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Portal:Christianity

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Common symbol of Christianity

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, known as Christians. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Christian theology is summarized in various creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and that he will return to judge the living and the dead and grant eternal life to his followers. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection are often referred to as "the gospel", meaning "good news". The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus's life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are considered canonical and included in the Christian Bible.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century. Throughout its history, the religion has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations. Worldwide, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches broke communion with each other in the East-West Schism of 1054; Protestantism came into existence in the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Catholic Church.

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Icon of the Transfiguration (15th century, Novgorod)
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus was transfigured upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus becomes radiant, speaks with Moses and Elijah, and is called "Son" by God. The transfiguration put Jesus on par with the two preeminent figures of Judaism: Moses and Elijah. It also supports His identity as the Son of God. In keeping with the Messianic secret, Jesus tells the witnesses not to tell others what they saw.

In general, the events in Jesus's life that are said to have taken place in secret, such as the transfiguration, are given less weight by scholars of the historical Jesus than public events.

The original Greek term in the Gospels is metamorphothe, describing Jesus as having undergone metamorphosis.

The Synoptic Gospels, 2 Peter and the Gospel of John briefly allude to the event in their writings (2Peter 1:16-18, John 1:14). Peter describes himself as an eyewitness "of his sovereign majesty." Neither account identifies the "high mountain" of the scene by name. The earliest identification of the mountain as Tabor is in the 5th century Transitus Beatae Mariae Virginis. In the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus tells how his mother lifted him up by the hair and lifted him to Mount Tabor, which led Origen to identify the Holy Spirit as the Mother of Jesus.

Symbolic readings take Moses and Elijah to represent the Law and the Prophets respectively, and their recognition of and conversation with Jesus symbolize how Jesus fulfils "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17-19, see also Expounding of the Law).

In the narrative, after the cloud dissipates, Elijah and Moses disappear, and Jesus and the three Apostles head down the mountain, Jesus telling his Apostles to keep the event a secret until the "Son of Man" had risen from the dead. The Apostles are described as questioning among themselves as to what Jesus meant by "risen from the dead" (Mark 9:9-10) The Apostles are also described as questioning Jesus about Elijah, and he as responding "...Elijah comes first, and restores all things ... but ... Elijah has come indeed ..." (Mark 9:12-13). It was commonly believed that Elijah would reappear before the coming of the Messiah, as predicted in the Book of Malachi (Malachi 4), and the three Apostles are described as interpreting Jesus' statement as a reference to John the Baptist.

Selected scripture

Jesus taught turning the other cheek during the Sermon on the Mount
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.
For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?
If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
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Portrait of Joseph Smith
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 Elijah, 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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A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Credit: User:Akumiszcza

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland

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