History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. Christianity originated with the ministry of Jesus in the 1st century Roman province of Judea. According to the Gospels, Jesus was a Jewish teacher and healer who proclaimed the imminent Kingdom of God, was crucified at c.30–33 AD. His followers believed that he was raised from death and exalted by God, would return soon at the inception of God's Kingdom; the earliest followers of Jesus were apocalyptic Jewish Christians. Due to the inclusion of gentiles, the developing early Christian Church grew apart from Judaism and Jewish Christianity during the first two centuries of the Christian Era. In 313, Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship. In 380, with the Edict of Thessalonica put forth under Theodosius I, the Roman Empire adopted Trinitarian Christianity as its state religion, Christianity established itself as a predominantly gentile religion in the state church of the Roman Empire.
Christological debates about the human and divine nature of Jesus consumed the Christian Church for a couple of centuries, seven eucumenical councils took place to resolve these debates. Arianism was condemned athe Council of Nice, which supported the Trinitarian doctrine as expounded in the Nicene Creed. In the early Middle Ages, missionary activities spread Christianity towards the west among the German people. During the High Middle Ages and western Christianity grew apart, leading to the East-West Schism of 1054. Growing criticism of the Roman Catholic ecclesiological structure, it's behaviour, led to the Protestant movement of the 16th century, the split of western Christianity. Since the Renaissance era, with western colonialism, Christianity has expanded throughout the world. Today there are more than two billion Christians worldwide, Christianity has become the world's largest religion; the religious climate of 1st century Judea was quite diverse, with numerous variations of Judaic doctrine.
The ancient historian Josephus noted four prominent groups in the Judaism of the time: Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots. This led to further unrest, the 1st century BC and 1st century AD saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the Mishnah of rabbinic Judaism, including Yohanan ben Zakkai and Hanina ben Dosa. Jewish messianism, the Jewish messiah concept, has its roots in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future "anointed" leader or messiah or king from the Davidic line to resurrect the Israelite "Kingdom of God", in place of the foreign rulers of the time; the main sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels, to a lesser extent the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline epistles. According to the Gospels, Jesus was a Jewish teacher and healer, crucified at c.30–33 AD. His followers believed that He was exaltated by God due to his faithfulness. Early Christianity may be divided into two distinct phases: the apostolic period, when the first apostles were alive and led the Church, the Ante-Nicene Period, when an early episcopal structure developed.
The Apostolic Age is named after their missionary activities. It holds special significance in Christian tradition as the age of the direct apostles of Jesus. A primary source for the Apostolic Age is the Acts of the Apostles, but its historical accuracy is questionable and its coverage is partial, focusing from Acts 15:36 onwards on the ministry of Paul, ending around 62 AD with Paul preaching in Rome under house arrest; the earliest followers of Jesus were apocalyptic Jewish Christians. Some Early Christian groups were Jewish, such as the Ebionites and the early Christian community in Jerusalem, led by James, the brother of Jesus. According to Acts 9:1–2, they described themselves as'disciples of the Lord' and'of the Way', according to Acts 11:26 a settled community of disciples at Antioch were the first to be called'Christians'; some of the early Christian communities attracted gentile God-fearers. The inclusion of gentiles posed a problem, as they could not observe the Halakha. Saul of Tarsus known as Paul the Apostle, persecuted the early Jewish Christians converted and started proselytizing among the gentiles.
The main concern of Paul's letters is the inclusion of gentiles into God's New Covenant, deeming faith in Christ sufficient for righteousness. Due to this inclusion of gentiles, Early Christianity grew apart from Judaism during the first two centuries of the Christian Era; the Gospels and New Testament epistles contain early creeds and hymns, as well as accounts of the Passion, the empty tomb, Resurrection appearances. Christianity spread to Aramaic-speaking peoples along the Mediterranean coast and to the inland parts of the Roman Empire and beyond that into the Parthian Empire and the Sasanian Empire, including Mesopotamia, dominated at different times and to varying extents by these empires; the Ante-Nicene Period of the history of early Christianity was the period following the Apostolic Age down to the First Council of Nicaea in 325. This period of Christian history had a significant impact on the unity of doctrine across all Christendom and the spreading of Christianity to a greater area of the world.
By the beginning of the Nicene period, the Christian faith had spread throughout Western Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, to North Africa
The Reformation was a movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Roman Catholic church – and papal authority in particular. Although the Reformation is considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, there was no schism between the Catholics and the nascent Lutheran branch until the 1521 Edict of Worms; the edict condemned Luther and banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas. The end of the Reformation era is disputed: it could be considered to end with the enactment of the confessions of faith which began the Age of Orthodoxy. Other suggested ending years relate to the Counter-Reformation, the Peace of Westphalia, or that it never ended since there are still Protestants today. Movements had been made towards a Reformation prior to Luther, so some Protestants in the tradition of the Radical Reformation prefer to credit the start of the Reformation to reformers such as Arnold of Brescia, Peter Waldo, Jan Hus, Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného, John Wycliffe, Girolamo Savonarola.
Due to the reform efforts of Huss and others in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Utraquist Hussitism was acknowledged by both the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, although other movements were still subject to persecution, as were the including Lollards in England and Waldensians in Italy and France. Luther began by criticising the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Treasury of Merit had no foundation in the Bible; the Reformation developed further to include a distinction between Law and Gospel, a complete reliance on Scripture as the only source of proper doctrine and the belief that faith in Jesus is the only way to receive God's pardon for sin rather than good works. Although this is considered a Protestant belief, a similar formulation was taught by Molinist and Jansenist Catholics; the priesthood of all believers downplayed the need for saints or priests to serve as mediators, mandatory clerical celibacy was ended. Simul justus et peccator implied that although people could improve, no one could become good enough to earn forgiveness from God.
Sacramental theology was simplified and attempts at imposing Aristotelian epistemology were resisted. Luther and his followers did not see these theological developments as changes; the 1530 Augsburg Confession concluded that "in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic", after the Council of Trent, Martin Chemnitz published the 1565–73 Examination of the Council of Trent in order to prove that Trent innovated on doctrine while the Lutherans were following in the footsteps of the Church Fathers and Apostles. The initial movement in Germany diversified, other reformers arose independently of Luther such as Zwingli in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva. Depending on the country, the Reformation had varying causes and different backgrounds, unfolded differently than in Germany; the spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. During Reformation-era confessionalization, Western Christianity adopted different confessions.
Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, sometimes employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of the tenets of the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon with the Unitarians of Transylvania. Anabaptist movements were persecuted following the German Peasants' War. Leaders within the Roman Catholic Church responded with the Counter-Reformation, initiated by the Confutatio Augustana in 1530, the Council of Trent in 1545, the Jesuits in 1540, the Defensio Tridentinæ fidei in 1578, a series of wars and expulsions of Protestants that continued until the 19th century. Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of Protestantism. Southern Europe remained predominantly Catholic apart from the much-persecuted Waldensians. Central Europe was the site of much of the Thirty Years' War and there were continued expulsions of Protestants in central Europe up to the 19th century. Following World War II, the removal of ethnic Germans to either East Germany or Siberia reduced Protestantism in the Warsaw Pact countries, although some remain today.
Absence of Protestants however, does not imply a failure of the Reformation. Although Protestants were excommunicated and ended up worshipping in communions separate from Catholics contrary to the original intention of the Reformers, they were suppressed and persecuted in most of Europe at one point; as a result, some of them lived as crypto-Protestants called Nicodemites, contrary to the urging of John Calvin who wanted them to live their faith openly. Some crypto-Protestants have been identified as late as the 19th century after immigrating to Latin America; as a result Reformation impulses continued to affect the Latin Church well past the end of what is considered the Reformation era. The oldest Protestant churches, such as the Unitas Fratrum and Moravian Church, date their origins to Jan Hus in the early 15th century; as it was led by a Bohemian noble majority, recognised, for a time, by the Basel Compacts, the Hussite Reformation was Europe's first "Magisterial Reformation" because the ruling magistrates supported it, unlike the "Radical Reformation", which the state did not support.
Common factors that played a role during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation included the rise of nationalism, the
Mark Allan Noll is an American historian specializing in the history of Christianity in the United States. He holds the position of Research Professor of History at Regent College, having been Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Noll is a Reformed evangelical Christian and in 2005 was named by Time magazine as one of the twenty-five most influential evangelicals in America. Born on July 18, 1946, Noll is a graduate of Wheaton College, the University of Iowa, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Vanderbilt University. Before coming to Notre Dame, he was on the faculty at Wheaton College, Illinois for twenty-seven years, where he taught in the departments of history and theology as McManis Professor of Christian Thought. While at Wheaton, Noll co-founded and directed the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, which ran from 1982 until 2014. Noll is a prolific author and many of his books have earned considerable acclaim within the academic community.
In particular, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, a book about anti-intellectual tendencies within the American evangelical movement, was covered in both religious and secular publications. He was awarded a National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush in 2006. Noll, along with other historians such as George Marsden, Nathan O. Hatch, David Bebbington, has contributed to the world's understanding of evangelical convictions and attitudes and present, he has caused many scholars and lay people to realize more the complications inherent in the question, "Is America a Christian nation?"In 1994, he co-signed Evangelicals and Catholics Together, an ecumenical document that expressed the need for greater cooperation between evangelical and Catholic leaders in the United States. From 2006 to 2016, Noll was a faculty member in Department of History at Notre Dame, he replaced the retiring George Marsden as Notre Dame's Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History. Noll stated that the move to Notre Dame allowed him to concentrate on fewer subjects than his duties at Wheaton had allowed.
Noll, Mark A.. The Bible in America: essays in cultural history. New York: Oxford University Press. Noll, Mark A. ed.. Eerdmans' handbook to Christianity in America. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ———. Between Faith and Criticism. Harper and Row. ———. One Nation Under God: Christian Faith and Political Action in America. HarperCollins. ———. Religion and American Politics: From the Colonial Period to the 1980s. Oxford University Press. ———, ed.. Enlightenment in the Era of Samuel Stanhope Smith. Princeton University Press. ———. Princeton and the Republic, 1768-1822: The Search for Christian Religion and American politics: from the colonial period to the 1980s. New York: Oxford University Press. ———. A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ———. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ———. Seasons of Grace. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. ———. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. ———. American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction.
Blackwell Publishing Limited. ———. Protestants in America. Oxford University Press. ———. God and Mammon: Protestants and the Market, 1790-1860. Oxford University Press. ———. The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Erdmans. ———. The Princeton Theology 1812-1921: Scripture and Theological Method from Archibald Alexander to Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ———. America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. Oxford University Press. ———. The Work We Have to Do: A History of Protestants in America. Oxford University Press. ———. The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards and the Wesleys. InterVarsity Press. ———. Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Contemporary Roman Catholicism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. ———. Christians in the American Revolution. Regent College Publishing. ———. The Civil War as a Theological Crisis. University of North Carolina Press. ———. What Happened to Christian Canada?. Regent College Publishing.
———. The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. InterVarsity Press. ———. God and Race in American Politics: A Short History. Princeton University Press. ———. Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia. InterVarsity Press. ———. Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. ———. Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ———. From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. ———. In The Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783. Oxford University Press. ———. "The Evangelical Mind Today". First Things. ———. "What Happened to Christian Canada?". Church History. 75: 245–73. Mark Noll Notre Dame home page
Church Historian and Recorder
Church Historian and Recorder is a priesthood calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The role of the Church Historian and Recorder is to keep an accurate and comprehensive record of the church and its activities, his office gathers history sources and preserves records, minutes, revelations and other documents. The Church Historian and Recorder chairs the Historic Sites Committee and Records Management Committee, may act as an authoritative voice of the church in historical matters; this office is based on revelations to Joseph Smith calling for keeping records and preparing a church history. Oliver Cowdery, the first in this position recorded meeting minutes, patriarchal blessings, membership information, priesthood ordinations, a kind of narrative church history. For a time, the callings of Church Historian and Church Recorder were separate, but in 1842 these callings were merged and now the Church Historian acts as the Church Recorder. In 1972, the Church Historian's Office was renamed to become the Historical Department.
In 2000, this department was merged with the Family History Department to become the Family and Church History Department. On March 12, 2008, the Church Historian separated again from the Family History Department to become the Church History Department. While the majority of Church Historians and Recorders have been general authorities of the church, there have been some exceptions to the practice. Church Historians and Recorders have been assisted by individuals called to the position of Assistant Church Historian. Research assistants and other personnel are usually employed within the Church Historian's Office, but the Church Historian and Assistant Church Historian are the only ones to hold priesthood callings. In the following tables, general authorities are listed in bold; the date ranges span from the sustaining date to the release date. In 1972, the Church Historian's Office was renamed to become the Historical Department. In 2000, this department was merged with the Family History Department to become the Family and Church History Department.
On March 12, 2008, the Church Historian separated again from the Family History Department to become the Church History Department. Larsen was the first Executive Director of the Historical Department, in which he was replaced by John K. Carmack in 1989. Larsen moved on to other assignments, such as serving in the Temple Department and Area Presidencies and was not active in any historical role, though he was still technically the Church Historian until his release from the Seventy in 1997. While holding the office of Church Historian, afterward, others succeeded Larsen as Executive Directors of the Historical Department. During this time, these men stood in for the Church Historian and were sometimes referred to with that title. Arrington, Leonard J.. "The Search for Truth and Meaning in Mormon History". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 3: 56–66. Jenson, Andrew. "Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News.
Lund, Anthon H. "Remarks § Church Historians", Eighty-eighth Semi-annual Conference Of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Report of the Discourses, Salt Lake City: LDS Church, pp. 10–12 Searle, Howard C.. "Historians, Church". In Ludlow, Daniel H. Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. Pp. 589–592. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140. Bitton, Davis. Mormons and Their Historians. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN 0874802806. OCLC 17649801. De Groote, Michael. "Assisting Mormon history". MormonTimes. Deseret News. — summary of the role of the Assistant Church Historian Smith, Joseph Fielding. "The Church Historian's Office". Improvement Era. 71: 34–39
Carl R. Trueman is a Christian theologian and church historian, he was Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he held the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History. In 2018 Trueman resigned his position at Westminster to become a full-time undergraduate Professor at Grove City College, serving as Full Professor in their Department of Biblical and Religious studies as of the Fall semester of that same year. Among Trueman's books are John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man,The Creedal Imperative, Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone and Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative, he contributes to First Things blogs at Reformation21 and co-hosts the Mortification of Spin podcast. Trueman is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is pastor of Cornerstone OPC in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Trueman studied at Marling School, Gloucestershire, St Catharine's College and the University of Aberdeen, taught at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Nottingham.
He was editor of Themelios from 1998 to 2007, is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
Sir Diarmaid Ninian John MacCulloch is a British historian and academic, specialising in ecclesiastical history and the history of Christianity. Since 1995, he has been a fellow of Oxford. Since 1997, he has been Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford. Though ordained a deacon in the Church of England, he declined ordination to the priesthood because of the Church's attitude to homosexuality. In 2009 he encapsulated the evolution of his religious beliefs: "I was brought up in the presence of the Bible, I remember with affection what it was like to hold a dogmatic position on the statements of Christian belief. I would now describe myself as a candid friend of Christianity." MacCulloch sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. Diarmaid MacCulloch was born in Kent, England, to parents Nigel J. H. MacCulloch and Jennie MacCulloch, he attended Stowmarket Grammar School in Suffolk. He subsequently studied history at Churchill College, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972.
During that period, he was organ scholar at the college. After completing a Diploma in Archive Administration at Liverpool University in 1973, he returned to Cambridge to complete a PhD degree in 1977 on Tudor history under the supervision of Geoffrey Elton, combining this with a position as Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College. MacCulloch joined the Gay Christian Movement in 1976, serving twice on its committee and as honorary secretary. From 1978 to 1990 he tutored at Wesley College and taught church history in the department of theology at the University of Bristol, he interrupted his teaching to study for the Oxford Diploma in Theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon. In 1987 he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England and from 1987 to 1988 he served as a non-stipendiary minister at All Saints' Clifton with St John's in the Diocese of Bristol. However, in response to a motion put before the General Synod in 1987 by Tony Higton regarding the sexuality of clergy, he declined ordination to the priesthood and ceased to minister at Clifton.
Regarding the conflict between his homosexuality and the Church of England and his own retreat from orthodoxy he said: I was ordained Deacon. But, being a gay man, it was just impossible to proceed further, within the conditions of the Anglican set-up, because I was determined that I would make no bones about who I was; the Church couldn't cope and so we parted company. It was a miserable experience. MacCulloch was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Oxford in 2001, his book Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 won the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award and 2004 British Academy Book Prize, adding to his earlier success in carrying off the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Thomas Cranmer: A Life. A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, was published in September 2009 with a related 6-part television series called A History of Christianity which first aired on BBC4 in 2009 and on BBC2 and BBC4 in 2010; the book won McGill University's Cundill Prize, a $75,000 prize, the largest such prize in Canada at the time.
In 2012, he wrote and presented How God Made the English, a three-part documentary series tracing the history of English identity from the Dark Ages to the present day. In 2013 he presented a documentary on Thomas Cromwell and his place in English ecclesiastical and political history, his 2015 series Sex and the Church on BBC Two explored how Christianity has shaped western attitudes to sex and sexuality throughout history. In 2018, MacCulloch published the biography Thomas Cromwell: A Life. MacCulloch sits on the European Advisory Board of Princeton University Press. MacCulloch was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1978, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1982, a Fellow of the British Academy in 2001. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of East Anglia, he was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to scholarship. While Debretts gives his formal style as "Prof Sir", MacCulloch has expressed the preference that he not be addressed in that manner, in accordance with protocol which dictates that clergy holding knighthoods are addressed as "Sir" only if so honoured before their ordination.
1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Thomas Cranmer: A Life 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 2004 British Academy Book Prize for Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490–1700 2010 Hessell-Tiltman Prize for A History of Christianity 2010 Cundill Prize for A History of Christianity Three-part interview conducted by Henk de Berg Part I Part II Part III Episode on the Siege of Malta Episode on the Battle of Lepanto Episode on the Book of Common Prayer Episode on Erasmus Episode on Foxe's Book of Martyrs Episode on Calvinism Episode on the Siege of Münster Episode on the Dissolution of the Monasteries Episode on the Diet of Worms Episode on the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre A History of Christianity How God Made the English Henry VIII's Enforcer: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell Sex