The Most Significant Events in Christian History
Christianity began as a sectarian group of Judaism. The difference between Christianity and Judaism at the time was how they interpreted the Bible. The Christians had interpreted it in such a way that they believed Jesus to be the messiah (Weaver 39). As Christianity began, it was highly ridiculed and looked down upon. However, there were many significant events that changed this small-beleaguered religious group into the dominant power in Western Europe in the high Middle Ages.
As Christianity began, the first Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. To start, the Christians worshipped on Sunday, the Sabbath, to commemorate Jesus' resurrection (Weaver 44). They were thought of as disloyal because they did not worship Cesar, their emperor as their god. Also they were though of as conspirators because they because they had "secret meetings," and that it only appealed to the low-lifes of the town due to their gullibility. Around the year 90, many Jews wanted condemn any Jew who had accepted Jesus as the messiah to rid Judaism of any trace of Christianity (Weaver 49). During the time that Nero was emperor of Rome, there was "the great fire" in Rome. Nero, faced with a troublesome Roman community, blamed the Christian people for this event and persecuted them (Von Voorst 71). Despite all this, Christianity continued to grow.
The period of 65-135 was called the "sub-apostolic period." This was the period when the deaths were occurring of the original followers of Jesus, or the Apostles, and it was during this time that the church faced a major crisis. This was a problem to many Christian for the obvious reason that the natural leaders of the church were gone. However, Jesus said that the world would end when this generation would pass and this scared many Christians. It was this point where Christians turned to the Bible to assure that the world was not coming to an end. In Isaiah, chapter 41, line 10 "… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; (Van Voorst 42)."
A number of sects of Christianity were established throughout history. Some hurt the initial movement, and some helped it. The first one of these sects was called Gnosticism. This sect was based on intellectual elitism, i.e., that one could gain salvation through secret knowledge (Van Voorst 44). This threatened the Christian movement because it taught that Jesus would only save those that had this knowledge and that Jesus was merely a "heavenly transmitter" communicating his message, and then waiting for those that caught it.
Despite all the persecution and sects that come about, the church reaffirms its beliefs and becomes catholic, meaning orthodox or universal. Christianity expanded and many Christian thinkers were among the intellectually elite in Rome and around the world. A very significant event that led to the growth and power of Christianity, was...