Christianity in the 18th century is marked by the First Great Awakening in the Americas, along with the expansion of the Spanish and Portuguese empires around the world, which helped to spread Catholicism.
Historian Sydney E. Ahlstrom identified a "great international Protestant upheaval" that created Pietism in Germany and Scandinavia, the Evangelical Revival, and Methodism in England, And the First Great Awakening in the American colonies.This powerful grass-roots evangelical movement shifted the emphasis from formality to inner piety. In Germany it was partly a continuation of mysticism that had emerged in the Reformation era. The leader was Philipp Spener (1635-1705), They downplayed theological discourse and believed that all ministers should have a conversion experience; they wanted the laity to participate more actively in church affairs. Pietists emphasized the importance of Bible reading. August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) was another important leader who made the University of Halle the intellectual center. Pietism was strongest in the Lutheran churches, and also had a presence in the Dutch Reformed church. In Germany, however, reformed Reformed Church's work closely under the control of the government, which distrusted Pietism. Likewise in Sweden, the Lutheran Church of Sweden was so legalistic and intellectually oriented, that it brushed aside pietistic demands for change. Pietism continues to have its influence on European Protestantism, and extended its reach through missionary work across the world.
The same movement toward individual piety was called evangelicalism in Britain and its colonies.The most important leaders included Methodists John Wesley, George Whitefield and hymn writer Charles Wesley. Movements occurred inside the established state churches, but there was also a centripetal force that led to partial independence, as in the case of the Methodist and Wesleyan revivals.
The First Great Awakening was a wave of religious enthusiasm among Protestants that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. Jonathan Edwards, perhaps most powerful intellectual in colonial America, was a key leader. George Whitefield came over from England and made many converts. The Great Awakening emphasized the traditional Reformed virtues of Godly preaching, rudimentary liturgy, and a deep sense of personal guilt and redemption by Christ Jesus. It resulted from powerful preaching that deeply affected listeners with a deep sense of personal guilt and salvation by Christ. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made religion personal to the average person.
It had a major impact in reshaping the Congregational, Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, and German Reformed denominations, and it strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist denominations. It brought Christianity to the slaves and was an apocalyptic event in New England that challenged established authority. It incited rancor and division between the new revivalists and the old traditionalists who insisted on ritual and doctrine. It had little impact on Anglicans and Quakers.
Unlike the Second Great Awakening that began about 1800 and which reached out to the unchurched, the First Great Awakening focused on people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety, and their self-awareness. The new style of sermons and the way people practiced their faith breathed new life into religion in America. People became passionately and emotionally involved in their religion, rather than passively listening to intellectual discourse in a detached manner. Ministers who used this new style of preaching were generally called "new lights", while the preachers of old were called "old lights". People began to study the Bible at home, which effectively decentralized the means of informing the public on religious manners and was akin to the individualistic trends present in Europe during the Protestant Reformation.
Across Europe the Catholic Church was in a weak position. In the major countries, it was largely controlled by the government. The Jesuits were dissolved in Europe. Intellectually, the Enlightenment attacked and ridiculed Catholic Church, and the aristocracy was given very little support. In the Austrian Empire, the population was a heavily Catholic one, but the government seized control of all the Church lands. The peasant classes continue to be devout, but they had no voice. The French Revolution of the 1790s had a devastating impact in France, essentially shutting down the Catholic Church, seizing and selling its properties, closing its monasteries and schools and exiling most of its leaders.
Throughout the inculturation controversy, the very existence of Jesuits were under attack in Portugal, Spain, France, and the Kingdom of Sicily. The inculturation controversy and the Jesuit support for the native Indians in South America added fuel to growing criticism of the order, which seemed to symbolize the strength and independence of the Church. Defending the rights of native peoples in South America, hindered the efforts of European powers, especially Spain and Portugal to maintain absolute rule over their domains.Portugal's Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal was the main enemy of the Jesuits. Pope Clement XIII attempted to keep the Jesuits in existence without any changes: Sint ut sunt aut not sint ("Leave them as they are or not at all.") In 1773, European rulers united to force Pope Clement XIV to dissolve the order officially, although some chapters continued to operate. Pius VII restored the Jesuits in the 1814 papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Matters grew still worse with the violent anti-clericalism of the French Revolution. priests were exiled and hundreds more were killed.Direct attacks on the wealth of the Catholic Church and associated grievances led to the wholesale nationalisation of church property and attempts to establish a state-run church. Large numbers of priests refused to take an oath of compliance to the National Assembly, leading to the Catholic Church being outlawed and replaced by a new religion of the worship of "Reason" along with a new French Republican Calendar. In this period, all monasteries were destroyed, 30,000
When Pope Pius VI sided against the revolution in the First Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy. The 82-year-old pope was taken prisoner to France in February 1799 and died in Valence August 29, 1799 after six months of captivity. To win popular support for his rule, Napoleon re-established the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801.All over Europe, the end of the Napoleonic wars signaled by the Congress of Vienna, brought Catholic revival, and renewed enthusiasm and respect for the papacy following the depredations of the previous era.
The expansion of the Roman Catholic Portuguese Empire and Spanish Empire with a significant role played by the Roman Catholic Church led to the Christianization of the indigenous peoples of the Americas such as the Aztecs and Incas.
In the Americas, the Roman Catholic Church expanded its missions but, until the 19th century, had to work under the Spain and Portuguese governments and military.Junípero Serra, the Franciscan priest in charge of this effort, founded a series of missions which became important economic, political, and religious institutions.
The bull of Pope Benedict XIV Ex Quo Singulari from July 11, 1742, repeated verbatim the bull of Clement XI and stressed the purity of Christian teachings and traditions, which must be upheld against all heresies. Chinese missionaries were forbidden to take part in honors paid to ancestors, to Confucius, or to the emperors. This bull virtually destroyed the Jesuit goal to Christianize the influential upper classes in China.The Vatican policy was the death of the missions in China. Afterwards the Roman Catholic Church experienced missionary setbacks, and in 1721 the Chinese Rites controversy led the Kangxi Emperor to outlaw Christian missions. The Chinese emperor felt duped and refused to permit any alteration of the existing Christian practices. He told the visiting papal delegate: "You destroyed your religion. You put in misery all Europeans living here in China."
In contrast to most other nation, Catholicism was introduced into Korea in 1784 by Koreans themselves without assistance of foreign missionaries.Some Silhak scholars devoted themselves to an intensive study of various philosophical and scientific texts written by Chinese and European scholars. Among those texts was Catholic theological books published in China by Jesuit. They believed Catholicism complements what was lacking in Confucianism. These noble intellectuals became the first Christians in Korea. Yi Seung-hun, the first Korean who was christened Peter in Beijing, on his return from China on September 1784, and formed a Christian community. The Christian community developed rapidly thanks to their ardent dedication to the mission. They translated books on Catholicism from Chinese into Korean for Koreans and constantly appealed to the Holy See to send priests for Korean people. As a result, Pope Leo XII established the Korea Apostolic Vicariate and to delegate the missionary work to the Paris Foreign Missions Society in 1828. Since then French missionaries came to Korea secretly. In 1846, Andrew Kim Taegon was ordained and became the first Korean priest.
In 1721, Tsar Peter I abolished completely the patriarchate and so the Russian Orthodox Church effectively became a department of the government, ruled by a Most Holy Synod composed of senior bishops and lay bureaucrats appointed by the Tsar.
This timeline of Christian missions chronicles the global expansion of Christianity through a listing of the most significant missionary outreach events.
The practice of Christianity in Korea revolves around two of its largest branches, Protestantism and Catholicism, accounting for 8.6 million and 5.3 million members, respectively. Catholicism was first introduced during the late Joseon Dynasty period by Confucian scholars who encountered it in China. In 1603, Yi Gwang-jeong, Korean diplomat, returned from Beijing carrying several theological books written by Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit missionary to China. He began disseminating the information in the books, and the first seeds of Christianity were sown. In 1758, King Yeongjo of Joseon officially outlawed Catholicism as an "evil practice." Catholicism was again introduced in 1785 by Yi Seung-hun and since then French and Chinese Catholic priests were invited by the Korean Christians.
In Christianity, inculturation is the adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to other, mostly non-Christian, cultures and, in turn, the influence of those cultures on the evolution of these teachings. This is a term that is generally used by Catholics, the World Council of Churches and some Protestants; other Protestants prefer to use the term "contextual theology".
Christianity in China appeared in the 7th century, during the Tang dynasty, but did not take root until it was reintroduced in the 16th century by Jesuit missionaries. Today, it comprises Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its history in China is not as ancient as Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism or Confucianism, Christianity, through various ways, has been present in China since at least the 7th century and has gained significant influence during the last 200 years. The number of Chinese Christians has increased significantly since the easing of restrictions on religious activity during economic reforms in the late 1970s; Christians were four million before 1949.
The Catholic Church in China has a long and complicated history. Christianity has existed in China in various forms since at least the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century AD. Following the 1949 takeover by the Communist Party of China, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant missionaries were expelled from the country, and the religion was vilified as a manifestation of western imperialism. In 1957, the Chinese government established the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which rejects the authority of the Holy See and appoints its own bishops. Since September 2018, however, the Papacy has the power to veto any Bishop which the Chinese government recommends.
Protestant Christianity entered China in the early 19th century, taking root in a significant way during the Qing dynasty. Some historians consider the Taiping Rebellion to have been influenced by Protestant teachings. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an increase in the number of Christian practitioners in China. According to a survey published in 2010 there are approximately 40 million Protestants in China.
Protestantism originated from the Protestation at Speyer in 1529, where the nobility protested against enforcement of the Edict of Worms which subjected advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all of their property. However, the theological underpinnings go back much further, as Protestant theologians of the time cited both Church Fathers and the Apostles to justify their choices and formulations. The earliest origin of Protestantism is controversial; with some Protestants today claiming origin back to groups in the early church deemed heretical such as the Montanists.
The Catholic Church in South Korea is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. At the end of 2017, it had 5,813,770 members with 5,360 priests and 1,734 parishes.
The Catholic Church in North Korea is not officially part of the worldwide Catholic Church or under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. It allegedly does not belong to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church during the Age of Discovery inaugurated a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other indigenous people by any means necessary. The evangelical effort was a major part of, and a justification for the military conquests of European powers such as Portugal, Spain and France. Christian Missions to the indigenous peoples ran hand-in-hand with the colonial efforts of Catholic nations. In the Americas and other colonies in Asia and Africa, most missions were run by religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits. In Mexico the early systematic evangelization by mendicants came to be known as the "Spiritual Conquest of Mexico."
Christianity in Myanmar has a history dating to the early 18th century. According to the 2014 census, Christianity is the country's second largest religion, practiced by 6.2% of the population, primarily among the Kachin, Chin and Kayin, and Eurasians because of missionary work in their respective areas. About four-fifths of the country’s Christians are Protestants, in particular Baptists of the Myanmar Baptist Convention; Roman Catholics make up the remainder.
Missionary work of the Catholic Church has often been undertaken outside the geographically defined parishes and dioceses by religious orders who have people and material resources to spare, and some of which specialized in missions. Eventually, parishes and dioceses would be organized worldwide, often after an intermediate phase as an apostolic prefecture or apostolic vicariate. Catholic mission has predominantly been carried out by the Latin Church in practice.
According to the Catholic tradition, the history of the Catholic Church begins with Jesus Christ and his teachings and the Catholic Church is a continuation of the early Christian community established by the Disciples of Jesus. The Church considers its bishops to be the successors to Jesus's apostles and the Church's leader, the Bishop of Rome to be the sole successor to Saint Peter, who ministered in Rome in the first century AD, after his appointment by Jesus as head of the church. By the end of the 2nd century, bishops began congregating in regional synods to resolve doctrinal and policy issues. By the 3rd century, the bishop of Rome began to act as a court of appeals for problems that other bishops could not resolve.
The 15th century is part of the High Middle Ages, the period from the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 to the close of the 15th century, which saw the fall of Constantinople (1453), the end of the Hundred Years War (1453), the discovery of the New World (1492), and thereafter the Protestant Reformation (1515). It also marked the later years of scholasticism
In 16th-century Christianity, Protestantism came to the forefront and marked a significant change in the Christian world.
17th-century Missionary activity in Asia and the Americas grew strongly, put down roots, and developed its institutions, though it met with strong resistance in Japan in particular. At the same time Christian colonization of some areas outside Europe succeeded, driven by economic as well as religious reasons. Christian traders were heavily involved in the Atlantic slave trade, which had the effect of transporting Africans into Christian communities. A land war between Christianity and Islam continued, in the form of the campaigns of the Habsburg Empire and Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, a turning point coming at Vienna in 1683. The Tsardom of Russia, where Orthodox Christianity was the established religion, expanded eastwards into Siberia and Central Asia, regions of Islamic and shamanistic beliefs, and also southwest into the Ukraine, where the Uniate Eastern Catholic Churches arose.
Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches. Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. It strongly emphasized personal piety. In Europe there was a general move away from religious observance and belief in Christian teachings and a move towards secularism. In Protestantism, pietistic revivals were common.
Christianity in the 20th century was characterized by an accelerating secularization of Western society, which had begun in the 19th century, and by the spread of Christianity to non-Western regions of the world.
The history of modern Christianity concerns the Christian religion from the end of the early modern period to the present day. The Early Modern history of Christianity is usually taken to begin with the Protestant Reformation c. 1517–1525 and ending in the late 18th century with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the events leading up to the French Revolution of 1789. This article only covers 1720 to the current date. For the early modern period, see the articles on the Protestant Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and the Catholic Church and the Age of Discovery.
Christianity and colonialism are often closely associated because Catholicism and Protestantism were the religions of the European colonial powers and acted in many ways as the "religious arm" of those powers. According to Edward Andrews, Christian missionaries were initially portrayed as "visible saints, exemplars of ideal piety in a sea of persistent savagery". However, by the time the colonial era drew to a close in the last half of the twentieth century, missionaries became viewed as "ideological shock troops for colonial invasion whose zealotry blinded them", colonialism's "agent, scribe and moral alibi."