Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom, and the importance of happiness as essential and principal or even exclusive components of the teachings of Jesus. Proponents of the term trace the concept to the Renaissance or patristic period, linking their beliefs to the scholarly movement also called 'humanism'.
Theologians such as Jens Zimmerman make a case for the concept of Christian humanism as a cogent force in the history of Christianity. In Zimmerman's account, Christian humanism as a tradition emerges from the Christian doctrine that God, in the person of Jesus, became human in order to redeem humanity, and the further injunction for the participating human collective (the church) to act out the life of Christ.
The term has recently been contested by experts in humanism such as Andrew Copson, who argues that the phenomenon of Christians identifying with the label "humanist" is largely a reaction to the dominant use of the label "humanist" by non-religious people from the 20th century onwards. On the other end of the spectrum, some Christian writers argue for the exceptionalism of Christianity, or that other understandings of humanism are inauthentic. Some go so far as to say that ideas "common humanity, universal reason, freedom, personhood, human rights, human emancipation and progress, and indeed the very notion of secularity (describing the present saeculum preserved by God until Christ’s return) are literally unthinkable without their Christian humanistic roots."