Christianity

Devotion to the Virgin Mary

Devotion to MaryMany of the global expressions of devotion to Jesus’s mother, the Virgin Mary, include shrines across the world. For American and particularly Hispanic Catholics, special reverence is often afforded to the Virgin of Guadelupe, Mary’s manifestation as an indigenous Madonna on the hill of Tepeyac in Mexico, who is now considered Patroness of all the Americas.... Read more about Devotion to the Virgin Mary

Baptism by Water and Spirit

Baptism by Water and SpiritModeled on Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, the rite of baptism involves the partial or full immersion of a person into water as a sign of her rebirth into Christianity. Some denominations baptize infants, while others require that the subject has undergone a conversion experience marking their acceptance of Jesus as savior.... Read more about Baptism by Water and Spirit

Birth of the Church

After Jesus’ death, his followers traveled to spread his teachings to burgeoning communities of faith. The apostle Paul made the radical shift to proselytize to Gentiles (non-Jews) which advanced  the spread of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean world as more people joined the Christian community of the church.
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The Protestant Movement

The Protestant Movement

Martin Luther, a 16th century German monk with great frustration over the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and an insistence on the gift of salvation through God’s grace, began a process of Christian reform that eventually moved beyond Catholicism. Anabaptists, English reformers, and evangelical Christians have all continued to change Christian doctrine and the ways that Christians churches are internally organized.... Read more about The Protestant Movement

Mission to the World

Mission to the World

For all of Christian history, missionaries have traveled across the world with the goal of creating a global church. Following the routes of empire and trade, new Christian traditions arose. Some served the interests of colonizing powers while others, influenced by diverse indigenous cultures and identities, opposed European imperialism.... Read more about Mission to the World

Credo: “I Believe. . .”

Statements of belief unite Christians in their articulation of shared commitments. While the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are the oldest and most universal creeds of the church, the process of articulating what it means to give one’s heart to Christ has continued to the present. ... Read more about Credo: “I Believe. . .”

Orthodox Christian Churches

Orthodox Christian Churches

The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches are rooted in Greece, the Middle East, North Africa, and India. While Christianity may have started as one communion, these churches are theologically and liturgically distinct from those in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, and have weathered centuries of challenge and change.... Read more about Orthodox Christian Churches

The Modern Era

Since the 17th century, Christians have disagreed about how to interpret the Bible, relate religious faith to scientific discovery, and incorporate broader social changes into church structure. The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s led to Roman Catholic ecclesiastical change, while Protestant churches have offered diverse, sometime ecumenical, and sometimes conflicting answers to these questions. In more recent years, the world has seen a resurgence of evangelical Christianity as well as an increase in pentecostalism, particularly in Latin America, Africa, and the U.S. ... Read more about The Modern Era

Abolition and Women’s Rights

Abolition and Women’s Rights

In the first decades of the 1800s, a coalition of Protestants made arguments grounded in scripture for the abolition of slavery. This group laid the foundation for later social movements, including the women’s rights movement. Although cooperation between churches gave momentum to these campaigns, political and religious arguments led to internal divisions, often along racial and geographic lines. ... Read more about Abolition and Women’s Rights

The Protestant Mainstream

The Protestant Mainstream

In the early 19th century, many so-called “mainstream Protestants”—Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Anglicans—understood themselves to be responsible for the future of the fledgling United States. Although they founded interchurch agencies that worked toward social reform, some religious alliances eventually split as denominations took either “liberal” or “fundamentalist” stances.... Read more about The Protestant Mainstream

American Protestant Awakening

American Protestant Awakening

The 18th century brought a series of religious revivals to the American colonies. Preachers traveled through Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist communities, speaking to large crowds, urging renewed piety and personal conversions, and infusing American Protestantism with a lasting individualistic spirit.... Read more about American Protestant Awakening

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