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Portal:Christianity

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Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.6 billion followers, representing one-third of the global population. Its adherents, known as Christians, are estimated to make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament in Christianity) and chronicled in the New Testament.

Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. The creeds of various Christian denominations generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the Logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; and referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with the Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.

The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1%), Protestantism (920 million/36.7%), the Eastern Orthodox Church (230 million), and the Oriental Orthodox churches (62 million) (Orthodox churches combined at 11.9%), though thousands of smaller church communities exist despite efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of that population identifying as Christian. Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents. Christians remain greatly persecuted in many regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. (Full article...)

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Nineteenth century black-and-white photograph of Samuel Merrill Woodbridge, a man in suit, dress shirt, and tie
The Rev. Samuel Merrill Woodbridge, c. late 1860s

The Reverend Samuel Merrill Woodbridge, D.D., LL.D. (April 5, 1819 – June 23, 1905) was an American clergyman, theologian, author, and college professor. A graduate of New York University and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Woodbridge preached for sixteen years as a clergyman in the Reformed Church in America.

After settling in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he taught for 44 years as professor of ecclesiastical history and church government at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and for seven years as professor of "metaphysics and philosophy of the human mind" at Rutgers College (now Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) in New Brunswick. Woodbridge later led the New Brunswick seminary as Dean and President of the Faculty from 1883 to 1901. He was the author of three books and several published sermons and addresses covering various aspects of Christian faith, theology, church history and government. (Full article...)
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Johann Sebastian Bach composed the church cantata Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (I had much grief), BWV 21 in Weimar, possibly in 1713, partly even earlier. He used it in 1714 and later for the third Sunday after Trinity of the liturgical year. The work marks a transition between motet style on biblical and hymn text to operatic recitatives and arias on contemporary poetry. Bach catalogued the work as e per ogni tempo (and for all times), indicating that due to its general theme, the cantata is suited for any occasion.

The text is probably written by the court poet Salomon Franck, who includes four biblical quotations from three psalms and from the Book of Revelation, and juxtaposes in one movement biblical text with two stanzas from Georg Neumark's hymn "Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten". The cantata possibly began as a work of dialogue and four motets on biblical verses. When Bach performed the cantata again in Leipzig in 1723, it was structured in eleven movements, including an opening sinfonia and additional recitatives and arias. It is divided in two parts to be performed before and after the sermon, and scored for three vocal soloists (soprano, tenor, and bass), a four-part choir, and a Baroque instrumental ensemble of three trumpets, timpani, oboe, strings and continuo. (Full article...)
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Saint Paul Writing His Epistles
Credit: User:Mathiasrex

The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul (Παῦλος) as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity and as part of the canon of the New Testament they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics.

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Rich man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

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