Even though they started out as just a handful of believers, the missionary zeal of early church leaders
quickly took their new gospel to most parts of the ancient world.
By the end of the First Century, Christian Churches had sprung up as far as Europe and northern Africa.
There would be times when these new Churches would be persecuted from all directions, would have to fight to keep
others from corrupting their gospel, and would even question some of their very beliefs. But the firm foundations that were
built through the love and dedication of First Century Christians, would be strong enough to hold the Church
together — for millenia.
The Holy Spirit comes down upon Christ's disciples. The Church is born. When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all ... in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven ... and it filled all the house. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 2:1-4] The first thing Peter did was to go out and preach a sermon. And the Christian Church hasn't stopped preaching since. [Read more ...]
Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr.
This bold man preached and taught about Jesus in the Synagogues around Jerusalem. However some of his enemies
began to spread lies about his teachings, accusing him of blashpheming Moses. The authorities believed
their lies, and so they stoned Stephen, who called upon God, saying Lord Jesus receive
my spirit. ...and he cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
[Acts 7:59-60] Since then, according to Gordon-Conwell Theological
Seminary, 70 million people have followed Stephen in martyrdom.
[Read more ...]
Paul begins his missionary journeys. Before it was over — 20 years later, this first great missionary of the Christian Church helped found at least 14 new churches and travelled over 10,000 miles (that's on foot or in really small sailing ships.) But the sparks of Christianity he lit, helped assure that this new movement started out healthy and ready to grow, even in spite of presecutions. [Read more ...]
The Council of Jerusalem is held
to deal with issues regarding new Christians. Accepting a proposal by the apostle James, the council decided that
new Gentile converts to Christianity were not
obligated to keep most of the Law of Moses, including the rules concerning circumcision of males. They
were however told to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled,
and from blood. [Acts 15:20]
[Read more ...]
The Apostle Paul writes his first letter to a Church while on his 2nd missionary journey. That letter is known today as the book of "1st Thessalonians". In just 15 years he would write some 14 letters that would end up as part of the Bible — by far the most prolific author of the New Testament. [Read more ...]
James, the brother of Jesus is martyred. For many years he was the leader of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem, and is considered to be the author of the Epistle of James. Reports of the day show that he was much respected even by the Pharisees for his piety and strict observance of the Law. But during a brief interval of time between Roman governors, when imperial oversight was absent, his enemies quickly assembled a council of judges, condemned James and had him stoned. [Read more ...]
Emperor Nero begins persecuting Christians following a great fire in Rome, which destroyed a large portion of the city. Nero himself was rumored to have ordered the fire. To dispel these accusations, he accused and savagely punished the already-detested Christians, even to the point of using them as candles to light his garden. This general dislike for Christians likely arose from their refusal to worship the Roman gods or take part in sacrifice, which was expected of those living in the Empire. This was the first general persecution — there would be more. [Read more ...]
The Siege of Jerusalem destroys the Jewish temple. It was originally built in 516 BC, and had been enlarged and remodelled by Herod just 90 years earlier. A few years prior, a local rebellion had brought Roman troups to the area. While putting down the final traces of this rebellion, the entire city of Jerusalem was burned and sacked, including the temple and much of its contents. The rebuilding of this Temple back on Temple Mount has been the dream of many fundamental Jews ever since. [Read more ...]
All the books of the New Testament have been written.
The final book completed is generally accepted as being the Revelation of St. John, which is typically
dated somewhere in the last decade of this Century. It would be many more years before the Church agreed on
exactly what books should be included in the New Testament.
[Read more ...]