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The purpose of this timeline is to give a detailed account of Christianity from the beginning of the current era (AD) to the present. Question marks ('?') on dates indicate approximate dates.
The year one is the first year in the Christian calendar (there is no year zero), which is the calendar presently used (in unison with the Gregorian calendar) almost everywhere in the world. Traditionally, this was held to be the year Jesus was born; however, most modern scholars argue for an earlier or later date, the most agreed upon being between 6 BC and 4 BC.
Jesus begins his ministry after his baptism by John and during the rule of Pilate, preaching: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 4:12–17 ). While the historicity of the gospel accounts is questioned to some extent by some critical scholars and non-Christians, the traditional view states the following chronology for his ministry: Temptation, Sermon on the Mount, Appointment of the Twelve, Miracles, Temple Money Changers, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Passion, Crucifixion on Nisan 14th (John 19:14 , Mark 14:2 , Gospel of Peter) or Nisan 15th (Synoptic Gospels), entombment by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Resurrection by God and Resurrection appearances of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and other women (Mark 16:9 , John 20:10–18 ), Simon Peter (Luke 24:34 ), and others, (1Cor.15:3–9 ), Great Commission, Ascension, Second Coming Prophecy to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and establishment of the Kingdom of God and the Messianic Age.
This article's factual accuracy is disputed .(March 2019)
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Nisan 14 or 15), the Jerusalem church is founded as the first Christian church with about 120 Jews and Jewish Proselytes (Acts 1:15), followed by Pentecost (Sivan 6), the Ananias and Sapphira incident, Pharisee Gamaliel's defense of the Apostles (5:34–39), the stoning of Saint Stephen (see also Persecution of Christians) and the subsequent dispersion of the Apostles (7:54–8:8, also Mark 16:20) which leads to the baptism of Simon Magus in Samaria (8:9–24), and also an Ethiopian eunuch (8:26–40). Paul's "Road to Damascus" conversion to "Apostle to the Gentiles" is first recorded in 9:13–16, cf. Gal 1:11–24. Peter baptizes the Roman Centurion Cornelius, who is traditionally considered the first Gentile convert to Christianity (10). The Antioch church is founded, where the term Christian was first used (11:26).
Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 to unify Christology, also called the first great Christian council by Jerome, the first ecumenical, decreed the Original Nicene Creed, but rejected by Nontrinitarians such as Arius, Theonas, Secundus of Ptolemais, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Theognis of Nicaea who were excommunicated, also addressed Easter controversy and passed 20 Canon laws such as Canon VII which granted special recognition to Jerusalem.
Arianism is a Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius, a Christian presbyter who preached and studied in Alexandria, Egypt. Arian theology holds that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was begotten by God the Father with the difference that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten/made before "time" by God the Father; therefore, Jesus was not coeternal with God the Father, but nonetheless Jesus began to exist outside time as time applies only to the creations of God.
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is considered by some Christian denominations to be 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. Those of the Anglican, Church of the East, Eastern Orthodox, Hussite, Moravian, Old Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession". These traditions do not always consider the episcopal consecrations of all of the other traditions as valid.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
Ecumenism – also called interdenominationalism, transdenominationalism, or ecumenicalism – is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation and union among Christian denominations and churches.
In ecclesiology, the Christian Church is what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christians or the original institution established by Jesus. "Christian Church" has also been used in academia as a synonym for Christianity, despite the fact that it is composed of multiple churches or denominations, many of which hold a doctrinal claim of being the "one true church", to the exclusion of the others.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity that comprises all church congregations of the same kind, identifiable by traits such as a name, particular history, organization, leadership, theological doctrine, worship style and, sometimes, a founder. It is a secular and neutral term, generally used to denote any established Christian church. Unlike a cult or sect, a denomination is usually seen as part of the Christian religious mainstream. Most Christian denominations refer to themselves as churches, whereas some newer ones tend to interchangeably use the terms churches, assemblies, fellowships, etc. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, biblical hermeneutics, theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
Catholicity is a concept of pertaining to beliefs and practices that are widely accepted by numerous Christian denominations, most notably by those Christian denominations that describe themselves as catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed formulated at the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." The English adjective catholic is derived from the Ancient Greek adjective καθολικός, meaning "general", "universal". Thus, "catholic" means that in the Church the wholeness of the Christian faith, full and complete, all-embracing, and with nothing lacking, is proclaimed to all people without excluding any part of the faith or any class or group of people. An early definition for what is "catholic" was summarized in what is known as the Vincentian Canon in the 5th century Commonitory: "what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all."
More than 70% of the population of Botswana is Christian. Most are members of the Anglican, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and African independent churches. Anglicans are part of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. The Roman Catholic Church includes about 5% of the nation's population.
The doctrine of the Trinity, considered the core of Christian theology by Trinitarians, is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the biblical data, thrashed out in debate and treatises, eventually formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 in a way they believe is consistent with the biblical witness, and further refined in later councils and writings. The most widely recognized Biblical foundations for the doctrine's formulation are in the Gospel of John, which possess ideas that originate in Platonism and Greek philosophy.
The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, describes four distinctive adjectives of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Nicene Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. All of the seven councils were convened in what is now the country of Turkey.
In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist refers to people prophesied by the Bible to oppose Jesus Christ and substitute themselves in Christ's place before the Second Coming. The term Antichrist is found four times in the New Testament, solely in the First and Second Epistle of John. The Antichrist is announced as the one "who denies the Father and the Son."
Christianity in the 4th century was dominated in its early stage by Constantine the Great and the First Council of Nicaea of 325, which was the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787), and in its late stage by the Edict of Thessalonica of 380, which made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire.
In the 5th century in Christianity, there were many developments which led to further fracturing of the State church of the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius II called two synods in Ephesus, one in 431 and one in 449, that addressed the teachings of Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius and similar teachings. Nestorius had taught that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons, and hence Mary was the mother of Christ but not the mother of God. The Council rejected Nestorius' view causing many churches, centered on the School of Edessa, to a Nestorian break with the imperial church. Persecuted within the Roman Empire, many Nestorians fled to Persia and joined the Sassanid Church thereby making it a center of Nestorianism. By the end of the 5th century, the global Christian population was estimated at 10-11 million. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon was held to clarify the issue further. The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches, that is today known as Oriental Orthodoxy. In spite of these schisms, however, the imperial church still came to represent the majority of Christians within the Roman Empire.
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 following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christianity:
Christianity in late antiquity traces Christianity during the Christian Roman Empire — the period from the rise of Christianity under Emperor Constantine, until the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The end-date of this period varies because the transition to the sub-Roman period occurred gradually and at different times in different areas. One may generally date late ancient Christianity as lasting to the late 6th century and the re-conquests under Justinian of the Byzantine Empire, though a more traditional end-date is 476, the year in which Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus, traditionally considered the last western emperor.
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