History of Christianity
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The history of Christianity is the history of the Christian religion, Christian countries and communities, and the various denominations of Christians, from its formation in the 1st century to the present day. Christianity began with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached the coming of the Kingdom of God and was crucified around AD 30 in Jerusalem in Roman Judea. His followers believe that the Gospels had identified him as the Son of God and that he died to forgive the sins of others. They further believe that he was raised from the dead, and would return to earthly existence soon to inaugurate God’s Kingdom on Earth.
The earliest followers of Jesus were Jewish Christians. The inclusion of gentiles in the early Christian Church caused a rift to erupt between Judaism and Jewish Christianity early in the Christian Era. In 313, the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship was promulgated by Emperor Constantine I. Then in 380, the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity as its state religion. With that, Christianity became the predominant religion in the state church of the Roman Empire. But controversies raged in the early Church about the human and divine nature of Christ, and various church councils were called to resolve these disputes. Arianism was condemned at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 in support of the doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene Creed.
In the Early Middle Ages, missionaries spread Christianity among the Germanic peoples to the west. During the High Middle Ages, eastern and western Christianity grew apart, and resulted in the Schism of 1054 that divided Eastern Orthodox Christianity from Roman Christianity. Moreover, the growing criticism of Church officials and their egregious behavior gave rise to Protestantism in the 16th century and the splintering of western Christianity. Since then, Christianity has expanded throughout the world and become the world’s largest religion, with more than two billion Christians worldwide. Although the influence of Christianity has waned in the West, it has rapidly grown in Asia and Third World developing countries.
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Christianity Index | Origins | Apostles: John: Writings • Paul: Background • Missions • Beliefs | Peter | Disciples | Gospels | Early Christianity: Moral Code • Sacraments • Ritual • Organization • Bishops • Doctrine: Orthodoxy | Creeds | Jesus of Nazareth: Life and Teachings • Achievements • Final Break • Death and Transfiguration • Perception • Scholarship | Monasticism | Spread | Empire | Persecution | Triumph: Constantine | Culture | Church Fathers: Augustine | Literature: Origen | Tertullian | Apologists • Literary Tradition | Modern Scholarship: Higher Criticism
Christianity: Early Christianity
Early Christianity: Moral Code
Early Christianity: Sacraments
Early Christianity: Ritual
Christianity: The Church: Bishops
Christianity: Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth: Life and Teachings
Jesus of Nazareth: Achievements
Jesus of Nazareth: Final Break
Jesus of Nazareth: Death and Transfiguration
Jesus of Nazareth: Perception
Jesus of Nazareth: Scholarship
The Church: Church Fathers
Church Fathers: Augustine
Literature: Literary Tradition
Christianity: Modern Scholarship
Modern Scholarship: Higher Criticism
Christianity in the Renaissance
The Reformation: Index
Religion in the Reformation
Society of Jesus
The Papacy in the Catholic Reformation
Catholic Reformation: Monasticism
Society in the Reformation
Culture in the Reformation
Reformation in Central Europe
Reformation in the Netherlands
Reformation in Spain
Early Christianity: Authority
Early Christianity: Doctrine
Early Christianity: Proselytizing
Early Christianity: Structure
Christianity in the Late Middle Ages
The Enlightenment: Faith or Reason?
Christianity in the Enlightenment