How many facts about church history do you know about?
We are not talking about common events in the bible like Noah’s Ark or the Ten Commandments; we are referring to the growth of the church itself. In other words, we are talking about the things that happened after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Most of us start to get cloudy about the events that occurred after Jesus rose from his tomb and ascended into Heaven.
Here are 5 alarming facts about church history that you probably didn’t know:
- Early believers refused to apologize for their Christian faith.
False doctrine and teaching took place early in Church history. But early believers vehemently rejected these objections shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus. As expected, a lot of opposition rose against Christianity. Those opposing the faith accused Christians of being atheists since they had gods that were visible.
Rather than submitting to great pressure from authorities, these early believers fiercely defended the basic principles of the Christian faith. Many of them suffered horrific deaths defending their faith. Sadly, many of them are still dying today.
- Persecution of early Christians actually helped spread the gospel throughout the world.
The bible gives us many examples of this In the Book of Acts, Romans, and Timothy. During the first 300 years of the Church’s history, Christians suffered through many periods of persecution. It was through these trials that the gospel picked up steam as it spread.
Tertullian of Carthage actually said, “We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed.”
- Heresy helped clarify church doctrine.
In 325 AD, church leaders gathered in Nicaea to address religious teachings that Jesus, the Son, was not either divine or the same substance as God, the Father. The outcome of this meeting actually clarified and solidified what Churches of the future believed Jesus to be.
These types of councils not only rejected heresies and established Church creeds, they also firmed up the canonization of the Bible.
- The fall of the Roman Empire made the church stronger during the Middle Ages.
When the Roman Empire fell during the Fifth Century, Christianity’s growth accelerated across the world. Christianity had already unified itself as a true religion by this time and was recognized as the religion of the state by Emperor Constantine. The hierarchy of the church stepped in to fill the holes that this massive empire had left behind.
Suddenly, the church found itself deeply involved in societal issues like politics and education. This immediately gave the institution lots of wealth and power.
- The Great Awakening established the common American identity.
The Great Awakening was a period of religious revival that occurred in America during the 1730s and 1740s. In the time before these revivals, the Enlightenment-era had caused people to refrain from adopting a personal relationship with God. It was through the preaching of people like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield when colonists were urged to break free of the existing authoritarian rule from the religious establishment.