The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as saviour of humanity, and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.
Throughout its history, the religion has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct Churches and denominations. Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches broke communion with each other in the schism of the 11th century; Protestantism came into existence in the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.