Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an autonomous Region of Italy, along with surrounding minor islands, Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, the island has a typical Mediterranean climate. The earliest archaeological evidence of activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region after the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially regard to the arts, literature, cuisine. It is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples, Sicily has a roughly triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria.
To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, and about 16 km wide in the southern part. The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, the terrain of inland Sicily is mostly hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the ranges of Madonie,2,000 m, Nebrodi,1,800 m. The cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast, in the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains,1,000 m. The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century and its surrounding small islands have some highly active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions and it currently stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions, the mountain is 21 m lower now than it was in 1981.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps, Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km. This makes it by far the largest of the three volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek Mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, Mount Etna is widely regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily. The Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, the three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is usually dormant
Western Christianity consists of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, and a variety of Protestant denominations. The name has applied in order to distinguish these from Eastern Christianity. Today, the distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is not nearly as absolute, due to the spread of missionary activities, migrations. The adjectives Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity are thus used to refer to historical origins rather than present geographical locations. For most of its history the church in Europe has been divided between the Latin-speaking west, whose centre was Rome, and the Greek-speaking east, whose centre was Constantinople. Cultural differences and political rivalry created tensions between the two churches, leading to disagreement over doctrine and ecclesiology and ultimately to schism, like Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity traces its roots, directly or indirectly, to the apostles and other early preachers of the religion. In Western Christianitys original area Latin was the principal language, Christian writers in Latin had more influence there than those who wrote in Greek, Syriac, or other Eastern languages.
With the last-named form of Eastern Christianity, reunion agreements were signed at the Second Council of Lyon and the Council of Florence, but these proved ineffective. The rise of Protestantism led to divisions within Western Christianity, which still persist, and wars—for example. In and after the Age of Discovery, Europeans spread Western Christianity to the New World, Roman Catholicism came to the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Protestantism, including Anglicanism, came to North America, Australia-Pacific and this Western version has the additional phrase God from God, which was in the Creed as adopted by the First Council of Nicaea, but which was dropped by the First Council of Constantinople. The date of Easter usually differs between Eastern and Western Christianity, because the calculations are based on the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar respectively, for example, the Church of England continued to observe Easter on the same date as the Eastern Church until 1753. Even the dates of other Christian holidays differ between Eastern and Western Christianity, Western Christianity makes up about 90% of Christians worldwide, with the Roman Catholic Church accounting for over half and various Protestant denominations making up another 40%.
Hussite movements of 15th century Bohemia preceded the main Protestant uprising by 100 years and evolved into several small Protestant churches, waldensians survived also, but blended into the Reformed tradition
Prayer is an important activity in Christianity, and there are several different forms of Christian prayer. Christian prayers are diverse, they can be spontaneous, or read entirely from a text. The most common prayer among Christians is the Lords Prayer, which according to the accounts is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. The Lords Prayer is a model for prayers of adoration and petition in Christianity, there are two basic settings for Christian prayer and private. Corporate prayer includes prayer shared within the setting or other public places. These prayers can be formal written prayers or informal extemporaneous prayers, private prayer occurs with the individual praying either silently or aloud within a private setting. Prayer exists within multiple different worship contexts and may be structured differently and these types of contexts may include, Often seen within the Catholic Church. This is a very orthodox service, according to Catholics, within a Catholic Mass, which is an example of a liturgical form of worship, there are bible readings and a sermon is read.
Often seen within the Holy Orthodox Church, the Holy Bible is read and a sermon is read. Non- Liturgical, Often seen within Evangelical church, this prayer is not scripted. Most of these prayers would be extemporaneous, Often seen within gospel churches. It is the form of worship in Pentecostal churches. It usually includes song and dance, and may include other artistic expressions, there may be no apparent structure, but the worshippers will be led by the Holy Spirit. Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command, the people of God are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage as it is thought to bring the faithful closer to God. Throughout the New Testament, prayer is shown to be Gods appointed method by which the faithful obtain what he has to bestow, according to the Book of Acts, can be seen at the first moments of the church. The apostles regarded prayer as an part of their lives. As such, the apostles frequently incorporated verses from Psalms into their writings, romans 3, 10-18 for example is borrowed from Psalm 14, 1-3 and other psalms.
Thus, due to emphasis on prayer in the early church
Saint Peter, known as Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simōn pronunciation, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, leaders of the early Christian Great Church. Hippolytus of Rome, a 3rd-century theologian, gave him the title of Apostle of the Apostles, according to Catholic teaching, Peter was ordained by Jesus in the Rock of My Church dialogue in Matthew 16,18. He is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome and by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a saint and as founder of the Church of Antioch. The New Testament indicates that Peter was the son of John and was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis and his brother Andrew was an apostle. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of twelve apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples, originally a fisherman, he played a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration.
According to the gospels, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, was part of Jesuss inner circle, thrice denied Jesus and wept bitterly once he realised his deed, according to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, Tradition holds that he was crucified at the site of the Clementine Chapel. His remains are said to be contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peters Basilica. According to Catholic doctrine, the direct successor to Saint Peter is the incumbent pope. Two general epistles in the New Testament are ascribed to Peter, the Gospel of Mark was traditionally thought to show the influence of Peters preaching and eyewitness memories. Peters original name was Shimon or Simeon and he was given the name Peter, New Testament Greek Πέτρος derived from πέτρα, which means rock. In the Latin translation of the Bible this became Petrus, a form of the feminine petra. Another version of this name is Aramaic, , after his name in Hellenised Aramaic.
The English and German Peter, French Pierre, the Italian Pietro, the Spanish and Portuguese Pedro, the Syriac or Aramaic word for rock is kepa, which in Greek became Πέτρος, meaning rock. He is known as Simon Peter and Kepha, both Cephas and Kepha mean rock. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus ministry, Peter became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church. Peter was a fisherman in Bethsaida and he was named Simon, son of Jonah or John
Baptism is a Christian sacrament of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally. The canonical Gospels report that Jesus was baptized—a historical event to which a degree of certainty can be assigned. Baptism has been called a sacrament and an ordinance of Jesus Christ. In some denominations, baptism is called christening, but for others the word christening is reserved for the baptism of infants, Baptism has given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations. The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians was for the candidate to be immersed, in v.16, Matthew will speak of Jesus coming up out of the water. The traditional depiction in Christian art of John the Baptist pouring water over Jesus head may therefore be based on Christian practice, other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead, a method called affusion. Martyrdom was identified early in Church history as baptism by blood, the Catholic Church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved.
Today, some Christians, particularly Christian Scientists, The Salvation Army, and Unitarians, do not see baptism as necessary, among those that do, differences can be found in the manner and mode of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite. Most Christians baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, much more than half of all Christians baptize infants, many others hold that only believers baptism is true baptism. Some insist on submersion or at least partial immersion of the person who is baptized, others consider that any form of washing by water, as long as the water flows on the head, is sufficient. The term baptism has used to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified. The Greek verb baptō, from which the verb baptizo is derived, is in turn hypothetically traced to a reconstructed Indo-European root *gʷabh-, the Greek words are used in a great variety of meanings. John the Baptist, who is considered a forerunner to Christianity, the apostle Paul distinguished between the baptism of John, and baptism in the name of Jesus, and it is questionable whether Christian baptism was in some way linked with that of John.
Christians consider Jesus to have instituted the sacrament of baptism, though whether Jesus intended to institute a continuing, the earliest Christian baptisms were probably normally by immersion, complete or partial. Though other modes may have been used, at the hour in which the cock crows, they shall first pray over the water. When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, they shall take off all their clothes. The children shall be baptized first, all of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, after this, the men will be baptized
Martin Luther, O. S. A. was a German professor of theology, priest, monk and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and he strongly disputed the Catholic view on indulgences as he understood it to be, that freedom from Gods punishment for sin could be purchased with money. Luther proposed a discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His translation of the Bible into the vernacular made it accessible to the laity. It fostered the development of a version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches and his marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry. In two of his works, Luther expressed antagonistic views towards Jews, writing that Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated.
Condemned by virtually every Lutheran denomination, these statements and their influence on antisemitism have contributed to his controversial status, Martin Luther was born to Hans Luder and his wife Margarethe on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was baptized as a Catholic the next morning on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours and his family moved to Mansfeld in 1484, where his father was a leaseholder of copper mines and smelters and served as one of four citizen representatives on the local council. He had several brothers and sisters, and is known to have close to one of them. Hans Luther was ambitious for himself and his family, and he was determined to see Martin, his eldest son, become a lawyer. He sent Martin to Latin schools in Mansfeld, Magdeburg in 1497, where he attended a school operated by a lay group called the Brethren of the Common Life, the three schools focused on the so-called trivium, grammar and logic. Luther compared his education there to purgatory and hell, in 1501, at the age of 19, he entered the University of Erfurt, which he described as a beerhouse and whorehouse.
He was made to wake at four every morning for what has been described as a day of rote learning and he received his masters degree in 1505. In accordance with his fathers wishes, Luther enrolled in law school at the university that year but dropped out almost immediately. Luther sought assurances about life and was drawn to theology and philosophy, expressing particular interest in Aristotle, William of Ockham, philosophy proved to be unsatisfying, offering assurance about the use of reason but none about loving God, which to Luther was more important. Reason could not lead men to God, he felt, for Luther, reason could be used to question men and institutions, but not God. Human beings could learn about God only through divine revelation, he believed and he attributed his decision to an event, on 2 July 1505, he was returning to university on horseback after a trip home
Resurrection of Jesus
The resurrection of Jesus is the Christian religious belief that, after being put to death, Jesus rose again from the dead. It is the central tenet of Christian theology and part of the Nicene Creed, Paul the Apostle declared that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Paul further asserted And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Easters date corresponds roughly with Passover, the Jewish observance associated with the Exodus, in the New Testament all four gospels conclude with an extended narrative of Jesuss arrest, crucifixion and his resurrection. In each gospel these five events in the life of Jesus are treated with more detail than any other portion of that gospels narrative.
Scholars note that the reader receives an almost hour-by-hour account of what is happening, the death and resurrection of Jesus are treated as the climax of the story, the point to which everything else has been moving all the while. After his death by crucifixion, Jesus was placed in a new tomb which was discovered early Sunday morning to be empty, the New Testament does not include an account of the moment of resurrection. In the Eastern Church icons do not depict that moment, but show the myrrhbearers, the major resurrection appearances of Jesus in the canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death and resurrection, but prior to his ascension. This was in accordance with Mosaic Law, which stated that a person hanged on a tree must not be allowed to remain there at night, but should be buried before sundown. All four gospels report that women were the ones to find the tomb of Jesus empty, according to Mark and Luke, the announcement of Jesus resurrection was first made to women.
According to Mark and John, Jesus actually appeared first to Mary Magdalene alone, in the gospels, especially the synoptics, women play a central role as eyewitnesses at Jesus death, and in the discovery of the empty tomb. All three synoptics repeatedly make women the subject of verbs of seeing, clearly presenting them as eyewitnesses, after they found the empty tomb, the gospels indicate that Jesus made a series of appearances to the disciples. He was not immediately recognizable, according to Luke, E. P. Sanders concluded that although he could appear and disappear, he was not a ghost. Writing that Luke was very insistent about that, Sanders pointed out that the risen Lord could be touched and he first appeared to Mary Magdalene, but she did not recognize him at first. The first two disciples to whom he appeared and talked with him for quite a while without knowing who he was and he was made known in the breaking of the bread. Beside the Sea of Galilee he encouraged Peter to serve his followers and his final appearance is reported as being forty days after the resurrection when he was carried up into heaven where he sits on the right hand of God
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great, known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD. Constantine was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer and his father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian, in 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia. As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, social, the government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation and it would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was adopted by Christians, in military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions.
The age of Constantine marked an epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself. It would become the capital of the Empire for over one thousand years and his more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletians tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign, the medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a tyrant, trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the site of Jesus tomb in Jerusalem.
The Papal claim to power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics, though Constantine has historically often been referred to as the First Christian Emperor, scholars debate his actual beliefs or even his actual comprehension of the Christian faith itself. Constantine was a ruler of major importance, and he has always been a controversial figure, the fluctuations in Constantines reputation reflect the nature of the ancient sources for his reign. These are abundant and detailed, but have strongly influenced by the official propaganda of the period. There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantines life, the nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesareas Vita Constantini, a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography
The period is usually considered to have begun with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Luther in 1517 to the Thirty Years War and ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Protestant position, would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as sola scriptura, the initial movement within Germany diversified, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. The spread of Gutenbergs printing press provided the means for the dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. The largest groups were the Lutherans and Calvinists, Lutheran churches were founded mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia, while the Reformed ones were founded in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Scotland. The new movement influenced the Church of England decisively after 1547 under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, there were reformation movements throughout continental Europe known as the Radical Reformation, which gave rise to the Anabaptist and other Pietistic movements. The Roman Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent, much work in battling Protestantism was done by the well-organised new order of the Jesuits.
In general, Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while Central Europe was a site of a fierce conflict, culminating in the Thirty Years War, which left it devastated. The oldest Protestant churches, such as the Unitas Fratrum and Moravian Church, the Protestant Churches generally date their doctrinal separation from the Roman Catholic Church to the 16th century. The Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, by priests who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice. They especially objected to the teaching and the sale of indulgences, and the abuses thereof, and to simony, the reformers saw these practices as evidence of the systemic corruption of the Churchs hierarchy, which included the pope. Unrest due to the Great Schism of Western Christianity excited wars between princes, uprisings among the peasants, and widespread concern over corruption in the Church, New perspectives came from John Wycliffe at Oxford University and from Jan Hus at the Charles University in Prague.
Hus rejected indulgences and adopted a doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone, the Roman Catholic Church officially concluded this debate at the Council of Constance by condemning Hus, who was executed by burning despite a promise of safe-conduct. Wycliffe was posthumously condemned as a heretic and his corpse exhumed and burned in 1428, the Council of Constance confirmed and strengthened the traditional medieval conception of church and empire. The council did not address the national tensions or the theological tensions stirred up during the century and could not prevent schism. Pope Sixtus IV established the practice of selling indulgences to be applied to the dead, Pope Alexander VI was one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes. He was the father of seven children, including Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, in response to papal corruption, particularly the sale of indulgences, Luther wrote The Ninety-Five Theses. The Reformation was born of Luthers dual declaration – first, the discovering of Jesus and salvation by faith alone, the Protestant reformers were unanimous in agreement and this understanding of prophecy furnished importance to their deeds.
It was the point and the battle cry that made the Reformation nearly unassailable
Saint Thomas Aquinas O. P. was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. He was an influential philosopher and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is known as the Doctor Angelicus. The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio and he was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism, of which he argued that reason is found in God. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, the works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologiae and the Summa contra Gentiles. His commentaries on Scripture and on Aristotle form an important part of his body of work, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns, which form a part of the Churchs liturgy. Thomas Aquinas is considered one of the Catholic Churchs greatest theologians, Pope Benedict XV declared, This Order.
Acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the praises of the Pontiffs. The English philosopher Anthony Kenny considers Aquinas to be one of the dozen greatest philosophers of the western world, Thomas was most probably born in the castle of Roccasecca, located in Aquino, old county of the Kingdom of Sicily, c.1225. According to some authors, he was born in the castle of his father, though he did not belong to the most powerful branch of the family, Landulf of Aquino was a man of means. As a knight in the service of King Roger II, he held the title miles, Thomass mother, belonged to the Rossi branch of the Neapolitan Caracciolo family. Landulfs brother Sinibald was abbot of the first Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino and it was here that Thomas was probably introduced to Aristotle and Maimonides, all of whom would influence his theological philosophy. There his teacher in arithmetic, geometry and music was Petrus de Ibernia, at the age of nineteen Thomas resolved to join the recently founded Dominican Order.
Thomass change of heart did not please his family, in an attempt to prevent Theodoras interference in Thomass choice, the Dominicans arranged to move Thomas to Rome, and from Rome, to Paris. Political concerns prevented the Pope from ordering Thomass release, which had the effect of extending Thomass detention, Thomas passed this time of trial tutoring his sisters and communicating with members of the Dominican Order. Family members became desperate to dissuade Thomas, who remained determined to join the Dominicans, at one point, two of his brothers resorted to the measure of hiring a prostitute to seduce him. According to legend Thomas drove her away wielding a fire iron and that night two angels appeared to him as he slept and strengthened his determination to remain celibate. By 1244, seeing all of her attempts to dissuade Thomas had failed, Theodora sought to save the familys dignity. In her mind, an escape from detention was less damaging than an open surrender to the Dominicans
Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency, salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices and deacons, Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity. Historians trace the earliest church labeled Baptist back to 1609 in Amsterdam, in accordance with his reading of the New Testament, he rejected baptism of infants and instituted baptism only of believing adults. Baptist practice spread to England, where the General Baptists considered Christs atonement to extend to all people, while the Particular Baptists believed that it extended only to the elect. Thomas Helwys formulated a distinctively Baptist request that the church and the state be kept separate in matters of law, Helwys died in prison as a consequence of the religious persecution of English dissenters under King James I. In 1638, Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies, in the mid-18th century, the First Great Awakening contributed to Baptist growth in both New England and the South.
Baptist missionaries have spread their church to every continent, the largest Baptist denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention, with the membership of associated churches totaling more than 15 million. Modern Baptist churches trace their history to the English Separatist movement in the century after the rise of the original Protestant denominations and this view of Baptist origins has the most historical support and is the most widely accepted. Adherents to this position consider the influence of Anabaptists upon early Baptists to be minimal and it was a time of considerable political and religious turmoil. Both individuals and churches were willing to give up their theological roots if they became convinced that a more biblical truth had been discovered, during the Protestant Reformation, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation, there were Christians who were disappointed that the Church of England had not made corrections of what some considered to be errors and abuses.
Of those most critical of the Churchs direction, some chose to stay and they became known as Puritans and are described by Gourley as cousins of the English Separatists. Others decided they must leave the Church because of their dissatisfaction, historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. Three years earlier, while a Fellow of Christs College, reared in the Church of England, he became Puritan, English Separatist, and a Baptist Separatist, and ended his days working with the Mennonites. He began meeting in England with 60–70 English Separatists, in the face of great danger and his lay supporter, Thomas Helwys, together with those they led, broke with the other English exiles because Smyth and Helwys were convinced they should be baptized as believers. In 1609 Smyth first baptized himself and baptized the others, in 1609, while still there, Smyth wrote a tract titled The Character of the Beast, or The False Constitution of the Church.
In it he expressed two propositions, infants are not to be baptized, and second, Antichristians converted are to be admitted into the true Church by baptism. Hence, his conviction was that a church should consist only of regenerate believers who have been baptized on a personal confession of faith
Virgin birth of Jesus
The virgin birth of Jesus is the belief that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary through the Holy Spirit without the agency of a human father and born while Mary was still a virgin. The New Testament references are Matthew 1, 18-25 and Luke 1 and it is believed by Christians to follow the prophetic message in Isaiah 7,14. It is not expressly mentioned elsewhere in the Christian scriptures, the virgin birth was universally accepted in the Christian church by the 2nd century and, except for some minor sects, was not seriously challenged until the 18th century. Muslims accept the virgin birth of Jesus,18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit,19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet,23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, he took his wife,25, and he called his name Jesus. 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, and the virgins name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Greetings, O favored one,29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary,31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever,34 And Mary said to the angel, How will this be, since I am a virgin. 35 And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has conceived a son,37 For nothing will be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said, Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, and the angel departed from her. Jesus miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit is found only in the gospels of Matthew, both probably date from the period 80-100 AD, and both were originally anonymous. Matthew 1,23 quotes a prophecy from the Isaiah as the basis for the virgin birth, in Isaiah the Immanuel prophecy has an immediate aim, but Matthew uses it to find patterns of Gods dealings with Israel rather than a single and specific fulfillment. In the genealogy preceding his birth story Matthew calls Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ