This is a synopsis of Church History.
This historical review will be a great
valuable resource, to those who are interested in
major people and events that have shaped the history
of the Christian Church.
This two thousand year period is both
enlightening and challenging.
At the time of the death of Paul
and the other Apostles, the Church entered a time
of great persecution.
On July 19th, 64 A.D. Rome burned
for seven days and was totally destroyed by fire.
Nero deflected the blame from himself upon the Christians
and many of them were martyred. Their bodies lined
the Roman roads as human torches. They were dressed
in animal skins to be mauled and killed by ferocious
In Jerusalem, the Jews openly rebelled
against Rome. Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple
was burned and thousands of Jews were crucified and
killed. Over six thousand Roman Soldiers were killed.
The Roman Emperor Titus, finally declared complete
victory over Jerusalem. Josephus the Jewish Historian
records more historical information about these events.
Over the next two thousand years,
God raised up some phenomenal men and woman who would
play a vital role in Church History, namely:
As a young Philosopher he accepted
Christ and studied the teachings of Paul. He was one
of the first Apologists, defending the Gospel and
traveling extensively contending for the Christian
Faith. In 165 on one of his trips to Rome, he was
arrested and beheaded with six other Christians.
From that time he was referred to
as Justin Martyr.
Polycarp became the Bishop of the
Church of Smyrna in 116. He had been a student of
the Apostle John. While the Christians were quietly
and secretly worshiping in homes, they were being
hunted down, to be put to death in the Arena. Polycarp
was arrested and the Procunsul pleaded with him to
recant his faith in Christ so that he could be released.
Polycarp stood firm and said;
"Eighty-six years have I served
Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme
my King who has saved me?"
He was tied to a stake and burned
alive as a martyr in 156.
He was born in 125 and was a pupil
of Polycarp. He became Bishop of Lyons in 177. Many
heresies arose in the Church including one called
Gnosticism. He became a defender of the faith and
wrote great apologetic writings. He set forth a standard
for the Churches Theology by writing a study titled
"Against Heresies." This dealt a deadly blow to Gnosticism.
In his writings he quotes scriptures from most of
the New Testament Books as we know them today.
He was born in Carthage and studied
literary classics, speech making and the law. In 196
he applied his great intellectual abilities to writing
Christian Books. In his writings there are over 1800
quotations from the original manuscripts of the New
He was born in 185 to wonderful Christian
Parents. His Father Leonidas, suffered Martyrdom in
201. At eighteen years of age he became President
of a Christian Bible School and embarked on a career
of studying, teaching and writing. He was a prolific
writer and with the help of seven secretaries, produced
over 2000 books and commentaries. Over two thirds
of the New Testament can be found quoted in his writings.
He accepted the Authenticity and Divine Inspiration, of all of the 27 New Testament Books as
we know them today. He was arrested, persecuted and
died of poor health in 251.
Was born in 264 and became the Bishop
of the Church in Caesarea. It was during the time
of the Diocletian Persecution, that Bibles were confiscated
and burned in public places. It became Rome's mission
to blot out Christianity. He became King Constantine's
chief religious advisor. He ordered Eusebius to constitute
and prepare 50 Bibles.
He was born in 200 and was a wealthy
man. He testified of being born again, became a teacher
and an eloquent speaker, rising quickly through the
ranks of the Church. In 248, he became the Bishop
of the Church at Carthage. He worked to bring about
he unity of the Church. Cyprian was beheaded under
the persecution of Emperor Valerian in 258.
The conversion, of Constantine.
In 306 Constantine was proclaimed,
Ruler of Rome by his loyal soldiers. He claimed to
have seen a cross of light in the sky during his most
decisive battle, which he won. In 324 he attained
sovereign power and immediately the Church prospered.
He shaped the church taking an active interest in
the Christian Faith.
He called an empire-wide Council at
the city of Nicea where major theological issues were
debated and a creed established.
During his reign, the Church experienced
great growth throughout the world.
He was converted in 387 and became
Bishop of a North African city called Hippo in 391.
He challenged heresies with hundreds of letters and
In 398 he was appointed Bishop of
the Church in Constantinople. Because of his strong
preaching against sin he was exiled and died in 407.
In 385 he moved to Bethlehem in Israel,
where he began translating the Bible into Latin, from
the original Hebrew language and produced the "Vulgate"
After studying in a Monastery in France,
he went to Ireland in 432. So successful was his Ministry
there, that he established over 300 churches and baptized
over 120,000 people. He died in 460.
He was born in 521. In 563 with twelve
companions, he sailed and set feet in Scotland. They
successfully evangelized Scotland and Northern England.
From there Evangelists were sent throughout Europe.
The dark ages of the Christian Church.
From about the 5th century, major
apostasy crept into the Church. A spiritual
darkness settled and continued until the 13th century.
Many false teachers arose causing confusion and those
who apposed it, were greatly persecuted. During this
time few people but Priests and Monks possessed Bibles.
He studied and graduated from Oxford
University. He was a leading scholar of his time and
respected for his wisdom.
In 1377 his writings were banned and
He translated the first complete
He believed that everyone was entitled
to read the Bible in their own language. He initiated
the Bible translating period.
Other Bible translators followed such
William Tyndale and Coverdale.
John Wycliffe died in 1384.
In 1401 he was ordained as a Priest
and continued teaching and preaching. He became popular
with the peolple and the Queen, but the Religious
Leaders apposed him.
In 1415 he was condemned and executed.
He invented the first printing
press and was able to print over 200 copies of
the Vulgate at a fraction of the cost. He started
a printing revolution. By 1483 every major European
Country, had its own printing press, to print spiritual
books and Bibles. They became easily available to
everyone. This started a spiritual revival that spread
across the known world.
The 15th century saw the Renaissance
of Christianity flourishing. His preaching was dynamic
and crowds flocked to hear him. He apposed the Pope
and was excommunicated in 1497.
He was later burned at the stake.
The Church was rife with corruption
and the sale of indulgences.
Indulgences, was the payment of money
for forgiveness of sin.
In 1515 Martin Luther began teaching
He continuously pondered the teachings
of the Apostle Paul.
He spoke out against corruption and
the selling of indulgences.
He nailed his 95-point thesis to the
door of the church in Wittenburg.
In 1520, he was condemned by the Pope,
excommunicated from the Church and his writings banned.
His brave and righteous leadership
attracted a following of thousands of people.
In 1519 he became Pastor of a Church
in Zurich, Switzerland.
In 1529 he came together with Martin
They agreed on 14 doctrinal issues.
His preaching was evangelistic and very successful.
His reform took hold in Switzerland.
A group of Christians wanted the Church
to return to the 1st century type of church. They
baptized each other and after that were called the
Anabaptists. Many of them were martyred by fire or
In 1533 he was converted. He pastored
a church at St Pierre.
His writings contained the teachings
of Predestination, Election, the Sovereignty of God
and received much attention. It led to his teachings
being called or labeled
He created a church order based on
He became one of Calvin's most ardent
students. In 1559 he wrote many more teachings and
in 1560 the Scottish Parliament adopted a Calvinistic
Profession of Faith. He gave strong leadership and
direction to the Presbyterian faith. He continued
preaching from his church pulpit in St. Giles, Edinburgh.
The King James Bible.
In 1607 King James ordered 54 scholars
in groups of 7 or 8 to translate a New Bible. It was
completed and published in 1611 and is one of the
most accurate Bible versions ever translated, until
A Pastor called Isaac Watt's decided
that his people needed new Christian Songs to sing.
In 1709 he published "Hymns and Spiritual Songs."
Other collections followed including hymns like "When
I survey the Wondrous Cross." His more than 600 Hymns
have had an amazing effect upon the Church.
The Moravian Awakening.
On August 13th, 1727, the Moravian
Brethren were meeting after a time of confession of
sin, prayer and Bible study. There services experienced
a mighty Holy Spirit visitation and this experience
lasted in the Church for over 100 years. Many thousands
were saved and many launched out in Missionary activities
all over the World.
In 1630 the Pilgrim Puritans established
a Christian Community in Plymouth and Massachusetts.
In 1729 Jonathan Edwards became the sole Pastor of
a Church in Northampton. In 1734 they began experiencing
an extraordinary presence of God in their Church and
City. This led to a great spiritual awakening.
On May 24th, 1738 while attending
a Moravian meeting he was born again, three days after
Charles Wesley. They took the message of Grace and
Salvation wherever they went. George Whitefield was
also saved at this time. Together they led England
and America into Revival. John Wesley traveled over
250,000 miles on horseback throughout England and
Scotland. Out of their ministry, the Methodist Church
Charles Wesley was a great
writer of Christian Hymns and Songs like "Hark the
Herald Angels Sing."
What he started as an experiment in
1783 became a resounding success. It was called Sunday
School. They started to reach out to problem children
and within 50 years they were ministering to almost
2 million children, worldwide.
William Carey began preaching about
the need to reach out and save the heathen on Mission
Fields. In 1800 he moved to India with his family.
He had great success and translated the Bible into
44 languages or dialects and started several Schools.
He died in 1834.
He was a Lawyer and lived in New York.
In 1824 he was converted and later ordained into the
Ministry. In 1830 he began to conduct powerful revivals
and thousands were saved. His very presence caused
people to repent and get saved. After nights of prayer,
Church Services were conducted. There were mighty
and strange manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
He died in 1875.
At the age of 17 he was called by
God to go to China. He worked for 6 years in Shanghai
and then returned to England in 1860. He stirred enthusiasm
for Chinese Missions and took back 16 new Missionaries
with him in 1866. When he died in 1905, there were
205 Mission Stations, 849 Missionaries and over 125,000
Spurgeon was saved at the age of 16
and at 19 he began to preach at prestigious New Park
Street Chapel, in London.
He became the Pastor and remained
there for almost 40 years. The Church eventually rented,
the 12,000 seating Surrey Music Hall and it was packed
with over 10,000 people waiting outside.
He published over 140 books, founded
a Pastors College and Orphanage that cared for over
He became the President of a Bible
Distribution Society and received and accepted many
invitations to preach.
Dwight L Moody.
On April 21st 1855 he was converted
and became a Sunday School Teacher. He then began
to minister to young people at the YMCA. In 1873 he
went to England to preach with great success.
Two years later he returned as a preaching
celebrity to the United States. He was invited to
preach in many cities.
In 1879 he turned his attention to
Education establishing learning institutions today
known as The Moody Bible Institute.
He was a forerunner for Billy Sunday.
He felt a strong calling for Missionary
work and joined Robert Moffat in Africa in 1841. He
worked for 10 years amongst the Tswana People. In
1852 he traveled from the east coast to the west coast
of Africa and reached it in 1854.
He had three things in mind:
1. Missionary work,
2. Commerce and
3. The eradication of Slavery.
He embarked on numerous expeditions
and made many geographical discoveries in Africa.
When he died in 1873, he was found
on his knees in a primitive hut.
He was concerned about the plight
of the poor in London and established a Ministry in
a humble tent. He created an organization that was
like the military.
In 1878 it was called the Salvation
Army. They fed the hungry and cared for the homeless.
It spread throughout the World. He traveled 5 million
miles preaching 60,000 sermons and died in 1912.
Azusa Street Revival.
On April 18, 1906 the Holy Spirit
visited the Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa
Street in Los Angeles. The black Pastor, William
J. Seymour and his Congregation were baptized
in the Holy Spirit and many Christians spoke in Tongues
as the Disciples did on the Day of Pentecost. This
experience had followed many similar experiences that
had been reported, such as:
William F. Bryant's experience,
in North Carolina in 1896.
Charles Parham's experience,
in 1903 in Texas.
Evan Roberts experience in
Wales in 1904.
Out of this move of God several Pentecostal
Churches were born, namely:
The Assemblies of God.
The Church of God.
The Church of God in Christ.
First Christian Radio Broadcast.
In 1921 Paul Rader began preaching
on Radio Station KDKA in Pittsburgh.
By 1928 there were over 60 Religious
Radio Stations in the USA.
The 1948 Move of God.
Around about this time, the Holy Spirit
launched several Ministries, and they were:
He was regarded a Prophet, with mighty
Miracles taking place during his services.
He was one of the greatest healing
Evangelists of all time and ministered to millions
in large tents and stadiums. He founded Oral Roberts
University, one of the largest Christian Universities
He is regarded the greatest of all
preaching Evangelists of all time and has preached
to over 100 million people in person. Millions have
been saved through his ministry.
He was used by the Lord to introduce
mass Evangelism in a new way. His crusades around
the world attracted large crowds. His Ministry was
unique in that, during a mass prayer, thousands would
be simultaneously healed and delivered.
The Charismatic Renewal.
In 1960 the Holy Spirit began to move
outside the Pentecostal Churches in Traditional Churches.
David Du Plessis was used by
God to reach out to the Traditional Churches as a
kind of ambassador.
Derek Prince was used by the
Holy Spirit as a Teacher, to teach sound Bible doctrines
and revitalize the deliverance ministry.
Demos Shakarian was used by
the Lord to reach Businessmen through the Full Gospel
Business Men's Fellowship.
The rise of other Ministries.
One of the greatest Media Ministries
of all time, TBN was founded by Paul and
Jan Crouch and continues to have an incredible
impact on nations all over the World.
Kenneth Hagin and his son Kenneth
Hagin Jr. were used by God to start Rhema Bible
College. The Rhema Ministries, minister in many countries
of the World.
Cathryn Khulman was used by
God to phase in a special level of the Anointing of
the Holy Spirit. In one of her services God raised
up Bennie Hinn.
Bennie Hinn has been used mightily
by God, with great miracles, signs, wonders and special
Holy Spirit Manifestations. He has and continues to
minister to some of the greatest crowds of all time.
Reinhard Bonnke is a Missionary
Evangelist who has preached to some of the greatest
crowds in history with great miracles, signs, wonders
and special Holy Spirit Manifestations.