The Christian movement begins in Jerusalem as a minor sect of Judaism that gradually separated from the beliefs of Judaism to spread quickly in the Roman world. Eventually, Christianity emerges as a formidable religion compared to other religions in the day long before the emergence of Constantine. Christianity is the first religion to receive support from the state (Barnes, 2010). This enables the religion to become a crucial force in the barbaric period. The role of historical Christianity in the first seven centuries is to absorb elements of ancient civilization and channel them to the middle Ages (Stark, 2006).
Christianity expresses a positive instruction and a good moral direction in the afterlife of a person. Initially, people perceive the religion as a sect belonging to the Jewish community. At the onset of evangelism, Christianity spreads to the gentiles since Paul makes a decision to open the religion to non-Jews people enabling the religion to lose the right of exclusivity.
According to Stark (2006), the Romans are suspicious of Christianity due to the belief that the Roman Empire would collapse at the second coming of the Messiah. The Romans still regard the emperor as the symbol of power and dominion, and the advocacy of celibacy as well as other elements that are different from the culture. The Roman public witnesses the Christians as they undergo persecution and abject suffering.
Stark (2006) cite that the public is aware of the moral qualities of the Christians. This convinces the masses that indeed Christians have the spiritual strength and comfort. This induces people to join the cult such as the impoverished, desperate, and the physical disabled. Frend (2006) find that the reign of Domitian most of the Christians appears among the affluent in the society. This is not stopping from other social classes from joining the religion amidst challenges of persecution by the government of the day.
The Church establishes an organization that resembles the Roman Empire. The leadership and administrative positionscan be compared with the administration of the empire. The Church employs the Diocese system composed of Bishop who is the general overseer, presbeutes who is the ambassador to assist in the Bishop, diakonos who maintains the church work of charity. The sprouting of Church organization led a positive role in the community. This is because the Church made an effort to support people in the society regardless of their religion. The church emphasized on the need to perform good deeds to the needy, showing empathy for the destitute, making contributions to orphans and widows, as well as loving everyone including enemies (Stark, 2006).
Many Christians adopt the separatism philosophy to abstain from the temptation of the flesh. The end of persecution by the Roman Empire enabled people to remain spiritual inclined to Christianity. The recognition of Christianity by the Empire enabled the freedom to all Christians to continue with their mission of spreading the gospel.
Frend (2006) argues that Christianity is among the largest religion represented by a quarter of the world’s population. This religion begins in a small way through Jesus. After four, centuries, this religion has established itself and gained acceptance among the masses. The Roman Empire attempts to destabilize the religion four centuries after inception. The Empire threatens to persecute the members in a bid to curtail the spread of this cult. The Romans feel threatened of their unification of the Mediterranean as a point of business (Nardo, 2009). The early Christian Church missionaries’ benefit from the established trade network to get to the large cities and spread the gospel in these places, which have high population. The Early Church triumphs in their mission since they portray compassion for the downtrodden and the sick.
The Late Roman period encounters different plagues such as Antonine Plague and Cyprian Plague among others. This period of plagues coincide with the rapid growth of the religion since the Christian communities show care for all citizens regardless of religion. Consequently, other religions cannot offer the public reasons for the occurrence of the epidemics. This catastrophe enables Christianity to act as salvation to the sick people and registers many converts. The Roman Empire blames the Great Fire of Rome on the Christians and Rome officials declare the persecution of Christian community in the city. Amidst the persecution, the Christians subside and continue to evangelize. Nardo (2009) notes that after the conversion of Constantine I as the first Roman Empire to accept Christianity the Christians have the absolute freedom to secure converts. Constantine I promotes Christianity across the empire since he passes legislation that ensure liberty of Christianity, and the return of Christian property that was held in custody during the persecution. Additionally, some of the Christian get positions in the government.
The introduction of Constantinople as the capital city by the Empire allowed many Christians to occupy the place due to the influence of Constantine (Enslin, 2012). This leads to the demolishing of the Pagan temples that seek to compete with the Christian beliefs. The Empire destroys the temple complexes of the Greek myth gods. Constantine mediates Christian issues in the clergy. Constantine stopped the practice of persecuting the Christians and supporting the liturgy in its ministry work.
The reign of Theodosius declares ban on the Olympic Games that are highly non-Christian activity. Theodosius destroys all the last remnants of Paganism. This saw the end of Antiquity and the eminent rise of Christian religion (Barnes, 2010).
The rise of Christianity depicts on the spiritual forces emanating from the evangelism of the gospel that is powerful in the early church. Enslin (2012) traces sociological concepts in the rise of Christianity. Christian’s beliefs that God is at work so as to initiate the Christian movement to ensure the rapid growth. Since the eminent fall of the Roman Empire Christianity grew and conquered the Roman world. Nardo (2009) evidences that Christian movement succeeded due to unity among the members in their religious and social practices used to influence the multitudes. The practice of Christianity was unique in nature, and it attracts inhabitants of the Roman Empire.
The Early Church maintains contact with the Pagans and a high commitment of faith (Sittser, 2013). The church develops catechumenate program to train converts and counter the challenges of persecution by the Roman Empire. This program forms people’s faith and baptizes them to imply their requirement to remain committed disciples. Christianity acts as a superior religion to Paganism since it fulfills the impulse of antiquity (Sittser, 2013). Church members maintain a contact with the Pagans in their efforts to convert them. The catechumen program acts as a bridge for the Christians to reach out and win Pagans in this new faith. Pagans accepted this new faith and the Church set up permeable boundaries to engage more of the Pagan world to Christianity (Sittser, 2013). Christianity did not remain separate as other religions do and wither. Instead, Christianity, created a robust identity that was unique from other religions. Christianity movement withstood all forms of suffering and persecution carried out by the Roman Empire. The establishment of the catechumenate produced authentic converts, who became genuine disciples and helped to produce a good Christian network, who demonstrate faith and obedience to win converts. The competitors of Christianity had errors, and this led the public choosing this religion ensuring a steady growth to perpetuate a cycle of success. Member of Christianity is highly committed to develop a strong training program.
Barnes, E. W. (2010). The rise of Christianity. London: Longmans, Green.
Enslin, M. S. (2012). Rise Of Christianity. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXVII(4), 350-352.
Frend, W. H. (2006). The rise of Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Nardo, D. (2009). The rise of Christianity. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press.
SITTSER, G. L. (2013). THE CATECHUMENATE AND THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY. Journal Of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care, 6(2), 179-203.
Stark, R. (2006). The rise of Christianity: a sociologist reconsiders history. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.