Chapter 8: Christianity
The Historical Jesus
• Jesus was born in Palestine during 4 B.C.
• Jesus grew up in Nazareth and was baptized by John.
• The Spirit: the unseen order that and that our supreme good lies in rightful
relations to it.
• Humans could take the initiative in contacting the Spirit through fasting and
• People filled with the power of the spirit were able to heal diseases, cast out
demons, quell storms, parted waters and caused the dead to return to life.
• Jesus was Jewish but he stood in sharp tension with Judaism.
• Holiness Code: categorizes people according to whether they respected
distinctions like clean and unclean, righteous and sinner; Jesus did not believe
this as Yahweh is compassionate and people shouldn’t have social barriers.
The Christ of Faith
• What Jesus’ Disciples Saw Him Do
o Jesus went about doing good.
o Counseling and helping ordinary people and social misfits.
• What Jesus’ Disciples Heard Him Say
o Jesus’ language is invitational: he invited people to see things differently
instead of telling people what to do or what to believe.
o Jesus was speaking of things that were very much a part of his hearer’s
o Jesus’ language is gigantesque (if your hand offends you, cut it off!).
o Most of the time, Jesus told stories called parables.
• What They Sensed Him To Be
o His entire life was one of humility, self-giving, and love that sought not
o His concern is what people thought of God, God’s nature and God’s will
for their lives.
o People responded to Jesus, but he equally responded to them as he felt
their appeal, whether they were rich or poor, young or old, saints or
o He hated injustice and hypocrisy.
The End and the Beginning
• After Jesus’ death, his followers were preaching the gospel of their Risen Lord.
• Jesus’ resurrection was not simply a resuscitation of his physical body, but it
was entry into another mode of being.
The Good News
• Christians were forced to more cryptic symbols like heads of fish because one
might be thrown to the lions or turned into a human torch if you were a known
• Good news is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior.
• Mutual Regard: the total absence of social barriers, everyone was equal in the
sight of God.
• Joy: early Christians were extremely joyful even when oppressed, thinking that
life is no longer a matter of coping but it was glory discerned.
• Three Burdens That Were Lifted From Their Shoulders:
o Fear and Fear of Death: because Jesus is always with them. o Guilt
o Cramping Confines of the Ego
• The burdens were lifted and transformed because of love.
• Early Christians have experienced Jesus’ love and are convinced that He was
The Mystical Body of Christ
• The first Christians who spread the Good News throughout the Mediterranean
world were not alone; they believed that Jesus was in their midst as a concrete,
• Ekklesia: the first Christians who spread the Good News, means “called out” or
• Saint Paul adapted Christ’s image by using the human body instead of a vine to
symbolize the Church.
• The Church was the Mystical Body of Christ.
o The Mystical Body came to life in the “upper room” in Jerusalem at
Pentecost through the animating power of the Holy Spirit.
o Christ was the head of the body and the Holy Spirit is the souls,
individual Christians were its cells, few at first but increasing as the body
came of age.
• Church Visible: composed of those who are formally members of the Church as
an earthly institution.
• Church Invisible: composed of all who, whatever their formal persuasion, follow
as best they are able the lights they have.
The Mind of the Church
• Incarnation: God assumed a human body in Christ; it affirms that Christ was
God-Man, both fully God and fully human.
o The willingness of God to assume a human life of the form of Jesus
together with the character of Jesus’ life added up to a different
understanding of divinity.
o God was concerned about humanity, concerned enough to suffer in its
• Atonement: reconciliation, the recovery of wholeness.
o Sins must be compensated for; otherwise, God’s justice would be
o An infinite sin demands infinite recompense and this could only be
effected by God’s assumption of our guilt and payment of the penalty it
o It was the Christian witness that the Power that works the liberation, and
restores the self to the ground of its being, is Christ.
• Trinity: while God is fully one, God is also three (God’s essences).
o The Father
o The Son
o The Holy Spirit
o The Jews and Muslims rejected this theology.
• Roman Catholicism: focuses in the Vatican in Rome and spreads from there,
being dominant through central and southern Europe, Ireland and So