What Are Some New Forms Of Spirituality That Arose In The 2Nd Half Of The 20Th Century?

What was the 20th-century religious revival?

  • The 20th-century religious revival was led by the Zoë movement, which was founded in 1911. Based in Athens but operating in decentralized fashion, it reached a membership of laymen as well as some priests. The main activities include publications and the nationwide Sunday School movement in 7800 churches reaching 150,000 students.

What was religion like in the 20th century?

The marginalisation of Christianity at a national level produced a secular society with secular ideas. By the end of the twentieth century, most people had no specific religious beliefs and therefore regarded Sunday as just another day. New Age beliefs, agnosticism and atheism challenged traditional religious beliefs.

What are some of the new religious movements that have emerged?

Christian or Neo-Christian groups: Charismatics/neo-Pentecostals, the unification church (Moonies), groups associated with the Jesus Movement (Alamo Foundation, Children of God), the Way Ministry, the conservative/fundamentalism New Religious Right, televangelist ministries, Roman Catholic Traditionalists. 3.

What was religion like in the 1920s?

Social changes in the 1920s led to a major religious revival among conservative Christians. They did not like the influence of cinema and jazz, or the new way in which women dressed and behaved. There was a growing divide between the modern city culture and the more traditional rural areas.

How did religion affect World war 2?

Religious groups rallied to support the Allied cause during World War II, as they had during World War I. They sent their sons and daughters into the military, accepted shortages as a matter of course, worked in industries that fueled the war machine, and prayed for safety and victory.

How did religion change in the 1950s?

During the 1950s, nationwide church membership grew at a faster rate than the population, from 57 percent of the U.S. population in 1950 to 63.3 percent in 1960. “Religion flourished in the ’50s for several reasons, partly because of the ever-expanding spiritual marketplace,” Ellwood said.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

What are three types of spiritual practices?

What are three types of spiritual practices? Reflection, relationships, and faith rituals.

What are the three elements of spirituality?

According to the results of our study, the three components of spiritual health are: religious, individualistic, and material world-oriented.

Why are new religious movements increasing?

New religious movements emerge from humans’ creativity and capacity for religious expression, providing spiritual meaning and social connection for their members, just as mainstream religious groups do. Contemporary NRMs manifest the increasing pluralism associated with greater ease of global travel and communications.

When did new religious movements start?

Some scholars view the 1950s or the end of the Second World War in 1945 as the defining time, while others look as far back as from the middle of the 19th century or the founding of the Latter Day Saint movement in 1830 and Tenrikyo in 1838.

What was religious fundamentalism in the 1920s?

The term fundamentalist was coined in 1920 to describe conservative Evangelical Protestants who supported the principles expounded in The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth (1910–15), a series of 12 pamphlets that attacked modernist theories of biblical criticism and reasserted the authority of the Bible.

How were religion and science a source of conflict in the 1920s?

Briefly explain ONE example of how religion and science were a source of conflict in American society during the 1920s. The great argument was between fundamentalism and modernism. The Scopes monkey trial was a fight where Tennessee outlawed the teaching of science in a science book.

What new technology was introduced in the 1920s?

The list of inventions that shaped America in the 1920s included the automobile, the airplane, the washing machine, the radio, the assembly line, refrigerator, garbage disposal, electric razor, instant camera, jukebox and television.

Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious awakening that took place in the United States from around 1795 to 1835. During this revival, meetings were conducted in small villages and major cities across the country, and the camp meeting, a distinctive frontier institution known as the camp meeting, was established. Many churches, notably Methodist and Baptist churches, had a significant rise in their membership during this period. The Second Great Awakening elevated soul-winning to the top of the ministry’s priority list and sparked a slew of moral and humanitarian changes, including the abolition of slavery and the liberation of women.

The Second Great Awakening may be broken down into three distinct stages.

Stone in Kentucky and Tennessee, which were linked with the first phase (1795–1810).

Taylor, and Asahel Nettleton, that the awakening gained momentum.

As a result of the Second Great Awakening, revivalistic theology in many denominations moved away from Calvinism and toward a more practical approach.

Furthermore, it was under Finney’s direction that a reason for carefully crafted revival procedures was developed.

Although many Protestants in the United States lost interest in revivalism during the first part of the twentieth century, tent revivals, as well as yearly revivals at churches in the South and Midwest, remained a significant component of Protestant church life into the twentieth century.


AbolitionismThe abolitionist movement (1680s-1860s) led a variety of Christians across denominations to denounce the evils of slavery occurring both within and outside their congregations.
Church Planting MovementThe United States has a rich history of church planting, notably in the 18th/19th centuries with the growth of the Methodists and Baptists.
Missionary MovementBeginning in the early 18th century, the Protestant missionary movement sought to convert and aid unchurched peoples, both domestically and internationally.
The First Great AwakeningThe First Great Awakening (1730s-1770s) was a series of religious revivals that propelled the expansion of evangelical denominations in the colonies.
Memorial MovementWith early origins in the 1780s, the memorial movement highlights how Americans commonly commemorate the dead in visual and material forms.
The Second Great AwakeningThe Second Great Awakening(s) (1790s-1840s) fueled the rise of an evangelical Protestant majority in antebellum America, giving birth to new denominations and social reform organizations.
Restoration MovementThe Restoration Movement (RM) formed in the early 1800s as a means to “restore” and unify the Christian church based on biblical principles.
Temperance MovementStarting in the 1820s, the temperance movement aimed to curb and ultimately discontinue the consumption of alcohol. Many temperance leaders also were Christian leaders.
TranscendentalismIn 1836, transcendentalism took shape, as New England intellectuals pushed for the union between humans and nature through personal experience.
Holiness MovementBeginning in the 1830s, the Holiness Movement spread across American Protestantism, promoting “entire sanctification” for Christian believers.
Millenarian MovementSince William Miller predicted the return of Jesus Christ in the mid-1800s, Millenarian movements emerged and anticipated the end of the world.
SpiritualismIn the mid-19th century, spiritualism arose in America, as individuals became captivated with mediums contacting spirits of the dead.
Landmark MovementBeginning in the 1850s, the Landmark Movement claimed that only Baptists have a succession back to the time of Jesus Christ.
The Third Great AwakeningThe Third Great Awakening (1850s-1920s) saw a resurgence of religious vigor, as Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday drew in crowds of religious seekers.
New ThoughtBeginning in the mid-19th century, the New Thought movement extolled the power of the mind and God to influence everything from healing to personal success.
Woman’s Missionary MovementMore than two million Protestant women joined the field of missions from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century.
Christian ModernismEmerging in the late 19th century, Christian modernism sought to accommodate Christian faith to changes in modern society.
Social GospelFrom 1880 to 1925, the Social Gospel movement highlighted “social sins” present in society and sought Christian-based social justice initiatives.
Settlement House MovementIn the late 19th century, many Catholic and Protestant organizations established settlement houses to aid urban immigrants and poor American-born citizens.
ZionismBeginning in the late 19th century, Zionism gained attention as a political movement seeking the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland.
Pentecostal/Charismatic MovementIn 1901, Christians became filled with the Holy Spirit and spontaneously spoke in foreign languages, leading to the growth of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement.
Ecumenical MovementGaining prominence in the early 20th century, the modern ecumenical movement desired to unite various Christian groups divided by denominational boundaries.
Men and Religion Forward MovementFrom September 1911 through April 1912, the Men and Religion Forward Movement attempted to reclaim a masculine version of Christianity.
Black Muslim MovementIn the early 20th century, the Black Muslim movement arose as a unique African American religious movement that promoted black nationalism and fought white supremacy.
Christian FundamentalismIn the 1920s, Christian fundamentalism arose as a means to counter liberal interpretations of the Christian Bible and “secularizing” changes in society.
Liturgical MovementIn the early 1900s, the American liturgical movement emerged as Catholics and other groups became interested in renewing traditional liturgical practices.
Catholic Worker MovementIn 1933, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a group of Catholic communities promoting social justice and hospitality toward the poor.
Reconstructionist JudaismFounded in the mid-1930s by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, Reconstructionist Judaism became the first uniquely American Jewish movement.
Secular MovementGaining prominence in the mid-20th century, the modern secular movement pushed for a society without religion.
Biblical Theology MovementBetween the mid-1940s and early 1960s, the biblical theology movement emerged to counter both liberal and fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible.
New EvangelicalismAfter World War II, a movement of conservative, but socially engaged Protestants emerged. They are known as the “new evangelicals.”
The Fourth Great AwakeningAccording to some scholars, a Fourth Great Awakening arose in the mid-20th century.
Neo-PaganismIn the mid-1940s, Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valient helped revive pre-Christian nature religion (i.e., Neo-paganism) in the United States.
Civil Rights MovementThe Civil Rights Movement refers to specific events of political and social protest against racism in the 1950s and 1960s.
New Age ReligionForming in the 1960s, the New Age Movement emphasizes personal fulfillment, spiritual unity, and experimental healing methods.
Christian ReconstructionismOriginating in the mid-1960s, Christian Reconstructionism is a fundamentalist movement promoting the application of biblical law on all aspects of society.
Pro-Life and Rescue MovementsAnti-abortion movements, like the pro-life movement (est. mid-1960s) and rescue movement (est. mid-1980s), garnered support from Catholics, evangelicals, and Christian fundamentalists.
Jesus People MovementThe Jesus People Movement emerged as an evangelical Christian response to the drug and hippie counterculture of the 1960s.
Anti-Cult MovementIn the 1960s and 1970s, the rise in new religious groups brought accusations of “brainwashing” from opposing groups, who became known as the anti-cult movement.
Latino Christian MovementThe Latino Christian Movement of the 1960s/1970s represents concerted efforts by Latino Catholics for greater visibility and equality.
Church Growth MovementIn the 1970s and 1980s, American evangelicals coupled their love for evangelism with new pragmatic marketing strategies known as the Church Growth Movement.
Home School MovementThe Home School Movement began in the 1970s and attracted evangelical Christians who feared the secular influences of public education.
Messianic JudaismForming in the 1960s-1970s, Messianic Jews grew as a movement of evangelical Christians who embraced Jewish customs, rituals, and identity.
Shepherding MovementAn offshoot of the Charismatic Movement, the Shepherding Movement garnered controversy in the early 1970s for its emphasis on personal submission to religious leaders.
Hymn RenaissanceIn the 1960s-1970s, a diverse collection of new modern hymnals began circulating across the world. Scholars refer to this development as the Hymn Renaissance.
Religious RightIn the late 1970s, the religious right arose, as religious conservatives turned to politics to fight perceived moral and spiritual decline.
Missionary Member Care MovementBeginning in 1980, the Missionary Member Care Movement sought to reduce missionary attrition and provide more holistic care to humanitarian workers.
Sanctuary MovementThe Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s helped to provide sanctuaries and safe havens for Central American refugees.
Convergence MovementEmerging in the 1980s, the Convergence Movement sought Christian unity by creatively blending evangelical, charismatic, and liturgical worship styles.
Progressive Christian MovementIn the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a group of “progressive” Protestant Christians emerged and embraced theological diversity, eclectic spirituality, and social justice.
Missional Church MovementFounded in 1998, the missional church movement arose and changed the focus of modern Christian missions.
Emergent ChurchThe Emergent (or “Emerging”) Church Movement gained traction in the 1990s, as groups sought to make Christianity “relevant” to a postmodern world.
City (Gospel) MovementsThe 2000s saw the emergence of City Gospel Movements, which encourage partnerships across churches and social service to local urban areas.
Christian Orphan Care/Adoption MovementArising in the early 21st century, the Christian Orphan Care Movement encourages Christians to adopt local and foreign children who are orphaned.
New MonasticismFormally established in 2004, New Monastics reject Christian individualism and emphasize a communal lifestyle and spiritual discipline.
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Religion in Colonial America: Trends, Regulations, and Beliefs

Understand some of the common experiences and patterns around religion in colonial culture during the period between 1600 and 1776 in order to comprehend how America’s current balance between national law, local community practice and individual freedom of belief evolved. To do so, it is helpful to understand some of the common experiences and patterns around religion in colonial culture during the period between 1600 and 1776. The Christian religious groups that played an important role in the early years of what would become the United States played a significant role in each of the British colonies, and the majority of them attempted to enforce strict religious observance through both colonial governments and local town rules.

  1. Everyone was required to attend a place of worship and to pay taxes to support the wages of pastors, according to the law.
  2. Despite the fact that the majority of colonists identified as Christians, this did not imply that they lived in a society that was religiously united.
  3. When it came to religion in Europe, Catholic and Protestant nations regularly punished or outlawed each other’s practices, while British colonies sometimes enforced limitations on Catholics’ practices.
  4. There were still significant disparities between Puritans and Anglicans in the British colonies.
  5. If a single religious tradition predominated in a community, new congregations were frequently seen as disloyal troublemakers who were threatening the established social order.
  6. 1 Uncommon Anglican American parishes ranged in size from 60 to 100 miles in length and were frequently sparsely inhabited.

Although the Congregational Church predominated in Boston, one resident grumbled in 1632 that the “fellows who keepe hogges all weeke preach on the Sabboth” were “fellows who hold hogges all weeke.” As astrology, alchemy, and various types of witchcraft became more widely practiced in Europe, Christianity became even more difficult.

  1. Even many “natural philosophers” (the forerunners of scientists) believed that alchemy and other magical methods might help them uncover the mysteries of Scripture, which was a surprising finding considering how far they were removed from Christianity.
  2. As a result, as the colonies got more established, the power of the clergy and their churches rose in importance.
  3. According to one observer, the selectmen of Boston were finally able to enforce Sunday discipline and conformity after years of battles.
  4. under pain of being imprisoned in Stokes or otherwise confined,” the selectmen of Boston said in 1768.
  5. In addition, religion had a role in the establishment and institutionalization of slavery, which took root in the 1680s and continued until the 1780s.
  6. 4 In fact, even in organizations that actively sought to integrate slaves into their congregations — the Baptists, for example – slaves were almost always a silent minority.
  7. Local variances in Protestant customs, as well as ethnic divisions among the white settlers, contributed to the development of religious diversity in the region.

Most colonies with Anglican or Congregational institutions had little choice but to demonstrate some degree of religious tolerance as a result of the influx of French Huguenots, Catholics, Jews, Dutch Calvinists, German Reformed pietists, Scottish Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, and members of other denominations who arrived in increasing numbers.

As a matter of fact, Pennsylvania’s original constitution specified that anybody who believed in God and willing to live peacefully under civil government would “in no manner be disturbed or discriminated because of their religious opinion of practice.” 5 The actuality, on the other hand, frequently fell short of that ideal.

New England

For religious services, the majority of New Englanders attended services at a Congregationalist meetinghouse. The meetinghouse, which served both secular and religious purposes, was a tiny wood structure in the heart of the town that performed both duties. People sat on rough wooden benches for the most of the day, which corresponded to the length of time that church sessions often lasted. As the population increased after the 1660s, these meeting rooms rose in size and became far less primitive.

  1. Religion in New England grew increasingly organized after the 1680s, as a result of the establishment of several new churches and ecclesiastical bodies.
  2. In stark contrast to the other colonies, most babies in New England were baptized by the church, and church attendance climbed to as high as 70 percent of the adult population in certain locations.
  3. The New England colonists—with the exception of those from Rhode Island—were largely Puritans who, on the whole, lived religiously rigorous lifestyles.
  4. The Puritan leadership and aristocracy, particularly in Massachusetts and Connecticut, assimilated their form of Protestantism into the governmental fabric of their own states and territories.
  5. Their laws were based on the assumption that citizens who deviated from traditional religious practices were a threat to civil order and should be punished as a result of their nonconformity.
  6. Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut did not have church courts to impose penalties on religious offences, instead relying on civil magistrates to carry out this job.
  7. In those colonies, the civil government dealt harshly with religious dissenters, exiling the likes of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams for their outspoken criticism of Puritanism.
  8. The apex of official persecution occurred between 1659 and 1661, when Massachusetts Bay’s Puritan magistrates executed four Quaker missionaries.
  9. The Toleration Act, passed by the English Parliament in 1689, granted the freedom to erect churches and perform public worship in the colonies to Quakers and numerous other groups.

However, while dissidents continued to face harassment and financial penalties far into the eighteenth century, individuals who did not explicitly dispute the authority of the Puritans were left unmolested and were not legally sanctioned for their “heretical” views.

Mid-Atlantic and Southern Colonies

For religious services, people in the middle and southern colonies went to church in buildings whose design and ornamentation are more known to modern Americans than the simple New England meeting houses. On Sundays, they would also spend the most of the day at church. After 1760, when isolated outposts evolved into cities and backwoods communities grew into busy commercial hubs, the size and magnificence of Southern churches increased in proportion to their population. As bad as church attendance was in the colonial period’s early years, it started to improve around 1680 and eventually became more constant.

  1. Towards the conclusion of the colonial era, church attendance reached at least 60% in all of the colonial jurisdictions.
  2. The colonists in the southern colonies were also a diverse group, with Baptists and Anglicans among them.
  3. Virginia passed legislation requiring everyone to attend Anglican public worship services.
  4. 8 After 1750, when Baptist numbers increased in that province, the colonial Anglican aristocracy reacted violently to their presence, causing the Baptists to flee.
  5. Mobs of people attacked members of the group, breaking up prayer services and occasionally assaulting those who took part in the attacks.
  6. 9 The Anglican Church was never a majority in the Carolinas, New York, New Jersey, or Delaware; this was in contrast to the dominant position in Virginia.
  7. Maryland was established by Cecilius Calvert in 1634 as a sanctuary for Catholics fleeing persecution in their own country.
  8. A universal tax was used to finance clergy and structures belonging to both the Catholic and Puritan religions.
  9. Their religious beliefs affected the way they treated Indians, and they were among the first to publicly criticize slavery in the United States of America.

The legislation he drafted vowed to defend the civil liberties of “all individuals. who confess and acknowledge the one almighty and everlasting God to be the creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe,” as well as the rights of “all humans.” 10

Religious Revival

Religious revival swept through the colonies during the 1730s and 1740s. Jonathan Edwards delivered a sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” shortly after the English evangelical and revivalist George Whitefield returned from a tour of the United States, igniting a wave of religious fervor and heralding the beginning of the Great Awakening. The movement, which relied on massive open-air sermons attended at times by as many as 15,000 people, challenged the clerical elite and colonial establishment by emphasizing the sinfulness of every individual and the necessity of salvation through personal, emotional conversion—what we now refer to as being “born again.” By dismissing worldly success as a sign of God’s favor, and by emphasizing emotional transformation (which the establishment derisively referred to as “enthusiasm”) rather than rational thought, the movement was able to appeal to the poor and uneducated, including slaves and Native Americans, and eventually gained widespread acceptance.

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According to historical perspective, the Great Awakening contributed to the revolutionary movement in a number of ways: it forced Awakeners to organize, mobilize, petition, and gain political experience; it encouraged believers to follow their beliefs even if doing so meant breaking with their church; it rejected clerical authority in matters of conscience; and it questioned the right of civil authorities to intervene in all matters of religion.

The fundamental beliefs of rational Protestants were surprising to find that these principles aligned so well with them (and deists).


The “Great Awakening” was characterized by an evangelical, emotional challenge to reason, but by the end of the colonial period, Protestant rationalism had emerged as the dominant religious force among most of the colonies’ leaders: “The similarity of belief among the educated gentry in all colonies is notable.appear to be evidence that some form of rationalism—Unitarian, deist, or otherwise—was often present in the religion of gentlemen leaders by the late colonial period.” 11 Rationalism, whether it was Unitarian, deist, or even Anglican/Congregational, was concerned with the ethical components of religious belief.

  • Many “superstitious” features of the Christian liturgy were likewise dismissed by rationalistic thinkers (although many continued to believe in the human soul and in the afterlife).
  • To make matters even more complicated, rationalists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin placed a higher importance on the study of nature (known as “natural religion”) than they did on religious texts such as the Scriptures (known as “revealed religion”).
  • Knowing the distinction also meant that humans had the ability to choose whether or not to sin or act decently.
  • As a result, many people called for the separation of religion and state.
  • They launched a two-pronged attack on England in the 1760s, first for its intention to meddle in the religious life of the colonies, and second for its claim that the monarch governed over the colonies by divine inspiration.

The break with divine authority led revolutionaries to turn to Locke, Milton, and other thinkers, who came to the conclusion that a government that abused its power and injured the interests of its citizens deserved to be deposed as tyrannical.


Beginning around the close of the 18th century, evangelical revivals linked with the Second Great Awakening started to attract the participation of both blacks and females. The feminist and abolitionist movements both evolved out of the revivals that took place during this time period. The American Revolution had mostly been a religiously motivated event. The separation of church and state, established in the first amendment to the Constitution, was a strong demonstration of the Founding Fathers’ hostility to the intermingling of politics and religion.

  1. In what is now known as the Second Great Awakening (also known as the Religious Renaissance), this spiritual upsurge radically transformed the character of American religion.
  2. However, by 1800, Evangelical Methodism and Baptists had surpassed all other religions in terms of growth in the United States.
  3. An 1802 camp meeting action is captured by the words of a young man who attended the renowned 20,000-person revival at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, and captured the spirit of these camp meetings: The sound sounded similar to the boom of Niagara Falls.
  4. I counted seven clergy, all of them were preaching at the same moment, some standing on stumps and others riding on wheels.
  5. I had an odd sense that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
  6. After being inspired by this young man’s story, he went on to become a Methodist preacher.
  7. J.

One aspect of the evangelical impetus that drove the Second Great Awakening was similar to the egalitarian spirit that characterized Revolutionary ideals.

Individual piety, for example, was considered more necessary for salvation than the formal university training required for clergy in conventional Christian churches.

In the early days of settlement, these were ideally adapted to the border circumstances of the newly inhabited lands.

Most evangelical churches also contained key spaces for lay people who took on substantial religious and administrative duties within evangelical congregations.

The Second Great Awakening represented a watershed moment in the history of religious life in the United States.

The new evangelical movement, on the other hand, placed a larger emphasis on the potential of individuals to transform their circumstances for the better.

The numerous and various revivals that took place over the course of several decades contributed to the United States being a far more firmly Protestant nation than it had previously been.

Finally, the Second Great Awakening was marked by increased public roles for white women as well as far larger African-American engagement in Christianity than had previously been the case.

The Diversity Of Early Christianity

Early Christians battled from the outset to come to terms with the person of Jesus and the significance of his teaching for their own lives. Harold W. Attridge is the Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at the University of Southern California. Yale Divinity School is located in New Haven, Connecticut. TOO SIMPLE AN ACCOUNT FOR THE BOOK OF ACTS What is the narrative of the early history of the Christian church that we obtain from the book of Acts, exactly? There was a significant event at Pentecost, which would have been the next pilgrimage festival following the Passover celebration at which Jesus was killed, according to the Book of Acts, which is recorded or reported in the Bible.

  1. And it was at this point that the disciples of Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem, uncertain of their future.
  2. And from that point on, the mission progressed in a rather straightforward manner, guided by the spirit and carried out by all of the apostles in concert with one another and in accord with one another.
  3. Historically, the situation is likely to be far more complicated.
  4. Each of those communities was likely to have had a very different perspective on the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  5. While some believe in the resurrection of Jesus as a resuscitation of his corpse, others do not place much emphasis on it, preferring instead to concentrate on his teaching and the propagation of that message.
  6. Participants in the competition included those who insisted more forcefully on adherence of Jewish regulations as outlined in the Torah, as well as those who were more open to the admittance of gentiles without laying the burden of Torah on them.
  7. Accordingly, there was a great deal more variation in the early phases of the Christian movement than the Book of Acts indicates.
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Early “CHRISTIANITIES” of the 2nd and 3rd Centuries are a good example of this.

We can’t conceive Christianity as a religious movement that is cohesive and coherent in its beliefs.

The development of institutions was evident in certain Christian churches, but only in a few of them.

Because of the literature discovered at Nag Hammadi, for example, we know that gnostic Christianity did not have the type of obvious hierarchical structure that other varieties of Christianity had evolved.

As a result, there was a great deal of heterogeneity in Christianity during the second and third centuries.

Perhaps the most striking distinction was seen between those who identified as gnostic Christians and those who identified as Christians according to the traditional Pauline perspective of things in the audience.

While Gnostic Christianity would have placed its primary emphasis on the message, wisdom, and knowledge (the gnosis; that is where the word gnostic comes from, the Greek word for knowledge), the knowledge that Jesus transmits, and even the secret knowledge that Jesus transmits, would have placed its primary emphasis on the message, wisdom, and knowledge.

  1. More on the gnostics to come.
  2. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Harvard Divinity School, Helmut Koester is an expert in the field of New Testament studies.
  3. We must keep in mind that the disciples were most likely scattered very early in the New Testament.
  4. What Christian rites and ceremonies should look like.
  5. The sources that we have tell us that Christianity began as a very diversified movement, with the establishment of churches spreading into a wide range of cultural and linguistic contexts across the world.
  6. No later than the year 35, but most likely as early as the years 32 or 33.
  7. So, within two, three, or five years after Jesus’ crucifixion, we have the establishment of Greek-speaking communities outside of Palestine, most notably in Antioch, but we also have the establishment of communities in Samaria.
  8. Within 20 years, Paul’s mission had spread Christianity all the way across Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, into Macedonia, and finally into Greece.

There can be no expectation that everyone would be doing and believing the same thing everywhere, singing the same hymns, reading the same scriptures, and telling the same story because of the explosive spread of Christian churches, not a very slow moderate growth, adding a few new members every few years, but an explosive spread of this movement.

  • Even in Paul’s churches itself there is already a process going on, since that is why Paul writes letters: he wants to make sure that these freshly converted Christians in Ephesus and Philippi and Thessalonica and Corinth have some degree of agreement in their ideas.
  • Paul had to write back and explain, “Now, I taught you nothing but Christ crucified, not Christ wisdom, which is what you must meditate in order to receive the knowledge that comes from Jesus.”” As a result, you have a clash of diverse traditions even at a very early stage of development.
  • The experience of variety is a fascinating problem in and of its own right.
  • In order to create particular patterns and standards for the formation of community, the early Christians had a difficult time debating with one another and fighting with one another, as well as determining what was vital in the churches.
  • This is exactly what they should be doing.
  • However, there is another issue to consider: the diversity of religious movements.

Instead of staying away from this and saying, “Oh God, now we have even more Muslims in America than we do Jews,” we should be encouraged to say that our dialogue, not only with other Christian denominations, but also with other religions, including Jews, Moslems, and Buddhists, may in fact, indeed, be very fruitful.

  • However, kids must learn to say things like “maybe that is really excellent.” Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Texas in Austin, L.
  • DIVERSITY IN THE REGION It is common to conceive of Christianity’s success in the second and third centuries, particularly in the years leading up to its being the dominant religion in the Roman Empire, as if it were only one type of religiosity, while in reality the polar opposite is true.
  • We have, in fact, several brands of Christianity coexisting side by side, sometimes even in the same city, which is a problem.
  • At one time during my stay in Rome,.
  • The formal papal tradition that formed as part of St.
  • Even within a single city, we may find a tremendous deal of variety.
  • The picture of Jesus that Justin Martyr has is much different from the image that we have of Jesus for Valentinus, Marcion, and others.
  • This is the point at which we begin to observe a sort of multiplication of gospels.
  • Wayne A.

The Drive for Unity and the Internal Mechanics of the Organization Now, the early Christians placed a high value on unity amongst themselves, and it is strange to note that they seemed to be always at odds with one another over what type of unity they should have in order to achieve their goals.

  1. He is always having to defend himself against other Christians who have stepped in and said, “I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.” “No, Paul didn’t get it quite right the first time.
  2. There are various types of practice; there are disagreements over how Jewish we should be; how Greek we should be; how we should adapt to the surrounding culture; and what the true meaning of Jesus’ death is, and how significant Jesus’ death is.
  3. This, of course, is diametrically opposed to the point of view that orthodox Christianity has always, and very reasonably, sought to portray.
  4. One of the most difficult things to understand about modern historical study is the fact that we have yet to reach the Golden Age.
  5. The pure Christianity that was distinct from everyone else and unambiguous in its features was never established.
  6. The fascinating thing about Christianity is that it is characterized by variety from the beginning, and each of the varied groups is so passionate about their own way of viewing things that they would certainly like everyone else to share their viewpoint as well.
  7. Naturally, they inherited this from Judaism, the belief that there is a single people of God, but they are not one and they disagree on a wide range of issues.
  8. As a result, the very desire for oneness results in schism, and, ironically, the mere presence of all the many schisms is evidence of the belief that there should be unity.

First and foremost, it suggests the existence of a schismatic group, a decision that differs from the mainstream, and secondly, it involves the existence of people who have incorrect notions, people who believe incorrectly about this or that, most notably concerning the identity of Jesus Christ.

  • Because of this desire to form a unified body of opinion, the great controversies of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries resulted in the formation of what we know as orthodoxy, and in the western world, Catholicism, in the Western world.
  • Yes.
  • Those who disagree with the Apostle Paul in Galatia, and who claim, “After all, Paul presented you with a very simplified gospel, which made it simple for you to become a member of this new group.
  • As a result, Paul has made a mistake.” “No, you don’t realize how totally fresh this thing is, which God is doing here,” Paul said emphatically.
  • Who is the victor?

When it comes to history, the winners always write it; if one wanted to be cynical about it, one might say, “All right, the people who eventually managed to get the greatest power and the most persuasive powers win out, and they create the history that classifies everyone else as a heretic.” and one would have to agree that there’s a great bit of truth to that statement.

Clearly skewed by imperial authority from the 4th century onward, yet there is a bizarre type of democracy at work here as well.

Without a doubt, it is a very difficult picture.

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