There are billions of Christians worldwide. But what is the origin of Christianity and who started it? Learn more with these fascinating facts!
Christians represent over 31 percent of the world population. Christianity and its people make up the largest religious group on the planet. It all started with the teachings of one man.
One man brought the world together under his tutelage and showed us the meaning humility and love.
But where did Jesus come from? And how did he create the largest religion in the world on his own?
In this article, we'll answer the question: what is the origin of Christianity? We'll also discuss the beliefs, founders, and facts that form the Christian religion today.
To understand the origins of Christianity, you must start with Judaism.
When Jesus was born, the Jews were part of the Roman Empire. They suffered great persecution under the Romans because of their belief in one God versus the Roman pagan religion, which believed in many gods.
The Jews believe that the Messiah, as foretold in the Old Testament of the Bible, will come one day to save the Jewish people.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ was born about 2,000 years ago in Judea, which is part of modern-day Israel. He lived a normal life as a Jewish man and began to preach around the age of 30.
He claimed that he was the Messiah promised in Jewish text and that he was sent from God to save the Jewish people. For several years, he went around the region of Galilee preaching to the Jews. He gained a significant following as a just and kind minister of God.
The Apostolic Period
During his period of teaching, Jesus recruited 12 apostles to help him do his work. These men were his closest followers. He trusted that they would preach his gospel to the people on his behalf.
During this time, Jesus performed miracles and healed the sick many times, which brought more people to worship under his leadership.
Persecution and the Roman Empire
The Romans saw Jesus and his followers as a threat to their leadership. The Jewish leaders also felt that he undermined their teachings as he claimed to be the Messiah.
Jesus questioned the leadership of the Jews and called them hypocrites. One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus and made a deal with the Jewish leaders. They found Jesus and turned him over to the Romans who tried him for heresy.
Crucifixion and Resurrection
Under Roman law, Jesus would die by crucifixion, a common form of punishment at the time.
Three days after his death on the cross, some women went to his tomb. They found the stone rolled away and Jesus's body gone. Soon after, he appeared to them, proving that God resurrected Him as His Son.
And the Apostles and other disciples continued to spread the word of Christianity.
Christians faced a difficult life in the first years after Jesus's resurrection. They were severely persecuted under the Roman rulers of the time. Emperor Nero was responsible for the deal of both Peter and Paul in Rome.
That changed when Constantine became emperor of Rome in the year 312. His mother introduced him to Christianity. And it was the Christian cross that helped him win the battle that made him emperor.
In 313, Constantine declared Christianity legal in the Roman state. Then in 325, the Council of Nicaea cemented the beliefs of Christianity. Soon after, Christianity was the official religion of Rome.
The Three Denominations and the Schism
In today's Christianity, there are three primary denominations: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.
Before the year 1054, Christianity was one religion ruled by the Catholic Church. But that year marked the Great Schism. This was when the Orthodox Church broke away.
The three denominations all believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that Christ is the Son of God. But they differ in their worship manner and theological beliefs.
The Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic church began with Saint Peter, who ministered in Rome after the resurrection. He's considered the first Bishop of Rome, or the Pope as the office is more commonly known. Peter was appointed by Jesus to be the "rock" where the church would stand.
Catholics swear allegiance to the Pope as the leader of the church. He represents the direct successor to Saint Peter.
They allow only celibate men as ordained priests and believe that only through the Catholic Church is true salvation possible.
The Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church split from Catholicism during the Great Schism. The difference stemmed from a fundamental belief in salvation.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches govern geographically rather than having an overseeing church.
They allow married men to become priests, but not bishops. The Orthodox Church believes that Jesus works through the whole body of the church, not only the bishops and priests, and that salvation is available to any Christian, not only those associated with a certain church.
The Protestant Reformation
In the 16th Century, there was another split from the Catholic Church. This was when the Protestant Reformation began. It sparked by a long history of corruption in the Church, causing frustration among the people.
A monk named Martin Luther printed a thesis casting doubt on some of the Catholic practices. Luther was excommunicated from the church because of his writings. He later formed the Lutheran Church.
Unlike Catholic or Orthodox practices, the Protestant churches allow women to minister the word of the Bible. They reject the idea that there is "one true church". And they respect the many variations of Protestantism that exist today.
What Is the Origin of Christianity?
The roots of Christianity lie in the Jewish idea of the Messiah coming as a savior for the people. When Jesus Christ came to preach his Gospel to the masses, he won the hearts of the people.
Christianity went from intense persecution to become the largest religion in the world. The three denominations of Christianity have different beliefs, but all are centered on the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
What do you believe? What is the origin of Christianity and how has it helped you in your religious life? Leave us a comment and let us know.
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