The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, also known by Christians as the Christ. It is the world's most populous religious group, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, comprising a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world. Its believers affirm that Jesus is the Son of God, the Logos, and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament of the Bible, and chronicled in the New Testament. Christianity and its ethics have played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization. Early statements of essential beliefs were the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed.
Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect, in the 1st century, in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their successors, the Apostolic Fathers, spread it across large parts of the Middle East, Europe, Ethiopia, Transcaucasia and some other parts of Asia, despite initial persecution. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the First Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The council formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the compilation of the Christian Bible (5th century). The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united communion of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the Pope. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation (16th century), over theological and ecclesiological disputes.
Christianity was a leading influence on the development of Western civilization in Europe during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization.
The restoration of the Sistine Chapel frescoes
constitutes one of the most significant art restorations
of the 20th century. The Sistine Chapel
was built within the Vatican
immediately to the north of St. Peter's Basilica
by Pope Sixtus IV
and completed in about 1481. Its walls were decorated by a number of famous Renaissance painters
of the late 15th century, including Ghirlandaio
. The Chapel was further enhanced under Pope Julius II
by the painting of the ceiling
between 1508–1512 and with the painting of the Last Judgement
, commissioned by Pope Clement VII
and completed in 1541. Together the paintings make up the greatest pictorial scheme of the Renaissance. Individually, some of Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling are among the most famous works of art ever created. The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, and in particular, the ceiling and accompanying lunettes by Michelangelo have been subject to a number of restorations, the most recent taking place between 1980 and 1994. This most recent restoration had a profound effect on art lovers and historians, as colours and details that had not been seen for centuries were revealed. It has been claimed that "Every book on Michelangelo will have to be rewritten". Others, such as the art historian James Beck
, of ArtWatch International
, have been extremely critical of the restoration, saying that the restorers have not realised the true intentions of the artist. This is the subject of continuing debate.
Joseph W. Tkach was the appointed successor of Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Tkach became President and Pastor General of the church upon the death of Armstrong in 1986. Tkach spearheaded a major doctrinal transformation of the Worldwide Church of God, abandoning Armstrong's unconventional doctrines and bringing the church into accord with mainstream evangelical Christianity. His son, Joseph Tkach Jr., continued his work and in 1997 the Worldwide Church of God became a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.
During Tkach's tenure, the changes that he implemented stirred much controversy and significant dissent among those who continued to follow Armstrong's theology. The dissenters labelled the changes as heresy and many left to form new church organizations. Within the mainstream Christian community, some have hailed Tkach's reforms, which brought a church from the fringe to orthodoxy, as unprecedented in the history of the Christian church.
The first major change under Tkach's tenure was the WCG's doctrine on healing. Previously the church taught that true believers were healed by faith in God and not by doctors. Tkach asked the church leadership to study the question. Once Tkach was satisfied with the results of the study, he officially softened the church's teaching on the matter, encouraging members to seek proper treatment while retaining faith in God as healer.
The Finding in the Temple, also called "Christ among the Doctors" or the Disputation (the usual names in art), was an episode in the early life of Jesus depicted in the Gospel of Luke. It is the only event of the later childhood of Jesus mentioned in a gospel.
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