church historian at the bottom with questions or comments or
Timeline/Christian History Timeline and more
Not just a timeline or
chronology, but instructions on how Christianity developed
Learn at your own pace and
in your own time
American Church History:
1900s and Beyond
Click on any of the
centuries to the left and enjoy learning about Church History.
The Age of the Apostles: by the end of
the First Century they were all gone but one.
New Testament books were written:
plus other books purported to be from or about apostles but weren't.
Christianity moves from being centered in
Jerusalem to scattered from Spain to India to Ethiopia.
Only the Jews persecuted
the Christians at the beginning, by the end this switched to the
Demographic of Christianity: mainly Jews
at the beginning, mainly Gentiles at the end.
The first Christian heresies appear:
Gnosticism and Docetism.
Roman persecutions of
the Christians occurred, yet were sporadic.
The Age of the Apostles is over and the Apostolic
Fathers lead Christianity up to the middle of the century.
The Apostolic Fathers are replaced by the
Apologists, church leaders who defended Christianity in
writing against literary attacks.
Gnosticism and Docetism became
the main heresies with which Christianity had to contend.
Marcion caused a stir by
developing his own Scripture; this caused early church
leaders to begin developing the correct Christian Scripture.
Canon [Scripture], Creed,
Clergy: Christians developed these three ideas over the
next 300 years; this brought about an institutionalization of
Christianity, which defended the faith and promoted and protected
the growth and development of Christianity.
and even intensified.
By this time, Christianity has
developed into one institution, outside of which "no salvation is
At the beginning:
Persecutions end and Christianity is legalized.
At the end:
Christianity is the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The first two major Councils,
Nicaea and Constantinople, are convened.
The 27 books of the New
Testament are accepted and the canon (Scripture) is closed.
By the end of this century, the
Canon, Creed, and Clergy of Christianity has been
Rome was conquered and
sacked not once but twice: in 410 and 455.
Jerome completed the Vulgate,
the standard Bible until the 1500s.
The beginnings of the split
between the Western and Eastern Churches emerged.
The Dark Ages begins
in this century and lasted until the Eleventh Century, when the
Middle Ages began.
Monasticism began to
grow in Europe.
Southern Europe became stable
under the rule of Justinian I in mid-century, then experienced chaos
in the latter part of the century, then stability under Gregory
Islam swept across North Africa in the last decade of
and then started moving up into Europe in this century. The
Muslims were defeated at the Battle of Tours by Charlemagne's
grandfather, Charles Martel.
Western Christianity remained a small part of Europe
until the rise of Charlemagne in the latter part of the
The century began with a high
point: Charlemagne ruled much of Europe, brought Christianity
to new areas, and instituted the Carolingian Renaissance.
At the end of the century the papacy began to
experience difficulties which will continue into the next century.
Christianity split into the Eastern (Orthodox) and
Western (Catholic) Churches in 1054.
The Investiture Controversy
caused a pope to excommunicate an emperor in 1076.
The Crusades began in 1095.
The Fourth through Eighth Crusades took place; the
Europeans were forced out of the Holy Land.
The Franciscans and Dominicans were formed.
The High Middle Ages began.
2 then 3 then 1 popes.
John Huss executed & John Wycliffe's body dug up and
burned on orders of the Council of Constance (which reduced the
number of popes from 3 to 1).
The Printing Press (moveable type printing) was
created by John Gutenberg.
At the beginning of the century, Europe has one
Christian group: Catholics. At the end of the century,
Europe has at least five: Catholic, Lutheran, Anabaptist,
Reformed (Calvinist), and Anglican (Church of England)
The development of
New Spain: Spanish Catholic conquistadors
explore and attempt to colonize small parts of eastern present-day
USA as well as portions of western present-day USA. Catholic
missionaries (mostly Franciscans and
Dominicans) usually accompany them.
The development of
French explorers began exploring eastern present-day Canada and
parts of eastern present-day USA. The exploration included
many Jesuits. This area would not further develop until the
move into and settle the American colonies. Some were settled
for religious reasons, others are not.
New Spain and
New France were further developed.
The First Great
Awakening occurred (1730s & 1740s); Evangelicalism begins.
begins in the USA.
The Baptists and Methodists
experienced tremendous growth due to the Second Great Awakening
Black slaves were freed at the end of
the Civil War and began to form their own denominations.
Innovations in the areas of science,
sociology, archaeology, etc. will produce a great challenge to
At the beginning of the century,
Congregationalists and Presbyterians dominate the religious make-up
of the USA; at the end Methodists, Baptists, and Catholics will
American 1900s & Beyond:
The most prominent feature of this
century was the dizzying variety of different ways to practice,
teach, and communicate Christianity. These result from
inventions such as the automobile, the airplane, radio, television,
movies, the telephone, and the internet. Therefore, this
century's timeline only represents a tiny minority of the vast number of
directions which American Christianity took in the 1900s.
website: I have realized in teaching church history since 1994 that a lot of people enjoy learning about
church history, but do not know how to go about it in an organized,
systematic way. So interested people read bits and pieces from
throughout the history of Christianity but do not know how to tie it
together in one long seamless story. This website will
(hopefully!) do that for you. And perhaps you will be
as thrilled reading about Church History as I am in studying and
preparing this website. And always feel free to email me.
Mark received his Ph.D. in Church History in 1999 and has taught
church history classes at eleven different schools (Bible colleges,
universities, and seminaries)
Contact Mark at
©2012 Mark Nickens