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Some additional quotations -- more controversial this

time:
"Christianity is the only true religion. ... Jesus said that He was the only way.
Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, [or] He was crazy, or He was a
liar. But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a good man, how then could He
be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? He had to be telling the truth. He is
the only way." Matthew J. Slick, President of CARM.
"... there are other possibilities ... perhaps Jesus was simply mistaken or that we
dont have an accurate record of what he truly said if, indeed, he even
existed."Austin Cline 1
"The world is equally shocked at hearing Christianity criticized and seeing it
practiced." Elton Trueblood, (1900 - 1994), American author and theologian.
"Many people think that the Bible is the authentic word of God and they
worship the Bible, making it an idol..." Alan Watts, from "The Essence of Alan
Watts series - GOD.

About this site's approach:


Our policies: This section on Christianity is quite large. Its contents might not be
what you expect.
There are millions of religious web sites on the Internet. A Google search for "God"
found about 541 million hits; "Jesus" returned 212 million; "Christ" found 114
million. Almost all of these sites promote a single viewpoint -- that of the webmaster
or of the sponsoring denomination. This web site is different. We are a multi-faith
group. Our goal is to help religious people understand the full diversity of beliefs and
practices within Christianity today, and down through history.
This web site has a lot more material about Christianity than on any other religion.
That is because of the importance of Christianity and the political power of organized
para-church groups, particularly in the U.S. Almost 75% of American adults identify
themselves as Christian. In comparison, the next largest religions
areIslam and Judaism, whose memberships total only one or two percent of the adult
U.S. population.

Our definition of "Christian:" There are probably thousands of different definitions


of the word "Christian." We have chosen the same definition as is used by public
opinion pollsters and government census offices:
"A 'Christian' includes any group or individual who seriously, sincerely, devoutly,
prayerfully describes themselves as Christian."
Under this definition, Christianity includes: Roman Catholics, Southern
Baptists, Gnostic Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, United Church
members,progressive Christians, even a small minority of Unitarian Universalists,
etc.
We recognize that this is a very inclusive definition. We are reminded of this on a
daily basis by irate Christians who strongly feel that only a small percentage of people
who regard themselves to be Christians are actually "true" Christians, according to the
definition that the Emailer uses.
Coverage of Christian history: We try to explain the full diversity of Christian
beliefs: from those held by very conservative to very liberal believers. Sometimes we
also include the diversity of beliefs of the very early Christian movement from the 1st
and 2nd century CE. 2
Some Christians believe that the beliefs of the earliest primitive Christian
movement are closest to Jesus' actual teaching. This group, the Jewish
Christians, was centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of James -- the
brother/step brother/cousin/ friend -- of Jesus. This group was apparently
founded by Jesus' followers at about the time of his execution, circa 30 CE.
Before the return of Paul to Judea circa 38 CE, it was the only Christian
movement in the world. The group was led by individuals who had followed
Jesus; his teachings would have been fresh in their mind.
Other Christians believe that the beliefs of their present-day faith group are
closest to Jesus' actual teaching even though it reflects the evolving tradition of
their denomination and the many changes made since the first century CE.
Upset at our site content? Many of our visitors are distressed because they find
material on our site which describes beliefs by Christians from denominations other
than their own. They regard these beliefs to be in gross error, unacceptable, perhaps
blasphemous and either un-Christian or anti-Christian. If you are distressed by the
content, please do not write us angry Emails. Please take up your complaints with the
people who hold those beliefs. We are a group of religious reporters, not theologians.

However, if you find that we have incorrectly explained the beliefs of a Christian
group, please do inform us.

Points of concern:
It is our policy to compare and contrast the beliefs and practices of very conservative
with very liberal/progressive Christians. Most North American Christians belong to
either a mainline denomination or the Roman Catholic Church. Your faith group may
teach some beliefs similar to the conservative wing of Christianity and others similar
to that of the liberal wing, and still others that are unique to your denomination.
We feel that it is important for persons of all faith groups (Christian and nonChristian) to understand the great diversity of Christian beliefs -- both among
denominations today and throughout history. Many Christians are aware of their own
denomination's current beliefs. However, they may be unfamiliar with how beliefs
have changed through the 19 centuries of Christian history and how they differ from
other Christian faith groups.
We hope that the contents of this section will be of interest, whether you want to:
Carry out the Great Commission by evangelizing others, or
Debate with them, or
Dialogue with them, or
Work with them, in spite of theological difference, to jointly tackle social
problems, or
Merely understand them.

The importance of religious tolerance:


The U.S. and Canada are the most religiously diverse countries in the world. Both are
becoming increasingly diverse.
If current trends reported by the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)
continue:

The percentage of adults in both countries who identify themselves as Christian


is now in the low 70s and will continue to drop by about 0.8 percentage points
per year.
Protestant Christians will shortly become a minority in the U.S. Some
commentators believe that this has already happened -- perhaps during 2006.
Christians will become a minority in in Canada about 2023 and in the U.S.
about the year 2042.
With such trends likely, Americans and Canadians are going to need religious
understanding and tolerance towards each other's faiths in the future. As we state on
our home page, the term "religious tolerance" on this website means to extend
religious freedom to people of all religious traditions, even though you may well
disagree with their beliefs and/or practices.
Having tolerance toward another religion does not require you to endorse that faith
group's beliefs; it simply indicates your respect for its right to exist and for its member
to hold different beliefs without being oppressed.
Religious tolerance does require you to be civil towards others, but does not require
you:
To accept all religions as equally true.
To avoid criticizing actions motivated by religion that harm others.
To avoid comparing beliefs of different religions with each other.
To avoid comparing religious beliefs with with scientific findings where they
overlap.
Quick Facts
Formed

33 CE

Origin

Palestine

Followers

2,100,000,000

Deity

God (Trinity)

Sacred Texts

Bible

Headquarters

None

Share
Christianity developed out of Judaism in the 1st century C.E. It is founded on the life,
teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and those who follow him are called
"Christians." Christianity has many different branches and forms with accompanying variety
in beliefs and practices. The three major branches of Christianity are Roman Catholicism,
Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, with numerous subcategories within each of these
branches. Until the latter part of the 20th century, most adherents of Christianity were in
the West, though it has spread to every continent and is now the largest religion in the
world. Traditional Christian beliefs include the belief in the one and only true God, who is
one being and exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the belief that Jesus is the divine
and human Messiah sent to the save the world. Christianity is also noted for its emphasis on
faith in Christ as the primary component of religion. The sacred text of Christianity is the
Bible, including both the Hebrew scriptures (also known as the Old Testament) and the New
Testament. Central to Christian practice is the gathering at churches for worship, fellowship,
and study, and engagement with the world through evangelism and social action.

Quick Fact Details:

Formed: This is the traditional date for the death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ. Some scholars date the rise of Christianity as a religious belief system
later in the first century under the leadership of the apostles.
Quick Fact Sources include www.adherents.com,www.bbc.co.uk/religion, The
Oxford Handbook of Global Religions (2006), The Encyclopedia of
Religion (2005), The Cambridge Illustrated History of Religions (2002), and
theEncyclopedia of World Religions (1999).

The Story of Jesus:


An Overview of the Birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection of
Christ

Please consider this brief study of who Jesus is, what He did, and
how He lived and died. We discuss His birth, including His eternal
existence, Virgin Birth, and fulfillment of prophecy. The summary of
His life describes His baptism, temptation, teaching, and the

evidence for His claims. We conclude with a study of His betrayal,


trials, death by crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Introduction:

Two of our best-loved hymns talk about "telling the story" of Jesus. One is entitled "Tell Me the
Story of Jesus." The other is "I Love to Tell the Story." Both of them emphasize the fact that
everyone needs to know the story of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He teaches.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 says that the truth about Jesus is the foundation of the gospel. And Jesus is
the central theme of the Bible. So everyone needs to hear the story of Jesus.
People who are not Jesus' disciples need to hear the story of Jesus.

One of the songs says: "I love to tell the story, For some have never heard, The message of
salvation, From God's own holy Word."
Many Bible examples show that, when teaching people who do not know or understand the life
and character of Jesus, faithful gospel preachers always taught them about these basic truths (see
Acts chaps. 2,3,8,10, etc.).
So, knowing about Jesus' life and character is absolutely fundamental to fellowship with God.
People who are not Jesus' disciples need to hear about Jesus, because they must believe and obey
the gospel message to be saved (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
People who are Jesus' disciples also need to hear the story of Jesus.

Another verse in the song says: "I love to tell the story, For those who know it best, Seem
hungering and thirsting, To hear it like the rest."
God's children need to be reminded of the life and character of Jesus (2 Peter 1:12,13). We need
to be reminded of the evidence on which our faith is based (Rom. 10:17), of God's great love for
us (1 John 4:9,19), and of the perfect example Jesus set (1 Pet. 2:21ff).
Understand that "the story of Jesus" is not just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And preaching
Jesus is not just preaching about things He did. Preaching Jesus includes preaching what He
taught, including the teachings He inspired His apostles and prophets to teach. In short the entire
New Testament is the story of Jesus.
But the focus of this study will emphasize what Jesus did and who He is. We will use the verses
of "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" to outline of our main points. The questions I hope you will ask
yourself as we study are: (1) Do you love to hear the story of Jesus? And (2) Do you love

to tell the story of Jesus? If so, how diligent are you in telling it to others? Do you seek
opportunities to talk to people about the gospel of Christ?

Note Verse 1 - Jesus' Birth


Consider the following facts about Jesus that we need to understand based on the Bible teaching
about His birth:

A. He Existed from Eternity (the Creator).


Jesus' existence did not begin with His birth. He existed from eternity with God the Father and
the Holy Spirit.
His eternal nature

Micah 5:2 - From Bethlehem would come a ruler, whose goings forth have been from of old,
from everlasting. This passage is applied to Jesus in Matt. 2:4-6. He was born in Bethlehem, but
He existed from eternity.
John 1:1,2 - The "Word" (Jesus - v14) was in the beginning with God, and was God. He is a
separate Being or Individual from the Father (He was "with God"), but He possesses the nature
of Deity just as the Father does (He "was God").
[Psa. 90:1-4; 93:2; 55:19; Heb. 1:12; cf. Psa. 102:24-27 with Heb. 1:8-12; Isa. 9:6; John 8:58]
His work in Creation

John 1:3 - All things were made through Him, and nothing was made without Him. Not only did
Jesus exist from eternity, but He is the eternal Creator of all created things.
Colossians 1:16 - By Jesus were all things created. If Jesus made everything that was created,
then He Himself must not have been created. He is eternal - the eternal Cause of all that exists.
Surely the eternal Creator must possess Deity, so these verses affirm Jesus' Deity.
So, the first thing to know about Jesus is that His life on earth was not the beginning of His
existence. He existed from eternity with the Heavenly Father, and He was, in fact, the eternal
Creator of the entire universe.
[Cf. Heb. 1:2.]

B. He Left Heaven to Live on Earth.


Philippians 2:5-8 - Though He existed in heaven in the form of God, Jesus did not insist on
holding to the honor and blessings He had there. He emptied Himself to live on earth as a man,
and humbled Himself even to the point of dying on the cross
2 Corinthians 8:9 - He had great riches (in Heaven), but He gave this up and became poor (when
He came to earth). As a result of this sacrifice, we can become rich.
Jesus had the glory and privileges of being honored as Deity in Heaven. But He gave that up that
honor to come to earth to live as a man. Deity took the place of man - God in the flesh. We will
see why as we proceed.
[Cf. Heb. 2:14-17; John 17:5.]

C. His Coming Was Promised to Great Old Testament


Men.
The promise to Abraham

Genesis 12:3 - As part of one of the greatest promises in the Bible, God told Abraham that his
descendant would bring a blessing on all families of the earth.
Acts 3:25,26 - Jesus fulfilled this promise by offering the sacrifice by which all men can be
saved from their sins. God planned from before Jesus was ever born, that His coming would
bless every nation of people on earth in fulfillment of a fundamental Divine promise.
The promise to David

God also promised King David that his descendants would continue to rule God's people (2 Sam.
7:12-16; Jer. 23:5). The Old Testament frequently predicted the coming of the kingdom that
would be subject to this Anointed Ruler (the Messiah or Christ) (Dan. 2, etc.).
Luke 1:32,33 - The angel told Jesus' mother Mary that He would have the throne of David and
would reign over His kingdom forever.
Matthew 1:1-16 (note v17)- Jesus' genealogy is traced back through David, to show He was
David's heir (cf. Luke 3:23-38 Acts 13:22,23).
By right of inheritance, Jesus deserved to rule as King. We will learn more of this as we proceed.

D. He Was Born of a Virgin.


Some people today deny the Virgin Birth. But this view denies a fundamental proof of Jesus'
nature and also denies the inspiration of the Bible, for the Bible clearly affirms it.
Luke 1:26-35 - Mary is clearly described as a "virgin." An angel told her that she would conceive
and bear a son. She did not understand, since she had no relations with a man; so, the angel
explained that this would occur by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:18-25 - She was betrothed to Joseph, but she conceived by the power of the Holy
Spirit before she and Joseph were united (he did not "know" her sexually till after Jesus was
born). An angel assured Joseph that this had occurred by the power of God, not as an act of
immorality; so Joseph proceeded to take her as wife.
God brought Jesus into the world by a miracle. At the very beginning of His earthly existence,
God used a supernatural event to prove that Jesus was no ordinary man.
This miracle also symbolizes Jesus' dual nature: His conception and birth by a woman shows His
human nature. His conception by the Holy Spirit (Deity), without a human father, shows He is
not just human but is also Divine. The nature of man and the nature of God were united in Jesus.

E. He Was Born in Humble Circumstances.


Though He came to be a King and was in fact the Eternal Creator, yet Jesus was born and lived
in the most humble of circumstances.
Luke 2:1-18 - Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Yet, angels announced that He
would be the Savior, the Christ (Anointed One), and Lord (master, ruler). This miraculous event
also proved the special character of the One who was born.
Matthew 2:13-23 - Having been honored by the wise men, Jesus had to escape death at the hands
of Herod. So, Joseph and Mary took Him to Egypt, then later returned to Nazareth, one of the
most humble of cities (John 1:46). Here He grew up as a carpenter's son (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3).
This is the story of Jesus' birth. Do you believe this story to be true? Do you love to tell the story
to others? What efforts have you made to give others the opportunity to hear and believe?

Note Verse 2 - Jesus' Life

We could spend hours discussing Jesus' life and teachings. We will concentrate on just a few
events that demonstrate His character and His purpose for coming.

A. His Baptism
Jesus' baptism shows the importance of obedience and of baptism.

Matthew 3:13-17 - Jesus was baptized to "fulfill all righteousness" (v15). The gospel teaches that
we today need to be baptized to receive remission of sins (Acts 2:38). But Jesus had no sins to be
forgiven, so He was not baptized for the same reason as us. But He still had to be baptized to
obey God's will.
Hebrews 5:8,9 - Jesus learned the meaning of obedience from personal experience. People tend
to think that other people don't understand us: kids think parents don't understand, wives think
husbands don't understand, etc. So, we might also think that God does not understand us but just
sits in an ivory tower making rules. But by living, suffering, and dying as a man, Jesus assures us
that God does understand and cares about us.
[Luke 7:30]
Jesus' baptism shows the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit

As Jesus was being baptized, the Holy Spirit came in the bodily form of a dove, and the Father
spoke from heaven. This shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Beings or
individuals.
But though Jesus is a separate individual, yet the Father and the Holy Spirit affirmed their unity
with Jesus and their approval of Him. The miraculous voice of the Father and the miraculous
appearance of the Spirit constitute Divine proof that Jesus was the Son of God.
Just as God miraculously demonstrated Jesus' special nature when Jesus was born, He again
demonstrated Jesus' special character at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry.

B. His Temptation
Matthew 4:1-11 - Jesus fasted in the wilderness 40 days and nights. Satan then came to tempt
Him. This teaches us:
We can resist Satan by relying on God's word.

Jesus answered every temptation saying, "It is written." We should do the same.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - We can overcome every temptation, just as Jesus did. There is always a
way of escape, so there is never an excuse for sin.
Ephesians 6:10-18 - Using the armor God provides, we are able to stand against Satan, and
quench all his fiery darts.
Jesus' temptation shows us we can overcome Satan, and shows us how to do it: by trusting in
God's word.
Jesus lived a sinless life.

Just as Jesus overcame Satan's temptations in this case, so He did throughout His life. Though
Satan tried repeatedly to defeat Him, Jesus overcame every time.
1 Peter 2:21,22 - He lived without sin, setting a perfect example for us to follow. Though we
have sinned and need forgiveness, this was never true of Jesus. His life set an example and a goal
for us to strive for: we should strive to live above sin as He did.
Hebrews 4:15,16 - Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, but He did not sin. Again, this
shows that God understands what we go through when we face temptation. If Jesus' had not
suffered as we do, we might think that God demands too much. But Jesus' life proves God does
understand and sympathize, but there is still no excuse for sin.
Jesus was the only man ever to live without committing even one sin, so He is the only one who
truly deserves to be counted righteous before God. Later we will see that this sinless life was
necessary for Him to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
[Cf. Matt. 10:25]

C. His Teaching
We will not spend much time here considering the specific content of Jesus' teaching, but we can
notice some general points about it.
Jesus' teachings reveal God's will to man.

Matthew 17:1-5 - At the Transfiguration, God again affirmed that Jesus is His Son so we must
listen to Him. God again miraculously demonstrated His Divine approval of Jesus' teaching.
Matthew 28:18-20 - We must observe all Jesus' commands, because He had authority to
command men to obey.

Jesus' teachings were not human opinion or human wisdom. They were the absolute will of God.
Jesus came as God in the flesh to reveal a message to man from God.
[Heb. 1:1,2; Acts 3:22,23]
Jesus' teachings are essential to our salvation.

John 6:63,68 - Jesus' words are spirit and life. He has the words of eternal life.
John 14:6 - He is the way to the Father. No one can come to the Father except by Him.
Acts 4:12 - No one but Him can provide salvation.
Jesus' teachings are not optional. We must accept and obey them, both because they come from
God, and because they show us the only way to receive eternal life. No one should say he
believes in Jesus but sees no need to follow His teachings. Following Jesus' teaching is the only
way to benefit from Jesus' life and death.
[Cf. 1 John 5:11,12; John 12:48]
Jesus' apostles and prophets delivered His teaching after His ascension.

Luke 10:16 - Jesus sent the disciples to speak His will, so we can be sure they spoke truth from
God, even as Jesus Himself had done.
John 16:12,13 - Specifically, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide them to speak truths that Jesus
did not reveal during His lifetime, because the time was not yet right. But all truth would be
revealed to the apostles through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:37 - The Holy Spirit guided these men to speak and write the will of God. The
result is that the written word we have in the New Testament today constitutes the very
commands of Jesus Himself.
Jesus not only spoke for God but He enabled His apostles and prophets to speak for Him and for
God. You and I can know God's will for us today through the message these inspired men wrote.
[Cf. Matt. 10:19,20; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16,17]

To benefit from Jesus' teaching, we must believe and obey it.

Matthew 7:21-27 - To enter the kingdom of heaven, it is not enough to just believe in Jesus or
even to confess Him as "Lord." We must also obey the will of the Father, which Jesus revealed.
To be truly wise, we must both hear and do what Jesus taught.
Mark 16:15,16 - Jesus said His gospel must be preached to all. He who believes and is baptized
will be saved. But he who disbelieves will be condemned.
Hebrews 5:9 - Jesus is author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
Those who truly believe in Jesus must not only believe in His miraculous birth and sinless life,
they must also believe that He was the Son of God and a Divine spokesman from God. And we
must recognize our need to believe and obey His teachings as the only way to receive eternal life.
His teachings are revealed for us in the Scriptures.
[See also John 8:24,31,32; Luke 6:46; 2 John 9; 1 Pet. 1:22-25; Rom. 6:17,18.]

E. His Evidence
How do we know that the claims made about Jesus in the Bible are really true? Anyone can
claim to come from God or to speak for God. What proof is there? From the many proofs
available, we will consider just two categories.
Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

Claims that Jesus fulfilled prophecy


Luke 24:25-27,44 - Jesus affirmed that events in His life fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - Jesus' apostles also affirmed His life fulfilled prophecy.
Men can predict the distant future in detail only if God guides them. So if men predict in detail
that someone would come to be a ruler of God's people and an inspired spokesman for God, and
then someone comes and fulfills those prophecies, we must conclude that person really did come
from God. So, we should listen to His message.
[Cf. John 5:39; Acts 2:25-36; 3:18-26; 10:43; 13:27-39; etc.]
Some examples of prophecies Jesus fulfilled:

** Born in Bethlehem (cf. Micah 5:2 to Matt. 2:1-6)

** Descendant of David (cf. Jer. 23:5 to Acts 13:22,23)


** Prophet from God (cf. Deut. 18:17-19 to Acts 3:20-23)
** Fore-runner to prepare His way (cf. Isa. 40:3,4 to Luke 3:2-5)
** Death by crucifixion for others' guilt (cf. Psa. 22:16-18; 34:20; Isa. 53:4-12 to John 19:18-37
and 1 Pet. 2:21-25.)
** Resurrection (Psa. 16:10 cf. Acts 2:24-32)
Jesus did miracles, including the resurrection.

Jesus' miracles proved He was from God.


Miracles sometimes accomplished various purposes, but the one purpose always accomplished
by Jesus' miracles was to demonstrate that God was working through Him.
John 5:36 - Jesus' works testified He was from God.
Acts 2:22 - Jesus was approved of God by miracles.
John 20:30,31 - We have not seen the miracles today, but we believe on the basis of the
eyewitness testimony in the Scriptures that Jesus did miracles.
[Cf. John 11:47,48; 4:48.]
Examples of miracles that confirm who Jesus is

We have already read about some of these miracles:


** Virgin birth - Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35
** God's testimony at His baptism and the Transfiguration - Matt. 3:13-17; 17:1-5
** Raising the dead - John 11:17-44
** Walking on water and calming a storm - Matt. 14:22-33; 8:23-27
** Feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes - Matt. 14:13-21; 15:32-39
** The resurrection - Rom. 1:4

God purposely planned for Jesus to give evidence sufficient for any honest person to be
convinced who Jesus really is. If you seek to know the validity of the Bible's claims about Jesus,
you need to consider the evidence with an honest desire to know the truth.
This is the story of Jesus' life. Do you believe this story to be true? Do you love to tell the story
to others? What efforts have you made to give others the opportunity to hear and believe?

Verse 3: Jesus' Death, Burial, Resurrection, and


Ascension
A. Predictions Of Jesus' Death and Resurrection
We learned that fulfilled prophecy and Jesus' miracles are two of the greatest proofs that He
really was from God. The most important of the miracles that occurred was His resurrection from
the dead. If Jesus really arose from the dead, that would be amazing. But even more amazing is
the fact that His resurrection was predicted ahead of time.
Old Testament predictions

Luke 24:44-46 - Jesus explained that His resurrection fulfilled the predictions of the prophets.
Acts 13:34-38 - For example, David predicted one whose flesh would not see corruption and his
soul would not remain in Hades. This could be true only if one arose from the dead.
Isaiah 53:7-12 - He would die, but "He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days" (v10).
How could this be? Only by resurrection.
[Cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Acts 2:23-31; 17:2,3.]
Jesus' own predictions

John 2:18-22 - Jesus' predicted that the Jews would destroy His body (temple), but He would
rebuild it in three days.
Matthew 16:21 - Jesus plainly told the disciples that He would be killed and would rise again the
third day.
Imagine a man making such a prediction. If he were a fake, shortly after his death, everyone
would know he was a fake. But Jesus made the prediction; and instead of losing His following,

we will see that many people testified that they personally saw Him alive again after He had
died.
[Cf. Matt. 17:9,23; 20:19; 26:32; 27:63; Mk. 8:31; 9:9,10,31; 10:34; 14:28; Luke 18:33; 24:4-7.]

B. Betrayal and Arrest


Matthew 26:1-4,14-16 - Jewish leaders determined to kill Jesus, because He had revealed their
sins to the multitudes. Judas, one of Jesus' disciples, was also a thief. He agreed to betray Jesus
to His enemies for thirty pieces of silver.
Matthew 26:36-41 - After teaching His disciples how to partake of the Lord's Supper in memory
of His death, Jesus went to Gethsemane. There He prayed that He might avoid the suffering of
the cross, but even so He was willing to obey the Father's will.
Matthew 26:47-56 - Judas came bringing soldiers to capture Jesus and showed the soldiers which
man to arrest by kissing Him. When Jesus refused to allow His disciples to defend Him, they all
forsook Him and fled. Later Peter denied Him three times, just as Jesus had earlier predicted he
would.
Most of us can only imagine how terrible this would be. But if you have ever had a friend turn
his back on you, then you have a tiny taste of what Jesus experienced. He had left the joys of
Heaven, had come to earth, and had spent years teaching His disciples. Yet when it appeared that
His enemies were about to defeat Him, one of His disciples betrayed Him for money, another
denied Him three times, and all the others forsook Him. Yet He accepted all this so He could
save them and us from sin.

C. Trials and Crucifixion


We will not discuss many details, but consider some of the evidence that Jesus was innocent and
not worthy of death.
Matthew 26:57-67 - In the Jewish trials, Jewish leaders sought grounds to kill Jesus, but could
not find valid proof even with the help of many false witnesses. Finally they convicted Him of
blasphemy because He claimed to be the Christ. But it was easy to prove that He claimed to be
the Christ. The question was: Was the claim true or false? The Jews never even considered that.
They just ignored all the evidence that he was the Christ and convicted Him of making a
blasphemous claim!
Matthew 27:3-5 - Judas admitted He had betrayed an innocent person, and hanged himself.

Luke 23:1-11 - Jesus was taken before the Roman governor Pilate, where the Jews accused Jesus
of teaching people not to pay tribute to Caesar, despite the fact that they knew He had really
taught just the opposite (Matt. 22:15-21).
Luke 23:8-11 - Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, who mocked Him and sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate
(vv 13-16) then told the people that neither he nor Herod found any fault in Jesus worthy of
death.
Matthew 27:15-26 - Pilate repeatedly stated that Jesus was innocent and tried to release Him, but
the Jews refused. Pilate's wife sent him a message saying she knew Jesus was innocent. But the
Jews said they and their children would bear responsibility for His death, so Pilate called for
Jesus to be crucified.
Matthew 27:27-54 - Read Matthew's account of the actual crucifixion.
John 18:31-34 adds that Jesus' side was pierced with a spear to guarantee He was dead.
So no one ever proved Jesus was guilty of any wrongdoing. His betrayer, two of His judges
(Pilate and Herod), and even a wife of one of the judges all declared Him to be innocent. Yet He
was crucified as a criminal.

D. Burial
Matthew 27:57-60 - Jesus' disciples prepared the body for burial and placed it in the cave tomb
of Joseph of Arimathea.
Matthew 27:62-66 - The Jews remembered that Jesus had promised to rise from the dead. So
with Pilate's permission, they sealed the stone over the entrance and placed guards outside to
make sure the body did not leave the tomb.

E. Reasons for His Death


Everyone dies eventually. To many people, Jesus' death may not seem extraordinary. But His was
the most important death ever to occur. In fact, it is essential to our salvation.
Hebrews 2:9 - Jesus tasted death for every man. He did not die for His own sins - He didn't have
any sins. Nor was His death simply a miscarriage of justice. Jesus died for our sins.
1 Peter 2:24 - He bore our sins on the cross, so we could live to righteousness. He was a
sacrifice. He was the sinless Son of God dying as a penalty for those of us who were guilty, so
we could go free.

Romans 5:6-9 - It would be amazing to find someone willing to give his own life in the place of
a righteous person, but Jesus died for us while we were sinners.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - He did not commit sin, but was made to be sin on our behalf. This is why it
was essential that Jesus live a sinless life. If He had sinned, He would have to be punished for
His own sins. But because He lived a sinless life and did not deserve to die, He was able to suffer
for others who did deserve to die.
Amazing as all this is, it is even more amazing to realize that He came to earth knowing all along
that He would have to die for the sins of others. The Creator took the form of that which He had
created, in order to suffer as a sacrifice to save His own creatures. If Jesus had not died, none of
us could be forgiven of sins. We would all have to die for our own sins (Rom. 6:23). We can be
saved only because Jesus died for us.
[Cf. John 3:16; Rom. 4:25; 1 John 4:9; etc.]

F. Resurrection and Appearances


1 Corinthians 15:16,17 - If Jesus had simply died without being raised, Satan would have been
the victor. He would have defeated Jesus, and we would all still be in our sins. In order to defeat
Satan and thereby justify us, Jesus had to arise from the dead.
Matthew 28:1-10 - All four of the gospel accounts affirm that Jesus was raised. All four record
accounts of eyewitnesses who saw Him alive after His death. Different writers record different
appearances. No one writer gives a complete list of all the appearances.
1 Corinthians 15:5-8 - Paul lists several of Jesus' appearances, including the appearance to Paul
himself on the road to Damascus.
John 20:24-31 - This example shows the factual, historical nature of Jesus' appearances. Thomas
had said he would not believe Jesus had been raised until he personally saw Him alive. When
Jesus gave Him the proof, Thomas confessed Him to be "my Lord and my God." John affirms
that all of us must believe this too, but we don't have to see to believe.
John 19:35; 20:30,31; 21:24 - Here is how we can believe. The testimony of the eyewitnesses has
been recorded in the Scriptures. Their testimony says Jesus did do miracles, He did die, and He
did live again after He died.
Romans 1:4 - God proved Jesus to be His Son by raising Him from the dead. The resurrection is
the most basic and fundamental of all Jesus' miracles. The only way you can be saved from sin is
to believe it to be true (Rom. 10:9,10).

Jesus showed Himself alive by "many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). What will you do with this
proof? Honest people must investigate and reach an honest verdict.
[1 Pet. 3:21; Heb. 2:14; Rom. 4:25]

G. Ascension and Establishment of His Church


Acts 1:2-11 - Having appeared to His disciples over a period of 40 days, and having discussed
with them about His kingdom, Jesus ascended to heaven. Angels promised He would someday
return in the same way.
The kingdom had been a major theme of Jesus' teaching. He had promised to build His church,
which is His spiritual kingdom (Matt. 16:18,19). He said this kingdom would come with power
in the lifetime of His disciples (Mark 9:1). Here He promised that the power would come when
the Holy Spirit came just a few days later.
Acts 2:29-38 - The Holy Spirit did come in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. It gave the
apostles power to speak in other tongues (vv 1-4). Peter preached that Jesus is now on David's
throne as Lord and Christ. But to do this, Jesus had to be raised from the dead.
To be saved from our sins, we must believe in Jesus as our sacrifice and our Lord, and we must
repent of sins and be baptized. Those who do this are added to Jesus' church (v47), which is His
kingdom (Col. 1:13,18).
Philippians 2:9-11 - Because Jesus achieved all these great works on our behalf, God has exalted
Him to a position of honor and authority, above all other authority (Eph. 1:21-23). To be saved
we must submit to His authority and confess His greatness.

Conclusion
This is the story of Jesus' earthly life, death, and resurrection.
But this is not the end of the story. Jesus will return!

Matthew 25:31-46 - When Jesus ascended, the angels said He would return. He will not return in
order to begin ruling as King; He began ruling as King when He ascended, and He will continue
ruling till He comes again (1 Cor. 15:21-26). He will return as our judge to reward us for how we
have served Him. Those who serve faithfully will receive eternal life; those who do not serve
will receive eternal punishment (vv 41,46).
Acts 17:30,31 - To prepare for this judgment, we must repent of our sins. To repent means we
must "change our minds" about sin, deciding to turn from it and live for Jesus. As we learned

earlier, we must then confess Christ and be baptized so His blood can forgive us, and then we
must live a faithful life.
The story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told.

The lesson for us to learn from this story is that Jesus is our Creator, Savior, and Master. How
you and I react to that story will determine our eternal destiny. We have a choice to serve Him
and receive eternal life, or refuse to serve Him and receive eternal punishment.
This (very briefly) is the story of Jesus. Do you love to hear this story? Do you love to tell the
story? If you understand, believe, and appreciate what Jesus has done for you, you need to make
a commitment to serve Him. Then you need to tell the story to others. What is your choice?
1.

Paschal Mystery is one of the central concepts of Christian faith relating to the
history of salvation. Its main subject is the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus
Christ the work God the Father sent his Son to accomplish on earth.
How The Catholic Church Started
The word "catholic" means universal. Jesus created one universal church for all of mankind. The
Catholic Church was established by Jesus with his words spoken in Matthew 16. Jesus asked his
disciples "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" The disciples then offered various answers
- "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." But
the question that Jesus then asked was crucial: "But who do you say that I am?"
The answer provided by Simon Peter set in motion the formation of the Catholic Church by Jesus.
"You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." With this answer, Jesus established the
Catholic Church with Simon Peter designated the first Pope.
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my
heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and
the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of
heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth
shall be loosed in heaven."
Many try to imply that it was Peter's faith on which Jesus established the Church. But closer
examination of the words of Jesus reveal that the selection was of divine nature.
"For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." His knowledge of
Jesus was not the reason for Peter's confession to the true identity but it was the fact that it
had been revealed to him by God. In the words of Jesus gives Peter his new name - "The Rock". A
foundation on which his Church will be built.
Many separated from the Catholic Church cling to the notion that the Church was built on the
faith of Peter and not him as a man as justification for their position. Unfortunately, their

understanding is incorrect.
The bible is full of references to the need for respect of authority. It is also full of references
for the need for unity. In one parable Jesus is explaining how he could not be of Satanic origin
(Mark 3:22), "How can Satan drive out Satan?" In this parable he points out the importance of
leadership. "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." Throughout the
scripture we always see - One God, One Son, One Holy Spirit, One Church.
The Church today has become a free enterprise operation. If you can access the Internet you can
be ordained in some church. The reformation began a splintering of the Church - in so many
words, a kingdom divided.
It is much easier to understand Peter's role of leadership by reading Acts. He is clearly the
leader of the Church. One such example, there are others, is Acts 15:6 where Peter addressing
the other Apostles clearly states his leadership role: "My brothers, you are well aware that from
early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth..."
Around or about 45 AD, Peter went to Rome and from there lead the Catholic Church. As of
today, there have been 265 Popes in direct succession to Peter. The position of Pope was
established by Christ and the office has been maintained in an apostolic manner since the time of
Christ. Although the Church has fragmented since the time of Christ with various leadership
centers emerging, the apostolic line of succession in the Church is seated in Rome until this very
day. Many throughout time have tried to rationalize away and deny the authority and structure of
the Church as established by Jesus. In my heart I know that Catholic Church is the Church
established by Jesus and has maintained a clear line of apostolic leadership to this very day. The
Church has celebrated the sacraments and worshiped the Lord in essentially the same way since
the time of Christ.
Every Church suffers occasionally because of the weaknesses of human nature. But I believe that
regardless of temporary problems experienced by the Church, abandoning the Catholic Faith is
not an option. Jesus was more forgiving and understanding of human nature. When Jesus was
arrested Judas had betrayed Him, Peter denied him three times, and the remaining apostles ran
away. If Jesus supported and anointed their apostolic role after some of their human failings, I
can't imagine abandoning my faith for human shortcomings. After all, your faith is in the Church
established by Jesus, not in any person involved in the Church. Of course problems in the Church
must be addressed and corrected, but the faith and Church established by Jesus can never be
denied.

How Did Your Church Begin?


33 A.D. Roman Catholic Church (moved to Rome by Peter after he fled Jerusalem) was founded
by God-made-man, Jesus Christ. He said: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build

My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it... Feed my lambs; feed My
sheep" (Matt. 16:18,19; John 21:15,17). He also said: "He who is not with Me is against
Me, and he who gathers not with me scatters" (Matt.12:30).
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800

9th Century Marked The First Official Schisms Within The Church
827: Eastern Schism began by Photius of Constantinople. The primary difference in
Faith at the heart of the schism was the argument over the addition of the filioque
statement (Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, not just the Father) to
the creed. This schism eventually healed.

900
1000

1053: Eastern Schism began by Michael Caerularius of Constantinople. The primary


argument was the Latin practice of fasting on Saturday and the use of unleavened bread
for the Holy Eucharist. Theses two points were more for challenging the authority of
the Roman Pontif. This schism eventually healed.

1100
1200
1300

1378: Death of Pope Gregory XI on 27 March, 1378 began the Western Schism. The
schism came to an end in 1417.

1400

1472: Present Schism of the Eastern Church begins with the repudiation of the Council
of Florence.

1500

1517: Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther, a former priest of the Roman
Catholic Church. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation
1521: Anabaptist first appeared in Zwickau, in the present kingdom of Saxony.
Initially, they were primarily against infant baptism.
1525: Schwenkfeldians were founded by Kaspar of Schwenkfeld, aulic councillor of
Duke Frederick of Liegnitz and canon. At first he associated himself with Luther, but
later opposed the latter in his Christology, as well as in his conception of the Eucharist,
and his doctrine of justification.
1531: The Socinians and other Anti-Trinitarians attacked the fundamental doctrine of
the Blessed Trinity. Chief founder of Anti-Trinitarians was Laelius Socinus, teacher of
jurisprudence at Siena, and his nephew, Faustus Socinus.

1536: Mennonites founded by Menno Simons, a former Catholic priest and later an
Anabaptist elder. They deny infant baptism and the real presence of Jesus Christ in the
Eucharist.
1534: Church of England (Anglicanism) was founded by King Henry VIII when he threw
off the authority of the Pope and proclaimed himself the head of the Church in England,
because the Pope refused to declare invalid his marriage with Queen Catherine.
1560: The Presbyterian denomination was begun by John Knox who was dissatisfied
with Anglicanism.
1600

1608: The Baptist church was launched by John Smyth in Amsterdam, Holland.
1620: The Swiss Mennonites split into Amish or Upland Mennonites and Lowland
Mennonites.
1671: Quakers were founded by John George Fox of Drayton in Leicestershire. He
favored a visionary spiritualism, and found in the soul of each man a portion of the
Divine intelligence. All are allowed to preach, according as the spirit incites them.

1700

1744: The Methodist church was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England.
1774: The Unitarians were founded by Theophilus Lindley in London.
1784: Episcopalian denomination was begun by Samuel Seabury who was dissatisfied
with Presbyterianism.
1787: The founder of The Salvation Army is William Booth, who quit the Anglicans, and
then the Methodists, and set up his own version of Christianity.

1800

1822: Mormons founded by Joseph Smith, who made his appearance with supposed
revelations in 1822.
1872: The Jehovah's Witness Church was developed by Charles Russell.
1879: Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy began the Christian Scientist religion basing it upon an
outright denial of Original Sin and its effects.
1896: Ballinger Booth, the son of William Booth, quit The Salvation Army and started
his own church.
The Seventh-Day Adventists, the Church of Christ, The Church of the Nazarene, or
any of the various Pentecostal Churches, etc. are also among the hundreds of new

churches founded by men within the past 150 years or so.


1900
2000

Over 33,000 Sects "Scattered" Outside The One Church Founded By Christ

There Was Only ONE Church Founded By Christ


AND HIS CHURCH STILL LIVES TODAY
Learn About Heresy That Divides The Church Founded By Christ

Jesus Explained The Eucharist The Day After Feeding The 5000
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do
not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise
him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh
and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." John 6:53-56

Jesus Gave Us The Eucharist For All Time The Night Before He Died
"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples
said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,
"Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins. " Matthew 26:26-28

Today Some Cannot Accept The Gift Just As It Was In The Time Of
Jesus
"'But there are some of you who do not believe.' Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would
not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, 'For this reason I have told you that no
one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.' As a result of this, many (of) his
disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to
the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.'" John 6:64-68

Jesus Explained That Eternal Life Is Gained Through The Spirit - Not
Through The Flesh
Jesus' Flesh And Blood Are Of Divine Nature (Spirit) And Not Of This
World (Flesh)
"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are
spirit and life." John 6:64-68

It's NOT Just Bread And Wine - It's NOT Just Crackers And
Grape Juice
Jesus Gave Us The Eucharist To Nourish Us Until He Returns

Come Home To HIS Church And Accept HIS Holy Flesh And
Blood
"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me
rejects the one who sent me." Luke 10:16

The Catholic Church is a global community of believers founded by Jesus


Christ over two-thousand years ago. There are over 1 billion Catholics on
earth. The Catholic Church is made up on many people from diverse cultural
backgrounds. Sometimes the Catholic Church is thought of as a big tent it
encompasses many people within the spectrum of political belief all united by
the same central religious belief or creed.

The Catholic Church is Christian. Sometimes people are confused and


juxtapose the Catholic Church with Christianity when in fact they are one in
the same. The Catholic Church was the first group of Christians and is the
group from which all other Christian groups have splintered over the centuries.
The Catholic Church is primarily a worldwide group of Christians, but is also
an institution. Within the Catholic Church there is a leadership structure. The
leaders of the Catholic Church are not like kings and queens, but rather
servant-leaders following the example of Jesus. Servant-leaders put
themselves at the service of those whom they lead unlike a king who lords
himself over the people. The primary servant-leaders of the Catholic Church
are all men who have undergone a ritual called Holy Orders in which they are
ordained or commissioned into the priesthood. Becoming a priest, while a
special privilege, carries much responsibility for priests act in the place of
Jesus in a special way. The exclusive selection of priests as men is a tradition
that is rooted in Jesus selection of the original twelve apostles, the twelve
men he chose to carry out his mission after Jesus death.

One of the most important roles of the priest in the Catholic Church is that he
re-presents Jesus great sacrifice at each Eucharistic (YOO-ka-rist-ick) liturgy.
A Eucharistic liturgy is commonly referred to as Mass, the time when
Catholics gather to worship God by listening to readings of the Bible and
receiving Jesus in the form of bread and wine. Catholics believe that the
bread and wine at Mass are turned into the body and blood of Jesus by the
priest (called consecration). The consecrated bread and wine are then
distributed to the worshippers much like Jesus did with his twelve apostles the
night before he was hung on a cross (crucifixion). This ritual is at the center
of Catholic beliefand worship.
Aside from the special duties of the ordained priesthood, there is also an
expectation of all Catholics to carry out the ministry of Jesus. All Catholics,
when initiated into the church through a ritual called baptism, are baptized as
priest, prophet, and king thereby responsible for a share in the work of Jesus.
Like any institution the Catholic Church is not exempt from having bad
leaders, but even with poor leadership the faith and hope in Jesus Christ
remains and it is that which brings the Catholic Church together.

The Latin word sacramentum means "a sign of the sacred." The seven
sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and
important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's
saving presence. That's what theologians mean when they say that
sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God's grace.
If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully. To
learn more about the individual sacraments, please follow the links below.
You'll find easy-to-understand articles and a good sample of common
questions and answers.
In addition to these links, don't miss the special Sacraments issueof St.
Anthony Messenger magazine.

Baptism

For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong


journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized
as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church's way of celebrating and
enacting the embrace of God.
Eucharist

Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice


and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for
our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are
nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
Reconciliation
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance,
or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion,
confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional
forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.
Confirmation

Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian


commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the
three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often
associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Marriage

For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a


public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is
also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and
wife speaks of family values and also God's values.
Holy Orders

In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest being


ordained vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the
sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel,
and by providing other means to holiness.
Anointing of the Sick
The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as
Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not
only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.

What is the Reformation?


A sixteenth century movement from which the protestant churches originated. The Reformation is one
of the most profound processes of change in Europe of the sixteenth century. Intense criticism of the
Church of Rome led by the pope resulted in various reformational currents and the formation of
several Protestant church reformations. The critical views of the religious sphere deeply impacted the
spiritual, social, and cultural terrain, as well as upon the political sphere.
The concept of the Reformation
The concept of reformation, from the Latin reformatio for improvement, had at the beginning of the
century a more general sense and was employed not only in the ecclesiastical sphere, but also in the
legal and political spheres as well. The term indicated the need to return to the ideal past. What refers
to the Reformation and the churches of the Reformation today or as the reformation in a particular city
or region, was not the usual meaning at the time. Luther did not have in view the existence of an
autonomous church alongside of the existing church. He desired the renewal of the church. He sought
for good pastoral care, formulated the necessity for a better theology and expressed a desire for
biblical piety. He rarely used the term reformation. When he used the term, it was in the sense of a
comprehensive renewal of the church. In 1529, his followers were called Protestants and from 1530
onward as followers of the Augsburg Confession. It was only in 1580 that the Lutheran churches and
traditions described themselves as going in a separate Protestant direction, that the followers of
Luther came to the specific use of the term reformation in the sense that we know it today.

The Reformation was not a coherent movement under the leadership of one head with a uniform
program. However, it had many reformational protests that were common landmarks. The Bible was
recognized as the basis of faith and the authority of the pope was rejected. This was also true of many
of the traditional beliefs and practices of the medieval faith, such as the saints, monasticism,
pilgrimages, indulgences, clerical celibacy, the distinction between priests and laity, the number of
seven sacraments, and the doctrine of transubstantiation. With the dismantling of the late medieval
religious life, the reform-minded attempted to renew the church according to the biblical standard,
following the example of the early church. One employed the right as a Christian to evaluate their
worship through ones own study of the Bible.
Humanism and Reformation
A major stimulus in the process of reformation was humanism. Among the educated elite, Erasmus
was admired. His plea for a return to the Christian sources (ad fontes) spoke to many of the
reformation-minded.
When his Treatise On Free Will was published in 1525 and Luther answered with his On the Bondage of
the Will, it was publicly clear that their efforts for renewal of the church were fundamentally different.
Luther and Melanchthon, Zwingli, Bucer, Bullinger and Calvin all stood on the shoulders of the Church
fathers, but their interest in the patristic material was defined by their reformational understanding of
the Bible. Unlike Erasmus, they evaluated the Fathers by the biblical teachings on grace.
Persecution
While the Reformation, via oral transmission and the printing press, called for a personal faith and the
acquisition of an independent knowledge of the Bible, ecclesiastical and secular authorities attempted
to stem the signs of reformational criticism. On July 1, 1523 Henry Voes and John Esch were burned
alive at Grote Markt (Fr. Grand Place) in Brussels. They were the first martyrs of the Reformation in
the Netherlands and in Europe. In total, due to the persecutions, by 1600 there were around 2000
victims in the Netherlands. The vast majority of these were Anabaptist, belonging to the so-called
radical Reformation. These Anabaptist groups originated from Ostfriesland, especially in Zeeland,
Holland, Friesland, and Flanders. In comparison with Switzerland and Germany, the Anabaptists played
a major role in shaping Dutch social, ecclesiastical, and theological thought.
Confessionalization
In the course of the sixteenth century, the reformation process became confessional. First, Lutherans
distinguished themselves from Roman Catholics, and then the Lutherans distinguished themselves
from the Reformed. In France, the Netherlands, England, and Germany the term Reformed was
applied to calvinistic Protestants. From the 1540s Calvinist communities arose in Switzerland, then
also in France and in the Netherlands. These communities called themselves Reformed churches and
followers of teh Reformed religion, a self-characterization that was derived from the Latin reformare.
The Dutch refugee communities outside of the Netherlands played an important role in the
development of Reformed Protestantism in the Netherlands, particularly in England and in the Holy
Roman Empire. The influence of Calvin came to the Netherlands not so much directly from Geneve,
nor by way of France or the southern Netherlands, but more indirectly, through primarily the refugee
communities. This was particularly true of the communities in Londen and Emden. Until 1550,
Calvinism played no role in the Netherlands. By approximately 1560, underground communities had
arisen in Flanders and Brabant, after 1565 there were such communities in the northern Netherlands.
They asked the government for permission to practice the Reformed religion. They asked to be allowed
to live according to the reformation of the Gospel (vouloir unire selon la Reformation de l Evangile /
te willen leven nah die Reformatie dess Evangeliums). From the Roman Catholic perspective, both

ecclesiastically as well as officially, they denied the Reformed claim to live according to the Gospel.
One spoke of the pretended reformed religion.
Impact of the Reformation
The Reformation had great political, cultural, and social implications. It radically changed society.
Ancient religious values in the society were set aside and it broke through the barriers of class and
education. It strove for broad support among the population and, while excluding groups that were
among the radical Reformation, deliberately sought the patronage of the government in order to
implement and institutionalize the desired changes in church and society. Supporters of the
Reformation realized very well the necessity of gaining government approval. There were public
meetings organized for this purpose which functioned as a lobbying group to put pressure on local,
regional, and central authorities. From the beginning, reformational preachers did not operate in
isolation from the political sphere of power. There were official religious colloquies organized, writings
were disputed, compromises were made, and there were tactical responses to expand opportunities
for Reformed guilds, as well as civil and political bodies. Depending on the perspective, the
Reformation can also be called a reformation of the preacher, the people, and the magistrate.
Dr. Frank van der Pol from Christelijke Encyclopedie, (Kampen, 2005). Headings above the paragraphs
were added by Refo500.

Protestantism is one of the three major branches of Christianity, along with Roman
Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. It shares with all other Christians core beliefs in the
doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, the necessity of grace to save humans from
the consequences of sin, and the centrality of Jesus' death and resurrection for salvation.
Composed of hundreds of denominations with an expansive variety of doctrines, rituals, and
religious practices, Protestantism formed from the split with Roman Catholicism during the
Reformation in the 16th century. Led by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others, the
reformers broke from the Roman Catholic Church due to abusive ecclesiological structures
and theological differences. Protestants share an adherence to the centrality of scripture
(both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament) as well as a doctrine of salvation
through faith in Jesus Christ. Different Protestant denominations have to varying degrees
maintained or rejected Roman Catholic forms of worship. Anglican and Lutheran churches
have maintained liturgies and rituals similar to those of the Roman Catholic Church,
whereas other denominations, such as Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and United
Church of Christ, have developed less liturgical forms of worship. Most Protestants practice
baptism and communion as key rites of Christian initiation and ongoing devotion. Though
originating in Europe, Protestant Christianity has spread across the globe through
missionary activity and now has members from nearly every country, race, and ethnicity.

Quick Fact Details:

Formed: The date often cited as the beginning of the Protestant


movement is 1517, based on the date of Martin Luther's first act of dissent:
the public posting of his 95 Theses, criticizing Roman Catholic practices and

teachings. At the time, however, Luther had no intention of starting a new


Christian tradition called "Protestantism," but hoped to reform the Catholic
Church. Protestantism as a movement evolved in the decades following this
act as Luther's ideas and theological arguments took root and the Catholic
Church resisted and rejected them.
Origin: Though Martin Luther and his immediate followers were residents
of various Germanic states (Germany not becoming a nation-state until the
19th century), they were also subjects of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Sacred Texts: Martin Luther considered certain books contained in the
Catholic version of the Bible (based on the Septuagint) to be of lesser value as
he used the Hebrew Masoretic Text, which also excluded these books from the
canon. Therefore the Protestant Old Testament contains 39 books whereas the
Roman Catholic Old Testament contains 46 books and includes sections of
common books not included by Protestants. The New Testament is the same in
both traditions.