The Study of World Religions
Friday March 12, 2010
You must know the sacraments on the handout. However, the Chart of Major Christian Groups
is for your knowledge only.
Christ/Messiah- Literally means “anointed one.” The messiah is an eschatological prophet, which
means in this person’s life the end of history will be captured.
Messianic Secret- Subversion of the Jewish philosophy of a messiah. The Jewish expectation of a
messiah was someone that would bring the Promised Land back under the Jewish rule. However,
when Christians say that Jesus was a messiah, they mean it in a different sense. They do not mean
that he is a political conqueror, but rather he is a figure that demonstrates a new way of life. The
Christian expectation of a messiah is someone that will go to the cross and die versus the Jewish
messiah that will lead the people back to the Promised Land.
Sin- Humans do not measure up to their purpose. In other words, they “miss the mark” in the sense
that they are disconnected or estranged from God.
Kingdom of God- In the Christian sense, the Kingdom of God still retains political imagery, but also
refers to your heart. It refers to how you live with other people and in submission to God himself.
Christ embodies the Kingdom of God, and those whole follow Christ are also part of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is heaven on earth, not a realm beyond this world.
Gospel- Literally means “good news.” We have four gospels at the beginning of the New Testament
that announce that God has become man. God has come through the life of Christ to set things right
The Incarnation- A creator so powerful that he can call this world we know into existence and still be
embodied as a human in the world we know. Thus, God incarnates himself into a human body, which
is Jesus’ body.
The Atonement- A doctrine or teaching. Jesus Christ perfectly models the life of God and the image
of God. By dying on the cross, he gives us the opportunity to reconcile with God. Christ “atones” for
what regular humans cannot atone for. We miss the mark, but Christ doesn’t. He lives his life
perfectly in alignment with God’s.
Resurrection- The doctrine of the resurrection, which the four gospels present as a reality. After
being crucified, Jesus spends three days in the tomb and then comes to life. The point is that all
humans die, and with Christ’s resurrection, we see hope that there is a possibility of a better life after
death. When Christ rises from the grave, he rises as a human. The hope that is offered is that after
death, your body should be returned to you in this world. Pentecost- After Christ rose from the grave, he walked and talked with his disciples for 40 days. He
then disappeared to heaven. The disciples no longer knew what to do because they lost their leader.
They are all gathered in a house and the Holy Spirit descended upon them. They were then
empowered to go out and preach the Gospel.
Holy Spirit- Within Christian doctrine, we have God who is both one and three at the same time: God
the father, God the son (who incarnated himself as Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. However,
it is still referring to monotheism. There is a lot of debate about how the three are related.
Imago Dei- “Image of God”
Peter- The leader of the apostles. Christ had many disciples. He specifically chose 12 to be leaders in
the community, and Peter was chosen to be the leader of the 12. The pope in Rome sits on the
throne of Peter.
Paul the Apostle- Paul wasn’t among the group of the original 12 apostles. He spent his time before
becoming an apostle persecuting the Christian church. At some point in his career as a persecutor, he
had a supernatural encounter with Christ and became a Christian follower. Paul is the first person to
bring non-Jewish people into the Christian faith.
The Trinity- The idea of the trinity was formally defined 2 centuries after the writing of the Gospel.
This Holy Trinity is usually represented as a triangle similar to the following:
The Holy Trinity can be interpreted as three separate people that are one God. This is the Christian
explanation of monotheism. This is the most accepted orthodox model.
Church Visible/Invisible- There exists the church that we can see, which includes a community of