How Did Christianity Come to Be? In addition, How did it Change?
HowDid Christianity Come to Be? In addition, How did it Change?
HowDid Christianity Come to Be? In addition, How did it Change?
Overthe last centuries, religion has gained much attention, including itsrelevance, its meaning, and contribution to the human race. Inspecific, significant tomes have focused on the nature, historicalbackground, and evolution of Christianity. This includes thecharacters of the Western religion, Jesus Christ. Consequently, manyhave tried investigating on the identity of Jesus Christ to establisha bibliographic map that reveals more or bolster the Christianreligion. Prophets including King David play a significant role inthe Christian history by illuminating light into the historicalspread of Christianity over time to the present age (Davids, 2003).Obviously, considering the time and energy spent in determining theorigin and evolution of Christianity, it becomes evidently clearthat, Christianity forms one of the legendary founders of the globalreligious culture and its popularity. It is because of Christianityreligion that, this essay analyzes in detail the ways in whichChristianity came into being, and it has changed over time inhistory.
Howdid Christianity Come to be?
Historyof Christianity forms a great concern for its church and followersincluding its domination from the first century of introduction tothe present. Christianity arose in the Levant during the firstcentury AD. Its founder is Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem and raisedNazareth. From Jerusalem, Christianity spread to other areasincluding Assyria, Syria, Mesopotamia, Jordan and to Egypt andeventually to the other regions of the world. The immediatebackground of the origin of Christianity reveals that, Judaism, oneof the religions led to the growth of Christianity. Christianityappears to be one of the sects of Judaism. Priests, lawgivers, andprophets gave rise to Judaism, one of the religions of the Israelitesduring the sixth century BC (Herring, 2006).
Thecollapse of the Southern and Northern kingdoms of Israel in the 6thcentury led to split of the Israeli population to Egypt andJerusalem, which later became the religious center for the Jewishpopulation. Later in the 1stcentury, Jesus was born in Jerusalem under Herod’s leadershipproviding an inception for Christianity. The major great source ofChristianity is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a Jew acquainted withthe Jewish law and observed the faith of the Jews. He travelledacross villages healing the suffering and teaching his followers onthe synagogues. The disciples helped Him spread His teachings and theword of God across wider areas. It is after his death andresurrection that, Christian faith became deep rooted to theteachings of Jesus Christ hence, the growth and spread ofChristianity (Stephen, 2008).
Scholarssuch as Besant, (2012)consider that, Christianity arose from mysteryreligions belonging to the Roman empire. According to them,Christianity teemed with mystery religions, which was common to theRoman empire 2000 years ago. The religions provided its followerswith salvation from evil and death by creating a union with theirdivine redeemer. Thus, these religions had similar doctrines to thecurrent Christianity such as baptism, sacrament, and eating a commonmeal as a means of uniting with the redeemer. This implied that,Christianity being a new religion borrowed heavily the doctrines fromthe mystery religions. Another source considered as the source of thecurrent Christianity is Paulianity from the Greek man named Paul.After working as a prosecutor against Christians, Paul got salvationand spread Christianity across Syria, Arabia, and Eastern Europe. Inaddition, Paul strengthened theological ideas of the Lord’s Supperand Baptism, practiced by Christians all over the world (Davids,2003).
Duringthe early ages of spread, Christianity developed in two distinctstages, which include the apostolic stage and the post apostolic age.The apostolic Christian church was under the leadership of theapostles comprised mainly of the Jesus’ relatives. As stated in theActs of apostles, the churches aimed at spreading the Christianreligion all over the world. On the other hand, the post apostolicchurch came after the demise of the apostles of the apostle period.Massive prosecutions of the Christians including Paul and Petercharacterized this period. It is because of this that, Christianitywitnessed significant spread throughout the Mediterranean Basinunderpinning its popularity(Stephen, 2008). The factors thatcontributed to the success of its spread during this period includethe hand of the Providence, the natural concerns of the truthassociated with religion in the Greek population, and the politicalstability experienced during this period. In addition, the fact thatChristianity combined the promise of the resurrection of the deadwith the Greek’s traditional belief of immorality dependence onsurvival of the human body compounded to the popularity of theChristian religion (Ekstrand, 2008).
Miaphysitism(believe in the separation of the human nature and Christ’sdivine), Arianism (denial of Christ’s divinity), and Monasticismexperienced in the later years after 100 AD led to the fall and splitof the Roman Church. This resulted in the split of Christianity tothree main branches including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, andEastern Orthodoxy. It is during this period that, spread ofChristianity received a significant boost from the western missionaryexpansion to different states around the world. Missionary effortsfocused on areas, not under the control of the collapsingRomanEmpire. Rising tension between the west and the East in the 11thto 13thcentury significantly affected the spread of Christianity around theworld. Linguistic, political, and cultural differences alongsidetheological differences between the West and the East led toreligious schism that halted the spread of the religion in theseregions. During the 15thto the 18thcentury, the quest for most of the European nations expanding theircolonial powers promoted the spread of the Christian religion. Forexample, the Christian missionaries accompanied the colonialists toensure spread of Christianity in new nations compounding to itsspread (Herring, 2006).
LiberalChristianity characterized the 18th,19thand the 20thcentury. This encompasses the diverse philosophical Christianreligious movements that shaped the nature of the Christian religion.It contributed to the freedom of dialect, a process linked withreligious paradigm that led to religious enlightenment. Religiousmovements such as fundamentalism, which refers to reaction againstmodernism, and ecumenism, which means establishing unity amongChristian groups heightened the spread of the Christian religion. Forexample, these movements led to re-establishment of tenets that actedas symbols of identity among the Christian believers (Davids, 2003).
Apartfrom this, Pentecostal movement and Protestantism ecumenismfacilitated the growth and spread of Christianity in the 18th,19th,and the 20thcentury. Pentecostal movement and Protestantism ecumenism led toseeking of more Christian religious power and determination ofChristian doctrines considered beneficial to the followers by meetingtheir basic spiritual needs. In addition, industrial revolutionwitnessed in the 19th,and 20thcentury characterized with adoption of the new technology led tomassive spread and establishment of other subtypes of the Christianchurches. Extensive use of media such as the internet, radio, andtelevision to promote the spread of Christianity globally (Besant,2012).
Howdid Christianity Change?
Thecourse of the Christian church has changed significantly in the last2000 years. For example, Christians of the 900 AD were illiterate ascompared to those of the post 1000 AD. The Bible played a minimalrole in the earlier centuries. Followers inherited theirdenominations beliefs from their parents. This resulted in the growthof churches such as the Nestorian church, which disappeared, with theincrease in the literacy levels of the Christian believers. Inaddition, Christians considered Monasticism and heretics as a noblecalling and executions for public entertainment (Herring, 2006).
However,the improved literacy among the Christian believers led to thecreation of religious awareness among the believers thereby adoptionof the most practical doctrines in the Christian churches. It isappreciable that, Christianity underwent a significant transformationfrom a persecuted church into a dominating hierarchical church in theperiod between 100 AD and 800 AD. The spread of Christianity duringthis period influenced different aspects of early medieval life andlate antiquity creating a positive relationship between religion andpolitical leaders such as the kings. Consequently, this resulted inan establishment of an organized Christian church that conquered allof England during this period (Ekstrand, 2008).
Itis appreciable that, nothing in the world, including religion isimmune to change. Christian religion witnessed significant changesover time. Thishas ledto theriseof differentChristianreligion is the establishment of different denominations. Developmentof different churches followed the splitting of the Roman churches inthe earlier centuries. Among the different denominations developed,include the Lutheran, Methodist, and the Baptist churches among otherchurches. Despite their differences, these churches agree on the coreprinciples of Christianity. However, variance arises from theirdegree of conservation and doctrines (Davids, 2003).
Inaddition, Christian religion witnessed changes among differentcultures around the world overtime. Christianity grew to fit theculture of the American population in the recent decades.Christianity taught that, issues such as homosexuality and abortionare wrong, but Christianity in America and most parts of the worldare welcoming these issues. As a result, this led to the outcry inmost of today’s religious bodies. Culture shift witnessed from theearlier ages to the present times have led to churches takingresponsibility of moving population into authentic relationships.Cultural shift resulted in the encouragement and instigation of smallgroups. This influenced spread and change of Christianity bypromoting connection, multiplication of followers, and assimilationof the Christiandoctrines. In addition, authentic community resultedin personal transformation, and transfer of the necessary skills andknowledge required for establishing new churches. Consequently, thisled to the significant changes witnessed in the growth and spread ofChristianity to the present times. The church’s attitude towardsthe Jews changed contributing to the growth and spread ofChristianity. The widespread Christian sentiment and doctrines of theofficial church declared the Jews as an anathema and subhuman in the1000 AD. However, this witnessed a significant change as theconservative Christians supported the previously despised Jews(Ekstrand, 2008).
Moreover,technological advances revolutionized the spread and dynamic natureof the Christian religion witnessed over the past century. It isappreciable that, Christianity evolved from the traditional formcharacterized with minimal use of technological advances such assculpture writing. Technological advances and civilization of thehave resulted in secularization of the Christian music. This hasresulted in the growth of different Christian music styles includinguse of styles such as reggae in passing Christianity across theworld. Christianity has developed over time to be accepted in mostcultures globally and in specific is the developing country (Davids,2003). In addition, Christianity has changed to become a great sourceof oppression to the followers. For example, leaders of the churchesin the current world use them as avenues for acquiring economicbenefits. This is highly attributable to the increasing need ofChristian misuse by the leaders in the pretext of providing religiousbenefits to the followers. Christianity has developed to promote thespread of political ideations in the recent past. Events such asusing churches as avenues for promoting political popularity has ledto the changing of the ideal picture of the current church (Besant,2012).
Fromthe above analysis, it is apparently clear that, Christianity haveundergone significant transformation over time. Despite the factthat, Christianity is old as humankind himself, the effect it hascreated to the global population is not measurable. In addition, theanalysis has revealed that, Christianity faced numerous challengesduring its early ages of evolution. The arrival of the industrialrevolution provided a significant boost to the Christian religion astechnological advances promoted massive spread of the religionglobally. Irrespective of the drawbacks witnessed, Christian religionlike any other religion should be accorded with the desiredopportunities to ensure its further spread around the world. AlthoughChristianity has undergone significant changes in the past, thereligion is still dynamic in nature. This is attributable to thesignificant changes witnessed in the current time and those expectedin the coming future.
Besant,A. (2012). Christianity:Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History.Altenmünster: Jazzybee Verlag.
Davids,T. W. R. (2003). Lectureson the origin and growth of religion, as illustrated by some pointsin the history of Indian Buddhism.New Delhi: Asian Educational Services.
Ekstrand,D. W. (2008). Christianity:The pursuit of divine truth.S.l.: Xulon Press.
Herring,G. (2006). Anintroduction to the history of Christianity: From the early church tothe enlightenment.London: Continuum.
Stephen,S. J. (2008). Caste,Catholic Christianity, and the language of conversion: Social changeand cultural translation in Tamil country, 1519-1774.Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.