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Church History

In this class, we will learn how the church developed since the first century.

Let us go back to the time of the first century, and understand the challenges the church faced.


Communication was difficult as the roads were not paved. Personal visits were not easy and the letters were delivered by hand. Scriptures were being written. Lots of opposition.

Inspite of all this, the church multiplied and grew.

Notable third century activities are:
1. Beginning of Monasteries.
2. Church buildings - earliest known in 232AD in Dura Europos.

The early fourth century Christians faced a lot of persecution. All that changed after the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. The Roman Emperor Constantine had a vision of the cross "in this emblem will you conquer", during his war. He won and believed in Jesus.


Five Key Dates:

1. 305 -- Worst Persecution.
- During the 2nd Century it started to be illegal to act Christian.
- Once persecution stopped, they got softer in their commitment.

2. 313 -- Toleration.
- The Edict of Milan made it legal to be a Christian.

3. 325 -- Council of Nicea.
- Constantine presided over the council of Bishops (not a Christian)
- Church became more and more political.

4. 381 - Official Religion.
- Constantine decreed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire.
- Had to be a Christian to hold public office (Simony = buying power/office)
- From 10% to 90% of the empire "Christians"

5. 400+ -- Chaos and Disorder.
- In the Empire as well in the church.
- Augustine's explanations of original sin to justify infant baptism,
- Other heresies including once saved/always saved, predestination, etc.


1. No Bibles - Wycliff (14th century) translated Bible to English
2. Leadership Problem - Anyone could become a priest (compare to Jeroboam)
3. Misunderstanding of Salvation
4. Pride
- Latin became the official language (commoners didn't know it)
- Inquisitions - Spain in 1400s used force to deal with heretics (Muslims)
- Indulgences - What Luther protested, forgiveness through personal compensation
- Crusades - Jerusalem unable to dislodge Muslims
- The Protest movements squelched systematically
- [1054] Split of Eastern Orthodox (Greek speakers) centered in Constantinople
- Latin Vulgate translated about 300s
- The NT was written in Greek, translated into Latin (most significant).

- Reformation really returned to Augustine
- No free will, predestined to be saved, never can be lost, some predestined to hell
- Luther 1517 (Germany) Calvin - (Swiss/French speaking)
- Knox (Scotland) Zwingli - (Swiss/German speaking)
- Smith (England) 1611 founded Baptist church
- Counter Reformation - Catholic Church/Councils: Trent - Apocrypha accepted
- Henry VIII Episcopalian 1534 (against Luther)

Reformation didn't go far enough! Achievements:
1. Gave Bible to common man Printing Press
2. Backlash to Catholicism Counter Reformation
3. Education - people read Bible, learned to read, started universities to train people in Ministry (Harvard - 1634)

- Roman Catholics 500-1500AD; Reformation 1500-1800 Restoration 1800s
- 1690: church in Scotland called Church of Christ (elders, weekly communion, adult Bapt)
- Located in Auchtermuchty; still believed in predestination
- By early 1800s, many churches of Christ around British Isles
- Later they believed had to believe baptism was for forgiveness when you did it
- Alexander Campbell (born 1788) - Presbyterian background, Glasgow University, studied under John Locke who used logical steps in theological/philosophical reasoning.
- Came to US in early 19th century
- Church of Christ in US: Abner Jones, Barton Stone, Alex. Campbell fused groups together from many denominations (Baptists, Presb., Methodists, ) in a unity movement.
- People were into religious freedom, led to tremendous growth.
- 2nd half of 19th Century: fastest growing church in US
- Movement was primarily US (some in UK)
- Leaders of Restoration Movement tended to be writers (not evangelists)
- Ecumenical - whoever believes in Christ is a Christian
- Bickering as early as 1840s over Instrumental Music and Missionary Societies.
- US Churches: about 1.5 million by 1982
- Restoration got many people into the Bible!
- Many of our top leaders came from Church of Christ.
- Church of Christ mostly US
- Largest church: membership 3000, about 150 baptisms/year, little growth


1. 1967-1979 Commitment
- Total Commitment, prayer partners, soul talks, many church meetings
- College movements in dead churches
- 1975 Leadership to Philadelphia (King of Prussia)
- Many church splits

2. 1979-1987 Church Plantings
- Leadership realized that every person needed to be on board - became pulpit minister in Boston
- Always started new churches (except reconstructions into Crossroads churches)
- New Wine into New Wineskins

Broke Barriers:
1982 First Church Planting (Chicago); International (London)
1983 Largest City in US (NY)
1985 Apartheid (Johannesburg); Canada (Toronto)
1986 Language/Culture/3rd World (Bombay); Language (Paris)
1987 Reconstructions (Kingston)
1989 Seven Churches at once; 150 BT Leaders (LA, DC, Seattle, Bangkok, Manila, Honolulu, Miami)
1991 Communism/Moscow

3. 1987-1996 (present) Crystalization
A. Rejection by Church of Christ 1987 after we preached we were the Remnant
B. Renaming: ICC 1993
C. Regrouping: casting off the idea of Autonomy

- 1988 - 1989 World Sector Leaders Named
- Super Churches, Regionalization, Sectorization
- One City, One Church
- Outreach to the Poor - HOPE 1987
- Formation of the Media/Law Sector
- Establishment of Elderships
- Ministry Teaching (MTP)!!!