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The editors at Online Christian Colleges decided to research the topic of A Timeline of Christianity.
A Timeline of Christianity
- FACTOID: The life of Jesus is best described in the Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, while his teachings are presented by all the writers of the New Testament of the Bible.
- 42: Number of generations from Abraham to Jesus
- 4 BC: Jesus is born.
- 27: Jesus begins his ministry
- Only two miracles appear in all four Gospels - Jesus' own Resurrection, the greatest miracle of them all; and the feeding of the 5000 through the multiplication of the loaves, found in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14
- 30: The crucifixion of Jesus
- ...and then...the Pentecost turned a shell shocked and somewhat ragtag group of about 120 believers into warriors for Christ
- 46: The three missionary journeys of Paul (which combined, were over 6,000 miles in length!) spread the word of Christianity throughout the Greco Roman world. The journeys occurred over an 11-year period (c. 46 A.D. - 57 A.D.), and included most of what is modern Turkey, Greece, Rhodes, and Cyprus.
- 50: The first Church Council in the history of Christianity occurred c. 50 A.D. in Jerusalem. It is described in the first half of the 15th chapter of Acts.
- Around 202: Gnosticism is rejected. While Gnosticism claimed to be Christian, it was heavily influenced by other religions such as Zoarasterism. The battles of the pen between the early Gnostics and the Early Church Fathers was a battle over the very definition of Christianity itself. The Gnostic heresy forced the Early Christian Fathers to formalize what they really believed in and how one would define basic Christian precepts.
- 313: Edict of Milan establishes official toleration of Christianity.
- 380: Christianity made official religion of Roman Empire.
- St. Augustine of Hippo (354 A.D. - 430 A.D.), the greatest theologian of the early church, would capsulize the basic tenets of Christianity in the late 4th century.
Early Modern Christianity
- 1517: Luther posts 95 Theses
- 1609: Baptist Church founded by John Smyth
- 1611: King James (Authorized) Version of the Bible produced
- FACT: Shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35, "Jesus wept."
- 1729: Beginnings of Methodism, led by John Wesley
- 1814: Reorganization of the Jesuits
- 1869: First Vatican Council
- 1870: Dogma of Papal Infallibility
- 1948: World Council of Churches founded
- 1950: Mother Teresa founds Missionaries of Charity
- 1978: First woman ordained in an apostolic-succession church (the Protestant Episcopal church)
- 1978: Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was the head of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 to 2005.
- 2013: On March 13, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, took the name Pope Francis, becoming the first Pope from the Americas.
Contributing to the expansion of Christianity in the modern age
- 1. 1600: the number of Megachurches worldwide. Megachurches refer to any Protestant congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services. The phenomenon began in the 1970s.
- A survey of American Megachurches in 2011 described themselves thusly:
- Evangelical 71%
- Pentecostal 8%
- Charismatic 5%
- Seeker 5%
- Missional 4%
- Moderate 4%
- Fundamentalist 1%
- Other 1%
- 2. Televangelists
- a. Billy Graham
- b. Oral Roberts
- c. Jerry Falwell
- d. Joel Osteen
- e. Pat Robertson, The Christian Broadcasting Network
- f. Trinity Television
- g. The Catholic Network
- 3. Christian Publishing: 6 million books about Christianity are in print today
- 4. Christian music: nearly 50 million CDs, digital downloads, sold on average annually
By the numbers:
- 600 million: number of Christians around the world in 1910
- 2.2 billion: number of Christians today
- 32 percent: portion of the world's population that is Christian today
- 35 percent: portion of the world's population that was Christian 100 years ago.
- 1. About half of all Christians are Catholic
- 2. 37 percent are Protestants
- 3. 12 percent are Orthodox Christians
- 4. Others, including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses make up the remaining 1 percent.
- FACT: Though Christianity began in the Middle East-North Africa, today that region has both the lowest concentration of Christians (about 4% of the region's population) and the smallest number of Christians (about 13 million) of any major geographic region.
Did You Know?
- 1. Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, is home to more Christians than all 20 countries in the Middle East-North Africa region combined.
- 2. Nigeria now has more than twice as many Protestants (broadly defined to include Anglicans and independent churches) as Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation.
- 3. Brazil has more than twice as many Catholics as Italy.
- 4. Although Christians comprise just under a third of the world's people, they form a majority of the population in 158 countries and territories, about two-thirds of all the countries and territories in the world.
- 5. About 90% of Christians live in countries where Christians are in the majority; only about 10% of Christians worldwide live as minorities.
- 6. More than a third of Christians worldwide (37%) live in the Americas, where nearly nine-in-ten people (86%) are Christian.
- 7. The three countries with the largest Christian populations - the United States, Brazil and Mexico - are in the Americas. Together, these three countries alone account for nearly one in every four Christians in the world (24%), about the same proportion as the whole of Europe (26%) and all of sub-Saharan Africa (24%).
- 8. Although Christians make up a smaller portion of the 2010 population in the Americas (86%) than they did in 1910 (96%), the Americas account for a higher share of the world's Christians (37%, up from 27% in 1910).6
Christian Population by Region 100 years ago, Then vs. now
- 1910: 165.9 million: estimated population, the Americas, 95,9 percent of population, 1910
- 2010: 804 million, 86 percent of population in the Americas, 2010
- Fact: 133 million Americans: or just under half the total U.S. population, are Christians, according to the most recent Statistical Abstract published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
- 405.8 million: estimated population in Europe, 94.5 percent of total population, 1910
- 565.5 million: estimated number of Christians in Europe, 2010, 76.2 percent of pop.
- 8.6 million, sub-Saharan Africa, 9.1 percent of population 1910
- 516.4 million, sub-Saharan Africa, 62.7 percent of pop 2010
- 27.5 million: Asia-Pacific, 2.7 percent of population 1910
- 185.1 million, Asia Pacific, 7.1 percent, 2010
- 4 million: Middle East, north Africa, .7 percent, 1910
- 12.8 million, Middle East-north Africa, 3.8 percent, 2010
Christians by Movement (today)
- Pentecostal: 279 million, 12.8 percent of world Christian population
- Charismatic: 305 million, 14 percent
- Pentecostal and Charismatic together: 584 million, 26 percent
- Evangelical: 285 million, 13 percent
- 6 million: approximate number of Bibles in print
- 788,258: Total words in the King James Bible
- 1,600: Years it took to write the Bible
- 66: Total books in the King James Bible
- 266: Number of Popes since St. Peter (33 AD)