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AbstractOne of the authors used to begin his Christianity classes by inviting students to consider two statements and to decide which provided a more appropriate description of the Christian faith. The two statements were: (1) Christians believe that Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father. (2) Christians in Britain eat Christmas puddings on 25 December. By far the majority of students voted for the first statement. It is an important doctrine, defining the Incarnation, which is a central tenet of Christian theology, and it is part of the Nicene Creed, which many Christians recite weekly during congregational worship. By contrast, the second seems frivolous. Christianity purports to offer salvation, teaching that it is brought about through God becoming human, and dying on the cross to redeem humankind from sin; this is certainly not achieved by eating a Christmas pudding. One might also point out that, historically, the Church has excommunicated those who have denied the full deity or the full humanity of Jesus Christ, whereas there is no compulsion for any Christian to observe popular Christmas customs. However, it remains true that there are more Christians who erect Christmas trees and hang up stockings than understand what it means for Jesus Christ to be of one substance with the Father, or indeed most of the other doctrines defined in the traditional creeds.
CitationChryssides, G. D. and Gregg, S. E. (2019) Vernacular Christianity, in Chryssides, G. D. and Gregg, S. E. (Eds.) The Bloomsbury Handbook to Studying Christians. London: Bloomsbury Academic.
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