Defining Moments in Church History…(10)

Well, we’ve come to the end of this series having discussed eight significant moments in Church history that have helped carve the landscape of today’s world. Here’s a quick review:

1. A Kingdom of the Gentiles (1st century A.D.) – From its earliest moments, the Church began to spread among the Gentile world until Gentiles quickly outnumbered Jews and leadership of the Church began to shift their direction. Today, he Church is overwhelmingly Gentile.

2. The Edict of Milan (A.D. 313) – Emperor Constantine’s apparent identification with Christianity helped eliminate persecution of Christians within the Roman Empire and marked the beginning of the Western Church’s political journey.

3. The Council at Nicaea (A.D. 325) – Constantine’s “intrusion” into the doctrinal orthodoxy of the Church brought much needed clarity on the nature of Christ and gave the Church a new ecclesiastical model (the Council) for managing its issues.

4. The Canon Established (A.D. 367 – A.D. 481) – Athanasius’ Festal Letter in A.D. 367 provided the first list of “accepted” New Testament books, but it took more than a century for such a list to be finalized.

5. The Crusades (A.D. 1095-…) Pope Urban II’s call for warriors to invade the land of the Bible and reclaim it for the Church spurred several violent excursions into the Middle East, ultimately widening the gap between Christianity and those native to the region.

6. The Protestant Reformation (A.D. 1517) – Martin Luther’s desire to reform the Church ultimately brought about a rejection of the Catholic Church and the formation of what would become a Protestant worldview for numerous religious groups.

7. The Great Awakening (A.D. 1734 – A.D. 1744) – With the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, Charles & John Wesley, and George Whitfield, a great revival spread across what would become America and shaped many of the methods that would later mark the Evangelical Church.

8. The Pentecostal/Charismatic century (20th Century A.D.) – Beginning in Topeka, KS, spreading to Azusa Street (Los Angeles), and ultimately impacting the entire world, the Pentecostal movement launched world-wide evangelism on an extraordinary scale. When various mainline denominational churches and even various Catholic Churches began to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the expression of spiritual gifts, the Charismatic Renewal expanded the impact even further.

Those who would lead in the local church today would do well to be familiar with the impact these events have had on the environment in which they lead. These moments continue to affect the Church and its effort to engage the world in which it operates.

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