After Jesus, the Romans rule continued, however after unsuccessful Jewish uprising, the Jewish temple was burnt in 70 C.E and Jews dispersed, all over the world mostly they were treated as lower class citizens. They were forced to live in ghettos. God says: “We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity: in order that they might turn (to us).”(Qur’an;7:168). However in the Islamic world they enjoyed respect and authority. With the conversion of Constantine-I, to (monotheistic-Arian)Christianity in the beginning of 4th century, Palestine became fully Christianized. Khosrow II, king of Persia, launched an invasion; his troops captured Jerusalem in 614 C.E destroyed churches, and carried off the True Cross. In 628 the Byzantine emperor Hercules recovered Palestine, and he subsequently restored the True Cross to Jerusalem.
The Christianity; after brutally suppressing the internal resistance by monotheists (Arianis) to the complex doctrine of Trinity, expanded exponentially with the efforts of missionaries in Europe, Africa and later in Asia. The main reason was ‘good marketing’ by St.Paul, who ‘designed the product’ (Christianity) to make it attractive and acceptable for his initial clients (pagans) by blending the pagan doctrine with the monotheism preached by Jesus and his ancestor Abraham, applying the label of Christ. The Monotheists Christians like Arius despite initial successes were ultimately suppressed due to oppression and persecution. With emergence of Europeans as global colonial powers, Christianity got additional boost and it became a dominant religion of the world. With the revival of original true faith of Abraham (Islam) through the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in seventh century C.E, all the false concepts stand fully exposed: “Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81).
THE EARLY CHURCH AND PAUL
According to the Bible, the first church organized itself 50 days after Jesus’s death on the Day of Pentecost—when the Holy Spirit was said to descend onto Jesus’s followers.
Most of the first Christians were Jewish converts, and the church was centered in Jerusalem. Shortly after the creation of the church, many Gentiles (non-Jews) embraced Christianity.
Early Christians considered it their calling to spread and teach the gospel. One of the most important missionaries was the apostle Paul, a former persecutor of Christians.
Paul’s conversion to Christianity after he had a supernatural encounter with Jesus is described in Acts of the Apostles. Paul preached the gospel and established churches throughout the Roman Empire, Europe and Africa.
Many historians believe Christianity wouldn’t be as widespread without the work of Paul. In addition to preaching, Paul is thought to have written 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament.
PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
Early Christians were persecuted for their faith by both Jewish and Roman leaders.
In 64 A.D., Emperor Nero blamed Christians for a fire that broke out in Rome. Many were brutally tortured and killed during this time.
Under Emperor Domitian, Christianity was illegal. If a person confessed to being a Christian, he or she was executed.
Starting in 303 A.D., Christians faced the most severe persecutions to date under the co-emperors Diocletian and Galerius. This became known as the Great Persecution.
CONSTANTINE EMBRACES CHRISTIANITY
When Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, religious tolerance shifted in the Roman Empire.
During this time, there were several groups of Christians with different ideas about how to interpret scripture and the role of the church.
In 313 A.D., Constantine lifted the ban on Christianity with the Edict of Milan. He later tried to unify Christianity and resolve issues that divided the church by establishing the Nicene Creed.
Many scholars believe Constantine’s conversion was a turning point in Christian history.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In 380 A.D., Emperor Theodosius I declared Catholicism the state religion of the Roman Empire.
The Pope, or Bishop of Rome, operated as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Catholics expressed a deep devotion for the Virgin Mary, recognized the seven sacraments, and honored relics and sacred sites.
When the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A.D., differences emerged among Eastern and Western Christians.
In 1054 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox church split into two groups.
Between about 1095 A.D. and 1230 A.D., the Crusades, a series of holy wars, took place. In these battles, Christians fought against Muslims to reclaim holy land in the city of Jerusalem.
The Christians were successful in occupying Jerusalem during some of the Crusades, but they were ultimately defeated.
After the Crusades, the Catholic Church’s power and wealth increased.
In 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther published 95 Theses—a text that criticized certain acts of the Pope and protested some of the practices and priorities of the Catholic church.
Later, Luther publicly said that the Bible didn’t give the Pope the sole right to read and interpret scripture.
Luther’s ideas triggered the Reformation—a movement that aimed to reform the Catholic church. As a result, Protestantism was created, and different denominations of Christianity eventually began to form.
Christianity is broadly split into three branches: Catholic, Protestant, and (Eastern) Orthodox.
The Catholic branch is governed by the Pope and Catholic Bishops around the world. The Orthodox (or Eastern Orthodox) is split into independent units each governed by a Holy Synod; there is no central governing structure akin to the Pope.
There are numerous denominations within Protestant Christianity, many of which differ in their interpretation of the Bible and understanding of the church.
Some of the many denominations that fall under the category of Protestant Christianity include:
Assemblies of God
Christian Reform/Dutch Reform
Church of the Nazarene
Disciples of Christ
United Church of Christ
Although the many sects of Christianity have differing views, uphold separate traditions, and worship in distinct ways, the core of their faith is centered around the life and teachings of Jesus.
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