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What does it mean to be "Christian"?

Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, God having become human and the savior of humanity. Because of this, Christians commonly refer to Jesus as Christ or Messiah.  The three largest groups in the world of Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox patriarchates split from one another in the East–West Schism of 1054 AD, and Protestantism came into existence during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church. If there is any confusion here, this statistic will really throw a monkey wrench into the whole mess. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (2001), there are approximately 38,000 denominations in the world that identify themselves as Christian.


In Britain and America, many Scouts come from a Christian background. Christianity grew out of Judaism. It's leader, Jesus of Nazareth, believed that he was chosen by God to call the people to a true faith and trust in God. His teaching was that God didn't just want people to keep the Jewish laws as a kind of ritual, He wanted them to live out their lives in love and care for their neighbors and for anyone in need - especially the poor and the oppressed. He criticized the chief Priests for keeping God in the Temple and turning the Temple into a business which made it hard for the poor to go to worship. The Chief Priests reacted by plotting to have Jesus killed. They persuaded the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, that Jesus was a political danger to him because the common people followed him and, although Pilate couldn't find any proof of the charge, he had Jesus whipped and crucified - nailed to a wooden cross - which was the Roman method of execution at the time. This was done on a Friday - the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. Christians call it Good Friday because they believe that when Jesus died, the forgiveness of God was released for human failure to love, serve and trust in God. Christians also believe that Jesus, having been buried in a cave, rose from the dead on the Sunday (Easter Day) and was seen by his followers many times over several weeks. Certainly, they believed this happened because many of them were executed for saying so and you don't die for something that you know isn't true. Those early followers were all Jews and it wasn't for some time that non-Jews were able to join the new community. It was probably about 30 years before they were called "Christians". It is estimated that there are about 12 billion people in the world who say they follow Jesus. They have special services and celebrations to mark his birth

- Christmas Day (25th December) and usually a service at midnight the night before; and at Easter on the Sunday before Easter (Palm Sunday), on Good Friday and, of course on Easter Day. Easter weekend often being a four day holiday, care should be taken to make sure that the significance of Easter for Christians at camp is not forgotten.


Courtesy of - The Mac Scouter's Big "A Scout is Reverent" resource book

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