Christianity: Doctrines and Practices
Christians uphold the specific Revelation of God in the Scriptures. The Bible consists of 39 Books of the Old Testament divided into sub-themes like the Law, Major Prophets, History & Government, Minor Prophets and Poetry; and 27 Books of the New Testament sub-divided by their contents Gospels, History, Prophecy, Epistles, and The Apocalypse. The God of Christianity has been working through the Holy Spirit to preserve his creation, save humankind, and build the Church throughout history. Christianity is a revelation in history and a reality of personal life. Three essential principles are upheld to translate the historical fact of the revelation of Jesus Christ into the religion, which has lived through the centuries and is still present today.
1. Faith: is the fundamental thing in Christianity. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the experiences of Pentecost revealed Jesus Christ in His fuller glory. Therefore Faith in crucified and risen Christ becomes the first practice of a Christian. In two words, the Christian faith is to ‘believe that Jesus died and rose again (1 Thess 4: 14) – that in dying He atoned for human sin, and in rising He abolished death.
2. Obedience: this is the following principle of the Christian life. The test of obedience to God is an unfailing gauge of any claim of a Christian. Christ said, God’s will is to be done and His commands to be obeyed.
3. Love: is the third great principle – Matthew 22:37-40. Love is the proper attitude of every Christian (directed by Christ – John 13:34) towards God and all those for whom Christ died. Love towards God and others is the Great Commandment for Christians.
Many Christian practices and rituals vary from denomination to denomination, individual Christian to individual Christian, but some practices are common to virtually all forms of Christianity; hence ritual peculiarities are not the point. Most Christians attend worship service in Church on Sundays, including singing, praying, and listening to the message (Sermon). There are also mid-week services that include Bible study and Prayer Service. Most Christian churches have a special ritual for ordination or designating a person fit for a leadership position in the Church. Christian denominations at times organize revivals and crusades.
Baptism: is a sign of ‘Regeneration’ or ‘New-Birth,’ whereby, as by an instrument, they receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church having the promises of the forgiveness of sin and their adoption to be the children of God by the Holy Spirit. Faith is confirmed, and Grace is increased by prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is most agreeable with the Institution of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper (Eucharist): is the earliest title for the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, and it is based upon giving of thanks with which Jesus set apart the Bread and wine at the Last Supper as memorials of Himself (Mt 26:27, Lk 22:17, 19, 1 Co 11:24). Though legitimately derived from 1 Cor. 11:20, the name Lord’s Supper is not applied to the sacrament itself, but the Love-feast, a medal commemorating the Last Supper, and not yet separated from the Eucharist when St. Paul wrote. The Lord’s Supper is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of their Redemption by Christ’s death: in so much that to such as rightly, worthily and with Faith, receive the same, the Bread is a partaking of the Body of Christ, and likewise the Cup of Blessing (Wine) is a partaking of the Blood of Christ. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is involved in the declaration: that the Bread broken is a communion of the body, the cup of blessing, a communion of the blood, of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16). Transubstantiation is the word for the change of the substance of Bread and Wine in the Lord’s Supper. The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner.