Christianity is a universal denomination whose principles lie on the teachings, personality, lifestyle, and demise and the rising of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The follows of this religion are known as Christians. The elementary belief of the followers is that Jesus Christ is the foreseen Messiah and saviour in the Old Testament. He is also the son of God and a saviour to all humankind through his demise on the cross. Jesus Christ is, therefore, epicentre figure of the belief of Christians and hence the pillar Christianism. Modern Christianism has various classifications, namely the Roman Catholic Church, oriental orthodoxy, protestant churches and eastern orthodox sects. Ancient theological disputes and schism account significantly for a split of the old-time Christians to the formation of numerous modern Christian branches. This paper, therefore, will look into these events, and how Christianity got to establish its roots universally.
Birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ
The genesis of Christianism is traced back in the first century when the Virgin Mary conceived through the holy spirit and bore Jesus Christ. The delivery was a fulfilment of various Old Testament prophesies of a king and a saviour being born to the Jews. The news, however, was not welcomed by King Herod, who significantly viewed Christ as a threat to his throne. He sorts to kill all newborn male children below the age of two. Mary and Joseph fled with their child Jesus Christ to Egypt and only returned to Nazareth after King Herod died. Jesus Christ commenced his public evangelism at the age of thirty with the help of a dozen apostles. Christ teachings entailed parables and performance of wonders such as healing people and calming the storm. He introduced an essential aspect of the being of the holy trinity, God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. The teachers of the law and the Roman power rejected the idea of Jesus Christ being .the son of God and later crucified him at Golgotha. The demise of the Messiah was a symbol of the last sacrifice, and the blood he shed signifies the cleansing of sins. The saviour later came back to life with a few people witnessing, including his apostles. He then ascended to heaven, leaving his disciple with a task of propagating his good news to the whole world.
The early church and the apostolic age
After Christ ascended to paradise, the Holy Spirit descended as fire to the apostles, strengthening them for the mission ahead of them. The message they advocated for entailed the principles of their master, repentance and amnesty through his demise on the cross, the second coming of Christ and the final judgment. James, Peter and John, the adherents of the saviour, lead the ancient converts in Jerusalem to firmly adhere and preserve the Jewish beliefs and practices which were common in the old-age house of God. However, with the conversion of Saul, who was a persecutor Christ followers, the gentiles were contentiously accepted as part of the faith. The gentiles accepted the Christliness faith but substantially deferred on Jews customs such as circumcision. The disagreements led to the believers splitting into two groups; Christianity and Judaism. However, during the destruction of Jerusalem, the leadership of the Jews Christians was dispersed. The Roman command legalised Judaism and also extended its protection. Strict Jewish among the Gentiles also enjoyed the rights of observing their customs and restaining from atheists Customs and ceremonies. With time, Jewish Christianity gained its popularity among the gentiles posing a considerable challenge to the Roman sovereignty. The prosecution began on the grounds of disobedience breaking the law. However, by this time, Christianism faith had spread to the partisan empire, Mesopotamia, Sasanian Empire and Aramaic speaking nations at different pace and extent.
The persecution and ante-Nicene period
For a period of three hundred years, believers enjoyed the liberty to observe their customs in a peaceful environment. However, the local pagan surrounding blamed them for being the source of their misfortunes due to failure adore their gods. The Roman command, as a result, enforced firm orders taking actions against Christians who refuse to worship the pagan gods. Empire Nero was the leading roman ruler to persecute believers who saw Paul together with Peter die as martyrs. The prosecutions were worse during the empire Decius regime in the third century with many believers fleeing the Roman kingdom into the westward of European and Mediterranean. The persecution ceased during empire Constantine regime when he officially legalised Christianism.
The ante-nice period resulted in the rise of distinct cults, sects and movement due to the liberty to worship. A different interpretation of the script was entrenched, notably on the divinity of the Messiah. A lot of doctrines circulated to support various beliefs and arguments. It is during this period that the papal began. The popes held themselves higher than other clergy and claimed to have the ability to listen and forgive sins. Constantine wanted to the spread truth about Christliness beliefs, and hence he formulated the council of Nicea which developed and unified all doctrine. Chalcedon council gave rise to the Nicene Creed to affirm the Christian belief in God. However, other principles resulted in contention, such as the supremacy of the papacy, which led to great division among Christians.
The great schism
The fall of the Roman power in 476 resulted in the split between the Latin and Greek Christianity. Different biblical beliefs and spiritual practices cropped out, which split the two groups. Failure to resolve the disputes gave rise to two churches; the Orthodox denomination and the Roman Catholic church. The Orthodox leadership dismissed the acknowledgement the supremacy of the papacy, Chalcedon decree and the doctrine of the filioque. As a result, the Roman papacy excommunicated Michael Cerularious from the clergy with cultural disparity and linguist differences raising suspicion terrible feelings. The conflicts were later resolved, giving rise to the Eastern Rite Catholic Church. During the 1399-1599 Italy underwent cultural and economic changes. Mercantile trade had taken its roots, and the Roman Catholic Church got confused by its corruption. The influential, affluent Italian kinship gained the Episcopal posts including the papacy. The injustice resulted in the emergence of splinter groups in the Roman Catholic Church with the Protestants condemning their actions.
The rise of the protestant reformation
Early in the 16 century, Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli introduced a movement to amend the church. The church had dug its roots deep into corrupt doctrines other than the ancient truth of the gospel. The movement evangelised against the ecclesiastical supremacy of the papacy and its hierarchy. Martin Luther was a professor, and he wrote 95 theses about the defiled dogmas of the papacy. He developed his theology of ‘justification’ which brought conflicts between him, other scholars and the Catholic leadership. The papacy doctrines stated that ones justification is through his faith and good work. However, Luther argued that one’s advocacy is through righteousness and good deeds were just but fruits of holiness. Luthers’ theses spread to northern Europe with other scholars like John Calvin and the magistrate pastors and elders joining the movement against the papacy supremacy. The papacy hence embarked on Counter-Reformation to regain their popularity
The anti-protestant campaigns by the Roman Catholic Church
The publications of Martin Luther posted a significant challenge to the leadership of the Catholic Church. The pope and the fathers embarked on reinforcing the Catholic doctrines and reviving traditional practices. A new religious order was enacted by papacy with support of the then Roman leaders. Several Conservative principles were published to support the Roman Catechism. The Catholic Church embarked on training priests and vigorously conducting crusades and extensive missionary work. Several religious schools came up, which led to the publication of additional books bible such as Maccabaeus. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church recovered 33 % of the believers in northern Europe. Pope Paul 111 formulated the Trent council to try and resolve corruption, nepotism and equality. The papacy vehemently resisted and rejected the protestant doctrines. The papacy went ahead to persecute Christians who opposed their teachings.
Puritans in North America and the great awakening
The new religious order forced Protestants to flee to North America, which was then colonised by England. Little effort was made by the colonialist to preach the gospel to the natives. The Protestants hence found a conducive environment to evangelise the gospel and establish civic region. During the industrialisation era and the French revolution, the Protestants embarked on vigorous evangelism in America (commonly referred to as the great awakening). The awakening took place in three main stages. First, it entailed reformed Godly teaching of the gospel of Christ and his followers and redemption through Jesus Christ. Several protestant Christian movements came up such as the Pentecostalism, Baptists, Methodist, Presbyterian and evangelical Congregationalist by the 1857 year.
The late modern era churches
The Russian empire at first was tolerant with the Orthodox Church. The followers conducted various campaigns that led to the allegations of indulging in Russian anti-Semitism by the state pagans. Revolutionist in Russia saw the church as the enemy of the nation, and a communism ruling thrived in their favour. The decision targeted to unify both the eastern and the westerns people with their ethnic churches being the primary target. The Soviet Union resolved to eliminate religion as it acted as an obstacle to achieving communism. The regime saw most church items stolen and confiscated, believers harassed and propagation of atheist propaganda. Most priests were prosecuted and thrown into prison cells in the 1920s and 1930s. After the Germans attacked the Russian empire, Joseph Stalin resolved to restore the Orthodox Church. Twenty-two thousand churches had been active by the end of 1957 but later reduced after new campaigns against religion were activated. The follows of the Orthodox Church fled to the west, where they continue to uphold their beliefs.
Modern trends in Christian theology
Both the Catholics and the Protestants significantly condemned the Russian fascism. The constant struggles between the authority and the church lead to the liberty of the church. People were free to choose the religion of their choice. The independence saw Christianity vehemently spread to native continents such as Africa. The bible was translated into various languages for people to read and interpret. Vigorous missionary work within African countries embarked with most schools, hospitals and Christian movements coming up. Christianity hence created its roots as the world widely acknowledged religion up to date.
Several Christianity trends have emerged to create a peaceful coexistence with other religions and offer direction to the present churches. Ecumenism, for instance, is movements among different Christian denomination groups aimed at unifying Christians through dialogue. Catholic ecumenism aims at consolidating the initial Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Pentecostal movement, on the other hand, seeks to bring back the historical Pentecostal church from the splinter groups. Protestants, on the other side, are partnering with the ecumenism council to establish a list of Christian doctrines that can universally unite all Christian movements.
In conclusion, Christianity has experienced several historical events and changes. It all started when Christ was born, and he embarked on his preaching mission. The gospel was later spread his apostles to the Gentiles in the Roman Empire. The dispute that resulted saw the converts split into the Jewish Christians and the gentiles Christians. The Jewish Christianism, however, became extent with Judaism taking its roots in the Roman kingdom. Publication of several differing doctrines again saw Christians split into the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Later on, the protestant Christians emerged to condemn the Catholic papacy which saw most of them undergo persecution with some fleeing into northern America. It is in North America where Christianism was spread quickly due to the peaceful environment. The orthodox on the other side faced paganism threats, and prosecution forms the Russian empire as a result of the implementation of the communist regime. Several Christians died as martyrs with others fleeing to the west. It is after a severe outcry of human rights reservation that Christians got the freedom to worship that is highly enjoyed up to date