Depth Study: Christianity

Origins - Historical and Cultural Context Students learn to outline the historical and cultural context in which Christianity began
Key Questions:

  • Where did Christianity begin?
  • What empires colonised the land at the time of Jesus?
  • Who did the Jews turn to for guidance?
Notes:

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  • Began in Judea - Jerusalem was the main religious centre that contained the temple. Jewish people were predominant, considered people of God under guide and leadership of Abraham
  • During Exodus, Jewish people were freed from Egypt and brought to promised land by Moses - renewal of the Abrahamic Covenant.
    • The Jewish people lived in the promised land
  • After many years, the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks and finally Romans took over their land, the latter of which established the Roman empire. They controlled Jewish lives
    • Jews turned to look for a Messiah to lead them back to God and their land
Summary : Christianity began in Judea, where Jerusalem was the main religious centre. The Exodus brought the Jewish people out of slavery and to the promised land, however, it was controlled by the Romans at the time of Jesus' birth. The Jews desired a Messiah to lead them back to their land.
Jesus Christ Students learn to examine the principal events of Jesus' life and explain why He is the model for Christian life
Key Questions:

  • Who was Jesus Christ?
  • What was his goal whilst on Earth?
  • What was Jesus' ministry?
    • How did this differ from the pharisees of the time?
  • How did Jesus challenge the material world?
  • How did Jesus' life conclude
  • Why is Jesus a model for Christian life?
Notes:

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  • Jesus was did not seek to establish a new religion - he wanted to reform the ways of the Jewish people, which had become contrary to God's teaching
    • He was acting as a prophet in the eyes of Jewish people
  • Jesus preached regarding the nature and reign of God and the values worldly humans should show - peace, love and cooperation
    • Opposed depictions of God in eyes of Jewish people, who thought He was fierce and mean
  • Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. He travelled to Galilee, where He was baptised by John the Baptist, His cousin
  • Jesus made the power of God known through preaching and healing, documented in all four Gospels
  • Jesus challenged the material world by demonstrating love and peace to all, causing the marginalised outcasts to follow Him after being rejected by the Jewish people
    • "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jn 4:5). Jesus challenged the class-system of the time
    • “do you begrudge my generosity?” (Mt 20:15). He preached values of generosity and love to all people
  • Jesus' ministry concluded in Jerusalem, where He celebrated the Passover, was arrested and crucified
    • He was placed in a tomb and resurrected 3 days later. He appeared to his disciples, commissioned them and ascended to heaven
  • Christians view Jesus as a model for life who shows the perfect way to love God and everyone else. His way of living documented through the Gospels demonstrates the way in which all Christian adherents should strive to live
    • Jesus offers a direct link to God due to His Divinity and His teachings
  • Jesus's values provide a guide for Christian adherents, even 2000 years later:
    • As he showed compassion to the poor, healed the sick and taught the love of God. He is showing how to live a life that Christians should follow.
    • He is an idea, a philosopher or a teacher of values, wisdom who calls Christians to a radically personal relationship with God.
    • Calls his followers to conversion and discipleship that involve sacrifice and suffering.
    • This portrayal of Jesus helped provide framework for the beliefs, rituals, and behaviour for the whole life journey of the Christian.
Summary : Jesus, born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary, sought to reform Judaism to restore the people to God's will. He challenged the material world of the Jewish people with his ministry of love and peace, leading to His Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection. He is a model for Christians today, showing how individuals should act to attain a deep, personal relationship with God.
Development of Early Christian Communities Describe the early development of Christian communities after the death of Jesus
Key Questions:

  • What are the four stages of the development of Christian communities?
  • When did Christianity split from Judaism?
  • Who stopped the persecution of Christians?
  • When was Christianity made the official religion of Rome?
Notes:

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  • 33-70 CE (Initial Wave) - begins with Pentecost after Jesus' death. Disciples were filled with Holy Spirit and were commissioned by Jesus to go out into the world and 'make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19)
    • Peter became the leader of the Church.
    • Christianity remains a sect of Judaism - adherents follow Mosaic Law and the teachings based on Hebrew Scripture, however, they celebrate the Eucharist and Baptism
    • There was little formal activity in this period, as all believed that Christ's second coming was soon
  • 49 CE (Council of Jerusalem) - Christians were made to abandon all pagan beliefs and follow the decalogue + Jesus' teachings
    • Christianity was opened to the wider world, and all people could join if they renounced pagan ways and joined Christ
    • The mass following this attracted was a catalyst for the separation from Judaism
    • The destruction of the Jewish Temple as a result of the failed Jewish Revolt against Romans (66-73 CE) led to mass migration from citizens living in Judea
    • The growing numbers of followings made formalisation of the belief imminent, which led to Christianity's split from Judaism in 100 CE
  • 64-313 CE (Persecution) - The Jewish people were angered with Christianity's split and were fearful of Roman punishments if Jesus' teachings continued to spread across the Roman Empire.
    • As a result, Christian people were persecuted by the Romans and the Jewish people. During this time, followings declined significantly
    • Emperor Nero blamed the great fire of Rome (64 CE) on Christians. This signalled the beginning of the persecution, which lasted 2 centuries
  • 313 CE (Edict of Milan) - Constantine granted the Edict of Milan, legalising the Christian religion within the Roman Empire and ordering the end of persecution. He issued this edict after emerging victorious out of battle after receiving a vision from God
    • The Nicene Creed was created at the council of Nicaea (325) which signalled the official beginning of Christianity
    • In 380 CE, Emperor Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica, which made Nicene Christianity the official religion of Rome and the state church of the Roman Empire
Summary : The spread of Christianity began with the commissioning of the Apostles at Pentecost. It split from Judaism in 100 CE, after the council of Jerusalem. The Christian people were persecuted between 64-313AD by Romans and Jews alike, as they opposed the world they lived in. Emperor Constantine ended this persecution through the issuing of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD.
Christian Variants Outline the unique features of Anglicanism, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Pentecostalism and Protestantism
Key Questions:

  • What are the unique features of Anglicanism?
  • What are the unique features of Catholicism?
  • What are the unique features of Orthodoxy?
  • What are the unique features of Pentecostalism?
  • What are the unique features of Protestantism?
Notes:

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  • Anglicanism (Church of England) - emerged in the 16th century during Henry VII's reign. They accept the statement 'a fellowship with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the See of Canterbury" (Lambeth Conference, 1930)
    • Built on the theology of Martin Luther and reformers such as John Calvin, which led to the development of key features such as
      • Authority - connection between biblical and papal authority: the monarch is head of the Church, but the Archbishop of Canterbury has power. Do not follow the pope; no international judicial authority
      • Justification - salvation is attained through Faith in Jesus and through the Grace of God, rather than good deeds
        • “One is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Romans 3:28).
      • Role and importance of sacraments in salvation
      • Priesthood - all members of the church are equal; there is no priest and all have equal power
      • Book of common prayer - unique to Anglicans, put together during reformation
      • Eucharist merely symbolises the Body and Blood of Christ (consubstantiation)
    • High Anglicanism (Anglo-Catholic) are similar to Christians and highlight importance of ritual and sacraments
    • Low Anglicanism (Evangelical) highlights the importance of preaching the word to others and personal conversion
  • Catholicism - Divided into Eastern and Western Traditions. Eastern are divided into Churches (Maronite/Antiochian, Coptic/Alexandrian, Melkite, Ukrainian/Byzantine). Largest denomination of all variants
    • Key features include
      • Eucharist is the central act of Worship - transubstantiation turns the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ
      • 7 sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, Marriage)
      • Strong focus on Mary - Mother of God and Mother of the Church
      • Communion of Saints - intercede for the mundane
      • Heaven, hell and purgatory
      • Follow the Pope - Bishop of Rome
      • Scripture and tradition play a clear role in revelation
      • There is a need for penance + communion in order to attain salvation
      • Faith must be exhibited in good deeds in order to achieve salvation
        • “You see that a man is justified by works but not by instantaneous faith.”(James 2:24)
  • Orthodoxy - centralised on the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist). Rich use of symbolism, icons and vestments.
    • Liturgies are commonly fully sung, use incense and there is a barrier (iconostasis) which keeps part of the service obscured
    • Key features include
      • Liturgies are long and symbolic
      • Sacramental view of existence and church membership
      • Monasticism is central since 4th century CE (no specific orders for works)
      • Recognises in 7 sacraments, professes Nicene Creed
  • Pentecostalism (Christian Charismatic Churches) - created on 1/1/1901 where a USA student was reported to speak in tongues. Aim is to restore the gifts of Holy Spirit given during Pentecost (Acts 2:4-11)
    • Believe tis contributes to thought, practise and worship of Christian Church (Acts 10:46, Corinthians 14)
    • Values healing, prophesying and interpretation of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)
    • Cooperative worship - everyone worships together as one
  • Protestantism - based on principles of the Reformation. Founding branches are Lutheranism, Calvinism and Zwinglianism, which yield other denominations such as Methodism, Presbyterianism.
    • Key features include
      • Does not acknowledge supremacy of the Pope
      • Minimises liturgical and sacramental aspects
      • Bible is only source of revealed truth
      • Salvation is achieved through faith, not good deeds. Do not accept Saints
      • Baptism and Communion are central sacraments
      • No need for Earthly priests or mediators
      • Transcendence of God - emphasis
      • Preaching and listening to the Word
      • Family Tree of Religious Groups
Summary : Over time, the Christian church divided into several variants, categorised by their different beliefs. However, the different churches were united in their belief of the Risen Christ and the belief in the Trinity. Each variant has their own denominations within them, dividing the church even further.
Divinity and Humanity of Jesus Christ Students learn to outline the principal beliefs regarding the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ
Key Questions:

  • What is the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus Christ?
  • When was this teaching developed?
  • What is the significance of Jesus' humanity and divinity?
Notes:

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  • Athanasius (296-323 CE) proposed that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. He had the same nature as God, but was also fully human
  • The Council of Nicaea (325 CE) adopted these teachings, and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was formed
    • Holy Trinity - God is seen as one God of three distinct aspects - God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Trinity is a concept beyond human nature - mere humans can not understand it. When Christians enter salvation, they believe that they will be able to understand this mystery of Faith
    • St Thomas Aquinas 'if you understand the Holy Trinity, you do not understand the Holy Trinity'
  • Christ is believed to be human, living at a certain time and having certain limitations (eg. experiencing pain, anger, fear). He is also the divine Son of God.
    • Adherents believe His life, death and resurrection were significant to all humanity
  • John 1:14 'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only son of the Father'
Summary : The Council of Nicaea (325 CE) adopted the teachings of St Athanasius, who taught that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. As a result, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was formed. Christians believe that Christ was alive and walked the earth, however, He had powers and abilities transcending human limitations.
Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ Students learn to explain the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians
Key Questions:

  • What was the purpose of Jesus' Death and Resurrection?
  • What was the event following the Crucifixion?
  • What is the relevance of Jesus' Death and Resurrection to Christians today?
Notes:

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  • Gospel accounts detail Jesus' arrest, taken to Golgotha and crucified. They state that this was the end of Jesus' earthly life
  • However, it was not the end of His mission. After dying, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His followers (Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18)
  • He then ascended into heaven and was raised into new life - entering a glorious and transformed state (Mark 1:6-19, Luke 24:50-53).
    • Christian feast of the Ascension is celebrated 40 days after Easter
  • All Christians believe that, like Jesus, one day they too will have their body and soul transformed to share in the life of Jesus in Heaven (2 Cor 4:14, 1 Cor 15:35, 42-44)
  • The death and resurrection is the foundation of the Christian religion, as demonstrated by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians " “If Christ has not been raised, then empty… is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Summary : Jesus' death was not the end of His earthly ministry. He resurrected, ascended into heaven and commissioned the 12 Apostles to spread His mission. Christians believe that Jesus' death and resurrection was the basis of the religion itself - He renewed the covenant of the Jewish people and attained salvation for all.
Nature of God and the Trinity Students learn to outline the beliefs about the nature of God and of the Trinity
Key Questions:

  • What is the Trinity?
  • What are the three functions of the Trinity?
  • Where is the Trinity referenced through the Bible?
Notes:

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  • Adherents believe in one God who creates all things, but who can be known as three persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
  • Each person is distinct, but does not act in isolation of the others - this is a mystery of Faith; the Trinity is beyong human comprehension
  • The Trinity has 3 functions
    • Creating - bringing God to all
    • Sanctifying - making all things holy
    • Redeeming - moving things from sin and darkness towards God' light
  • The Trinity is thoroughly referenced throughout the Gospels, for example:
    • 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of Holy Spirit be with you all' (Corinthians 13:14) - this is used in the mass
    • 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' (Matthew 28:19) - this is used in sacramental Baptism
Summary : The Trinity is the belief that God exists in a sole form, but has three distinct aspects: Father, Son and Holy Sprit. The Trinity is beyond human comprehension - when Christians are in heaven, they will understand it fully. The Trinity's three functions are creating, sanctifying and redeeming and is made evident throughout the New Testament.
Revelation Students learn to examine the Christian understanding of revelation
Key Questions:

  • What is the meaning of revelation?
  • Where is revelation present in the Christian faith?
  • What are examples of revelation?
Notes:

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  • Refers to the transmission of knowledge from divine to mundane. For Christians, it is the revealing of God's will and law to humanity through words and deeds
  • God's knowledge is transmitted to humanity, concerning people, events and things that are not fully known to the humans on Earth
  • Christians view revelation as not only a form of communication, but an invitation to join in unity with God, who urges adherents to display their faith through actions, not just through accepting doctrines
  • Revelation is not merely a past proclamation - He continued to communicate across history. He can also communicate through events, the faith and joys/hardships of the world
  • Revelation is both found within the Old Testament and the New Testament - “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets… but in these late days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Summary : Revelation refers to the transmitting of divine knowledge from God to humans, and is evident within Christianity through prophets and Jesus Himself. Revelation is not a past concept - it continues to occur through historical events and is recorded in both the Old and New Testaments.
Salvation Students learn to describe the Christian understanding of salvation
Key Questions:

  • What is salvation?
  • How has salvation been attained?
  • What are the three features of Salvation?
Notes:

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  • Refers to the belief in life after death. For Christians, it is the belief that humans will be delivered by God from sin and darkness and brought to the fullness of life
  • Salvation is focussed on an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God who is beyond human understanding, but His love is made known through salvation
  • Salvation was achieved for all humanity through Christ's life, death and resurrection. Through His passion, sin was conquered and eternal life achieved
    • "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)
  • Christian salvation has the following three features
    • Initial fruits of salvation can be made known in present life - full realisation of this is made known in afterlife. The presence of God in the afterlife fulfils adherents' knowledge
    • Present life's trial and tribulations prevent salvation from being achieved by people themselves. The grace of God is necessary to obtain salvation
    • Jesus is central to salvation as it was achieved through His life, death and resurrection.
      • 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have everlasting life' (John 3:16)
Summary : Salvation, for Christians, refers to the belief in life after death. Christians believe that salvation was attained through Jesus' death and resurrection and can only be truly experienced after death, with God, in heaven.
Overview Students learn about the Bible
Key Questions:

  • What is Christianity's sacred text?
  • What is the significance of the Bible?
Notes:

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  • The Sacred Text of Christianity is the Bible - containing the Old and New Testament. The Bible is the foundation of Christianity, guiding adherents to understand God Himself
    • There are three principal functions of the Bible, which will be discussed later
  • In addition to the Bible, each individual variation of Christianity and the denominations within it have their own writings detailing the faith.
  • For Christianity, these texts include
    • Papal Encyclicals
    • Catechism of the Catholic Church
    • Writings of Doctors of the Church
  • The Bible is God's Word. Therefore, those who study it are filled with God's knowledge and example and should seek to put this into action through their lives
Summary : The Sacred text of Christianity is the Bible, which provides God's word to Christian adherents. It transmits God's knowledge to adherents and guides them to put it into action through their lives.
Role of the Bible Identify the importance of the Bible in Christianity and examine extracts of the Bible which demonstrate the principal beliefs of Christianity
Key Questions:

  • What are the functions of the Bible in everyday life?
  • What is the function of the Bible in relation to ethics?
  • How does the Bible convey God's teachings to Christian adherents?
Notes:

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  • The Bible has three main functions: acting in everyday life, developing ethical guidance for adherents and communicating key teachings of Christianity
  • Role in everyday life -
    • Communicates basic rituals and sacraments
    • Provides purposeful prayer and reflection and acts as a tool for this
    • Aids domestic rituals, such as grace before meals
    • Helps adherents to celebrate their faith through their lives, or in times of uncertainty or questioning - “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (Lk 6:12).
  • Developing Ethical Guidelines
    • Helps develop guidelines on how to act in certain situations
    • Provides a scaffold for decision making by studying examples of Biblical characters
    • Promotes questioning of moral boundaries --> leads to an understanding of self goals
    • Provides information and teachings relevant to difficult choices or principles one must enact “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44)
  • Communicates Teachings of Christianity & Explains God's Word
    • Demonstrates the nature of God
    • Shows the Ministry of Christ through parables, stories and recounts
    • A key source of revelation for all denomination
    • Helps to understand and teach Christian belief “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling amongst us” (John 1:14).
Summary : The Bible functions for Christians in three ways. It helps adherents celebrate their faith through their lives, through actions and prayer, develops ethical guidance for Christians and communicates teachings regarding God and His will to adherents on Earth.
Overview Students learn about the 10 Commandments and New Testament including the Beatitudes & Jesus' Commandment of Love
Key Questions:

  • What are Christian ethical teachings founded on?
  • What are the three sources of Christian ethical teaching?
  • What is the purpose of ethical teaching?
Notes:

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  • The ideals and goals of Christianity primarily dictate the actions of man, which should aim to demonstrate love and compassion to each other, even in times of hardship.
  • Christianity's ethical teachings are founded on Jesus Christ, and often share the belief that humans are made in the image of God.
    • As a result, they have intellect, free will and self determination, enabling them to act with morality
  • Christianity's ethical teachings are based on three main extracts from the Bible: the Decalogue, the Beatitudes and the Commandment of Love, which have endured time to guide adherents today.
    • Adherents who follow these teachings develop relationships with others, as well as relationships with the omnipresent God
  • Ethical teachings prompt adherents to act in the wisdom of God, the risen Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • They remain relevant and guide adherents to live lives of justice and compassion, guiding through moral question and dilemmas
Summary : Christian ethical teachings are based on the life and values of Jesus Christ. In particular, they extract the values of the Decalogue, the Beatitudes and Jesus' Commandment of Love in order to guide adherents to act in the wisdom of God, especially in times of moral questioning and dilemma.
10 Commandments Students learn to describe the importance of ethical teachings in the lives of adherents
Key Questions:

  • Where are the 10 Commandments found?
  • What is the contents of the 10 Commandments?
  • How do adherents use the commandments to guide their lives?
Notes:

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  • Found in the Old Testament, the 10 Commandments were given by God to Moses atop Mt Sinai, documented in Exodus 20: 1-17.
  • They are a set of rules and guidelines divided into two primary parts - the first three focus on the worship of God, whilst the remaining seven focus on relationships with others and their neighbour
  • They should not be seen as chores or tasks or even punishments - they are given by God as a sign of His love.
    • The commandments do not seek perfection, but rather encourage to act in the way of Christ
  • Each commandment has many values associated with it, though not explicitly stated. 'Though shall not kill' shows values of trust, justice and honesty
  • The commandments provide boundaries for Christian living and therefore act as a key foundation for ethical decision making
Summary : The 10 Commandments were given to Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 20 and are a set of rules that dictate one's relationships with God and others. They set boundaries for Christian living, encouraging individuals to act in the way of Christ by living out the values of each individual commandment.
Jesus' Commandment of Love (Golden Rule) Students learn to describe the importance of ethical teachings in the lives of adherents
Key Questions:

  • What is Jesus' Commandment of Love?
  • What three factors does Jesus' Commandment emphasise?
  • How is the Commandment shown through the Gospels?
Notes:

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  • God's moral teaching was emphasised by His son when He came down to Earth. He essentially summarises the majority of the Decalogue through His commandment
    • “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34)
  • The commandment emphasises three factors regarding Christian ethics
    • Repentance is the basis of ethical life
    • God demands that adherents do what is right throughout their everyday lives, even if the normal human nature tells us otherwise
    • This commandment is central to Christian living and indeed, Christian ethics
  • The commandment is displayed through various elements of the Gospel, for example John's first letter, "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7)
Summary : The Commandment of Love summarises the Decalogue through three teachings: repentance, pursual to do what is right and the centrality of the commandment to Christian living. All actions of Jesus are reflected by this covenant and adherents' actions should reflect it too.
The Beatitudes Students learn to describe the importance of ethical teachings in the lives of adherents
Key Questions:

  • Where were the Beatitudes given?
  • What values are shown through the Beatitudes?
  • What is the central focus of the Beatitudes?
  • What is the purpose of the Beatitudes?
Notes:

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  • Jesus, through his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-12), gave the Beatitudes to His followers. They are declarations of praise that promote values of humility, meekness and hunger for righteousness
  • Their purpose was to instruct adherents on virtues that should be lived out through their lives. They guide adherents to be conscious of the poor and those who suffer. Eg “Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children” (Mt 5:9)
  • Luke's version of the Beatitudes detail poverty, hunger and desolation, promising rewards from God if action is taken. The Beatitudes are reinforced by threatening woes given by Jesus
  • The social justice message of the Beatitudes is present in many biblical passages, such as the Good Samaritan or the Raising of the Widow's Husband, which demonstrates compassion and humility
  • Seen in modern society through the work of charity organisations such as St Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army
Summary : The Beatitudes are a fulfilment of the 10 Commandments, which promote social justice through the values of humility, meekness and hunger for righteousness. They are not laws, but rather an ethical system of values encouraging adherents to be conscious of the poor and the suffering. The underlying message of the Beatitudes, social justice, can be seen in many biblical passages and indeed in Christ's mission.
Overview Students learn about prayer
Key Questions:

  • What is prayer?
  • What is the purpose of prayer?
  • What are the effects of prayer?
Notes:

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  • Prayer does not change God - He does not gain anything out of prayer, but rather, our prayers demonstrate our relationship with God
  • We pray because Jesus told us to; 'pray always'. We also pray for our own needs and to reassure oursleves that God is listening
  • The primary goal of prayer is to strengthen the relationship one has with God. Prayer does not change God, but it changes people and it changes things
  • Purposes for prayer
    • During suffering- personal or family/friends 🡪 gives hope
    • During times of decision making 🡪 asking for advice/ guidance
    • When grateful 🡪 give thanks and appreciation
    • When one has sinned 🡪 asks for forgiveness

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      • Prayer varies for each denomination. For example, Catholics pray for the intercession of saints or Mary, while protestants pray directly to God
      • Prayer provides opportunity for one to experience the mysteries of the Faith. It provides direction, a sense of community and joy. It encourages adherents to act in a more Christ like way to all people
Summary : Prayer is an action that changes adherents to engage in a deeper relationship with God. It provides for adherents an opportunity to experience the faith in a living way through intercession or reflection on God and His work.
The Types of Prayer Students learn to describe the different types of personal prayer
Key Questions:

  • What are the types of prayer?
  • What is the significance of each type of prayer?
Notes:

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  • Contrary to popular belief, prayer is not just asking God to do something. There are 5 forms of prayer within the Christian Faith, expressed either vocally, mentally or in a contemplative manner
  • Blessing (eg. Gloria, Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary)
    • Exalts the greatness of God and acknolwedges Him for His great deeds
  • Adoration (eg. Gloria, St Faustina Prayer, Glory Be)
    • Adherents adore the greatness of God and focus on God. They forget themselves and focus on what transcends their mundane world
    • Adherents acknowledge the greatness of God and gain a deeper sense of communion with Him through appreciation of His power
  • Petition (eg. Penitential Rite, Agnus Dei)
    • Adherents ask God for things which they would like in their lives, both spiritual and physical needs
    • Adherents may also choose to ask for forgiveness of their sins. However, they must be wary that God's will always triumphs
  • Intercession (eg. Prayers of the Faithful, Hail Mary)
    • Asking God to think about the needs of others, and not our own, either through asking God or the saints or Mary
    • Prayers of intercession, "leads us to pray as Jesus did" (Article 2634 of the CCC)
  • Thanksgiving (eg. Grace before meals, Gloria and General Thanks)
    • Thanking God for what has already been done or what has been given to adherents through His power
    • Many adherents often forget to say thank you to God - this accounts for minimal prayer times
Summary : Christian prayer can be divided into five main types. Blessing and adoration are prayers or praise, which acclaim God's glory and adore it. Petition and intercession are used to ask for things, whether it be for themselves or for others. Prayers of thanksgiving are used to thank God for what has been done or what has been given. Through engaging in these prayers, Christians feel closer to God.
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