Word Magazine January 1959 Page 5
THE WHYS OF CHRISTIANITY
By Father Elias G. Dacy
Why are we called Christians? What makes Christianity tic? Why is it truly the greatest of all religions?
First of all, Christianity came to being by the adaptation of the name and the following of the teachings of Jesus “Christ” which history records authentically as the Son of the living God, who was really born as man. It being the first world-wide-spreading religion, succeeding the really first, but not universal religion “Judaism”, after the coming of Christ. There was at that time other sects and bodies who practiced Heathenism, but, they were not religions.
History records as fact the divine birth, growth, teachings, and the numerous miraculous healings, even, the restoring to life of many dead, and one even after three days extinction, revived, and lived to praise his God! And, in spite of all these amazing performances, the Jews refused, and do still refuse to believe, in the Son of God: and still persist that he is yet to come.
Yes indeed, Christ is God’s only Child. The spiritual force that radiates from this stupendous concept has gone far toward making Christianity the most active and most accepted of all faiths on earth, and the Lord’s Prayer by far the most widely used prayer in the history of man.
Christianity welcomes all who will acknowledge Christ and try to follow His example. In following its way of life, human souls respond to a divine faith and love which make everything else shrink into insignificance. In the doctrinal sense, millions of Christians find the central conviction of their faith expressed in the Creed which follows:
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And of all things visible and invisible: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father before all worlds; Light of Light, Very God, of Very God, begotten, not made: of one essence with the Father: by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man. And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son, together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the Prophets. And in one Holy Catholic, and Apostolic church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
This Creed of course is that of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. The Creed of the other Christian churches is more succinct and with slight variation, e.g. “Maker” for “Creator,” “Incarnate” for “Conceived,” “Holy Catholic and Apostolic” for only “Holy Catholic,” also other minor changes which does not change materially the intent.
Christianity is firmly based on actual events. Christ’s death provides its chief symbol. And the Cross is the constant reminder of our Lord’s personal sacrifice and ideals: which is a landmark of all Christendom.
Christians also believe in the risen Lord “ever liveth to make intercession” for mankind. Christianity also places far more consistent emphasis than any of the other great faiths on having its Lord ever personally present in the here and now.
The Eastern Orthodox Church have undergone some purification and found some renewal of spirituality under the Communist scourge and other recent pressures. The Orthodox Churches in America are growing very fast. The Youth organizations which have sprung up the last few years have tremendously changed the picture; these youthful organizations have done a marvelous job, and since their inception, have replaced lethargy, despair, and deterioration: with energy, inspiration, and enthusiastic activity! and as a result: Today, the younger members and for the first time, in a lifetime memory do comprise by far the greater number of attendance. And for its future, this vigorous youth movement holds out great promise.
At the present rate of growth the churches in the not too far future, will indisputably increase attendance from two in five, to five in ten. A century ago, in what is often recalled as a more religious age, less than one in five held church membership. Today, more than three out of five do so.
Good Christians are we all.
Always ready to answer our church’s call:
It reminds us of things noble and good.
And incites us to express due gratitude.
Blessed are you who labour, and the Lord serve:
And from your loyalty you’ll not swerve.
And to you faithful, a shining-light;
And to all who are prayerful, great delight.