Introduction to Christianity

Publication Date



This chapter will provide background to the development of the Christian churches as together constituting the world’s largest faith. The major source for this brief sketch will be the Christian scriptures and early church traditions. The approach will be predominantly theological rather than historical or sociological. It is recognised that, while many diverse forms of Christian belief and practice preceded the acceptance from the second to the fourth centuries of the authoritative body of Christian literature known as the ‘canon’, a decision was clearly made with the establishment of this scriptural canon for a unified form of Christianity that would become progressively stronger. The criteria by which works were admitted to the canon were: 1) the proclamation of the one God as Creator of the whole world, spiritual and material; 2) the affirmation of the reality of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and 3) the acceptance of the scriptures of the Jewish people, which, when incorporated into the Christian Bible, generally came to be known as the Old Testament.


School of Theology

Document Type

Book Chapter

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ERA Access