Rise of Christianity

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The Rise of Christianity:

The Rise of Christianity By: Mercy Jane H. Obido

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Objectives: Know the importance of Paul to the spread of Christianity (and what he did that was so important to the spread). Know what factors helped the faith spread (both logistical, like the Pax Romana, and why the faith was appealing to people). Know why Christians were persecuted for their faith. Know the importance of Constantine to the rise of Christianity and the effects of what he did. Also, what led him to legalize it.

Apostolic age:

Apostolic age

1. Definition of Apostolic Age: The Apostolic Age is the time in which the Apostles of Jesus Christ lived and preached the Christian faith. It accounts for approximately 70 years and extended from the foundation of the Church on the day of Pentecost on 30 AD to the departure of St. John the Apostle, 100 AD. :

1. Definition of Apostolic Age: The Apostolic Age is the time in which the Apostles of Jesus Christ lived and preached the Christian faith. It accounts for approximately 70 years and extended from the foundation of the Church on the day of Pentecost on 30 AD to the departure of St. John the Apostle, 100 AD.

2. Importance of Study of the Apostolic Age: It is the origin of the Christian Church delineating its separatism from Judaism. It is the Age of the Holy Spirit, inspiration and constitution. :

2. Importance of Study of the Apostolic Age: It is the origin of the Christian Church delineating its separatism from Judaism. It is the Age of the Holy Spirit, inspiration and constitution.

It is astounding evidence of the power of Christianity where its preaching and teaching reached almost every part of the world in a very short period of time as a result of the Mysterious Handiwork of God.:

It is astounding evidence of the power of Christianity where its preaching and teaching reached almost every part of the world in a very short period of time as a result of the Mysterious Handiwork of God.

It reflects purity, effectiveness and the Divine power of Christianity and how by a Mysterious Godly Work could renew the creation of every nation, Jewish, Roman, Greek ….etc:

It reflects purity, effectiveness and the Divine power of Christianity and how by a Mysterious Godly Work could renew the creation of every nation, Jewish, Roman, Greek ….etc

The Apostolic Age represents role models of great persons in preaching, teaching and service who were inspired by the Holy Spirit and supported by the power of the New Creation in baptism. Definitely this was an incentive for good deeds.:

The Apostolic Age represents role models of great persons in preaching, teaching and service who were inspired by the Holy Spirit and supported by the power of the New Creation in baptism. Definitely this was an incentive for good deeds.

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Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ , swore to wipe out the new Christian church. He got letters from the high priest, authorizing him to arrest any followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus .

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On the Damascus Road, Saul and his companions were struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun. Saul heard a voice say to him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

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The men with Saul heard the sound but did not see the vision of the risen Christ that Saul did. Saul was blinded. They led him by the hand into Damascus to a man named Judas, on Straight Street. For three days Saul was blind and did not eat or drink anything. Meanwhile, Jesus appeared in a vision to a disciple in Damascus named Ananias and told him to go to Saul. Ananias was afraid because he knew Saul's reputation as a merciless persecutor of the church.

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Paul visited a number of locations, starting churches in different cities.

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He would also write letters to many of these churches supporting them and giving advice. Many of these letters are now books of the New Testament. They have the names of the cities or people to which/whom they were address, e.g. Galatians was to the church in Galatia, Ephesians was to the church in Ephesus, 1 and 2 Timothy are to a disciple named Timothy, etc.

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Paul even visits the acropolis in Athens and argues with some Stoic and Epicurean philosophers.

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He’s eventually executed in Rome, beheaded around 64-67 by the Emperor Nero.

Setting the Stage: Jews Come Under Roman Rule:

Setting the Stage: Jews Come Under Roman Rule PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S. Roman power spread to Judea, the homeland of the Jews, around 63 B.C. when Judea became a province of Rome. The ruler Herod, in Jesus’ day, for example, was a “Romanized” Jew. Jewish kings were allowed to rule as representatives of Rome. Some Jews allied with the Romans and accepted their plans to “Romanize” Jerusalem- the Jewish holy city. His loyalties were divided between Rome and the Jewish people, but he ruled with an iron hand and angered many Jews. There were many Jewish resistors fighting against Roman occupation – particularly violent and militant were the “zealots.”

Jewish Rebellion:

Jewish Rebellion In 66 A.D., a band of Zealots rebelled against Rome. In 70 A.D., the Romans stormed Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple complex. All that remained was a western portion of the wall, which today is the holiest Jewish shrine. The Jewish fortress near Masada held out until 73 A.D. About a half million Jews were killed in the course of this rebellion. Most Jews were driven from their homeland into exile. This dispersal of the Jews is called the Diaspora . PP Design of T. Loessin; Akins H.S.

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Persecution Christianity slowly started spreading around the empire. Aided by the Pax Romana and the fact that Romans tended to be tolerant and accepting of other religions. They wanted to make sure they weren’t missing any gods after all.

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The Roman tolerance, though, was that you could worship your own gods, but you had to recognize Roman ones too, including worshiping Caesar. This wasn’t too big a deal for most polytheistic religions. For the monotheistic Christians, it was a non-starter.

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So the problem wasn’t that Christians had their own god, it’s that they didn’t recognize or worship the Roman gods. This was viewed as undermining Roman authority. It was also seen as dangerous that people weren’t worshipping the Roman gods because then the gods could turn their backs on Rome.

As Roman society started frowning on Christians, the Christians started meeting in secret: in catacombs, sewers, caves, etc. This only increased the misconceptions of Christians: rumors swirled that they engaged in depraved acts: sexual depravity, child sacrifice, even cannibalism due to misunderstanding communion. :

As Roman society started frowning on Christians, the Christians started meeting in secret: in catacombs, sewers, caves, etc. This only increased the misconceptions of Christians: rumors swirled that they engaged in depraved acts: sexual depravity, child sacrifice, even cannibalism due to misunderstanding communion.

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So the Romans were naturally suspicious of these strange folks. The first big persecution comes after the great fire in Rome in AD 64. Emperor Nero blames it on the Christians (they were good scapegoats). Nero proceeds to round up and execute some Christians. The succeeding emperors such as Vespasian and Trajan don’t worry themselves too much about the Christians, though the Romans still didn’t like them.

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As the Roman Empire starts its decline, persecution steps up as Romans blame the Christians for their woes. Some were crucified, others burned alive, still more killed in the arena. Christians disapproved of the arena and gladiatorial sport in general… it was too easy to get hooked on the bloodsport.

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When put in the arena, a popular method was for them to be killed by wild animals. A problem the Romans faced is that the Christians welcomed death and the chance to be martyred. They took joy in death… which the Romans found unfathomably bizarre. They would even taunt the crowd to kill them.

St. Ignatius :

St. Ignatius

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Case of Saints Perpetua and Felicity

The Martyrdom of Peter:

The Martyrdom of Peter Peter the Apostle traveled to Rome and was crucified upside down by Nero. Believed to be the first “Bishop” or Pope of the Christian Church. Today, all Popes are believed to be descendants of St. Peter. We now call this the “ Catholic” church which means “ Universal” .

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Some Christians went to extreme lengths to avoid persecution, such as at Cappadocia. This was a labyrinth of caves Christians carved into a mountain and down into the ground. It was 18 stories deep and had miles of tunnels. The complex housed around 20,000 people who rarely left the underground system. Was complete with living quarters, grape juicing rooms, churches, ventilation shafts, and wells. Was complete with secret doorways that closed tight from the inside.

The Attack on Christianity:

The Attack on Christianity In A.D. 250 Emperor Decius ordered the execution of all Christians who refused to worship the Roman gods. Up until A.D. 311, Christians suffered two more waves of persecution under two different emperors. Roman mobs destroyed Christian churches and sacred books. Christians were fired from jobs, forced to leave the army, attacked, and killed.

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Despite the Roman attempts to use brute force to stamp out the Christians, the religion continued to spread. Spread due to 5 main factors

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Embraced all people – men, women, slaves, poor, nobles. Gave hope to the powerless Appealed to those who were repelled by Roman extravagance. Offered personal relationship with a loving God. Promised eternal life after death.

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As the faith spreads, it takes on an organizational hierarchy. There are local priests and then regional bishops. Eventually, the bishop of Rome becomes the pope.

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Official Religion In 313, Emperor Constantine (the same guy who moved the capital to Byzantium/Constantinople) ended all persecution and legalized Christianity in the Edict of Milan. His mother was actually a Christian and he credited God with helping win a major battle.

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In Hoc Signo Vinces “With this, you win.” Or “In this sign, conquer.”

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Placed himself and his army under the protection of the Christian God After his victory, he declared himself a Christian and supported Christianity throughout the empire. Baptized on his deathbed in A.D. 337

Constantine and the growth of Christianity:

Constantine and the growth of Christianity gave money to the church, and became involved with church decision-making. gave Christianity the support of the Roman authorities, but also combined religion and government.

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Constantine also called the Council of Nicaea Sought to settle some religious disputes and provide some standard Christian doctrines.

Nicean Creed:

Nicean Creed We believe in one God  the Father, the Almighty,       maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made,of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation  he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again  in accordance with the Scriptures;  

                    he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will  have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,and the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in the one holy catholic (Christian) and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. :

                    he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will  have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,and the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in the one holy catholic (Christian) and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430):

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Well educated and conversant with all the leading intellectual currents of his day Converted to Christianity in 387 Worked to reconcile Christianity with Greek and Roman philosophical traditions, especially Platonism Tried to articulate Christianity in terms that were familiar to educated classes Wrote Confessions and The City of God

Finally Official:

Finally Official In 380 AD, Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the Offical Religion of the Roman Empire.

VICTORY:

VICTORY Christians immediately begin to persecute pagans Destroyed temples or converted them into churches Church firmed up its organization and settled disputes with powerful intellectual strength

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CHURCH HIERARCHY Lay people (Laity) Pope Archbishop Bishops Priests

Three Forms of Christianity Today:

9/6/2013 copyright 2006 BrainyBetty.com and our licensors 56 Three Forms of Christianity Today Catholicism Pope is an advocate, prayer to saints, etc. Greek Orthodox Formed when a Byzantine Emperor refused to recognize the Catholic Pope in Rome Protestantism Saints not prayed to, no Pope

How did the Roman Empire help spread Christianity? :

How did the Roman Empire help spread Christianity? During Pax Romana , missionaries traveled safely Roman Roads helped to spread quickly Constantine converted Constantine built churches in Rome and Jerusalem Religious freedom Christianity becomes official religion of the Roman Empire

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