Church History in the Fulness of Times Ch1

The first notable Roman persecution occurred during the reign of Nero, who made the Christians the scapegoat for the burning of Rome in AD 64.
The Romans sporadically attacked the church until the reign of Diocletian (AD 284-305). Diocletian determined to destroy everything that was not pagan as un-Roman. Churches were destroyed, scriptures burned, and Christians made to sacrifice or face torture. In an edict of 306 the persecution was ordered empire-wide.
Constantine, at the Milvian Bridge in AD 312, utilized his cross as his symbol as he crushed his opponent Maxentius. The next yr at Milan, Constantine issued his famous Edict of Toleration which granted to all ppl the right to worship as they pleased, revoking the measures which had meant to suppress Christianity. Constantine himself did not become a Christian until he lay dying, but his acceptance and endorsement of Christianity placed the church in partnership with the aims of the empire. To resolve a dispute over the nature of the Godhead, Constantine was instrumental in calling the Council of Nicaea, the 1st of the great ecumenical councils, in a city just south of his capital in AD 325.
As Peter was praying on the roof of a house in Joppa, he had a vision in which he learned that God is no respecter of persons, that not group should be regarded as unclean, and that the gospel should go to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews (Acts 10: 9-48)
Saul, who had been persecuting the early believers, beheld the Savior in a bright light while on the road to Damascus. And Saul, the agent of the Sanhedrin, became Paul the defender of truth, a “chosen vessel” to proclaim the name of Christ before Gentiles & kings. Paul, with other disciples, spread the gospel and established branches of the Church throughout much of the Roman Empire.
Martin Luther
Luther’s intensive study of the Bible led him to the doctrinal conclusion that later came to mark the reform movement: that men are justified by faith alone and not by their good works. Luther nailed to the church door at Wittenberg his Ninety-five These, which challenged the church to debate on the efficacy of indulgences and the church’s sacramental practices. His movement had moved beyond the merely religious to the political, and the unity of the holy Roman Empire was threatened. Luther was protected by German princes who sympathized with his ideas and who wanted more political autonomy in Rome. He began a German translation of the Bible, the first common language translation not based on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. Luther’s followers founded the Lutheran Church when the Catholic church would not reform.
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe in England denounced the corruption & abuses of the Catholic church & condemned the pope as anti-Christ. He translated the scriptures & circulated them among the common people. He was strongly condemned by the church, but his teachings were widely accepted among his countrymen.
Henry VIII
King Henry VIII, who disapproved of Luther, insisted that the pope did not did not have the authority to deny Henry a divorce from his wife. A quarrel ensued in which the king rejected the pope’s authority, and in 1533 the pope excommunicated the king. Henry then established the Church of England.
John Calvin
At Geneva, Calvin attempted to create a holy city around the biblical models. Gradually Calvinism became prominent in many parts of Switzerland, and from there it spread to France, England, Scotland, Holland, and in a lesser degree to Germany. John Knox, an early convert to Calvinism, helped refine & expand its teachings.
Roger Williams
Certain dissenters among the Puritans, Roger Williams chief among them, argued that there ought to be a clear distinction between & state & that no particular religion ought to be imposed upon the citizens. He also taught that all churches had fallen away from the true apostolic succession. Williams was banished from Massachusetts in 1635, and within a few years, he & others w/ similar ideas succeeded in obtaining a charter to establish a colony of Rhode Island, which allowed total tolerance of all religions.
Anne Hutchinson
A courageous woman, Anne Hutchinson, who went to Massachusetts in 1634, disagreed with the local leaders on two theological issues: the role of good works in salvation and whether or not an individual may receive inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Mrs. Hutchinson was likewise banished from Massachusetts, and she sought refuge in Rhode Island in 1638. Despite the efforts of Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and others, religious toleration was not achieved in New England for another century and a half.
Ulrich Zwingli
Zwingli convinced the citizens of Zurich that the Bible should be the only standard of religious truth. Using this standard Zwingli rejected life in a monastery, celibacy, the mass, and other Catholic practices.
A period when the Lord reveals his gospel doctrines, ordinances, and priesthood.
Time after time the flowering of the true Church was followed by an apostasy, or a falling away from the truth-> cyclical pattern. Each time the lord’s people fell away in apostasy, there came a need for a restoration of the gospel.
Calvinism (4 pts.)
(1) the absolute sovereignty of God
(2) the election of man to grace
(3) the idea that saved were to be instruments in God’s hand in redeeming others
(4) the concept that the church was to be a “light on a hill” to influence the affairs of men in this world.
To Calvinist groups: Pilgrims & Puritans
Believed that they possessed the true faith & consequently did not tolerate any other religion. This intolerance had to be overcome before there could be a restoration of Christ’s church.
Many beliefs were introduced in the new nation, including the idea that there was a need for the restoration of New Testament Christianity. Those searching for this restoration were popularly known as seekers.
Second Great Awakening
There arose a revivalism. Itinerant preachers held spirited camp meetings among new settlers in in frontier areas of the growing United States. Lonely settlers from farms & villages gathered in huge crowds to enjoy the camp meetings. Noisy but gifted preachers lent a festive air to these religious gatherings while trying to win converts to their faith. The Second Great Awakening also influenced the formation of voluntary association to promote missionary work, education, moral reform, and humanitarianism.
Great Awakening
Kindled a religious commitment that had not been only felt in America for years, and it promoted greater participation by both laymen and ministers in the affairs of organized religion. It also aroused within the colonial Americans a desire to unite in democratic order.