This is the "handout" to accompany the church history powerpoint presentation made in Lagos, Nigeria (2005). In addition, the 7 lessons of church history are:

1. No clergy/laity distinction!
2. High standards for training and appointing leaders.
3. Church and politics do not mix.
4. When the Bible is taught revolutionary things happen!
5. All of us are responsible to give feedback and leaders to seek input.
6. Speak where the Bible speaks!
7. Unity is worth the struggle!

We might also add another:
8. People never learn the lessons of history!


Acts 1:8 = outline of expansion of early church. Apostasy predicted (Matt 24:12 2 Peter 2:1-3). For more on this, see James Peter John Jude ch. 13. Apostolic era sees formation of NT.

Christians are countercultural (a "sect"), known for caring for poor and needy. Books of NT are circulating widely. Leaders are beginning to work through intellectual implications of the message. Persecution helps Christians stay committed.

Beginnings of clergy/laity division (Ignatius of Antioch around 100 AD). Marcion rejects OT and most of NT except for his edited version of Luke and Paul's letters. This influenced huge portions of the church. Celibacy ideal exalted. Pseudo-charismatic movement in Phrygia rejected by the church. Church hierarchy building. Easter dispute. Increasing emphasis on tradition.

Fires of persecution at hottest. Yet church is cooling down. First purpose-built church buildings.
Cult of saints. Early monks (more common in 300s).

Worst persecutions around 305 AD. Leaders imprisoned or executed Bibles confiscated and burned buildings destroyed. First ecumenical council at Nicea. Christianity legalized; church and politics joined. Christianity official religion of empire (381). Persecuted becomes persecutor. Notion of apostolic succession. Kissing bishop's hand. Christmas. Pentecost. Ascension Day. Candles. Cult of martyrs. 40-day Lent. Contribution becomes a church tax. Sunday Sabbath. Political wrangling necessitates involvement of pagan emperor. Worldly entertainment (gladiatorial games, lewd theater). Christian "priesthood."

Church of the East (not Catholic, not Orthodox, not political) evangelizing China. Patrick in Ireland. Bible translated into Latin, Mary the "mother of God" (431). Palm Sunday. Unity unraveling. Apocrypha in Bible. Augustine very influential (infant baptism, original sin, predestination, once-saved-always-saved, state church). Purgatory

Christianity east of Damascus larger than Christianity west of Damascus! Churches in Afghanistan, Mongolia, Indochina etc. Pope with universal authority. Weakened churches succumb to Muslim conquest. Icons required for worship and salvation (787)! Baptism at sword-point. Beginning of a period of moral and political chaos.

Orthodoxy church finally breaks off from Catholicism. Hail Mary prayer. Simony (sale of religious offices)

Crusades. Denial of cup to laity. Transubstantiation. Annual confession. Indulgences. Inquisition. Church of East weakens and is virtually wiped out in 1300s.

Renaissance (1400s-1500s). Enlightenment (1600s-1700s). Printing press. Age of exploration and discovery. Humanism. Early attempts at reform (Wyclif, Hus, Savonorola). Indulgences for sale. Reformation leaders: Luther (Germany), Zwingli (Zurich), Calvin (Geneva). Radical Reformation (Anabaptists). Bible translations in vernacular. Priesthood of all believers. Emphasis on grace. Dissenters persecuted—even Protestants persecuting other Protestants! Restoration of teachings of Augustine. Severe fragmentation. Catholic Counter-Reformation upholds role of tradition. Translation work continues. Dissatisfaction with fruits of Reformation. Missionary work. Restoration Movement begins in late 1600s in Scotland.

Darwinism. Slave trade eventually abolished. Industrial revolution. Biblical criticism and Liberal theology. Major denominations: Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans (Episcopalians). Also Mormons, Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Immaculate conception of Mary (1854) and Infallibility of Pope (1870). Sinner's Prayer (1835). Continuing missions Bible translation. Campus ministry movement. Ecumenical movement. Pentecostalism (1900). Restoration Movement splinters (Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ).

35.000 sects and denominations worldwide all calling themselves "Christian"!