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Christian History Home > 1990


From the Archives: The “Edict of Milan”
Selections from an agreement, made in 313, that changed the course of history

From the Archives: Nero's Cruelties
An account from Roman historian Tacitus (C. 115)

From the Archives: Emperor Hadrians moderate policies
This rescript, c. 124, protected Christians

From the Editor: Welcome to this Special Issue
Important information before you begin

A.D. 70 Titus Destroys Jerusalem
When the Roman general sacked the temple, the Jews were forced into a new era—and so were the Christians.

313 The Edict of Milan
The agreement shifted Christianity from being an illicit, persecuted sect to being a welcome—and soon dominant—religion of the Roman Empire.

325 The First Council of Nicea
At stake in the church's first general council was the simplest, yet most profound, question: Who is Jesus Christ?

367 Athanasius Defines the New Testament
His letter is the earliest authoritative statement to fix the New Testament as we know it today.

386 Augustine Converts to Christianity
A brilliant, profligate professor of rhetoric became the church's leading theologian for centuries to come.

405 Jerome Completes the Vulgate
This Latin translation stood as the preeminent Bible text for centuries—and set the standard for future translators.

461 The Council of Chalcedon
If Jesus was truly God, how could he be truly human as well? Leo the Great helped guide a critical council to a clear answer.

540 Benedict Writes His Monastic Rule
His flexible, compassionate guidelines for Christian community forever shaped monastic life—and influenced Western society.

988 Vladimir Adopts Christianity
The pagan prince of Kievan Rus' embraced a new faith, leading to the Christianization of the Ukrainian, Russian, and Byelorussian peoples.

1054 The East-West Schism
Long-standing differences between Western and Eastern Christians finally caused a definitive break, and Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox still remain separate.

1095 Pope Urban II Launches the First Crusade
Waves of pilgrims and soldiers embarked for the Holy Land, beginning an era of exploration, conquest, defeat, and folly.

1272 Thomas Aquinas Concludes His Word on Summa Theologiae
The massive treatise set forth a theological system so influential it has been declared eternally valid.

1378 The Great Papal Schism
When two popes, and later three popes, vied for supremacy, the medieval church entered a dramatic, forty-year crisis of authority.

1456 Gutenberg Produces the First Printed Bible
Using his revolutionary invention—printing from movable type—he made the Scriptures potentially accessible to every person.

The History of the Church: Recommended Resources

Important Events in Church History: Christian History Timeline

Important Events in Church History
A selective chronological listing

1517 Luther Posts the 95 Theses
An obscure monk invited debate on a pressing church issue—and touched off a history-shattering reform movement.

1521 The Diet of Worms
Was the wayward Luther free to dissent? A German council rendered a judgment.

1525 The Anabaptist Movement Begins
Hated by Protestants and Catholics alike, these "radical reformers" wanted to not merely reform the church but restore it.

1534 The Act of Supremacy
Breaking from Rome, the English Parliament declared King Henry VIII "the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England."

1536 John Calvin Publishes Institutes of the Christian Religion
Either adored or abhorred, the reformer and his teachings live on in his monumental work.

1545 The Council of Trent Begins
Responding to the Reformation, the council charted the Catholic church's course for the next 400 years.

1611 Publication of the King James Bible
A team of scholars produced an English Bible translation unsurpassed in linguistic beauty and longevity.

1738 John & Charles Wesley Experience Conversions
They were ordained ministers and missionaries. Then their hearts were "strangely warmed," and their changed lives gave rise to a worldwide movement.

1740 The Great Awakening Peaks
A mighty wave of revival washed across North America, forever altering the religious landscape.

1962 The Second Vatican Council
In an epochal council, the Catholic Church undertook its most searching self-examination ever and renewed itself for a modern world.

1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. Leads the March on Washington
A Baptist preacher had a dream that guided one of the most profound social movements of our times.

75 Other Important Events in Church History
A brief listing of significant dates that also earn a place in the "Christian History 100"

Persecution in Early Church: Did You Know?

From the Editor: Tomb of the Unknown Christians

Persecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Beginning as a despised, illicit religious sect, Christianity endured 300 years of hostility to emerge as the dominant force in the Roman Empire.

When Christianity Triumphed
The achievement brought new difficulties.

From the Archives: Perpetua & Polycarp: Two Heroic Martyrs

The Piety of the Persecutors
In the Roman mind, there were valid religious reasons to halt the spread of Christianity.

Rome's Religious Ferment
The first-century Empire swirled with an exotic mix of religions.

Persecution in the Early Church: A Gallery of the Persecuting Emperors

Controversial Constantine
The famous emperor ended the persecution of Christians. But was he a true believer, or merely a superstitious political opportunist?

Constantine's Famous Emblem
The chi-rho symbol he adopted is now displayed in churches throughout the world.

Persecution in the Early Church: A Christian History Timeline

How the Early Church Viewed Martyrs
Christians held a theology of martyrdom that gave them courage to endure.

The Gallery: Martyrs and Confessors

Cowards Among the Christians

From the Archives: Cyprian's Letter to Banished Christians
Encouragement for believers sentenced to the Roman mines.

Persecuted Christians Today

The Faith Behind the Famous: Charles Dickens
Some of his novels mercilessly lampoon Christians. Yet the great Victorian author also wrote a reverent account of Jesus' life.

Events in the Life of Charles Dickens

How Dickens Viewed Jesus Christ
Selected quotations from The Life of Our Lord.

William and Catherine Booth: Did You Know?

From the Editor: Fashionable or Forceful?
Booth and his Army drew much opposition, including this 1882 editorial cartoon in The Entr'acte. Often the hostility was not only verbal, but also violent. See "The Army Under Seige".

The General
William Booth was born in economic and spiritual poverty, yet he founded a worldwide organization dedicated to their eradication.

The Army Mother
With her bright mind and powerful speaking abilities, Catherine Booth emerged as one of the most influential women in modern religious history.

Sayings of William Booth

Sayings of Catherine Booth

Pioneer in Female Ministry
Catherine Booth's firm conviction that women should be free to preach the gospel forever shaped The Salvation Army's openness to female officers.

Female Ministry
Excerpts from Catherine Booth's landmark pamphlet

William Booth's Officers
Thousands of young men and women devoted themselves to the rugged nineteenth-century Army life. Where did they come from? Why did they join?

The Army Under Siege
Early officers sometimes encountered brutal opposition.

The Salvation Army: A Missionary Crusade
How a small, East London mission became one of the leading missionary organizations in the world.

William Booth Finds His Destiny

The Booths' American Mentors
Three revivalists from across the Atlantic profoundly influenced the Booths' theology and mission.

William Booth's Life
In His Own Words

William and Catherine Booth: Christian History Timeline

William and Catherine Booth: A Gallery of the Booths' Children
Their struggles and achievements

William Booth's Theology of Redemption
The General's view of sanctification, the kingdom of God, and salvation moved his Army to action.

What Do Salvationists Believe?

The Story Behind Salvation Army Music
William Booth felt suspicious of organized music groups. Yet he launched a movement that became renowned worldwide for its bands and choirs.

Major Events in Salvation Army Music
Milestones during the life of William Booth

In Darkest England
Exactly one hundred years ago, William Booth published a dramatic, detailed plan for ending unemployment and overcoming poverty.

In Darkest England and the Way Out
Selections from William Booth's bold proposal for eliminating poverty

Sources of Booth's Reforming Ideas

Life in the Army Today
Contemporary officers continue the mission of William and Catherine Booth.

Christmas Kettles
The history behind a Yuletide institution

William and Catherine Booth: Recommended Resources
The Booths, their children, and The Salvation Army have all received extensive study, so only a small portion of available works can be listed here. Works are listed alphabetically by title within each category. Asterisks denote those available through The Salvation Army (see addresses below).

Christian History Sampler: History Behind the News
Ancient Assistance Against the New Age

Christian History Sampler: Martin Luther on Marriage
The Reformer deeply influenced more than one institution.

Dwight L. Moody: Did You Know?

From the Editor: Delightfully Unconventional

The Life & Times of D. L. Moody
How an awkward country boy with a grade-school education became the greatest evangelist of the Gilded Age.

Colorful Sayings From Colorful Moody
Moody's common sense and quick wit led to many pithy sayings. A sampling.

The World Has Yet to See…

The Nearly Fatal Voyage

Key People in the Life of D. L. Moody: A Gallery

The Three Rs of Moody's Theology
Three great Bible truths were central to all of Moody's preaching.

Questions About Moody's Theology
The five that people ask most often

Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and His World: Christian History Timeline

How Moody Changed Revivalism
The evangelist converted mass evangelism.

What Is Revivalism?

The Popular Educator
Moody was not an educational theorist or systematizer, but he was a popular educator par excellence.

The Northfield Schools

D. L. Moody's Contribution to Christian Publishing
He was the catalyst for two of America's largest religious book publishers.

From the Archives: The New Birth
Excerpts from a sermon that Moody preached at least 183 times.

D. L. Moody: Recommended Resources
(Resources listed alphabetically, by title, within each category. with asterisks denote those still in print.)

The Faith Behind the Famous: Florence Nightingale: Christian History Sampler
She singlehandedly revolutionized the field of nursing, a mission that began with a call to God's service at age 17.

A Forceful Faith
Excerpts from Florence Nightingale's letters and diaries [Sources: Lonely Crusader by Cecil Woodham-Smith New York: McGraw-Hill, 1951). "Soldiers' Heroine Florence Nightingale" by W.C. Wilson in Apollo in Pygmyland and Other True Stories (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1946). God's Servant at the Battlefield: Florence Nightingale by David R. Collins (Milford, Michigan: Mott Media, 1985).]

Events in the Life of Florence Nightingale

Why Study Church History?
Surprising answers from a variety of writers

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