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Major Events in Church History

Church history timeline - What are the major events?

The timeline in Church history of Christianity is clearly documented throughout the centuries of its existence. Church history began with the birth of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago and continues to be written. Each century of Church history can be researched thoroughly and personal testimonies studied to discover the struggles of a birthing faith.

The Church forms at the time of Pentecost in 33 C.E. (Christian Era after death of Christ). Rome burns and Nero blames the Christians in 64 C.E. persecuting them savagely, which is the first of many Roman persecutions. Nero uses Christians as human torches to illumine his gardens at night during banquets. By 70 C.E., the Jews revolt against Rome and Jerusalem falls while fifteen years later Christianity splits from Judaism.

The second and third centuries brought about more severe persecutions of the Church. The fourth century entered with Constantine envisioning the Christ as conqueror and fights many battles to win religious freedoms in 312. Constantine and Licinius decree tolerance for religions in 313 C.E. This allowed for writings to be published and documented concerning the Church history struggle.

By the first of the fifth century, the last of the Roman legions leave Britain. St. Jerome dies after translating the Bible into Latin from Hebrew in A.D 420, Patrick returned to Ireland spreading the Gospel to the paganism Celtic land in 432. The Anglo Saxons invade England from Germany. By the end of this century of Church history, Clovis of France is baptized with 3,000 warriors, setting France as a Christian nation.

In the sixth century, the Benedictine order was founded in 529 C.E. preserving much of the Church's historical documents up to that time. Dionysius Exigius employs the terminology "year of the Lord" Anno Domini in his calendar of the Christian era. Columba traveled from Ireland to Iona in A.D. 563, establishing a mission that converts much of England and Scotland. Mohammed is born in A.D. 570 and becomes the founder of Islam.

Christianity spreads throughout the regions amidst persecutions from reigning establishments, whether it was Protestant Kings or Catholic monarchies. After the discovery and battles over America, people fled the religious intolerances of Europe to the haven of a new and freer country. The sixteenth century ushered in the Reformation with Martin Luther, when he nailed 95 written statements about the abuses of paying for penitence of sins to the church. John Calvin took up the Reformation crusade that justification came by faith and not from how much was paid to an establishment. The King James Bible is translated into English by 1611, eighty-five years after the Tyndale New Testament was published in English in 1526.

At the end of the 1700's, the Wesley brothers, John and Charles led a reform moving away from England's Anglican Church holding large revivals in farm pastures. They sailed in ships to America bringing their reformed message with them. This led to the basic foundation for many of the predominant denominations in America today. Revival spread throughout several countries from the years 1850 to 1930s. America saw the rise of many evangelists fervently preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Y.M.C.A in the United States. The Welsh Revival in Wales lasted a few years with far reaching effects into England and North America.

Through documented Church history, we can see the struggles of its fledgling existence. We see the numerous attempts to stop the advancement of the Church at the price of its followers. But the glory of the Church sits upon Christ Jesus. God has always had a people who recognized Him and He still has a people who continue in their faith to serve Him.