Christianity’s roots are found in the Jewish faith but the Christian church has gone through many important changes since the time of Jesus over 2000 years ago.
The early Church was made up of many people who had followed Jesus during his life on earth. After Jesus’ resurrection the church began to grow and spread. In many places the Christian faith wasn’t popular as it challenged pagan practices – including those of the Roman Empire. Many Christians were persecuted, with many imprisoned or put to death. However, it was this same empire that advanced Christianity. The apostle Paul was a citizen of Rome, and so was able to travel widely telling people about Jesus. Later a Roman Emperor accepted the Christian faith and made it the official religion of Rome.
Over the centuries the Christian Church has spread all over the world. The early Britons often adopted a Celtic expression of Christianity in keeping with their own traditions. Today the Roman Catholic Church is the biggest Christian Church worldwide and was once the dominant tradition in Britain. The Protestant Reformation that started in the Tudor period challenged many established teachings of the Catholic Church, and consequently there are now many different denominations in our communities: the Anglican Church, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the Quakers to name but a few. These groups also sent out missionaries to different parts of the world, shaping the worldwide church today.
The Christian faith is a living one. Followers of Jesus have never stopped reflecting on what they believe, why they believe it and how they live out their faith in their communities. Christians have often been at the forefront of setting up schools, hospitals and orphanages, helping the poor and those in prison. In this section you can find out much more about how the Christian faith has developed and the difference it has made in people’s lives. Perhaps you can begin by discovering the name of the Roman Emperor who converted the empire? Or where Quakers got their unusual name?Bookmark