Cornelius Nkoroh is a Theologian and a Philosopher. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
The Importance Of Christianity
The importance of Christianity in our world today cannot be overemphasized. This is due mainly to the fact that Christianity today is the world most populated religion. It is still going into the nook and crannies of the society. Christianity is taking root even in the hinterlands where it is non-existent. Even as we talk, there are new converts from other religions to Christianity. In this write up, we are going to look at the importance of Christianity in our today's world.
Who is a Christian?
A christian is one who believes and practices the teachings of Christ. This is one who has given his life totally to Christ. From this definition, we can see that not every one who calls himself a Christian is a Christian. The apostles were first called Christians because they behaved like Christ. According to the Bible "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. So it was for an entire year that they associated with the Church and taught many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:25-26) Christians are therefore a set of people that believe and practice the principles of Christ.
What is Christianity?
Christianity is the religion that upholds follower-ship of Christian principles. Christians are followers of Christ. Christianity is not only a religion, it is also a way of life. According to Matt Stefon, "Christianity, major religion stemming from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth (the Christ, or the Anointed One of God) in the 1st century ce. It has become the largest of the world’s religions and, geographically, the most widely diffused of all faiths. It has a constituency of more than two billion believers. Its largest groups are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Protestant churches".(Encyclopedia Britanica, Online 2020 edition) When we talk about the principles of Christ we mean the totality of Christ. Christianity believes that Christ is the Messiah, God and Man at the same time, and that through his death man has been set free from the captivity of the devil.
The Major teachings of Christianity include;
1. The Trinity:
This teaching upholds that God is One and three at the same time. This implies that there are three persons in the Godhead. God is the father, son and holy spirit. These three persons share equality and unity in the divine essence. They are three distinct but inseparable persons. The three make up the one divine essence of God.
2. The divinity of Christ:
This teaching holds that Christ though he appeared to humanity as man yet he is God and should be revered as God.According to Saint Paul, Christ " though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.( Philippians 2: 6-11)
3. The resurrection of Christ:
This is the central theme of the Christian message. This is the belief that Christ died and resurrected from the dead.He appeared to the disciples and gave them the missionary mandate. Without the resurrection, there will be no Christianity. It was after the resurrection that Christ gave the power to preach the good news to the apostles. The resurrection became a wonderful proof for all the teachings of Christ. It validated everything he taught. It also proved his divinity.
4. The Word of God:
The Christians believe first and foremost that Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh through whom all things were created (cf. John 1:14). It is also believed that this word of was written down and is called the bible. The bible comes from the Greek Βιβλος "biblos" meaning books. These are books which contain the written word of God. It is divided into the old and new testament. The old testament contains the revelation of God to man through the prophets and the promises and prophecies about the coming of Christ while the new testament contains the teachings of Christ and the spread of early Christianity and prophecies about the end of time otherwise called the Εσχατον "eschaton" in Greek.
The missionary mandate: Jesus Christ after his resurrection came to the disciples and commanded them to go into the world and preach the good news. This command is called the missionary mandate. In the words of Matthew we read, "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28: 18-20). Christians live in the world. This means that Christianity is practiced in the world and not in abstract. This world the Christians believe is dark and sinful. The world is filled with hate, envy, materialism, corruption and all manner of vices.
why is Christianity important in today's world?
Christianity is still important today because this message has not gotten to the whole world. Christ said that "And this message of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come"(Matthew 24:14). There are still many people in this earth that have not heard this message. it is the onus of the Christians to bring this message to them. As it stands, there is an urgent need for more Christians to carry out the mandate of Christ to the nations. People need to hear the message of forgiveness, love for God and neighbor. Who can do this if not the Christians?
2.Christians are light of the world:
Christianity is of great importance as a light. The world is filled with darkness and needs to see that light which Christ has brought. Christians are called by Christ to be a light unto the world. He says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). They do this through their righteous acts. Christians by being upright in their doings influence others who are not Christians. A morally upright life is contagious. People emulate an honest living. When Christians ignite this light, you can bet me, it will spread like a lightening.
3. Message of Love:
Christianity comes with a message of love which is made manifest in Christ Jesus who gave his life on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world.He commanded them to: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”( Mark 12:13). If we check well, we will find out that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world especially in Asia, Africa and some other parts of the world, yet they do not retaliate. If this continues and they continue to preach this message of love through their exemplary acts, it will attract others to join them.Nobody hates peace naturally. Christians are therefore messengers of love. Christians carry out this through humanitarian and Charity works. Christians penetrate the hinterlands to those who have not heard the message. In these areas they become the voice of the voiceless and hope of the hopeless.Christians through words and deeds are harbingers of the message of love. They not only preach the word of God, they also through significant examples point the way to heaven for the people. Unlike most religions that are violent, Christianity is tolerant and does not segregate. It is peaceful and preaches same. Many Christians have paid with their blood to make sure this message of salvation is preached. If not for Christianity, I wonder how the world could have been.
4. Salt of the earth:
Dictionary.com explains that, salt of the earth means “an individual or group considered as representative of the best or noblest elements of society.” This means that Christians are expected to be the best people all over the earth. hence to whom much is given, much is also expected of the person. In the "ipsissima verba christus", that is the exact words of Christ we read: "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. ”( Matthew 5:13) John Gill's Exposition of the Bible explained that this biblical phrase as follows, “You are the salt of the earth” This is to be understood of the disciples and apostles of Christ; who might be compared to "salt", because of the savory doctrines they preached; as all such are, which are agreeable to the Scriptures, and are of the evangelic kind, which is full of Christ, serve to exalt him, and to magnify the grace of God; and are suitable to the experiences of the saints, and are according to godliness, and tend to promote it: also because of their savory lives and conversations; whereby they recommended and gave sanction to the doctrines they preached, were examples to the saints, and checks upon wicked men. These were the salt "of the earth"; that is, of the inhabitants of the earth, not of the land of Judea only, where they first lived and preached, but of the whole world, into which they were afterward sent to preach the Gospel.(cf. John Gill's exposition of the bible commentary online). As we all know, Salt is used to preserve meat. Thus it is the Christians who are given the injunction to make sure the world does not get corrupted. Salt is also used to give taste to food. If food is cooked without salt it will be tasteless. This means that a society that lacks Christianity is incomplete because such a place will be filled with all kinds of evil. This is one of the reasons why Christianity is of paramount importance in our today's world.
Witnesses: A witness is someone who has knowledge of something and testifies to it. Christ promised the apostles the holy spirit which he did later send, and that after receiving the Holy Spirit, they will be his witnesses. This means that the Christians through their lifestyle and words are to testify that Christ whom they follow is really God and thjat he really came to earth, suffered and died. It does not end at this.They are to testify that to prove that his words are true, he did resurrect from the dead and ascended into heaven where he is now seated at the right hand of the Father. They are also to tell the world that Christ will come again on the last day to judge the living and the dead. What a wonderful testimony. In his words, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(Acts of the Apostles 1:8) John Gill's explains what Christ means by witnessing as follows "and ye shall be witnesses unto me; "of the person of Christ, of his deity and sonship, of his incarnation, his ministry, and his miracles, of his suffering and death, of his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension to heaven. This was to be their work, and what belong to them, and not to enquire about a temporal kingdom, and the setting up of that, and the times and seasons of it; their business was to testify of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed, and to preach a crucified Jesus, as the only Saviour of lost sinners: and this both in Jerusalem,
the "metropolis" of the nation, and there, in the first place, where such dwelt who had been concerned in the crucifixion of Christ, many of whom were to be called by grace, and converted through their ministry:and in all Judea; that part of the land of Israel which was distinct from Samaria and Galilee, and from beyond Jordan; where churches were to be planted, as afterwards they were; see ( Acts 9:31 ) . And in Samaria; where Christ had before forbid his disciples to go; but now their commission is enlarged, and they are sent there; and here Philip went upon the persecution raised against the church at Jerusalem, and preached Christ with great success, to the conversion of many; and hither Peter and John went to lay their hands on them, and confirm them; see ( Acts 8:5 Acts 8:14 )
and unto the uttermost part of the earth; throughout the whole world, whither the sound of the apostles, and their words went, ( Romans 10:18 ) . Today we can see that Christianity has expanded to all the continents though it may not have gotten to all the villages and hamlets but there is progress in this witnessing.
The world today has grown circular, mechanized, digital and at the same time wild. Christianity is so relevant and important today because Christianity matches word with action. It is practical in all aspects. Christianity has not failed in searching out the lost sheep no matter where they are hidden.
Cornelius Nkoroh (author) from Onitsha - Nigeria on October 14, 2020:
Thanks Eric, it is meant for everyone especially those on research. It can be helpful to the Christian and non Christian alike.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 12, 2020:
Interesting, if I may? Who would read this? The Christian or the non-Christian? Well well written and thought out.