They had a confidence that their Lord was alive in heaven and guiding their daily lives. The earliest Christians did not have church buildings. Who Are Church Elders? Did Jesus Excuse Anyone from Being a Part of Church? There were few secrets in such a setting. And what kind of lives did they lead? This religion was spread by Jesus’ disciples, emperors, nuns, and monks around the Mediterranean region and later throughout the world. During its first few centuries, Christianity faced continual persecution under the rule of Roman emperors. (The first actual church building so far found is at Dura Europos on the Euphrates, dating about 231.) Most of the people lived close together in crowded tenements. The timeline of the expansion of Christianity throughout the world started in the 1st century AD, after the death of Jesus. But what finally mattered is what they did have. And it made all the difference in laying a Christian foundation for all of Western civilization. Simultaneously, Christianity was spread through academics, as monasteries and cathedral schools became renowned centers of learning in Western Europe and British Isles. They typically met in homes. The world was turned upside down (Acts 17). Adapted from Christianity.com Church History. They had no great financial resources, no buildings, no social status, no government approval, no respect from the educators. What Are Their Origins? On the surface, the early Christians appeared powerless and weak, they were an easy target for scorn and ridicule. These were the important things. For thousands of years, Christianity has spread all across the world from its humble beginnings in the Levant through word of mouth, art and literature, political and social pressure, missionary work and imperial military force. They did not have public ceremonies that would introduce them to the public, and they had no access to the mass media of their day. During this era, Christianity spread through subversive ministries and the written theological works of early Church Fathers. The second, in 380, was the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the empire. There is no doubt that once the Apostle Paul was told to go west to Greece, rather than east to Asia, European and world history was changed. Festival of Sacrifice: The Past and Present of the Islamic Holiday of Eid al-Adha. All rights reserved. What Did Ancient Heresies Teach about Jesus? Will 5G Impact Our Cell Phone Plans (or Our Health?! The faith spread as neighbors saw the believers' lives close-up on a daily basis. During its first few centuries, Christianity faced continual persecution under the rule of Roman emperors. Early Christianity was primarily an urban faith, establishing itself in the city centers of the Roman Empire. Instead, the faith spread through a multitude of humble, ordinary believers whose names have been long forgotten. So to answer the question quickly, no, fall of Rome can’t be attributed just to Christianity.However, some believed it did play a role in it. So, how can we account for their steady and diverse expansion over the first three centuries? Many of these eventually developed into the universities teaching — only to the faithful — a wide range of knowledge preserved from Roman times. They had a fellowship. During the Middle Ages, the Church hoarded political and economic power throughout Europe, converting the leaders of various countries and peoples while routinely and violently persecuting non-believers. Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2020, Christianity.com. California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. After the Apostle Paul, we do not run across many "big names" as missionaries in the first few hundred years of Christian history. Christianity became an imperialistic religion borne by armies and would remain so for more than a thousand years following Rome’s collapse. Justin Martyr, a noted early Christian theologian, wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius and described the believers: "We formerly rejoiced in uncleanness of life, but now love only chastity; before we used the magic arts, but now dedicate ourselves to the true and unbegotten God; before we loved money and possessions more than anything, but now we share what we have and to everyone who is in need; before we hated one another and killed one another and would not eat with those of another race, but now since the manifestation of Christ, we have come to a common life and pray for our enemies and try to win over those who hate us without just cause.". This opponent of the faith said that Christianity "has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers and through their care of the burial of the dead. The first Christians were Jewish. Christianity, as a religion, originated from the teachings of Jesus, a son of a carpenter. Is the Coronavirus Crisis Increasing America's Drug Overdoses? Is Christianity Responsible for the Crusades? They had a faith. They had a new way of life. The history of Christianity was changed forever by two events of the 4th century. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar and that the [Christians] care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help we should render them.". The pervasive influence of Christianity in the Western culture helped ensure its dissemination to the world along with European might. During this era, Christianity spread through subversive ministries and the written theological works of early Church Fathers. ), The Secret Science of Solving Crossword Puzzles, Racist Phrases to Remove From Your Mental Lexicon. In another place Justin points out how those opposed to Christianity were sometimes won over as they saw the consistency in the lives of believers, noting their extraordinary forbearance when cheated and their honesty in business dealings. Fact Check: What Power Does the President Really Have Over State Governors? Christianity originated in mediaeval period Palestinian Judaism, from where it spread throughout and beyond the Roman Empire. Most of the people lived close together in crowded tenements. This becomes the fundamental belief of Christianity: that Jesus was resurrected and a belief in him would lead to everlasting life. There were few secrets in such a setting. During the Renaissance, innovations in sea travel allowed to the global proliferation of Christianity to begin in earnest, as explorers from Christian nations discovered and converted indigenous cultures around the world using force, wealth, missionary work, and copies of the Bible. The answer to what caused the fall of the Roman Empire is extremely complex and can’t be boiled down to just one thing. Did Christianity spread by violence?