The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
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Christianity (from the Greek word Khristos Xριστός "Christ" or 'Anointed') is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament, who (according to Christian scripture) lived during 4BC-30AD. Adherents of Christianity, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied about in the Hebrew Bible (the part of scripture common to Christianity, Islam (although differences are seen in the Islamic Pentateuch and the Judeo-Christian Pentateuch) and Judaism). Christian theology claims that Jesus suffered, died, and was resurrected to bring about salvation from sin. Christians call the message of Jesus Christ the Gospel ("good news") and hence refer to the earliest written accounts of his ministry as gospels. These early written accounts are the first four books of the New Testament called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Like Judaism, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion (see also Judeo-Christian). Christianity began as a Jewish sect in the eastern Mediterranean, quickly grew in size and influence over a few decades, and by the 4th century had become the dominant religion within the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, Christianity lost up to two thirds of its size to Muslim military (North Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe), but also most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized. Since then, Christians have also been a (sometimes large) religious minority in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of India. Following the Age of Discovery, through missionary work and colonization, Christianity spread to the Americas and the rest of the world. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century. As of the early 21st century, Christianity has between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion adherents, representing about a quarter to a third of the world's population. According to The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, it is the world's largest religion.
, also known as Communion
or The Lord's Supper
, is the rite
perform in fulfillment of Jesus
' instruction, recorded in the New Testament
, to "do in memory of him" what he did at his Last Supper
Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying "This is my body," and wine, saying "This is my blood." Christians generally recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present. The word "Eucharist" is also applied to the bread and wine consecrated in the course of the rite.
The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek noun εὐχαριστία (thanksgiving). This noun or the corresponding verb εὐχαριστῶ (to give thanks) is found in 55 verses of the New Testament. Four of these verses (Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24) recount that Jesus "gave thanks" before presenting to his followers the bread and the wine that he declared to be his body and his blood.
Most Christians classify the Eucharist as a sacrament, but many Protestant traditions avoid the term sacrament, preferring ordinance. In these traditions, the ceremony is seen not as a specific channel of divine grace but as an expression of faith and obedience of the Christian community.
Joseph Smith, Jr.
(December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism
. When he was twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon
; by the time of his death fourteen years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion and religious culture that continues to the present. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont
, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to western New York
, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening
. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one
in which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel
directed him to a buried book of golden plates
inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates, the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ
, calling it a restoration
of the early Christian
church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints", or "Mormons
". Smith published many revelations
and other texts that his followers regard as scripture
. His teachings
include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology
, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses
, and he is considered the founder of several religious denominations
, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
and the Community of Christ
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