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Early Christianity

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Early Christianity essay

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“Christianity” is a term used to refer to people who believe in and worship Jesus Christ, their savior, and Messiah. The world’s first Christians were attacked, mocked, imprisoned, and some martyred. Christian values have now spread across the globe. However, it may not be prudent to overlook the fact that early Christians laid the foundation for the present-day Christianity. In the early church, Christianity was not defined by language, nor roots, nor dressings, but by love and holiness. Most of the features present in the old Christian churches are evident in modern churches.

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. It is divided into three main branches: Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. There are also many smaller religious groups and sects, such as the Old Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the association of the Latter Day Saint. Over the years, several questions have been asked regarding Christianity roots and development to the dominant and essential religion it is today. Where does it start? Who made the persecuted religion the most eminent one?

One of the most prominent figures in Christianity’s history is Jesus Christ, who created its study and main rules and became the symbol for adherents of this religion. Yet, the laws and teachings of Jesus changed the world. He was charismatic enough to lead and convince people to renounce the old gods and obey new laws and dogmas. Whatever someone may believe about him, Jesus has been an influence icon in the history of Christianity and Western Culture for nearly 2000 years.

Christianity can be dated quite a while back even before the rise of the guaranteed Messiah named Jesus, who was prophesied through the early prophets. Various prophesy made regarding him were believed to have to happen, and the scope of Christianity developed from the old demonstration of the New Testament as recorded in the Holy Bible. In early Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth has been named as the end-time evangelist who would change the take of Christianity by making many forsake their agnosticism and afterward choosing to worship God. Jesus set the base of apostolicism alluding to the sent individuals who went everywhere throughout the world preaching and evangelizing about salvation .

Christianity as a faith is thought to have begun shortly after Jesus’ departure from the earth by his disciples who went around the nations spreading the gospel. It is referred to as the ‘post-resurrection concept.’ As recorded in the book of Acts in the Bible, the movement of Jesus’ evangelization started to reach out from the Jews to the Gentiles, who were the first to hear it. As the Gentiles got into the movement of Jesus, the emphasis on Jewish law decreased, and then Christianity began. Referring to the Bible, early Christianity faced many difficulties, since the authorities, particularly the Roman government, persecuted the apostles, which led to many of them being martyred. By the second century, Barnabas’ Epistle took a radically new turn, as the Jesus movement that claimed Jesus to be its prophet distanced themselves from the Jews Christians, thus enlarging the divide within the Christian culture. The evolution of Jesus primarily promoted reverence for Heaven, neighbors and the people themselves, and the observance of some Jewish rituals, such as baptism.

Christianity kept on spreading to various parts of the country with trials and persecutions of the adherents of the emerging religion. In the third century, Constantine, I rose to power and got a dream where he was showed triumph by Jesus. This came during a fight between the Romans and the Maxentius (306-312 AC). This happening was the origin of Christianity as it is known today. After the vision, Constantine became a Christian and started supporting and protecting the religion by, for example, exempting the believers from taxes and urging them to carry out their religious exercises without fear. Constantine, hence, became a binding factor for the Christian Empire, embracing the religion’s Church Fathers’ teachings as the main ideas of a true believer.

In the fourth century, during the rule of Theodosius I, all the occults, agnostic holy places and sanctuaries were banned. Structures were destroyed as others changed into Christian worshipping places. This gave Christianity a high ground to spread to different areas of the world, including Eastern and Western Europe. In early Christianity, trials and persecutions were the main factors that hindered the spread of religion . Numerous influential believers and followers of Christianity were martyred. This increased fears among believers, which made them very cautious about every religious activity they would have liked to conduct. However, the incredible solidarity among early Christians fortified the church, and it’s past. Christians would assemble support each other as they praised the martyrs.

It is critical to take note that in modern society, there is a common question regarding Jesus Christ’s personality, as many questions the existence of this Christian icon. Researchers guarantee that Jesus cannot be considered as a real individual who lived and died, yet it is essential to note that there is enough evidence that Jesus lived and advanced the fundamental Christian rules which are used to date as the Christians guides. A few people consider Jesus to be a fanciful character that was made by the early Christians to explain their religious beliefs. However, nowadays, there is a great deal of authentic and archeological proof that Jesus Christ lived and contributed significantly toward the development of this religion. In summary, while some people consider Jesus Christ as a historical individual, others believe that he God’s son.

The effect of Jesus, the Messiah, ought to be considered in the historical viewpoint of his life. It must be noted that Jesus’ life and death were significant to Christianity as its development was confined within his life. This led to the old religions’ followers to firmly reject Christianity as they viewed Jesus as a revolutionist who aimed at challenging their beliefs. Jesus preached that Christianity would improve the world. Individuals began to trust in one reasonable and kind god who can spare them. However, Jesus’ preaching cannot be considered as the thoughts of just a single person; he was only persuasive enough to see individuals believe and follow him. Also, the authorities victimized Jesus through discrimination, thus making the masses to sympathize with him and want to know the teachings making the authorities harass him. As a result, more people developed the need to learn and share his lessons, and in the process, they trusted him and, thus, became the earliest believers.

Christians believe in the revival of Jesus Christ; however, this belief about his life story cannot be proven by science. Jesus’ resurrection ought to be interpreted as a representation of the recovery of the religion after his demise since his followers kept on sharing his thoughts, and the religion still exists. Today around 33% of the world population is considered to be Christian. This proves how impactful and powerful Christianity is almost 20 centuries later. Jesus contributed significantly to Christianity as a religion, which is eventually becoming one of the most influential religions in the history of the world.

As mentioned earlier, Jesus was a charismatic individual who was able to lead people and make them acknowledge the new principles and creeds. “The Gospels regularly speak of huge crowds following Jesus. Perhaps they gathered because of his reputation as a healer. Perhaps they gathered because of his ability as a teacher. Whatever the cause, it seems likely that the authorities’ fear of the crowd was a major factor leading to Jesus’ crucifixion.” It should be highlighted that Jesus’ approach to teaching reversed people’s attitude towards education and learning. He encouraged individuals to seek the truth and underlined the importance of knowledge for the needy in society. The ignorance was viewed as a transgression, so the individuals attempted to look for the chance to get knowledge about God as well as nature. It is worth noting that Christianity and philosophy in the ancient ages had firm connections. Hence, it incited the presence of incredible philosophical works about life and the questions regarding the mind and existence.

Most necessary changes that Jesus promoted for the world relate to the attitude toward the children. In ancient times, children were treated in the taught way; they could be killed for being of “wrong gender” or sold into slavery. The teachings of Jesus Christ changed this attitude toward them and encouraged people to treat children respectfully. Under the thought that God does not want any uninformed child and each child bore God’s image helped fuel the move for widespread education. Even though the ancient world valued education, they would, in general, hold it for the elite. His teachings can be considered as the endeavor to equality in his time. Going before this, it very well may be expressed that Christianity in the times of Jesus was identified with the needy as he stated that expressed that individuals who resign the worldly materials and money could discover the salvation. Therefore, this religion’s teachings were the primary endeavor to show the balance and to make high social status to seem less important. This promoted social equality.

Further, Jesus had an all-inclusive concern for the individuals who endured and rose above the old world rules. His sympathy for the sick and less privileged prompted the establishment of institutions for lepers in the early years of Christianity were the first charitable and voluntary institutions in the world and were the precedents of the modern-day hospitals. Jesus additionally strengthened the idea of humility. The ancient world regarded numerous virtues such as wisdom and courage, but not compassion. Individuals were divided into two; first class and coach. Also, the life of Jesus as a foot-washing servant led to the acceptance of humility as a generally appreciated virtue. The world would likely aspire to these virtues, were it not for the impact of Jesus and Christianity.

Additionally, Jesus Christ promoted the virtue of forgiveness. In the old world, virtue involved compensating one’s companions and punishing their enemies. Before the birth of Christianity, the ancients believed in “crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.” Jesus has introduced an alternative concept: what is best in life is to love your enemies and see them reconcile with you. Jesus pioneered forgiveness in the realm of people’s undertakings. Further, his ability to withstand the failings of his devotees, who from the start supported him vehemently in his mission of spreading the gospel, promoting the virtue of forgiveness. Although this may be debatable, Jesus surely gave the idea of forgiveness’s unique publicity.

Nevertheless, Jesus supported the groups of people excluded by those in power and society in general. His inclusion of women prompted people to some extent; raise the women’s status in the community. After the ascendance of Jesus, the apostle Paul emphasized: “Now there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male and female, but all are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NIV). This decree was a sign of embracement of Jesus’ teaching on inclusivity by the early church.

Jesus was the author of Christianity, which turned into the beginning stage of the raise of the church. Initially, the role of the church in society was acting as the middle person between the individuals and the god. However, from the historical and sociological point of view, it is essential to note that the church later became a significant part of society, therefore, influencing processes related to culture, science, and governance. Along these lines, Jesus’ teachings continue impacting society through the church to this day. This is the reason why the number of groups professing to be ‘for’ Jesus is endless; to give some examples: Road Riders for Jesus, Jews for Jesus, Muslims for Jesus, Cowboys for Jesus, and Ex-Masons for Jesus, among others.

In conclusion, Jesus Christ can be considered as a historical individual who significantly impacted the inception and development of Christianity. His teachings are the foundation of the religion identified with a third of the world’s population. These teachings changed the attitude of people towards various social aspects such as education, compassion, forgiveness, among others. Although the earliest followers of Jesus Christ have faced numerous challenges, including trials and persecutions, they remained firm in their faith. The strong faith they had in Jesus Christ, and God can be attributed to the former’s outstanding role in the early days of the church. Jesus was charismatic enough to make thousands of people trust and believe in his teachings.

Although most of the Christian teachings did not come with Jesus, his teachings on love, holiness, compassion, forgiveness, equality, among others, were more appealing to people, especially the poor, than the ancient religions’ teachings. As a result, Christianity gained popularity among the poor people prompting the people in high social status to oppose it. They viewed Jesus and his teachings as a revolutionary wave. Therefore, considering that the pillars of Christianity are various Jesus’ teachings, and he was able to convince people to renounce their religions and become Christians, it can be concluded that he is the most prominent figure in Christianity and the Western Culture to date. Through the church, his teachings have shaped society for almost the last twenty centuries.

Bibliography

  1. Denova, Rebecca. ‘Early Christianity.’ Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2018, accessed Feb 7, 2020, https://www.ancient.eu/article/1205/early-christianity/.
  2. Guy, Laurie. ‘Introducing Early Christianity.’ Google Books, 2004, accessed Feb 7, 2020, https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=CqJ8A2CSb9EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=early+christianity+beliefs&ots=dF8bjwyj3t&sig=iciUabmFEiBLFnMNXSdsGxq6vk8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=early%20christianity%20beliefs&f=false.Goodacre, Mark. BBC. September 17, 2009. https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/history/jesus_1.shtml (accessed March 26, 2020).
  3. Haight, Roger. The Christian community in history. Vol. 1. A&C Black, 2004.
  4. Niles, Randall. ‘Historical Influence Of Jesus.’ Drive-Thru History. N.p., 2016. (accessed March 28, 2020).
  5. Ortberg, John. Huffpost website. 2012. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/six-surprising-ways-jesus_b_1773225 (accessed March 27, 2020).
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