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World Religions and Their Missions

Edited By Aaron J. Ghiloni

Schleiermacher maintained that «to make proselytes out of unbelievers is deeply engrained in the character of religion.» But why do religions proselytize? Do all religions seek conversions? How are religions adapting their proclamations in a deeply plural world? This book provides a detailed analysis of the missionary impulse as it is manifested across a range of religious and irreligious traditions. World Religions and Their Missions systematically compares the motives and methods of the «missions» of Atheism, the Bahá'í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Mormonism. The text also develops innovative frameworks for interreligious encounters and comparative mission studies.
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Chapter 5: Christianity


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Christianity originated in Palestine some 2,000 years ago. Christians follow the life, work and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they believe to be the son of God. Christianity is a monotheistic religion, where God is one, but at the same time three eternally coexisting Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

From the earliest times, Christians considered their faith to be a continuation and extension of Judaism. The Jewish Tanakh, including the five books of the Torah (Hebrew: teaching) along with the Prophets and the Writings, makes up the first part of the sacred writings of the Christian faith, known by Christians as the Old Testament. These Scriptures describe God’s creation of the universe and particularly the creation of humankind in God’s own image to be beloved children of God. Humans were given free will so that we were able to decide whether to follow God’s ways or not. Humans chose to abandon God, to go our own way and consequently to be alienated from God’s love. This alienation was caused by humanity’s desire to be as gods. The Bible can be seen as a vast ongoing saga of salvation history, outlining God’s “mission” to reconcile with humanity, beginning with Israel.

Christians believe that salvation history climaxes in God sending his son, Jesus, to complete this reconciling mission, once and for all. Jesus was sent by God to earth...

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