This list is Sourced from the Encylopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia, Beliefnet, and Adherents.com (a collection of 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations). The list is based on number of members. For a complete list (which also includes atheism and agnosticism, see the Wikipedia article or the Encylopaedia Britannica chart).
Christianity is a monotheistic religion which is based on the teachings of the Old Testament and Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe that Jesus, as the Son of God is part of the Trinity (God as three persons in one), the others being God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that Christianity fulfils Judaism. Most Christians believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith.Protestant offshoots of Christianity believe that salvation comes from the belief in God alone, whereas Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that faith, combined with good works is required for salvation.
The Christian scriptures are called the Bible – comprising two books, the Old Testament (based on the Septuagint) and the New Testament. Protestants and Catholics have the same books in the New Testament, but Martin Luther removed 7 books from the Old Testament during the Protestant reformation, considering them to be apocryphal. He also removed four books from the New Testament but was later persuaded to put them back – they were Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.
Christians believe in Sacraments (Catholics and Orthodox and some Anglicans believe in 7: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Last Rites, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; some Protestants (following Martin Luther) believe in the sacramental nature of Baptism and Holy Communion, while others reject outright the concept of sacramental theology.
Christianity is generally broken into three branches: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Catholicism is the largest with over 1 billion adherents. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches split in the 11th century in an event called the Great Schism. Protestantism split from Roman Catholicism in in the 16th century in an event called the Protestant Reformation.
I have an interest lately in the definition of just what is a “Christian”. The definition of a Christian according to Merriam- Webster Online is : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus.
And from another source, another definition of “Christian” :
For other uses of the term Christian, see Christian (disambiguation).A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as the Christ. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son ofGod, who lived a life befitting that of the creator of the universe, free of sin and full of love, who at the end of his earthly life was crucified, and then on the third day, rose from the dead, and later ascended into heaven. These beliefs are held by the vast majority of Christian denominations.
See more at Wikipedia.org…
Wikipedia also says this about who is a “Christian”:
The definition of who is a “Christian” varies among different Christian groups. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and many Protestants define a Christian as one who has become a member of the Church through the sacrament of baptism. In these churches, infants who are baptized may be considered Christians, although they are expected to make a personal affirmation of faith when old enough to decide for themselves.
Evangelical and fundamentalist denominations do not practice infant baptism and do not believe that baptism is connected with salvation (a sacrament). Rather, they consider it to be a public voluntary act of identifying oneself with Jesus Christ. They encourage youth and adults to “become Christians” by personally “accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” and to follow that decision with Believer’s Baptism. These groups also use the phrase “born-again” (John 3:3) to describe becoming a Christian.
A few denominations and sects teach that Believer’s baptism is necessary for salvation — the transition from non-Christian to Christian (see Baptismal regeneration). They define a Christian as one who has been baptized as a repenting adult.
Within countries where Christianity is the historical majority religion, the term is also used by some in a casual generic sense to indicate that they are not members of nor affiliated with any other religion – therefore considering themselves Christians by default.
And finally, this definition from : http://www.religioustolerance.org/christ.htm
There are probably thousands of different definitions of the word “Christian.“ We have chosen the same inclusive definition as is used by public opinion pollsters and government census offices: A “Christian” includes any group or individual who seriously, devoutly, prayerfully describes themselves as Christian.
Wow. It is simply amazing at how many different definitions of “Christian” are floating around these days. But the one common thread in all of these definitions is this : one who professes belief in, or is a follower of, Jesus Christ, or one who describes themselves as “Christian”. Wow. That sounds to me like those members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are indeed “Christian” as defined by the numerous sources cited above.