Christianity - An Introduction 3e


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Table of Contents

Preface xii

List of Illustrations and Maps xiii

Introduction 1

1 Jesus of Nazareth and the Origins of Christianity 3

The Significance of Jesus of Nazareth for Christianity 3

The Sources of Our Knowledge about Jesus of Nazareth 5

Jesus of Nazareth in His Jewish Context 7

The Gospels and Jesus of Nazareth 9

The Birth of Jesus of Nazareth 10

The Early Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth 13

The Teaching of Jesus of Nazareth: The Parables of the Kingdom 15

The Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth 17

The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth 19

Events and Meanings: The Interpretation of the History of Jesus 21

The New Testament Understandings of the Significance of Jesus 22

Jesus of Nazareth and Women 25

The Reception of Jesus of Nazareth outside Judaism 26

2 The Christian Bible 28

The Old Testament 30

Major Themes of the Old Testament 32

The creation 32

Abraham: Calling and covenant 32

The exodus and the giving of the Law 33

The establishment of the monarchy 36

The priesthood 37

Prophecy 37

Exile and restoration 38

The New Testament 40

The gospels 41

The New Testament letters 44

The fixing of the New Testament canon 45

The Christian Understanding of the Relation of the Old and New Testaments 47

The Translation of the Bible 49

The Bible and Tradition 51

3 Christian Creeds and Beliefs 54

The Emergence of Creeds 55

What Is Faith? 59

Faith and reason 61

Can God’s existence be proved? 63

The Christian Understanding of God 65

Christian analogies for God 66

God as Father 67

A personal God 69

God as almighty 71

God as spirit 72

The doctrine of the Trinity 74

God as the creator 78

The Christian Understanding of Humanity 82

Humanity and the “image of God” 83

Humanity, the fall, and sin 84

Jesus of Nazareth 86

Early Christian approaches to the identity of Jesus of Nazareth 87

The Arian controversy and the incarnation 88

The incarnation: The Chalcedonian definition 89

Jesus of Nazareth as mediator between God and humanity 90

Islamic criticisms of the Christian understanding of Jesus of Nazareth 91

The Christian Understanding of Salvation 92

New Testament images of salvation 93

Christ the victor: The defeat of death and sin 94

Christ the harrower of hell: Atonement as restoration 96

Christ the redeemer: Atonement as satisfaction 98

The death of Christ as a perfect sacrifice 99

Christ the lover: Atonement and the enkindling of love 100

Salvation and the “threefold office of Christ” 101

Grace 102

The Pelagian controversy of the fifth century 103

The Reformation debates of the sixteenth century 105

The Church 106

The unity of the church 106

The holiness of the church 107

The catholicity of the church 109

The apostolicity of the church 110

The Sacraments 112

What is a sacrament? 112

The function of sacraments 113

Debates about baptism 115

Debates about the eucharist 116

The Christian Hope 117

The New Testament and Christian hope 117

The nature of the resurrection body 118

Christian burial or cremation? 119

Conclusion 120

4 Christian History: An Overview 121

The Early Church, c. 100–c. 500 122

The apostolic age 122

Early Christianity and the Roman empire 123

Early Christian worship and organization 125

Women and early Christianity 127

The conversion of the Emperor Constantine 129

The cities and the rise of monasticism 131

The fall of the Roman empire 133

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, c. 500–c. 1500 135

The development of Celtic Christianity 135

The rise of the monastic and cathedral schools 137

The “Great Schism” between East and West (1054) 138

The crusades: Spain and the Middle East 139

Academic theology: The rise of scholasticism 141

Secular and religious power in the Middle Ages 142

Popular religion: The cult of the saints 143

The rise of the Ottoman empire: The fall of Constantinople (1453) 145

The rebirth of western culture: The Renaissance 146

Competing Visions of Reform, c. 1500–c. 1650 148

Christian expansion: Portuguese and Spanish voyages of discovery 149

The Lutheran Reformation 151

The Calvinist Reformation 153

The Radical Reformation (Anabaptism) 154

The Catholic Reformation 155

The Reformation in England 156

The Council of Trent 157

The Society of Jesus 158

The Wars of Religion 158

Puritanism in England and America 159

A Protestant religion of the heart: Pietism 160

American Protestantism and the Great Awakening 162

The Modern Period, c. 1650–1914 163

The rise of indifference to religion in Europe 164

The Enlightenment: The rise of rationalism 164

Christianity in the American Revolution 166

Church and state in America: The “wall of separation” 167

The French Revolution and “dechristianization” 168

Orthodox resurgence: The Greek War of Independence 169

A new expansion of Christianity: The age of mission 170

The shifting fortunes of Catholicism 173

The First Vatican Council: Papal infallibility 175

Theological revisionism: The challenge of modernism 176

The Victorian crisis of faith 177

Pentecostalism: The American origins of a global faith 179

The Twentieth Century, 1914 to the Present 180

The Armenian genocide of 1915 181

The Russian Revolution of 1917 182

America: The fundamentalist controversy 184

The German church crisis of the 1930s 186

The 1960s: The emergence of a post-Christian Europe 188

The Second Vatican Council: Reform and revitalization 189

Christianity and the American Civil Rights Movement 191

Faith renewed: John Paul II and the collapse of the Soviet Union 192

Challenging the church’s establishment: Feminism and liberation theology 194

Christianity beyond the West: The globalization of faith 196

Conclusion 198

5 Denominations: Contemporary Forms of Christianity 199

Catholicism 199

Eastern Orthodoxy 203

Protestantism 205

Anglicanism 206

The Baptists 207

Lutheranism 209

Methodism 209

Presbyterianism and other reformed denominations 211

Pentecostalism 212

Evangelicalism 213

The Ecumenical Movement and the World Council of Churches 214

The Erosion of Protestant Denominationalism in the United States 216

Conclusion 218

6 The Life of Faith: Christianity as a Living Reality 220

Gateways to Exploring the Life of Faith 220

Christian Communities: The Life of the Church 222

Christian weddings 222

Christian funerals 223

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols 225

Christian Worship 226

Prayer 228

Praise 229

The public reading of the Bible 229

Preaching 230

The reciting of the creeds 230

The Sacraments 231

Baptism 232

The eucharist 234

Rhythms and Seasons: The Christian Year 236

Advent 238

Christmas 238

Epiphany 239

Lent 240

Holy Week 241

Easter 243

Ascension 245

Pentecost 245

Trinity 245

The Structuring of Time: The Monastic Day 246

The Structuring of Space: Pilgrimage and the Christian Life 247

Conclusion 250

7 Christianity and the Shaping of Culture 251

Christianity and Culture: General Considerations 252

Christian Symbolism: The Cross 256

Christian Art 259

Icons 262

Church Architecture 263

Stained Glass 268

Christian Music 270

Christianity and Literature 271

Christianity and the Natural Sciences 275

Conclusion 277

Conclusion: Where Next? 278

Further Reading 280

Sources of Quotations 284

Index 291

About the Author

Alister E. McGrath is Andreas Idreos Professor of Scienceand Religion at the University of Oxford. One of the world sleading theologians, he has written numerous critically acclaimedbooks, including Why God Won t Go Away: Engaging the NewAtheism (2011), Darwinism and the Divine: EvolutionaryThought and Natural Theology (Wiley, 2011), and TheIntellectual World of C. S. Lewis (Wiley, 2013). He is also theauthor of some of the most widely used theology textbooks,including the bestselling Christian Theology: AnIntroduction now in its fifth edition (Wiley, 2010), Historical Theology: An Introduction 2 nd edition(Wiley, 2012), and Theology: The Basics 3 rdedition (Wiley, 2011).


Praise for the Previous Edition Meticulous and memorable, Christianity: An Introduction (second edition) takes us on a breathtaking journey, and readers of all kinds will enjoy the ride.Darren J. N. Middleton, Texas Christian University The finest text of its kind available. It is encyclopaedic in scope, reliable and quite accessible to the non-specialist. In this second edition, an already solid resource is made even more valuable.? David L. Johns, Earlham School of Religion

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