or Tartarus. Unlike Hades , Sheol , or Purgatory it is eternal, and those damned to Hell are without hope. In the New Testament , it is described as the place or state of punishment after death or last judgment for those who have rejected Jesus.

Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life. Only in the King James Version of the bible is the word "Hell" used to translate certain words, such as sheol Hebrew and both hades and Gehenna Greek. All other translations reserve Hell only for use when Gehenna is mentioned. It is generally agreed that both sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the underworld or temporary abode of the dead. Traditionally, the majority of Protestants have held that Hell will be a place of unending conscious torment, both physical and spiritual, [] although some recent writers such as C.

Lewis [] and J. Moreland [] have cast Hell in terms of "eternal separation" from God. Certain biblical texts have led some theologians to the conclusion that punishment in Hell, though eternal and irrevocable, will be proportional to the deeds of each soul e. Matthew , Luke — Another area of debate is the fate of the unevangelized i. Some Protestants agree with Augustine that people in these categories will be damned to Hell for original sin , while others believe that God will make an exception in these cases.

A "significant minority" believe in the doctrine of conditional immortality , [] which teaches that those sent to Hell will not experience eternal conscious punishment, but instead will be extinguished or annihilated after a period of "limited conscious punishment". Some Protestants such as George MacDonald , Karl Randall , Keith DeRose and Thomas Talbott , also, however, in a minority, believe that after serving their sentence in Gehenna , all souls are reconciled to God and admitted to heaven, or ways are found at the time of death of drawing all souls to repentance so that no "hellish" suffering is experienced.

This view is often called Christian universalism —its conservative branch is more specifically called 'Biblical or Trinitarian Universalism '—and is not to be confused with Unitarian Universalism. See universal reconciliation , apocatastasis and the problem of Hell. Theodicy can be said to be defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. Specifically, Theodicy is a specific branch of theology and philosophy which attempts to reconcile belief in God with the perceived existence of evil.

Responses to the problem of evil have sometimes been classified as defenses or theodicies. However, authors disagree on the exact definitions. A defense need not argue that this is a probable or plausible explanation, only that the defense is logically possible. A defense attempts to answer the logical problem of evil. A theodicy, on the other hand, is a more ambitious attempt to provide a plausible justification for the existence of evil. A theodicy attempts to answer the evidential problem of evil.

As an example, some authors see arguments including demons or the fall of man as not logically impossible but not very plausible considering our knowledge about the world. Thus they are seen as defenses but not good theodicies. Lewis writes in his book The Problem of Pain :. We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults.

But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them. Another possible answer is that the world is corrupted due to the sin of mankind. Some answer that because of sin, the world has fallen from the grace of God, and is not perfect.

Therefore, evils and imperfections persist because the world is fallen. Dembski argues that the effects of Adam's sin recorded in the Book of Genesis were 'back-dated' by God, and hence applied to the earlier history of the universe. Evil is sometimes seen as a test or trial for humans. Irenaeus of Lyons and more recently John Hick have argued that evil and suffering are necessary for spiritual growth.

This is often combined with the free will argument by arguing that such spiritual growth requires free will decisions. A problem with this is that many evils do not seem to cause any kind of spiritual growth, or even permit it, as when a child is abused from birth and becomes, seemingly inevitably, a brutal adult. The problem of evil is often phrased in the form: Why do bad things happen to good people? Christianity teach that all people are inherently sinful due to the fall of man and original sin ; for example, Calvinist theology follows a doctrine called federal headship , which argues that the first man, Adam , was the legal representative of the entire human race.

A counterargument to the basic version of this principle is that an omniscient God would have predicted this, when he created the world, and an omnipotent God could have prevented it. The Book of Isaiah clearly claims that God is the source of at least some natural disasters, but Isaiah doesn't attempt to explain the motivation behind the creation of evil. In it, Satan challenges God regarding his servant Job, claiming that Job only serves God for the blessings and protection that he receives from him.

God allows Satan to plague Job and his family in a number of ways, with the limitation that Satan may not take Job's life but his children are killed. Job discusses this with three friends and questions God regarding his suffering which he finds to be unjust. God responds in a speech and then more than restores Job's prior health, wealth, and gives him new children.

Bart D. Ehrman argues that different parts of the Bible give different answers. One example is evil as punishment for sin or as a consequence of sin. Ehrman writes that this seems to be based on some notion of free will although this argument is never explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Another argument is that suffering ultimately achieves a greater good, possibly for persons other than the sufferer, that would not have been possible otherwise. The Book of Job offers two different answers: suffering is a test, and you will be rewarded later for passing it; another that God in his might chooses not to reveal his reasons.

Ecclesiastes sees suffering as beyond human abilities to comprehend. Apocalyptic parts, including the New Testament , see suffering as due to cosmic evil forces, that God for mysterious reasons has given power over the world, but which will soon be defeated and things will be set right. The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated in English as "sin" is hamartia , which literally means missing the target. Jesus clarified the law by defining its foundation: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. Substantial branches of hamartiological understanding subscribe to the doctrine of original sin , which was taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans —19 and popularized by Saint Augustine. He taught that all the descendants of Adam and Eve are guilty of Adam's sin without their own personal choice [].

In contrast, Pelagius argued that humans enter life as essentially tabulae rasae. The fall that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God was held by his group to have affected humankind only minimally. But few theologians continue to hold this hamartiological viewpoint. A third branch of thinking takes an intermediate position, arguing that after the fall of Adam and Eve, humans are born impacted by sin such that they have very decided tendencies toward sinning which by personal choice all accountable humans but Jesus soon choose to indulge.

The degree to which a Christian believes humanity is impacted by either a literal or metaphorical "fall" determines their understanding of related theological concepts like salvation , justification , and sanctification. Christian views on sin are mostly understood as legal infraction or contract violation, and so salvation tends to be viewed in legal terms, similar to Jewish thinking. In religion , sin is the concept of acts that violate a moral rule.

The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Commonly, the moral code of conduct is decreed by a divine entity, i. Divine law. Sin is often used to mean an action that is prohibited or considered wrong; in some religions notably some sects of Christianity , sin can refer not only to physical actions taken, but also to thoughts and internalized motivations and feelings.

Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, shameful , harmful, or alienating might be termed "sinful". An elementary concept of "sin" regards such acts and elements of Earthly living that one cannot take with them into transcendental living. Food, for example is not of transcendental living and therefore its excessive savoring is considered a sin. A more developed concept of "sin" deals with a distinction between sins of death mortal sin and the sins of human living venial sin.

In that context, mortal sins are said to have the dire consequence of mortal penalty , while sins of living food , casual or informal sexuality , play , inebriation may be regarded as essential spice for transcendental living, even though these may be destructive in the context of human living obesity, infidelity. In Western Christianity , "sin is lawlessness " 1 John and so salvation tends to be understood in legal terms, similar to Jewish law.

Sin alienates the sinner from God. It has damaged, and completely severed, the relationship of humanity to God. That relationship can only be restored through acceptance of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross as a sacrifice for mankind's sin see Salvation and Substitutionary atonement.

In Eastern Christianity , sin is viewed in terms of its effects on relationships, both among people and between people and God. Sin is seen as the refusal to follow God's plan, and the desire to be like God and thus in direct opposition to him see the account of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis. To sin is to want control of one's destiny in opposition to the will of God, to do some rigid beliefs.

In Russian variant of Eastern Christianity , sin sometimes is regarded as any mistake made by people in their life. From this point of view every person is sinful because every person makes mistakes during his life. When person accuses others in sins he always must remember that he is also sinner and so he must have mercy for others remembering that God is also merciful to him and to all humanity. The fall of man or simply the fall refers in Christian doctrine to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God , to a state of guilty disobedience to God.

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In the Book of Genesis chapter 2, Adam and Eve live at first with God in a paradise , but are then deceived or tempted by the serpent to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil , which had been forbidden to them by God. After doing so they become ashamed of their nakedness, and God consequently expelled them from paradise.

The fall is not mentioned by name in the Bible , but the story of disobedience and expulsion is recounted in both Testaments in different ways. The Fall can refer to the wider theological inferences for all humankind as a consequence of Eve and Adam's original sin.

Examples include the teachings of Paul in Romans —19 and 1 Cor. Some Christian denominations believe the fall corrupted the entire natural world, including human nature, causing people to be born into original sin , a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the gracious intervention of God. Protestants hold that Jesus ' death was a "ransom" by which humanity was offered freedom from the sin acquired at the fall.

In other religions, such as Judaism , Islam , and Gnosticism , the term "the fall" is not recognized and varying interpretations of the Eden narrative are presented. Christianity interprets the fall in a number of ways. The doctrine of original sin , as articulated by Augustine of Hippo's interpretation of Paul of Tarsus , provides that the fall caused a fundamental change in human nature, so that all descendants of Adam are born in sin , and can only be redeemed by divine grace.

Sacrifice was the only means by which humanity could be redeemed after the fall. Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross as the ultimate redemption for the sin of humankind. Thus, the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree—which God had commanded them not to do—sinful death was born; it was an act of disobedience, thinking they could become like gods, that was the sin. Since Adam was the head of the human race, he is held responsible for the evil that took place, for which reason the fall of man is referred to as the " sin of Adam ".

This sin caused Adam and his descendants to lose unrestricted access to God Himself. The years of life were limited. In Christian theology, the death of Jesus on the cross is the atonement to the sin of Adam. As a result of that act of Christ, all who put their trust in Christ alone now have unrestricted access to God through prayer and in presence.

Original sin, which Eastern Christians usually refer to as ancestral sin , [] is, according to a doctrine proposed in Christian theology, humanity's state of sin resulting from the fall of man. Those who uphold the doctrine look to the teaching of Paul the Apostle in Romans —21 and 1 Corinthians for its scriptural base, [30] and see it as perhaps implied in Old Testament passages such as Psalm and Psalm The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists mostly dealt with topics other than original sin.

He thought it was a most subtle job to discern what came first: self-centeredness or failure in seeing truth. The consequences of the fall were transmitted to their descendants in the form of concupiscence , which is a metaphysical term, and not a psychological one. Thomas Aquinas explained Augustine's doctrine pointing out that the libido concupiscence , which makes the original sin pass from parents to children, is not a libido actualis , i. In Augustine's view termed "Realism" , all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned.

Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible , results in conversion, and leads to perseverance. Augustine's formulation of original sin was popular among Protestant reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin , and also, within Roman Catholicism, in the Jansenist movement, but this movement was declared heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.

Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. This inherently sinful nature the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of " total depravity " results in a complete alienation from God and the total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based on their own abilities. Not only do individuals inherit a sinful nature due to Adam's fall, but since he was the federal head and representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit the guilt of his sin by imputation.

The scriptural basis for the doctrine is found in two New Testament books by Paul the Apostle , Romans —21 and 1 Corinthians , in which he identifies Adam as the one man through whom death came into the world. Total depravity also called absolute inability and total corruption is a theological doctrine that derives from the Augustinian concept of original sin. It is the teaching that, as a consequence of the fall of man , every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God , is utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to accept salvation as it is freely offered.

It is also advocated to various degrees by many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of Lutheranism , [] Arminianism , [] and Calvinism. Total depravity is the fallen state of man as a result of original sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are by nature not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather all are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and to reject the rule of God. Even religion and philanthropy are wicked to God to the extent that these originate from a human imagination, passion, and will and are not done to the glory of God.

Therefore, in Reformed theology , if God is to save anyone He must predestine , call, elect individuals to salvation since fallen man does not want to, indeed is incapable of choosing God. Total depravity does not mean, however, that people are as evil as possible. Rather, it means that even the good which a person may intend is faulty in its premise, false in its motive, and weak in its implementation; and there is no mere refinement of natural capacities that can correct this condition. Thus, even acts of generosity and altruism are in fact egoist acts in disguise. All good, consequently, is derived from God alone, and in no way through man.

Christian soteriology is the branch of Christian theology that deals with one's salvation. Atonement is a doctrine that describes how human beings can be reconciled to God. In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of one's sin through the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion , which made possible the reconciliation between God and creation.

Within Christianity there are three main theories for how such atonement might work: the ransom theory , the satisfaction theory and the moral influence theory. Christian soteriology is unlike and not to be confused with collective salvation. Christian soteriology traditionally focuses on how God ends the separation people have from him due to sin by reconciling them with himself.

Many Christians believe they receive the forgiveness of sins Acts , life Rom. Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit , is called The Paschal Mystery. Christ's human birth is called the Incarnation. They were known as friars and called the Mendicant Orders Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and the Servites , because of begging alms to support themselves. Francis of Assisi was born to wealth.

He loved adventure, but experienced conversion after joining the military. He returned home, and heard a voice saying to him, "Francis, go and rebuild my house; it is falling down. Francis loved creation and considered it good, for Christ himself took on flesh in the Incarnation.

He loved all living creatures. Francis originated the Christmas manger scene. He founded the Franciscan order, and received approval from Rome in The Poor Clare Nuns began when St. Clare joined the Franciscans in in Assisi. In St. Francis risked his life in the Fifth Crusade by calling directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to convert him and bring peace. He received the stigmata of Christ in , 2 years before his death in Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Spain.

On a journey through France he was confronted by the Albigensian heresy like Manichaeism and the Cathari. As he came with a Bishop in richly dressed clothes on horses, he realized the people would not be impressed with his message. This led him to a life of poverty. He spent several years preaching in France in an attempt to convert the Albigensians. In in Prouille, France, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and began to spread devotion to the Rosary. Dominic was a man of peace and converted many through prayer, preaching, and his example of poverty.

He founded the Order of Preachers in known as the Dominican Friars. The universities in Europe began as guilds of scholars, which first attracted members of the clergy and were supported financially by the Church. The first universities in Europe were founded in Bologna and Paris; Oxford and Cambridge soon followed. Theology, law, and medicine were fields of advanced study. The age was the time of Scholasticism - of the schools, a method of learning that placed emphasis on reasoning. Important writers at the time were Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus, and his student Thomas Aquinas, who became the greatest theologian and philosopher of the age.

Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who lived from to Born in Roccasecca, Italy to the Aquino family, he joined the Dominicans at the age of He received his doctorate in theology and taught at the University of Paris during the height of Christendom. One of the greatest contributions by Thomas was his incorporation of the philosophy of Aristotle into the theology of the Catholic Church. Thomas saw reason and faith as one and mutually supportive, and combined the Bible and Church Fathers and the reasoning of Aristotle into one unified system of understanding Christian revelation through faith enlightened by reason.

His most noted work was the Summa Theologica , a five-volume masterpiece. Thomas Aquinas presented the classical approach to Biblical Exegesis. Recalling the words of Gregory that Scripture transcends every science, " for in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery. His exposition on the Seven Sacraments remains a standard to our present day. The Renaissance , which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture. Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man's achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy , published in by Dante Alighieri in Italy.

The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art. Brunelleschi revived the ancient Roman style of architecture and introduced linear perspective. The great sculptors were Donatello and Michelangelo. Thomas More and Erasmus were leading Christian humanists in literature.


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The Protestant Reformation resulted from the failure of the Catholic Church to reform itself in time. The dark side of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries witnessed the errant Fourth Crusade to Constantinople in , the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari in , and the beginning of the Inquisition which became severely punitive. The Papacy suffered a great loss of respect during the Avignon Papacy and especially during the Papal Schism , when two and at one point three men declared themselves Pope and opposed each other.

However, the Council also condemned John Hus , the Prague reformer who believed in the priesthood of all believers and the reception of Communion through bread and wine; he was burned at the stake on July 6, Another victim of the Inquisition was St. She was burned at the stake on May 30, in Rouen, France.

The Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century was particularly ruthless. The lack of Church funds led to even further corruption, including simony and the selling of indulgences. For example, Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had to pay Rome ten thousand ducats for the right to hold three dioceses at once, and agreed to a three-way split with the Roman Curia and the Fugger Banking firm from the proceeds of the selling of indulgences. These events led many to question the compassion and integrity of the Church.

The unity of Tradition and Scripture went unchallenged through the Patristic Age and thirteenth century scholasticists such as St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas. But the unity of Scripture and Tradition began to be questioned with the decline of the Church. The Belgian Henry of Ghent believed that one should first have the duty to follow Scripture rather than a Church that became one in name only.

The English Franciscan William of Ockham or Occam was known for the principle of Occam's Razor , that one needs to reduce everything to its simplest cause. Ockham theorized on three possibilities of the relation of Scripture and the Church. First there was Sola Scriptura , that one could obtain salvation by following Scripture alone; second, that God does reveal truths to the universal Church, an ecclesiastical revelation supplemental to apostolic revelation; and third, the concept of orally transmitted apostolic revelation parallel to written Scripture.

Ockham believed that one could reach God only through faith and not by reason. He wrote that universals, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, were concepts of the mind and did not exist, a philosophy known as Nominalism. Thus began the division of the realm of faith from the secular world of reason. The rise of Nationalism led to the end of Christendom, for countries resented any effort to support Rome, especially in its dismal state. Dissemination of new ideas followed the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; his very first printing was the Latin Vulgate Bible in The stage was set for the reform-minded Martin Luther , the Augustinian monk of Wittenberg, Germany.

He received his doctorate in theology in , and then taught biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. His study of Scripture, particularly St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, led him to believe that salvation was obtained through justification by faith alone. At first, his only interest was one of reform when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church October 31, But the intransigence of the Church and poor handling of the situation by the Pope and Curia only worsened matters, such that a break was inevitable.

In a July debate with the Catholic theologian Johann Eck, Luther stated that Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone - was the supreme authority in religion. He could no longer accept the authority of the Pope or the Councils, such as Constance. In Luther published three documents which laid down the fundamental principles of the Reformation. In Address To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation , Luther attacked the corruptions of the Church and the abuses of its authority, and asserted the right of the layman to spiritual independence.

In the Babylonian Captivity of the Church , he defended the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance, but criticized the sacramental system of Rome, and set up the Scriptures as the supreme authority in religion. In The Freedom of the Christian Man , he expounded the doctrine of salvation through justification by faith alone. The Augsburg Confession of , written by Philip Melanchthon and approved by Martin Luther, was the most widely accepted Lutheran confession of faith.

THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST

Once Sola Scriptura became the norm, it became a matter of personal interpretation. Huldrich Zwingli of Zurich, Switzerland was next, and he broke with Luther over the Eucharist, but his sect died out. The Anabaptists separated from Zwingli as they denied the validity of infant baptism; they survived as the Mennonites.

While he agreed with Luther on the basic Protestant tenets of sola scriptura, salvation by faith alone, and the priesthood of all believers, he went even further on such issues as predestination and the sacraments. George Fox, the son of Puritan parents, founded the Quakers in England in Thomas More refused to attend the wedding, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London and later beheaded in Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Two major sects that split off from the Anglicans were the Baptists , founded by John Smyth in , and later the Methodists , founded by John Wesley and his brother Charles.

There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. On December 12, , Juan Diego was obedient to the Blessed Virgin Mary's instruction to gather beautiful roses in his tilma and take them to the Franciscan Bishop Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga on his third visit to appeal for the building of a Church as requested by Our Lady.

Then he put up both hands and untied the corners of crude cloth behind his neck. The looped-up fold of the tilma fell; the flowers he thought were the precious sign tumbled out on the floor. The Bishop fell on his knees in adoration before the tilma. For on the tilma was the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as described by Juan Diego, and is still preserved today in original condition in Tepeyac on the outskirts of Mexico City.

Spanish conquistadors may have conquered the Aztecs in , but their ruthless behavior antagonized the people and conversions were few. Our Lady of Guadalupe conveyed the beautiful message of Christianity: the true God sacrificed himself for mankind, instead of the horrendous life indians had endured sacrificing thousands of humans to appease the frightful gods!

It is no wonder that over the next seven years, from to , eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism. Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary entered the very soul of Central America and became a central figure to the history of Mexico itself. A harbinger of things to come, Christianity would thrive in the Americas. Her appearance in the center of the American continents has contributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe being given the title "Mother of America.

The Catholic Church reformed itself both through the positive work of renewal and through the impetus of the Protestant Reformation. Efforts at reform had already begun with the Oratory of Divine Love in Genoa in The strict order of the Theatines was founded in and made significant efforts at the reform of the parish clergy. The Capuchins were founded in Italy in to restore the Franciscan Order to its original ideals. Ignatius of Loyola began the Jesuit Order in Spiritual enrichment was kindled through the Spanish mystics St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The Council of Trent marked an important turning point for the Catholic Church, for it provided clarity on the beliefs of the Church, and ecclesiastical discipline was restored.

The doctrines established at Trent persist to this day. The Council addressed three areas: doctrine, discipline, and devotion. Seven major areas were included in doctrine: that our justification was not just by faith alone, but also by hope and charity expressed in good works in cooperation with God's grace. Both Tradition and Scripture were essential to the faith. The Latin Vulgate Bible was promoted as the only canonical Scripture.

There was a clear definition of the seven sacraments. The Mass, known as the Tridentine Mass, was given strict form and was celebrated only in Latin. The Latin Tridentine Mass provided unity for the universal Church, for it was the same Mass in every place and time. Discipline involved strict reform and the establishment of the seminary system for the proper and uniform training of priests. The office of indulgence seller was abolished, and doctrine on indulgences was clarified. A Bishop was allowed only one diocese and residence was required, begun by the reformer St.

Charles Borromeo of Milan. Catholic Missionaries accompanied the explorers on their journeys, such as Christopher Columbus in , the Portuguese Vasco da Gama to Goa, India in , and Ferdinand Magellan to the Philippines in Francis Xavier exemplified the missionary movement, and has been recognized as second only to the Apostle Paul in his evangelical efforts.

The patron saint of missionaries, Francis Xavier sailed from Lisbon, Portugal and landed in Goa in His humble way had great impact on the local people, and he trained the young in the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. He was soon reported to have baptized 10, a month. He then headed to Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India, where he made many conversions of the fishermen there. Andres de Urdaneta and the Augustinian monks sailed to Cebu, Philippines in He was a self-sacrificing man dedicated to protecting the natives, and received the name Motolinia for his life of poverty.

He recorded in his book History of the Indians of New Spain the dramatic conversions following the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Dominican Bartholomew de Las Casas first went to the West Indies in as a soldier, but on viewing the horrendous enslavement of the native Indians through the Spanish encomienda system, was ordained as a Dominican priest in , the first ordination in America.


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In his role as human rights advocate for the Indians, he is considered an early pioneer of social justice. Missionary efforts would continue to the New World for years to come.

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The history of the English Bible is intimately intertwined with the history of the Reformation. He served until his death in , when he was succeeded by his son, Charles I. It was a time when the English language reached its greatest expression in the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. King James as head of the Church of England commissioned a group of bishops and scholars to establish an authoritative translation of the Bible from the original languages into English in There were several English versions available, either as translations of the Latin Vulgate or from the Greek-Latin parallel New Testament of Erasmus; the ones that follow influenced the King James scholars.

John Wycliffe produced a hand-written English translation of the Latin Vulgate in His colleague, Miles Coverdale, completed Tyndale's work, which formed the basis for the Great Bible , the first authorized Bible in English, which was placed in every church in England. When the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne in , further work had to be done on the European continent, and the Geneva Bible, the first to have numbered verses, was published in The King James Bible originally included the Apocrypha but in a separate section.

A literary masterpiece of the English language, the King James Bible is still in use today. Christopher Columbus reached America in the Bahamas on October 12, Following the discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon in , St. Augustine, Florida became the first permanent European settlement in North America in , from which missionaries spread Catholicism to the Native American Indians.

Augustine, Florida. Spanish explorations extended as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, established in A wave of explorations to the New World continued. Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Christianity continued to thrive in the New World as our young Nation developed. Four of the original 13 English colonies were specifically chartered for religious freedom, as a refuge from religious persecution in England at the time.

The settlers soon enacted the Toleration Act of Maryland and founded St. Mary's Chapel in St. Mary's City, Maryland. William Penn and the Quakers settled in in Pennsylvania. The Mennonites also moved to Pennsylvania in at the invitation of William Penn. The universal toleration offered in Pennsylvania continued to attract groups such as the Amish, Moravian Pietists, and Presbyterians. The period from through the eighteenth century was known as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe.

The time had come when men would set aside religious views and look to reason and social experience to guide society. It was the loss of Christian unity that led to the secularization of Western culture. Whereas Christendom provided one message to European society, the pluralism of religions provided different answers to questions about life and led to skepticism and conflict rather than unanimous thought.

Discoveries in science had much to do with the Age of Enlightenment. Copernicus proposed the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth revolved around the sun. Galileo Galilei , the first to use a telescope, confirmed that Copernicus was right and was condemned by the Catholic Church. Scientists such as Isaac Newton in physics and Robert Boyle in chemistry were pioneers and gave birth to technology, the application of science to practical problems, which led to the Industrial Revolution. Progress based on science and technology became a major goal of Western Society.

Mankind was left without its mooring, and philosophers set out in different directions to provide meaning for humanity. The critical Rationalism of Rene Descartes applied to philosophy the mathematical method so effective in science, that everything was questionable until it could be proved beyond all doubt. Blaise Pascal took a different stance and presented Pascal's Wager: it is better to live a good life, for if there is a God, you will end up with Him in Heaven; but if you have lived a bad life and there is a God, you are doomed!

John Locke applied reason to confirm revelation. The political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu of France proposed that the best form of government would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches and would be based on the natural law. David Hume proposed a science of man, and is considered a pioneer in the social sciences. But Jean-Jacques Rousseau , considered the father of Romanticism, took an opposite approach and spoke of the noble savage, that man was happy only in his original native state, before government, laws, and politics chained mankind.

It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant that defined the era: "Have courage to use your own reason - that is the motto of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment ignored love, emotion, spirituality and concern for one's fellow man. It forgot that man is wounded by original and personal sin, and his reason is colored by desire and selfishness.

In fact, the Age of Enlightenment brought the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror , Naziism, Communism, and the twentieth century, with its two World Wars, the bloodiest century in history. Intellectual dryness and doctrinal religions prevalent during the Enlightenment Era led to a spiritual revival throughout Western Christian civilization, as seen with Pietism in Germany, Methodism in England and America, and the Great Awakening in the United States.

Philipp Jakob Spener of Germany wrote Pia Desideria in and spoke of a theology of the heart , placing emphasis on inner devotion and Christian living, and inspired the Pietist movement. Pietism especially influenced Nikolaus von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church. John Wesley and his brother Charles provided light for Christianity during the Enlightenment.

John Wesley, noted for his moving sermons, and his brother Charles, a poetic genius and hymn writer, began the Methodist movement in England, and set forth an evangelical revival throughout the British Isles, North America, and the world. The two brothers were raised in the Anglican Church. Because of their strict method of living, they were soon called the Methodists. John Wesley experienced a heartwarming conversion experience at Aldersgate Street in London in He preached in the English countryside to the poor, and sparked a religious revival throughout England.

He assured the people that all could be saved by experiencing God and opening their hearts to his grace. George Whitefield made seven trips to America beginning in and was one of the most powerful evangelists ever. He, along with others, kindled a spiritual revival throughout the thirteen colonies known as the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was the first national experience in America and did much to unite the American colonies.

Revival during the Enlightenment Era fulfilled the human need for spiritual experience through Jesus Christ. The independence movement in the American colonies sparked an outcry for freedom of religion, such that Christianity flourished in the newly-formed United States of America.

Every taxable resident was required to support the state established Church, no matter what their faith! This caused dissension in the Colonies such as in Maryland and Virginia, where Catholics in Maryland and Presbyterians and Baptists in Virginia objected to the unfair Anglican clergy tax. Of those states with established Churches, Maryland became the first state to disestablish church and state following the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights allowed the free exercise of religion and proliferation of Christian denominations during rapid westward expansion in America.

Constitution and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, became the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore, a diocese which served the entire United States. Two days after Thomas Jefferson wrote his highly quoted but out-of-context expression "wall of separation between Church and State" to the Danbury Baptists, he appeared on January 3, in the House of Representatives to hear the Baptist preacher John Leland lead an evangelical service on public property. Separation of Church and State did not preclude a vibrant public square.

Recognizing the need to instill morals and values in our children, Bible reading and prayer continued in our public schools for years! Conversions by Evangelical Protestants and other Christian faiths provided the moral fabric for the new American nation after the Revolutionary War.

The Methodist movement proved most successful in North America. Methodist circuit-riders were effective missionaries in spreading the Christian faith from the South to settlers in the mid-West. It was left to the unlikely figure of President Abraham Lincoln to recognize the Christian culture of our Nation. In his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, , he remarked near the close of the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. He appealed for "malice toward none, with charity for all … to bind the nation's wounds.

An conservative Supreme Court that respected the free exercise of religion and our Christian heritage declared in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States that "This is a Christian Nation. The American Declaration of Independence of July 4, read all men are created equal, but slavery persisted.

How could the Revolutionary War be fought for freedom without granting freedom to all? The American Civil War reflected the Christian heritage of our Nation, for the moral issue of slavery troubled the hearts of Americans from our very beginning. The non-violent religious movement of the s and s emerged as the civil rights movement in the USA, which finally afforded racial equality for African-Americans, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation!

The crusade arose within Negro Churches, the center of their life. African-Americans had begun to receive recognition in the fields of art, music, and sports. The arrest in Montgomery, Alabama of Rosa Parks , who was detained on December 1, for refusing to move to the back of the bus for a white person, sparked the drive for civil rights. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.