Christianity is a world religion with about 2.4 billion followers. Regardless of denomination, all Christians center their worship around the teachings of Jesus Christ who is the founder of Christianity. The spread of Christianity across the world is believed to be the most successful spiritual mission in Human history.
The first church had very few adherents and is believed to have come into existence 50 days after Jesus’s death when the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus’s followers. Early Christians were Jewish converts, but this group soon expanded to include Gentiles (non-Jews). The apostle Paul converted to Christianity and boosted the spread of the faith across the Roman Empire. He established churches, preached extensively, and wrote 13 out of the 27 books in the New Testament.
Then followed a period of persecutions, torture, and executions of Christians under the Emperors Nero, Domitian, and the co-emperors Diocletian and Galerius. This period spanned the years between 64 AD and 303 AD.
The Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity marked a shift in the tolerance of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Constantine is also credited with trying to unify Christianity and establishing the Nicene Creed in 313 AD.
In 380 AD, the Roman empire instituted Catholicism as the state religion. The Pope or the Bishop of Rome served as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, cracks in the ideology between Eastern and Western Christians led to the eventual split of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox church in 1054 AD.
Then followed the Crusades (1095 A.D. to 1230 A.D), a series of holy wars between Christians and Islamic Rulers over holy territory in Jerusalem.
In 1517, a text called 95 Theses by German Monk Martin Luther gave birth to the Reformation. The Reformation was a movement that aimed to reform the Catholic Church. 95 Theses mainly took issue with the power of the Pope as the sole interpreter of Scripture. The movement resulted in Protestantism. Today the Christian Church is split into three main branches: Catholic, Protestant, and (Eastern) Orthodox. The Protestant Church is further split into numerous denominations who often have their own interpretations of the Bible.