A Short Introduction To The History Of Christianity

The history of Christianity has been quite a long and rich one, spanning more than two millennia. It began with a simple message of reconciliation between man and God, delivered by Jesus, who was a Jewish preacher and teacher in the first century CE. Christianity very quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire, becoming one of its primary religions in only a few hundred years.

It is estimated that there are more than 2.2 billion Christians worldwide. Christianity has had a profound effect on Western culture and the world at large, with many iconic figures in history coming from a Christian background – including figures such as the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther and Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus.

The history of Christianity can be divided into three distinct periods; the first is the period of early Christianity (from the time of Jesus to the Constantinian Era in 315 CE), the second is the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance (in which Christianity moved from a persecuted minority to the state-sponsored religion of Europe) and the third period is from the Reformation to the present day (in which Christianity continued to grow and spread despite often hostile environments).

Early Christianity was heavily persecuted by both Roman rulers and religious authorities, and often faced stiff competition from other religions such as Mithraism and Neoplatonism. Despite this, Christianity flourished, as its growing numbers soon moved beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire and were spread to the western and eastern fringes of Europe and beyond.

From the 4th century onwards, the Church of Rome sought to exert control over the religious practices of Europe, and was at the forefront in setting out doctrines, such as the concept of Original Sin. This period also saw the beginning of the Crusades, a series of wars fought by European knights in the Holy Land.

The Renaissance period saw a renewed interest in classical antiquity and philosophy, leading to the Protestant Reformation and the fragmentation of the Catholic Church into the Protestant churches. The period also witnessed the increased scientific knowledge and worldwide exploration spurred by the Church’s missionizing efforts.

In the modern era, Christianity remains an immensely powerful force around the world, with its core beliefs still upheld by many of its followers. It is estimated that the total number of Christians worldwide has increased by 900 million since 1900, due mainly to huge conversion rates in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Role of the Bible

Christianity is largely based on the teachings of the Bible, a collection of sacred texts written by numerous prophets and writers over many centuries. Christianity puts great emphasis on people’s individual faith in the teachings of the bible, and despite many interpreters and interpretations of the bible, it remains the cornerstone of the religion.

For over two millennia, the bible has been seen as the sole source of truth, and has determined much of the direction and theology of the church. It has provided the basis for Christian ethics and morality, and continues to be an important source of guidance for many believers.

The bible is divided into two main parts; the Old Testament, which contains the stories of the creation, the Patriarchs, and various other biblical figures; and the New Testament, which contains the teachings and miracles of Jesus, as well as the letters of the Apostle Paul.

The bible is also known for its often intricate stories and imagery, which continues to be interpreted and analysed by biblical scholars and theologians. As well as providing spiritual guidance, it has also been the source of inspiration for great authors and artists over the centuries, including William Shakespeare, John Milton and Rembrandt.

Influence of the Church

The Church has had an immense influence throughout history, both in terms of its doctrine and its application in social, economic and political life. It has been the source of support for many different causes throughout history, ranging from the abolishment of slavery to the rights of women.

The church has also had a major role in the development of education, art and science. Many of the major universities and Schools were established by the church, while its art and architecture serves as symbols of one of the most influential and prolific institutions in history.

The Church also played a major role in the development of international law, often setting a standard for ethical conduct between nations and individuals. Its role in this area can be seen as a precursor to the conception of international diplomacy and humanitarian organizations today.

The Church has remained a powerful political and religious entity until the present day. It has been central to Europe’s history, and its vast network of churches, charities, schools and hospitals continue to shape the lives of many around the world.


Evangelicalism is a broad and dynamic movement within Christianity that originated in the United States in the late eighteenth century. It is focused on a personal relationship with Jesus, and heavily emphasizes the importance of sharing the gospel or ‘good news’ with as many people as possible.

Evangelicalism is closely associated with the American ‘evangelical’ churches and denominations, which began to form with the growth of the Pentecostal and Holiness movements in the early twentieth century. It has since spread throughout the world, and is particularly associated with the growth of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement in Africa and Latin America.

The evangelical movement has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity, as more and more people are attracted to its message of personal conversion and morality. It has also been praised for its grassroots approach, empowering people to share the gospel and make a difference in the world.

Many evangelical Christian organizations have taken up the cause of social justice and poverty alleviation, often helping to provide communities with access to clean water and better healthcare. The evangelical movement has played a large role in various political movements, such as the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Contemporary Christianity

Today, Christianity is as divided and diverse as ever, with a variety of denominations, ideologies and interpretations of the Bible. This diversity has led to growing tension between different denominations, as well as debates on important issues such as LGBTQ rights, abortion, gender and racial issues.

While traditionalism remains strong in many areas of the world, the contemporary Christian movement is slowly but surely embracing the importance of progressive values. The ecumenical movement, in which churches come together to debate and discuss important issues, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and more churches are beginning to become racially diverse and inclusive.

Despite the many challenges that Christianity faces, the religion remains a powerful force in many areas of the world. It continues to provide a basis of inspiration and hope to billions of people, and its presence in art, literature and education continues to influence many aspects of our lives.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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