Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Simply and most generally, Christianity comprises the group of religions who believe that JesusChrist is the Savior of the world. Christians believe the bible is the word of GoD, to some degree or another (that is, many christians disagree about how accurate the Bible is and how literally it should be taken). The Bible is the most widely regarded source of information on the life of JesusChrist. It maintains that JesusChrist is the messiah which the Jews have long awaited; thus Christianity could be considered (at least by Christians) the continuation or fulfillment of the Jewish faith. Christians and Jews both consider the first five books of the Bible to be the word of GoD. Catholicism and Protestantism are the two major divisions of Christianity (but see below). Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Anglican (ChurchOfEngland) churches are examples of Protestant faiths. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox are the two primary divisions of Catholicism. Catholics believe that their faith is a continuation of the original Christian church established in the time of Jesus, and that the Pope has authority which can be traced directly to the apostle Peter. Protestant faiths trace their roots to the work of John Calvin and Martin Luther, who felt that the Catholic church no longer had GoD's sanction, and thus rejected its authority. Several other faiths which also believe in JesusChrist claim not to be descended from either of these groups directly. TheChurchOfJesusChristofLatterdaySaints, for instance, while often grouped with Protestant religions, believes that it alone has authority from GoD to perform religous rites, much like the Catholics' belief. Many people belonging to the above-listed faiths have strong feelings about the "actual" nature of the other Christian faiths, sometimes even claiming that the other faiths do not actually count as Christian. Thus, when researching branches of Christianity, it is often wise to first define clearly what the working definition of "Christianity" will be, and then get information from each branch regarding their qualificationes based on that definition. -J