The History of the Church

Evolution of Christianity

Jewish era

The earliest known date of a canonical writing is the book of Genesis which is estimated to be written around 1445-1405 BC by Moses. Since Moses, many authoritative judges, kings and prophets contributed to the Tanakh (Jewish bible). These books are written around the history of Israel, how the nation came into existence, the fall of Israel and how God maintained the remnant after the Babylonian exile, but also include important literature about God, His creation, principles, laws, teachings and prophecies which are very important to non-Jewish nations, even to Christians in the modern era.

Bible books written between 400 BC and the birth of Jesus Christ are considered Apocrypha by the Christian Protestants who do not accept the authority of these books and did not include them in their bibles, although the Catholic churches do accept these books.

Although God identified Himself clearly as יְהוָ֖ה, which directly translates to the Tetragrammaton YHVH, we noticed that some time before the birth of Jesus (most likely during the Second Temple era), the Jews replaced the God's name "YHVH" with "Adonai" which means "Lord" in English. This is also evident in the Greek manuscripts when the Jews refer to God as simply "Lord".

Although scholars disagree on the exact date Jesus was born, all agree that it was around the time the Anno Domini year system switched from BC era years to AD era years. The Jews refuse to accept this system because the system starts counting from the birth of Jesus Christ (Messiah) whom they rejected.

In the Tanakh we read how the Israelites refused to approach God, how the temple was build and the priestly and sacrificial system was introduced to cleanse people from their sin in order to be righteous with God.

While Jesus was alive, he taught, demonstrated and set moral standards to many disciples (mainly Jews) to follow his teachings which include

  • fresh revelations on how people aught to interpret the Mosaic laws, with the focus on love and righteous with God and their neighbours, instead of obeying religious rituals
  • he gave people a fresh perspective of Who God is (His character) and what God's plan or motives are for humanity
  • the revelation of God's kingdom
  • the gospel of salvation which means people do not need priests and rituals to be saved
  • warnings and prophecies about the future

These teachings caused a stir in the Jewish community of his time and he eventually received the death sentence for claiming to be the Christ which according to the Jewish priests were considered "blasphemy" which was punishable by death.

Many scholars agree that Jesus was executed ("crucified") around AD 30 - 33.

Messianic era

A split came between the Jews who rejected Jesus as "the Messiah" and the Messianic believers, who belief Jesus was "the Messiah" (Christ). The Jews accused the Messianic believers for faking Jesus' resurrection.

In the early days, these Messianic believers were considered a sect (Acts 24:2-5) and the Jews persecuted them, for example in the book of Acts we read how Saul killed and arrested many of Jesus' disciples.

These persecution caused the messianic believers to gather in secret. In the book of Acts we read that they had sold their possessions to serve their communities. Obviously public church buildings were not an option in those days. Many of them fled to different places including Rome.

Christian Reformation

Around 62 AD the Greek-speaking citizens of Antioch started to call the believers "Christians" which means those who believed in "Christ" (Acts 11:26). This was intended to be an insult (Acts 26:24-28; 1 Peter 4:12-16), but later became the norm.

The early Roman Empire used to deify their rulers as gods. For example a temple was built for Julius Caesar after his death in 44 BC. This established an imperial cult with a close association between political power and religion authority. Not surprisingly, the Romans named the months after these gods:


English Name of god
January Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings
February Februus, the Roman god of death and purification
March Mars, the Roman god of war
April Aphrodite, the Greek goddess / Venus, the Roman goddess, the mother of the Romans race
May Maia, the shy goddess who gave birth to other gods in a cave
June Juno, the goddess of love
July Emperor Julius Caesar, who got god status in 44 BC
August Emperor Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, but considered the "son of god"
September Means seventh month when March was originally the first month
October Means eighth month when March was originally the first month
November Means ninth month when March was originally the first month
December Means tenth month when March was originally the first month

This new "Christian" religion was considered a threat to this existing pagan cult. Emperor Nero, who also claimed to be a god, conveniently blamed the "Christians" for the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD which mark the start of Roman prosecution on "Christians".

To make matters worse, the first Jewish Revolt started in 66 CE which caused the Romans to Siege and destroy Jerusalem including the Jewish temple in 70 CE. These rebellions turned the Romans against any person who served YHVH the Almighty God, Who was considered a "Jewish" God by the Romans.

Ironically, these prosecutions affectively caused the Gospel to spread even faster through the Roman Empire.

Gnostic influences

Acts 8:9-24 possibly refers to Simon Magus as a Gnostic teacher. Whether he originated Gnosticism is debatable, however from this we can see the Gnosticism was already active when the first Christian churches formed.

In short Gnostic philosophers reason:

  • There is a good spiritual world and an evil or flawed material world
  • Living beings are emanations (smaller material manifestation) of the same God
  • Human souls are fallen sparks of divine (emanations), trapped in the material world created by the evil demiurge (the God of the Old Testament)

Originally the church rejected these philosophies as "heresy", but unfortunately some of these ideas did influence Christianity, for example:

  • There is a correlation between the concept of aeons and the Trinity which is:
    • The idea of the multiplicity (many aeons) of one God
    • All aeons are emanations (or substance) of one God
    • The highest aeon (closest to God) acts as a mediator (like Jesus)
  • The deception that only gnosis (secret knowledge) of God is required for salvation
  • They reason that only a mediator (like Jesus) who used to be an Aeon (god) but reincarnated as a human can bridge the gap between the material and the spiritual world
  • This lead to the rejection of God's laws in some sects
  • The development of Christian art which uses Gnostic symbols like the serpent, the dove and the fish


Tertullian, a Montanist (North Africa sect), born in 155 AD and died in 220 AD in Carthage in the Roman province of Africa invented new theological concepts like:

  • The Trinity doctrine, but his version of the "Trinity" considered the Father and Jesus as two Gods, but because the Father gave everything to Jesus, they are together also seen as one God. The Spirit is from both Jesus and the Father making the third member.
  • The Logos doctrine which teaches the Jesus is "the Word" (logos) which means he was pre-existed as God before our creation.
  • Baptism was not dependent on the faith of the receiver, although he was against infant baptism.
  • Any form of sex (even in marriage) is adultery.
  • He introduced the "sexual hierarchy" view meaning those who abstain from sex or marriage may serve higher ranks in the church.
  • He also taught that Christians cannot be cursed.

Tertullian also believed in:

  • Apostolic succession which means the ministry of the Christian Church is derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops.
  • The Eucharist
  • He believed in the Apocrypha: Shepherd of Hermas, Judith, Enoch, Hebrews of Barnabas
  • He denied Mary's virginity.
  • Clergy must be distinct from laity.

Ironically Tertullian's doctrines and views were initially dismissed by the Church, however when Emperor Constantine adopted some of his views, the Roman Catholic Church followed suit.

The Crisis of the Third Century

The Crisis of the Third Century is the period of 234 to 285 where there were political instability and division in the Roman Empire. During this 50-year period, 24 emperors ruled, by which many of them were quickly removed from their thrones after only a few months.

On 25 December AD 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian established the cult of Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") as an official religion, alongside the traditional Roman cults.

This crisis only ended when Diocletian became emperor in 284 who called himself the god Iovius (Jupiter) because he was not from the original bloodlines of Julius Caesar, but needed a reason for the people to accept him as the new emperor. Despite claiming his god status, the empire had still divided under his ruling in 285 AD.

At the start of the fourth century, Christianity spread throughout the entire empire and were no longer considered a "Jewish small sect". Historians belief that about 5% of the Roman population was at that time already Christians.

This made it possible to start the construction of the first known Christian church was in the year 293 at Jordan (Aqaba). The walls were about 4.5m high and would have contained about a 100 people. This was approved by the likes of Galerius of the Eastern Empire who reigned from 305 AD in order to recruit Christians into his legions.


Due to military power, and a series of successful victories against his rivals, Constantine, became the Roman Emperor in 306 AD, the start of the Constantinian dynasty.

Unfortunately Constantine worshipped the sun deity Sol Invictus. This is evident in the art work that he sponsored in the construction of a number of impressive buildings and monuments, including the Basilica of Maxentius and the Arch of Constantine.

Constantine could not legitimize his ruling as emperor based on his bloodlines. Constantine also noticed that his predecessors like Diocletian, failed to have their legitimacies unchalleged despite the fact that he claimed to be a god. Therefore, Constantine reasoned that a monotheistic religion would be in his favour, because no one can challenge the single Almighty God that "approved" him as emperor.

Some belief that accepting the monotheistic Christian religion which preaches "love, peace and mercy" was also the best political move from Constantine in an empire plague by political and economical instability caused by the leadership of the previous century. In addition, many of his senior officials at that time were Christians although Constantine himself was not a Christian.

Therefore, Constantine decided merged his own believes (in Sol Invictus) with Jesus with to legitimize his position and to gain popularity among his officials and the empire.

Similarities between Sol Invictus and Jesus Christ:

Sol Invictus Jesus Christ
Calls himself the sun deity Calls himself "the light"
Was reborn 3 days after his death Was resurrected 3 days after his death
Was reborn Some consider Jesus as the reincarnated human form of God

In addition, Constantine claimed to have a vision in 312 of the cross appearing in the light of the sun. This vision came just before his battle against his rival Maxentius and after his victory the Constantine interpret the vision as a sign of acceptance from the Christian God. Constantine made his revelation known to Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339), a Christian historian and theologian best known for the works such as "Ecclesiastical History" and "The Life of Constantine". Eusebius' works had a significant influence on the development of Christian thought and theology.

In February 313, the Edict of Milan proclamation was issued by the Roman Emperors Constantine and Licinius. The proclamation:

  • Granted religious toleration to all religions, including Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.
  • It also seized Christian persecutions that were started by Emperor Nero.
  • It recognized Christianity as a legitimate religion which allowed Christians to openly worship and practice their faith.
  • It allowed Christians to reclaim their property.
  • It allowed Christians the right to hold public office, which had previously been denied to them.

However, Constantine's true intent and dedication to Christianity is questioned.

For example:

This changed the names of the weekdays to:

English Latin Name of god
Sunday dies Solis Sol Invictus
Monday dies Lunae Moon god
Tuesday dies Martis Mars, the Roman god of war
Wednesday dies Mercurii Woden, the Germanic god / Mercury, the Roman god
Thursday dies Jovis Thor, the Germanic god of thunder
Friday dies Veneris Frigg, the Germanic goddess / Venus the Roman goddess
Saturday dies Saturn Saturn, the Roman god

Around 321 Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria was excommunicated by his bishop, Alexander because Arius taught that Christ was the Son of God and not of the same substance as God the Father. This teaching clashed with the Roman Catholic Trinity doctrine which taught that the Son and the Father are equal and the same.

In 324 at the Battle of Chrysopolis, Emperor Constantine became the sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire. This establish Christianity as the dominant force of the Roman Empire.

Before Constantine's reign there was not much that distinguished the Christian church buildings from typical domestic architecture. However, Constantine funded many new church building projects and shrines in honour of local holy men and women and even after his reign Christians continued to build very large, expensive and spectacular church buildings. Possible reasons for this is:

  • Roman emperors were used to build big spectacular temples for their gods
  • Church buildings were considered "sacred architecture" which is supposed to honor God (or rather the Bishop).
  • According to Michael Fackerell, people build expensive church buildings:
    • For marketing purposes to attract more members.
    • It is a church's identity (brand).
    • To generate more money: Bigger churches can serve more members to receive more donations.
    • Investment purposes for generations to come, because often real estate grows in value.
    • For the convenience of the members: for example air-conditioners, comfortable seats, sound equipment, etc.
    • For the safety to secure the continual existence of the church.
    • Usually churches are build in central places to avoid people to scatter to other places or churches (like the tower of Babel).
    • Some believe that good pastors or preacher deserve a big public platform so that more people could have access to their sermons.
    • Church buildings are monuments to the leadership who raised the funds to complete the project.

For instance, to commemorate the victory after the Milvian Bridge battle, he constructed a triumphal arch at Rome; yet, the inscription on ‘The Arch of Constantine’ does not specifically mention Christianity but instead attributes the victory to an unnamed ‘divine power’ and ‘the greatness of Constantine’s mind’.

Some belief Constantine remained pagan and only attended the church council meetings for political reasons and to shape the church according to his beliefs. However, it is recorded that Constantine got baptized by the bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, but unfortunately only in 337 at his deathbed. This also raises some serious questions about Constantine's true dedication to Christianity.

The first Nicaea creed

At the time Arius, a prebyter from Alexandria challenged Constantine's view that Jesus is God. This result a split in the church which were referred as "Arianism".

In 325 AD the council of Nicaea, of which Emperor Constantine actively participated in the proceedings, as well as 300 bishops and church leaders from across the Roman Empire attended and established the Nicene Creed (statement of faith) which is:

Eusebius initially showed sympathy for Arius, but eventually decided to signed the Nicene Creed which had the following outcome:

  • Defined the Holy Trinity
  • Declared Jesus Christ as divine
  • Declared Jesus Christ was the same substance ("homoousios") as God the Father
  • Declared anyone who believed Jesus was a created being a heretic (meaning they may be prosecuted because they stir division in their church)
  • Establish the authority and jurisdictions of bishops within the Church hierarchy
  • Christians should separate themselves from Jewish feasts (according to them Jesus Christ fulfilled the Jewish feats)
  • Jewish passover had to be replaced with the Christian Easter (to promote unity within the Christian community)

This creed become the cornerstone of the Christian belief and continues to be recited in many Christian denominations during worship services.

In 330 Constantinople (today Istanbul) became the capital of the Roman Empire which is generally considered the center and the "cradle of Orthodox Christian civilization".

In 336 Arius died, potentially poisoned by his opponents, others claim it was the result of "God's punishment for his heretical views" (against the Trinity doctrine).

On 25 December 336 AD the first recorded instance of Christmas was celebrated by Christians, the day of the Saturnalia feast which is also the day of the celebration of the birth of the sun deity Sol Invictus. This happens to be also the day of the turning of the Winter season in the northern hemisphere, when the length of the days (time of sunlight) starts to increase daily.

Constantius II

In 337 Constantius II, the third son of Constantine became emperor over Greece, Thrace, the Asian provinces, and Egypt in the east, while his brothers reigned the other parts of the Roman Empire. Constantius promoted Arian Christianity, banned pagan sacrifices and issued laws against the Jews.

In 341, the Arian bishop Ulfilas, who was also a Goth himself, was sent on a mission to the Gothic living north of the Danube River with financial and military support of Constantius II. This mission was significant because it spread Christianity among the Goths and is also one of the main reasons the Goths (Visigoths and Ostrogoths) believed in the Arian version of Christianity. According to Ulfilas, bibliography he also managed to perform several documented miracles like healing a blind man, casting out a demon, healed the sick and even raised a dead person.

Pope Julius I

Around 350 AD, Pope Julius I declared 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus.

Also, around 350 AD, Pope Julius I, supposedly accepted Athanasius I of Alexandria's Athanasian Creed (although this is questioned). This creed states:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith unless every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one...

... So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords...

... Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance [Essence] of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance [Essence] of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood...

... This is the Catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

This creed was declared to counter Modalism (Father, Son and Spirit is only different modes of God), Eutychianism (Jesus was neither God, nor human) and Nestorianism(Jesus is not "the Son of God", but united with him), but particular Arianism (Father is God, Jesus is human) which was a belief held by his enemies, the Ostrogoths and Visigoths (both Arian Christians) and the eastern Roman empire, ruled by Constantius II.

Initially the parts of the Christian Church rejected this creed. For example the Third Council of Sirmium in 357 supported the Arian view, however this decision was compromised by the Fouth Council of Sirmium in 358.

The council of Laodicea

During the Constantinian dynasty, institutional roles like the pope, bishops and clerics gradually evolved to maintain order in the church.

At that time Judaism was considered a rival religion to the Christianity in the Roman Empire and the church decided to institutionalize antisemitism by forced conversion or prosecution.

Therefore, in 363-364 the council of Laodicea, a Christian synod of 30 clerics from Asia Minor, regulated the conduct of church members by decrees in the form of written rules. This includes:

  • Determining the church order and behaviour of bishops, clerics and laypeople
  • Regulating the approach to heretics and Jews
  • Outlawing the keeping of the Sabbath (resting on Saturday) to distinct themselves from "Jewish practices"
  • Encourage rest on Sundays
  • Outlining liturgical practices
  • Restrictions during lent (a religious observance before Easter Sunday)
  • The process how individuals are prepared for baptism and admission to the church
  • Specify the biblical canon

"Christians must not Judaize and rest on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, if possible;
but the Lord's day they must especially honour, and, as far as possible, must refrain from work. If any one be found Judaizing, let him be anathema."

-- Canon 29

The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

In 379 Theodosius I became emperor and co-reigned with Gratian.

On 24 November 380, emperor Theodosius expelled Demophilus, the last Arian bishop of Constantinople. This resulted in a riot by the citizens.

In February 381, emperors Theodosius and Gratian published and edict to prosecute all subjects who refuse to accept the Nicene faith (of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria).

In July 381, emperor Theodosius adhered to the Nicaea creed was modified in Constantinople to compensate for "new forms" of Arianism and to settle disputes. This version is:

  • We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
    • the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father,
    • the Only-begotten,
    • that is of the substance of the Father.
    • God of God, Light of Light,
    • true God of true God,
    • begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father,
    • by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
    • Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, became human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.
    • By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.
    • He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father.
    • He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead;
    • of His kingdom there is no end.
  • We believe in the Holy Spirit,
    • the uncreate and the perfect;
    • Who spoke through the Law, the prophets, and the Gospels;
    • Who came down upon the Jordan,
    • preached through the apostles, and
    • lived in the saints.
  • We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church;
  • in one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins;
  • and in the resurrection of the dead,
  • in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies,
  • in the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life.

Although the creed was opposed by much of the church hierarchy, it did enable the emperors to effectively wipe out Arianism in the Roman territories.

Also in 381, Candlemas was instituted in Jerusalem, to Christianize the pagan festival Imbolc, the festival that celebrated the return of spring on the 1st of February by making sacrifices to the gods. Candlemas was later moved to the 2nd of February. Like Imbolc, the Candlemas festival was to commemorate the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the Lenten season (a 40-day period of preparation for Easter) which involves certain sacrifices like fasting, prayer, bible reading and almsgiving.

First bible translation

The Jews used Greek to communicate with Gentiles at the time the Gospels was written, which were contained in the Koine Greek Septuagint. This is because the Greek ruler, Alexander previously occupied the Jewish regions before the Romans. Although Koine Greek remained as the spoken dialect in the East, the western world spoke Latin.

Therefore, in 382 AD, the Bible (Vulgate) was translated into Latin by St. Jerome as per recommendations of Pope Damascus the First.

St. Jerome used different sources for his translation like the Vetus Latina, Hebrew canon, Hexaplar and Greek Septuagint. In addition, St. Jerome also translated the books Judith and Tobit from Aramaic.

The composite collection of these texts were called the "Biblia Vulgata" (Bible in common tongue). This translation became the standard Latin version of the Bible for the Western Latin-speaking church.

The Vulgate is also likely to be the first Bible to separate the "Old Testament" from the "New Testament" as the canon was previously separate books in different languages.

The Dark Ages

In 395 CE the Roman Empire split in two separates states after the death of the Roman emperor Theodosius I, who was succeeded by his two sons Arcadius and Honorius.

In 476 CE the Romulus Augustulus was overthrown by Odovacar, the Germanic ("Barbarian") King. This event traditionally mark the end of the Western Roman Empire, because Odavacar sent the western imperial regalia (crown, scepter, orb, etc.) to Constantinople, the capital of the rival Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) as an acknowledgement to the supremacy of the Eastern Emperor.

This created a vacuum of power in Rome. The Papacy that was at the time already an establish institution, used the opportunity to step into this vacuum. This gave the Bishop of Rome both religious and political power so that Rome became the center of Christianity. Other territories in the Western Roman empire were divided into several successor polities.

In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I instituted Valentine's Day on 14 February, to Christianize the pagan festival Lupercalia, named after the Lupercal, a cave where they said the Roman founders Romulus and Remus have been suckled and raised by a she-wolf. Lupercalia was a time for matchmaking. Young men would draw the names of young women from a jar, and the couples would then be paired up for the duration of the festival. However, Valentine's Day was named after, Saint Valentine, a Christian martyr who was executed on 14 February 269. Claudius II had banned marriages and engagements because he believed that married men were not as willing to join the army. Valentine defied Claudius's decree and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Therefore, Valentine's Day has also been associated with romance. There are many different legends about Saint Valentine, but the most famous one is that he wrote a letter to a blind girl named Julia, who was the daughter of his jailer. In the letter, Valentine expressed his love for Julia and restored her sight. Before he was executed, Valentine signed the letter "From your Valentine." Lupercalia a fertility festival that featured bonfires, sacrifices, and matchmaking.

In 507, the Visigothic, an Arian nation, was defeated by the Franks under Clovis I, who defeated them in the Battle of Vouillé.

In 553, the Ostrogoths, an Arian nation, were defeated by the Byzantine Empire.

In 731, Pope Gregory III instituted "All Saints' Day" on the 1st of November a universal day to honor all saints of which the previous evening (31 October) was called "All Hallows' Eve" which is known today as "Halloween". This date was chosen because the pagan Celtic festival of Samhain was also celebrated on the same evening. The Celtics believed that on Samhain, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead became thin, and that ghosts and spirits could freely roam the earth. To celebrate Samhain, the Celts would build bonfires, wear costumes, and make offerings to the dead. They also believed that it was important to protect themselves from evil spirits, so they would often wear masks and carry torches. Since Pope Gregory III wanted to honor the dead saints, this date seemed like an appropriate choice.

The Holy Roman Empire

In 756, Pope Stephen II allied with the Frankish King, Pippin the Short, to gain independence for Rome from the Byzantine Empire.

On 25 December 800, the pope crowned Charlemagne, King of the Franks as emperor of the Roman Empire at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to reunite the various regions under a common rule. This established the Holy Roman Empire (former Western Roman Empire) which lasted until 1806. This was significant because:

  • Strengthen the Christian Roman Church's power
  • Spread Christianity across formerly pagan regions
  • Intensified efforts to rule out anyone who opposed the Christian Church, for example John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, Martin Luther, etc.

In 1074, Pope Gregory VII issued a degree against clerical marriages to separate the clergy from the laity.

In 1229, the Council of Toulouse decree: "We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament... we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books."

The Byzantine Empire

The Roman Catholic Church in the Byzantine Empire attempted several Crusades to conquer "holy places" (Israel). The popes continued to call for these Crusades as "God's will".

Period Purpose Outcome
1095 - 1102 to capture Jerusalem for Christendom success
1147 - 1149 to capture Edessa for Christendom failure
1189 - 1192 to recapture the Holy Land (formerly Israel), previously conquered by the Muslims in 1187 partial success, except for Jerusalem
1202 - 1204 intended to recapture Jerusalem but diverted to Constantinople to restore the deposed Isaac II Angelos as emperor diverted goal
1217 - 1221 to attack the Muslim-held North African cities to weaken their support for Jerusalem failure
1228 - 1229 peacefully negotiate diplomatically to gain some control over Jerusalem partial success
1248 - 1254 to attack the Muslim Egypt to weaken their power in the Holy Land failure
1270 to attack the Muslim Egypt and either reconquer or negotiate control over key Christian sites like Jerusalem failure
1271 - 1272 to relieve the Christian fortress of Acre, but had to withdraw due to internal conflict failure

Besides the reasons listed above, the Crusades were also motivated by:

  • The Byzantine Empire who wanted to regain lost territory and defeat the threatening rival state.
  • Merchants wanted to monopolise important trading centres which fell under Muslim control
  • Merchants wanted to earn money shipping crusaders to the Middle East
  • Knights wanted to defend Christianity

The Lateran IV Council

In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council was convened by Pope Innocent III and was attended by over 400 bishops from all over Europe. The council's decree on the sacraments states:

We firmly believe and confess that there are seven sacraments of the New Law, namely,

  1. Baptism
  2. Confirmation
  3. Eucharist
  4. Penance
  5. Extreme Unction
  6. Orders
  7. Matrimony

These sacraments are instituted by Jesus Christ, God and man, and are necessary for the salvation of all mankind, even though not all of them are necessary for each individual.

This resulted that church membership was compulsory to gain salvation.

The Protestant Reformation

John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, translated the Bible into English in 1382 because:

  • Wycliffe was critical of the corruption he perceived within the Church.
  • Wycliffe held a strong belief in the authority of Scripture. He believed the Bible took precedence over Church leaders and councils.
  • Wycliffe believed in the individual's responsibility to understand and interpret the Scriptures. He believed that everyone should be able to understand it directly. This was significant because at that time, it was illegal to translate the Bible into a local language.
  • Wycliffe was the first who added the word "Godhead" to the Bible to explain the Trinity.

Nicholas of Hereford, a close associate to John Wycliffe, and John Wycliffe himself completed the Early Version (EV) of Wycliffe Bible translation in 1382.

John Wycliffe died on December 31, 1384, in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England. Some historians believe that he may have been poisoned.

In 1388, John Purvey, revised the Later Version (LV) of the Wycliffe Bible to remove more Catholic corruptions from the text.

John Wycliffe's teaching resulted in the:

  • Lollardy Movement: Which rejected the need for priests and other religious leaders. They believed that any Christian could communicate directly with God.
  • Wycliffism Movement: Which continued to spread and to challenge the authority of the Catholic Church.
  • Hussism Movement: Founded by Jan Hus

These movements were persecuted by the Catholic Church, however they eventually resulted in the Puritan Movement in the 16th century.

Jan Hus

Jan Hus, a former priest and university master from Bohemia, was influence by John Wycliffe's writings.

Jan believed:

  • that the Bible scriptures took precedence over church leaders and councils. This questioned the Church's authority,
  • that only Christ could be the head of the Church. He argued that God, through His scripture, was the final authority,
  • that the simoniacal practices (selling pardons for sin, positions in church or other spiritual "benefits") was wrong,
  • that Christians could communicate directly with God.

Jan were put on trial and on 6 July 1415, he was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to death before the entire Council of Constance.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on 31 October 1517. In short, Martin wrote:

  • "Repentance" is "the whole life of believers should be repentance", not "sacramental penance administrated by the priests"
  • The pope cannot forgive sin against God.
  • No one can repent on behalf of the dead.
  • He condemns priests who claim to be able to forgive or reverse forgiveness of sin.
  • The pope does not hold the keys of death.
  • No one can buy souls out of purgatory.
  • Every Christian has the right to forgiveness of sin without letters of pardon.
  • Every Christian has the right to the blessings of Christ and the Church even without letters of pardon.
  • Christians should be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons.
  • Christians should be taught to first take care of their own families, and by no means squander it on pardons.
  • There are no commandment to buy pardons.
  • The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even by the pope himself.
  • Preachers should preach about the Word of God, not about pardons.
  • The Gospel is much more important than pardons.
  • The true treasure of the Church should not be the money collected by pardons, but "the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God"
  • Men should not be fished for riches.
  • Martin cursed those who lie about pardons and bless those who speak against the lust and license of pardon-preachers.
  • The bishops, curates and theologians who allowed blasphemy by teaching that the cross emblazoned with the papal arms are of equal worth than the cross of Christ, will have an account to render.
  • These teachings ridicule the Church and the pope and make Christians unhappy, by logic questions:
    • "Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of love to the souls there in?"
    • "How is it fair that one soul could be saved by money and the other not?"
    • "Why does the pope who is richer that the richest, built just one church with his own money, rather than with the money of the poor believers?"
    • "Why do the pope not forgive every believer's sin?"
    • "Why does the pope seek money when he is supposed to seek salvation of souls?"
  • Martin curse the prophets who say "Peace, peace" and there is no peace, but bless the prophets who say "Cross, cross" and there is no cross.
  • Christians should follow Christ as their Head, through penalties, deaths and hell and should be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

This act started the Protestant Reformation which reformed the following:

  • The acknowledged that souls were saved without penitence and confession (which they considered sin), but by faith and the grace of God.
  • Scripture was the sole authority.
  • Scripture should be taught in the local language of the community.
  • The new church structure was now focused around the local preacher instead of a central hierarchy.
  • Two sacraments were kept, but altered (depending on the denomination), namely:
  • Five sacraments were downgraded/removed (depending on the denomination):
    • Confirmation
    • Penance
    • Ordination
    • Marriage (still considered as an ordinance of God, but no longer a sacrament)
    • Anointing of the Sick (extreme unction)
  • Rejected 7 books of the Catholic Bible, namely Baruch, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Tobit and Wisdom.

The Protestant Reformation also motivated King Henry VIII to declare the Church of England (Anglican Church) independent of Rome so that:

  • Each national church enjoys a measure of autonomy with the head as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Priests were allowed to marry.
  • Rejected the papal supremacy.
  • Rejected 7 books of the Catholic Bible.

Today, Lutheranism is the official religion of several countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland.

The Lutheranism theology includes:

  • Eucharist: Is a real presence of Christ's body and blood.
  • Bishops: Govern the church.
  • Rejects predestination theology of Calvanism.


In 1525, the Swiss reformers, Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock, baptized themselves as adults with immersion. This was s a radical break from the Catholic tradition and started the Anabaptist reformation.

The Anabaptist theology includes:

  • Adult believer baptism: It means baptism should be a conscious choice by adults who already come to faith with Jesus Christ.
  • Separation of church and state: It means the church should not be involved in the government and politics.
  • Pacifism: It means Christians should not participate in war or violence.
  • Community of goods: All members of the community share their possessions and resources.

In addition:

  • They take the bible literally
  • Place a great emphasis on discipleship, community and social justice


In 1536, John Calvin, a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva, wrote his first book "Institutes of the Christian Religion" which contains his theological beliefs and addressed many issues that the Protestant Church experienced. This shaped the Calvanism branch of the Protestant Reformation, which includes:

  • Sovereignty of God: This means nothing happens without God's will.
  • Authority of Scripture: This means the Bible is the only source of religious authority.
  • Predestination: This means God has predestined some people for salvation and others for damnation. This results in the "once saved, always saved" doctrine.
  • Justification by faith: This means people are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by their own works.
  • Total depravity: This means all people are born sinners and are incapable of saving themselves.
  • The church: Is a community of people who believers who are the body of Christ.
  • Infant baptism: He believed everyone must be baptised even if you do not understand it, however he acknowledged that infant baptism does not save.
  • Eucharist: Is a symbolic memorial of Christ's death and resurrection.
  • Council of elders: Govern the church instead of a bishop.

These theologies and writing are still studied today by theologians in Protestant Churches.


In 1547, the Puratin Movement gained momentum under the reign of Edward VI. The Puratin's goal was to "purify" the Church of England of the Roman Catholic remnants.

During Edward VI's reign:

  • He appointed Protestant reformers to key positions in the Church of England
  • The Book of Common Prayer was revised, which was a Protestant liturgy that replaced the traditional Catholic Mass
  • He ordered the destruction of Catholic shrines and images
  • He supported the persecution of Catholics

Some of the influences of the Puratins were:

  • They rejected the authority of the Pope: The Puritans did not recognize the Pope as the head of the church. They believed that each congregation was autonomous and should be governed by its own elders.
  • They simplified the church service: The Puritans removed many of the elaborate rituals and ceremonies that were part of the Catholic Mass. They replaced these rituals with a simpler service that focused on preaching and prayer.
  • They emphasized the importance of preaching: The Puritans believed that preaching was the most important part of the church service. They wanted their ministers to be able to explain the Bible clearly and concisely.
  • They promoted education: The Puritans believed that education was essential for Christians to understand the Bible. They established schools and colleges to educate their children.
  • They created a strict moral code: The Puritans had a strict moral code that they expected all Christians to follow. They condemned many activities such as dancing, drinking, gambling, theater-going, swearing, Sabbath-breaking.


John Assheton, a former Anglican priest, rejected the Trinitarian doctrine, but was forced to recant before Thomas Cranmer in 1548.

On 16 February 1553, Michael Servetus, was denounced as a heretic, for rejecting the Trinitarian doctrine, by Guillaume de Trie (a rich merchant who had taken refuge in Geneva and who was a good friend of Calvin). Martin Luther also condemned his writing which later influenced the Socinian movement. On 24 October, Servetus was sentenced to death by burning, by orders of John Calvin, for denying the Trinity and infant baptism. His last words were "Jesus, Son of the Eternal God, have mercy on me".

Servetus' ideas were spread by Italian humanists who had fled to Poland and Transylvania to escape religious persecution.

Soon the Socinianism movement started by Lelio and Fausto Sozzini. In the 1580's, Fausto Sozzini, published his writings which influenced Remonstrant movement.


Although the Unitarian movement started almost simultaneously with the Protestant Reformation, it was only in 1568, that the first Unitarian Church, was founded in the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom by the Unitarian preacher and theologian Ferenc Dávid.

The Unitarian theology rejection of the Trinity doctrine (of God is 3 persons in 1 Godhead). Unitarians believe there is only one God who is one person.

King James I

In the early 17th century, England was religiously divided with great tensions between the Catholics, Protestants and Puritans.

Therefore, in 1604, King James I authorized 47 scholars and clergymen to create the King James Version Bible with the aim to:

  • To promote religious unity: There different English translations in circulation, each with its own theological biases causing division
  • To enhance his own authority: To proof that he as the king was God's chosen ruler and to assert to be the head of the Church of England
  • To make the Bible more accessible to common people

This is significant because many modern English bible translations are based on this translation.

The Baptist Reformation

In 1608, John Smyth, a former Anglican priest, served as a pastor of a Puritan Separist congregation in Gainesborough, England, fled to Amsterdam with his congregation to escape the persecution of King James and joined a Dutch Anabaptist group.

1 year later Smyth became convinced that the New Testament taught baptism was for believers and not infants. He baptized himself, disbanded the congregation and reconstitute a new church which is generally considered the first Baptist church.

John's Smyth's Baptist church differ from the Anabaptists in regard of:

  • They did not believe in the literal interpretation of the bible.
  • They did not practice the community of goods.

The Religious Society of Friends

In 1647, George Fox, a young shoemaker from Leicestershire in England, experienced a profound spiritual awakening and began preaching his beliefs about the inner light of God within each person.

In 1652, George Fox, officially founded the Religious Society of Friends (also known as the "Quakers").

In 1660, the first Quaker meeting house is built in England. However, it was also during this period that the Quaker persecution intensified. It is estimated that about 15,000 Quakers were jailed in England between 1660 and 1685.

In 1681, William Penn, a Quaker, founds the colony of Pennsylvania, which becomes a safe haven for Quakers that had been persecuted by other American colonies. Many years later the Quakers played a key role in the American Revolution, advocating for non-violence and abolitionism.

In 1848, The Seneca Falls Convention, a landmark event in the women's suffrage movement, was organized by Quakers.

Quakers belief in:

  • Inner Light: Quakers belief that each individual possesses an "inner light" of God, which guides their conscience and leads them towards truth and righteousness in contrast to scripture and church authority like other Christian denominations.
  • Simplicity: Quakers practice a life of simplicity, both in their personal lives and their worship. They avoid ostentatious displays of wealth or status, and their meeting houses are typically plain and unadorned. This emphasis on simplicity reflects their belief that true spirituality comes from within, not from external things.
  • Pacifism: Quakers are known for their commitment to pacifism and nonviolence. They believe that all human life is sacred and that violence is never justified, even in self-defense or war. This commitment to peace has led them to take active roles in peace building initiatives and social justice movements around the world.
  • Equality: Quakers believe in the inherent equality of all people, regardless of race, gender, or social status. This belief has led them to be strong advocates for social justice and equality throughout their history.
  • Direct Worship: Quakers worship in a simple and unprogrammed manner. They gather in silence to wait upon God, and anyone may speak as they feel moved by the Holy Spirit. This directness and lack of formal liturgy contrasts with the more structured worship services of many other Christian denominations.
  • Decision-Making: Quakers use a process of consensus decision-making, where all members of a group have the opportunity to voice their opinions and participate in the decision-making process. This emphasis on consensus reflects their belief in the equality of all individuals and the importance of seeking God's guidance in their decisions.
  • Social Activism: Quakers have a long history of social activism, working to address issues such as poverty, war, racial injustice, and environmental destruction. Their commitment to social justice stems from their belief in the inherent worth of all people and their responsibility to love and serve their neighbors.


In the 1730's John Wesley, an Anglican priest, who preached outdoors and to formed small groups of people who were committed to living a holy life, which later became known as Methodist societies.

What makes the Methodist theology distinct from earlier reformations is the Entire Sanctification Theology. This means, it is a state of holiness, which means believers should constantly strive to live in accordance with God's will and to become like Christ. This state of holiness is blessing that can only be achieved by the Holy Spirit.

In addition, John Wesley taught that God wanted his people to be prosperous, and he believed that this prosperity was a sign of God's favor. This is seen by many as one of the earliest "Prosperity Gospel Preachers".

John's brother, Charles Wesley wrote more than 6000 hymns to express the message of revival.

In 1795, the Methodist completely broke away from the Anglican Church (Church of England).

The Wesleyan Methodist Church grew rapidly to 450,000 members during the next century especially in the industrial areas, where they helped workers to endure economic hardship while they alleviated their poverty.

The Plymouth Brethren movement

In 1825, a group of Christians in Dublin, including Anthony Norris Groves, Edward Cronin, and John Gifford Bellett, began meeting regularly for prayer, Bible study, and fellowship, known as the Plymouth Brethren Movement.

In 1827, John Nelson Darby, a former Anglican clergyman, joined the Plymouth Brethren Movement. He argued that the Bible taught a pretribulational rapture, and he convinced many other Christians of this view. Darby's leadership and teachings attracted a growing number of followers, and the movement spread to England and other parts of the world.

In 1970, Hal Lindsey, an American Christian author and theologian published his book "The Late Great Planet Earth" which became a bestseller, selling over 30 million copies worldwide and introducing millions to the concept of a pretribulational rapture. His popularity helped to mainstream the pretribulational rapture view, making it a widely accepted belief among many Christians.

The Mormon movement

On 6 April 1830, the Mormon Church, also known as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (LDS), was founded in Fayette, Seneca County, New York, by Joseph Smith who claimed to have received a series of revelations from God, which is contained in new scriptures found in the Book of Mormon. The church quickly grew and spread throughout the United States, and it eventually established itself in other parts of the world as well.

In 1839, Smith and his followers were driven out of Missouri and eventually settled in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1844, Smith was killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. After Smith's death, the church split into several factions, and the largest of these factions, led by Brigham Young, eventually settled in Utah.

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over 16 million members worldwide.

Mormons differ from traditional Christians on:

  • Scriptures: Mormons include the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of the Prince which are not included in Christian Bibles.
  • Nature of God: Mormons believe that God is a physical being with a body.
  • Nature of Jesus: Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the human son of God.
  • Plan of salvation: Mormons believe that all people were spirit children of God before they were born on earth, and that they have the potential to become like God.
  • Role of the Church: Mormons believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on earth.
  • Mormon Practises: Baptism for the dead, temple sealing, and polygamy (which was banned in 1890).
  • Salvation: Mormons believe that people are saved through faith in Jesus Christ and by keeping the commandments of God.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church

In 1831, William Miller, a Baptist convert, predicted that the Second coming of Jesus Christ would occur in 1844 based on his interpretation of the Book of Daniel. However, when the Second coming of the Jesus Christ did not occur, the Great Disappointment led to a period of confusion and disarray among the Millerites. This caused Hiram Edson, Ellen and James White, Joseph Bates, and J. N. Andrews to study the Bible together, so that they came to a number of new understandings about the Bible:

  • The seventh-day Sabbath: They believe that the seventh-day Sabbath is a perpetual commandment from God, and that it should be observed as a day of rest and worship.
  • The second coming of Christ: They believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth a second time to establish his eternal kingdom. They teach that this event is imminent and that Christians should be prepared for it.
  • The state of the dead: They believe that the dead are unconscious until the resurrection, at which time they will be judged according to their works.
  • The sanctuary: They believe that the sanctuary in heaven is a literal place where Christ is ministering as our High Priest.
  • The investigative judgment: They believe that Christ is currently conducting an investigative judgment in heaven, determining who will be saved and who will be lost.

In 1863, this group officially organized into a new denomination, called the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today this denomination has grown to over 25 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

The New Apostolic Church

In 1863, the New Apostolic Church (NAC) was founded in Hamburg, Germany, by a group of Christians who split from the Catholic Apostolic Church.

The NAC believes that God is still raising up apostles and prophets today, and that these leaders have a unique authority in the church. The NAC also emphasizes the importance of the sacraments, including baptism, holy communion, and sealing.

The Convocation of Canterbury

In 1870, the Convocation of Canterbury, an assembly of the bishops and clergy of the Church of England, appointed more than 50 scholars to write the English Revised Version (ERV) because:

  • The last few centuries, significant advances were made in their understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
  • The English language has changed since the KJV Bible was written, thus they wanted to make the bible more accessible to modern readers.

The project was completed in 1885. This is significant because many modern Bible translations are based on this Bible translation which includes:

  • American Standard Version (ASV) (1901)
  • Revised Standard Version (RSV) (1946)
  • New American Standard Bible (NASB) (1971)
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) (1989)
  • English Standard Version (ESV) (2001)
  • New English Translation (NET) (2005)
  • New International Version (NIV) (2011)
  • World Messianic Bible (WMB) (2015)

Jehovah Witnesses

In 1872, the Jehovah Witnesses were found by Charles Taze Russell in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were originally known as the International Bible Students Association (IBSA). Russell publish a magazine called the Watch Tower, which contained his teachings on the Bible and caused the International Bible Students Association to grew rapidly. Today it is estimated that there are over 8 million Jehovah Witness members in 200 countries worldwide.

Russell originally believed that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1874, which like the Millerites, caused a huge disappointment among his followers. However, today the Jehovah Witnesses do not predict a date for Jesus' return.

In addition, Russel taught that:

  • Rejection of the Trinity: God is one person, Jehovah.
  • Christ's Nature: Russell believed that Jesus Christ was a created being, the firstborn son of God, and that Jesus was not equal to God the Father.
  • Ransom Sacrifice: Russell taught that Jesus Christ's death on the cross was not a sacrifice to appease God's anger, but rather a ransom sacrifice to pay off the debt of sin that humanity owed to God. This ransom sacrifice, according to Russell, made it possible for God to offer salvation to those who exercised faith in Jesus.
  • Conditional Immortality: Russell rejected the traditional Christian belief in the immortality of the soul. Instead, he taught that the human soul is mortal and that only those who are chosen by God will be resurrected to everlasting life.
  • Rejection of Traditional Observances: Russell rejected many traditional Christian observances, such as Christmas, Easter, and the celebration of birthdays. He considered these observances to be of pagan origin and not in harmony with biblical teachings.
  • Door-to-Door Evangelism: Russell emphasized the importance of door-to-door evangelism as a means of spreading the good news of God's Kingdom. This practice, which continues to be a hallmark of the Jehovah's Witnesses, has been met with criticism from some who view it as intrusive or disrespectful.
  • Governing Body Leadership: Russell established a central governing body to oversee the activities of the IBSA. This governing body, which continues to lead the Jehovah's Witnesses, has been criticized for its lack of transparency and its control over the organization's affairs.
  • Interpretation of Bible Prophecy: Jehovah witness interpret every bible prophecy very literally, for example they believe that only 144,000 people will be saved to live in heaven with Jesus Christ, while the remaining believers will live on Earth in the restored paradise.

Pentecostal Movement

In 1906, William J. Seymour, an African American minister, founded the first Pentecostal church, the Apostolic Faith Church of Azusa Street.

Their church was different from the traditional Protestant churches in the sense that they believed that baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers believers to speak in tongues, heal the sick, and perform other miracles.

The Pentecostal theology includes:

  • The Holy Spirit is a distinct person in the Godhead who empowers them to do miracles
  • Emphasis on direct or personal experience with God
  • Emphasis on evangelism: it's a duty to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others

Modern Messianic Movement

In 1881, Joseph Rabinovitz, a Russian Jew who converted to Christianity. Rabinovitz returned to Russia and founded the first Messianic congregation in Kishinev, Moldova, in 1887.

In 1908, Rabbi Hyman Aaron Cohen, a Russian Jew who immigrated to the United States, founded the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.

In 1948, the State of Israel was established. This leads to a renewed interest in Messianic Judaism among Jewish people.

In 1973, "Jews for Jesus", was founded by a Jewish man, Martin "Moishe" Rosen.

In 1998, Dr. David H. Stern translated the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) which contained paraphrased version of the Jewish Publication Society version of the Tanakh of 1917. His purpose was to restore God's Word to its original Jewish context and culture as well as be in easily read modern English, yet make the Bible more accessible to Jewish readers by using Hebrew and Yiddish expressions, and by translating the names of people and places in their Hebrew forms.

In 2009, the Institute for Scripture Research (ISR) in South Africa, published that latest version of "The Scriptures" Bible translation. It is a literal translation of the Bible in English, with a focus on restoring the original book order of the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) and the Name of the Most High (YHWH) throughout. The Hebrew source texts for the Scriptures include the Masoretic Text (MT) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Greek source texts for the Scriptures include the Textus Receptus (TR) and the Nestle-Aland (NA).

In 2013, created by Tov Rose, published the New Messianic Version Bible (NMV) with the purpose to make the KJV more accessible to modern readers without sacrificing accuracy or faithfulness to the original texts.

Today, there are an estimated 350,000 Messianic Jews worldwide.

It is important to note that the Messianic Movement is a diverse group, but commonly they believe Jesus is the Messiah.

The Old Apostolic Church

In 1921 Friedrich Wilhelm, a former member of the Catholic Apostolic Church, founded the Old Apostolic Church (OAC) in Germany. Ironically, the Old Apostolic Church is newer than the New Apostolic Church. The name "Old Apostolic Church" is meant to reflect the OAC's belief that it has preserved the apostolic teachings and practices more faithfully than other Christian denominations.

Schwartz denomination belief:

  • Exclusivity: The OAC believes that it is the only true church, and that salvation is only possible through membership in the OAC.
  • Sacraments: The OAC practices a number of sacraments, including baptism, communion, and holy matrimony. The church believes that these sacraments are essential for salvation.
  • Strict moral codes: The OAC has a number of strict social codes, dress codes and other moral codes, such as a prohibition on divorce, alcohol, tobacco, movies, dancing, and gambling.
  • Leadership structure: The OAC has a hierarchical leadership structure, with apostles and prophets at the top.

Today, the OAC has over 1 million members worldwide.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

On 9 July 1977, Bishop Edir Macedo, a former Catholic, founded the "Universal Church of the Kingdom of God" (UCKG) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Critics have accused the church of being a money-making operation that exploits the poor. They have also criticized Macedo's teachings on prosperity theology.

The UCKG teaches:

  • Emphasis on prosperity gospel: The UCKG teaches that Christians can achieve financial prosperity through prayer and faith (also known as "prosperity gospel").
  • Emphasis on tithing: The UCKG teaches that Christians are obligated to tithe, which means giving 10% of their income to the church. This is a higher tithe than is typically required by traditional Christian churches.
  • Control of the Holy Spirit: The UCKG believes that the Holy Spirit is a powerful force that can be used to heal people and solve problems.
  • Speaking of tongues: The UCKG encourages its members to speak in tongues.

Today, the UCKG has over 12 million members in more than 150 countries.

Please note that this article is still a work in progress and may contain errors.