Brief History of Christianity: Division of the Church


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My perspective on the brief history of the Christian Church and its division on the "why" and "how".

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By Hansol Lee

Published in: Education
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  • By Hansol Lee
  • Some of the most prominent disciples of the apostles include: Saint Clement of Rome, fourth Bishop of Rome who was a disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle and was directly consecrated by him; Saint Ignatius of Antioch, third Bishop of Antioch who as a student of Saint John the Apostle; and Saint Polycarp, who was a Bishop of Smyrna and was also a disciple of Saint John, being ordained by him
  • It should be noted that there were several during the times of the Apostles who were considered to be heretics such as Simon Magus in Acts of the Apostles which “simony” an act of buying ecclesiastical offices is name after, Hymenaeus and Alexander in the Letters of Paul who is considered to be a proponent of an early form of Gnosticism
  • Followers of Marcion and followers of orthodox Christians were both persecuted by the Roman Emperors, but despite this, the two groups were in opposition from one another with one martyr going as far as confessing himself to be catholic to distinguish himself from the heretical movement just before his death
  • Gnostics such as the “Docetics” and “Manicheans” were a syncretic group who incorporated various systems of beliefs into one
  • The Second Council of Ephesus and the Synod in Hieria, although intended to be ecumenical councils, were repudiated by subsequent councils while the Council in Trullo is accepted by the Greek Churches only (now known as Eastern Orthodoxy) as being part of an extension of the previous two councils with councils subsequent to the Second Council of Nicaea are subject to debate
  • Other things discussed were; Easter, eunuchs, kneeling, Baptism by heretics, lapsed Christians, and other matters
  • Apollinarism was one of two forms of monophysitism and was an over-reaction to Arianism which itself was an over-reaction to Sabellianism
  • Nestorianism was an over-reaction to Apollinarism
  • Eutycheanism was an over-reaction to Nestorianism
  • Origen was also an early proponent of “universalism” where everyone will be brought into salvation regardless of their faith
  • It was during the Council ofTrullo that the Eastern Orthodox Christian theory of the “Pentarchy” formulated which would consist of; Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, the hierarchy going in that order
  • The mutual excommunication does not imply that Constantinople excommunicated Rome and the whole of the West nor the other way around that Rome excommunicated Constantinople and the whole of the East, hence the complexity of the whole issue as well as the question of the validity of Humbert’s excommunication papers can also be questioned as Pope Leo IX of Rome whom he derived his authority from had died at the time
  • Other complications leading to further rifts includes; caesaropapism or the subjugation of the Church to civil authorities in the East, mandate of clerical celibacy of the West, the massacres of the Latins in 1182, imposition of Latin Patriarchs to Greek Patriarchates, capture of religious artifacts, attempted capture of Adrianople by the Latin Empire in 1205, and the destruction of the library of Constantinople by the Crusaders
  • The seventeenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church was originally intended to be at Basel, but due to unrests, riots, and threats of invasions had to be moved to Ferrara and then Florence resulting in delays
  • Both Wycliffe and Hus are considered the predecessors of the Protestant Reformers with Wycliffe said to be the “morning star” of the reformation and Hus being the first actual reformer after Wycliffe and before Luther
  • Waldensians were the followers of PierreVaudès, or Peter Waldo, a lay preacher during the 12th century (making him one of the first reformed dissidents of the Catholic Church in the west)taughtpoverty and adherence to the Bible, which influenced the reformation alongside with the philosophical schools of; nominalism, modernism, and humanism, though the reformation are fundamentally different from these schools
  • Transubstantiation is a doctrine concerning the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, where the bread and wine is the actual body and blood of Christ after the presiding cleric gives blessing over it during mass or divine liturgy
  • Some radical reformers did not fit under the Anabaptist group as they professed anti-Trinitarian beliefs rejecting the Nicene christology
  • Among other things, the council also defined the canonical lists for the scripture as well as the seven sacraments
  • Contrary to popular beliefs, Henry was primarily motivated to break from Rome by what he believed as his right to have further influence within the Church as there was only one English Cardinal rather than purely getting a divorce from Catherine
  • The “Arminianismvs Calvinism” debate goes back as far as “Augustine vs Pelagius” debate, where Calvinism has influences from Augustine while Arminianism is mistaken to have been influenced by Pelagius though they have similarities
  • The Baptists were first labeled by the followers of the English Separatist pastor John Smyth, while he was in the Netherlands where he adopted many practices not too dissimilar from the Anabaptists despite his opposition towards their doctrines
  • Groups such as Christadelphians and Jehovah’s Witnesses have largely adopted the Christological doctrine of Arianism thus denying the pre-existence of the Son of God
  • The point from “Anglicanism” to “Calvinism” was known as the “Magisterial Reform” which meant they had the support of the state they were in while the point above towards the “Anabaptists” were known as the “Radical Reform” meaning they did not have the support of the state they were in resulting in their persecution
  • One of the most prominent group within the Old Catholics are known as the Union of Utrecht, who are in full communion with the Anglican Communion as well as having very similar practices with them, due to their affiliation with the Archbishop of Utrecht, who like the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Communion, is considered “first among equals” in the Union
  • The whole calendar controversy is in some ways linked with the whole ecumenical movement which some prominent groups, such as the monks in Mount Athos, reject saying that dialogues with heretics will result in the orthodoxy being tainted with heterodoxy
  • The Eastern Catholic Church or the “Uniate” were formally part of either the Assyrian, Eastern Orthodox, or the Oriental Orthodox Churches, but have left their mother churches to come into full communion with Rome while retaining their Eastern practices and as such the Eastern Catholic Church are hard to distinguish from their mother churches
  • The Eastern Orthodox believe in the theory of the “Pentarchy” where the five Patriarchs (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) are to rule the Church while the Oriental Orthodoxy rejects this theory instead accepting the original “Petrine sees” where the three Sees of Saint Peter (Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch) are in charge in regards to overall administration, which has traditionally also been accepted by the Catholic Church until recently
  • Another major issue within Protestantism is the split between the Conservatives/Traditionalists and the Progressives/Liberalists, where they differ on opinions such as abortion, homosexuality, women, et cetera
  • By Hansol Lee
  • These are the Churches that were outside the Roman Empire, originally founded by St Thomas the Apostle
  • The books not accepted by the Jews and the Protestants which they label as the “Apocrypha” are labelled by the Catholics as “Deuterocanon” (to differentiate it from the other “Protocanon”) and by the Orthodox as “Anagignoskomena” which stands for “things that are read”
  • Brief History of Christianity: Division of the Church

    1. 1. Brief History of Christianity Division of the Church
    2. 2. Founding• Christianity has its root in Jewish messianism with the belief that an “anointed” leader or “Messiah” will come to resurrect the “Kingdom of God”• Christians believe Jesus of Nazareth to be this Messiah• According to the canonical Gospels, Jesus began ministering shortly after his baptism by St John the Baptist• After his death, his twelve apostles and his seventy disciples continued on his works of ministry with their own sets of disciples• Eventually, Christianity split off of Judaism as a completely separate religion during the first century AD
    3. 3. Early Troubles• Some of the earlier trouble started when the questions regarding „Gentile converts‟ were raised resulting in the “circumcision controversy” where the Jewish Christians thought they ought to follow the Mosaic Laws• This resulted in the convening of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem which settled the dispute while addressing other issues as it is written in the Book: Acts of the Apostles• St Peter became the leader of the Jewish Christians while St Paul became the leader of the Gentile Christians, a verdict laid out by St James the Just• Eventually the Gentile Christians became the prominent group easily overshadowing their Jewish counterparts after the death of the apostles• At a later date, some of the Jewish Christians, the Ebionites in particular who revered St James, were declared heretics for their unorthodox beliefs regarding the nature of Christ as well as their rejection of St Paul‟s apostolic authority and his epistles• This would not end any disputes as many rival groups whether it was the Judiazers or fellow Gentiles, rose to challenge orthodox Christianity
    4. 4. The “First” Heresy• Around 144, a Bishop of Sinope named Marcion, developed a „dualist system of belief‟ where he rejected the Jewish scriptures and declared their God as the evil creator called „Demiurge‟, a lesser god• He developed his own canon which excluded all of the Jewish writings, a modified version of the Gospel of Luke and most of the Letters by St Paul with some pseudepigraphs• Consequently, he became first person to separate and differentiate between the „Old Testament‟ and the „New Testament‟ of the Bible• He was subsequently excommunicated by the Church leaders, with the Church of Rome returning all of his donations• Subsequently, his teachings eventually died out after his death• This whole endeavour resulted in the expedited development and the finalization of the Biblical canon, even though there are still different opinions on what the canon ought to be
    5. 5. Further Theological Disputes• Marcion was not the last to be declared a heretic, as several groups emerged to challenge the Church “orthodoxy”, the most prominent groups being known as the “Gnostics”• They held Marcion‟s view of dualism as well as teaching that Christ taught “Secret Knowledge” also known as “Gnosis” which was essential for salvation• They had their own set of Gospels, Letters and Apocalyptic literatures all promoting their set of beliefs like the Jewish Christians before them• However the most controversial issue would arise after almost two hundred years after the time of Marcion when an Alexandrian presbyter named Arius started a debate concerning the Christological nature of Christ• This prompted the start of the „Ecumenical Councils‟ convened by the Byzantine Roman Emperors to resolve the disputes• Consequently, the controversies started by Arius would not end, but instead initiate a string of different controversies due to the “over-corrections” by over-zealous theologians resulting in new heretical ideas forming
    6. 6. First Seven Ecumenical Councils• 1) First Council of Nicaea in 325• 2) First Council of Constantinople in 381• 3) Council of Ephesus in 431 – Second Council of Ephesus in 451• 4) Council of Chalcedon in 451• 5) Second Council of Constantinople in 553• 6) Third Council of Constantinople in 680-681 – Council in Trullo in 692 – Synod in Hieria in 753• 7) Second Council of Nicaea in 787 – Fourth Council of Constantinople in 869-870 & 879-880 to Second Council of the Vatican in 1960
    7. 7. Nicaea I• The first ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Constantine I in 325 to settle the issue of the relation between the Son of God and God the Father• Arius claimed that the Son of God was a creation of the God the Father therefore Jesus Christ was a perfect creation, but a lesser being than God• The council ruled against Arius condemning his teachings, drawing up and adopting the “Nicene Creed” establishing the “Trinity” as the orthodox belief among mainstream Christians• The aftermath of the council also resulted in Constantine commissioning fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople in 331• Subsequent councils were called which resulted in from reconciling “Arianism” into “semi-Arianism” to supporting complete “Arianism”• During these periods, the chief opponent of Arius, the Archbishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, would end up being condemned and threatened with death by both religious and secular authorities
    8. 8. Constantinople I• The second ecumenical council convened by the Emperor Theodosius I in 381, where the council reaffirmed the Nicene Creed produced during the previous council, but with slight alterations, also affirming the divinity of the Holy Ghost• The council once again condemned Arianism as well as: “Apollinarism” which taught that Christ had no human mind nor soul; “Macedonianism”, which denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost; and “Sabellianism”, which said that the Trinity were different “modes” of the same thing• The council also elevated the status of the see of Constantinople to be second only to the see of Rome, as it was considered “New Rome” which would result in future rivalry
    9. 9. Ephesus• The third ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Theodosius II in 431 to settle the issue of “Theotokos” or “Mother of God”• The Archbishop of Constantinople, Nestorius opposed the use of such term preferring “Christotokos” or “Mother of Christ” as well as arguing that there were two completely separate persons in Christ known as “dyophysitism”• The council ruled against Nestorius, deposing him and proclaimed the Virgin Mary as Theotokos• This resulted in the first schism where the Churches outside of the Roman Empire, in particular those in Persia who did not attend the council in the first place, split from the rest of Christianity existing today as the “Assyrian Church of the East” and the “Ancient Church of the East”• Another important matter discussed was the issue of divine grace and original sin where a monk named Pelagius argued that moral perfection was attainable without divine intervention and that the life of Jesus Christ was just to set a good example, making his sacrifice unnecessary
    10. 10. Nestorian DyophysitismVisual representation of the doctrine taught by Nestorius
    11. 11. Chalcedon• The fourth ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Marcian in 451 which overturned and labelled a previous council of 448 as the “Robber Council” then known as the Second Council of Ephesus which was convened as an ecumenical council• The council ruled against and condemned Eutyches‟ doctrine of “monophysitism” which taught that Christ was not consubstantial with humanity• The council adopted the “Chalcedon Creed” where they accept the “Hypostatic Union” of two natures of Christ• This resulted in another schism where various Eastern Churches, especially those of the Armenian, Copt, Ethiopian, and Syrian churches who accepted the teachings of Eutyches, broke communion with the Greeks and the Latins, arguing that the new Creed was “Nestorian”. Today they exist as the “Oriental Orthodox Church” calling themselves “miaphysites” or united nature
    12. 12. Eutychean MonophysitismVisual representation of the doctrine taught by Eutyches
    13. 13. Constantinople II• The fifth ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Justinian I in 553 in an effort to reconcile with those who split during the previous council• The council condemned what was called the “Three Chapters” considered sympathetic to Nestorianism• It also condemned Origen, a church father who taught that the Son of God was subordinate to God the Father• It was one of the first ecumenical councils to be initially condemned by the Western Churches while being attended primarily by the delegates of the Eastern Churches• When the Pope of Rome eventually accepted the council, the Churches of Milan, Aquileia, and Northern Italy broke communion with the Church of Rome resulting in a schism until the 7th and 8th century respectively• During this period, the Bishop of Aquileia took up the title “Patriarch”, later being transferred to Grado and then Venice, where it is now• This was the start of the embitterment between the Western Church and the Eastern Church with no reconciliation in sight
    14. 14. Constantinople III• The sixth ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Constantine IV in 680 and ending in the subsequent year• The council condemned “monothelitism” and “monoenergism”, popular doctrines which taught that Christ only had one divine energy and will, while still affirming that Christ had both human and divine natures; an attempted compromise between the orthodox “hypostatic union” and the monophysites• It is known that the Lebanese Christians known as “Maronites”, named after a monk named St Maron, followed these doctrines, however they deny they that they have ever broken communion with the Rome and as such accept this council• Anyone who had ever supported these doctrines were condemned as heretics which included then-sitting Patriarch of Antioch, Macarius, who was deposed, the previous Pope of Rome, Honorius I, as well as the four previous Patriarchs of Constantinople such as Sergius I• A subsequent council in Trullo convened by the Emperor Justinian II in 692 known as Quinisext Council meaning Fifth and Sixth, resulted in further embitterment between the east and the west, when the Emperor tried to force Pope Sergius I of Rome to sign the doctrines when he refused to accept it
    15. 15. Nicaea II• The seventh ecumenical council, convened by the Emperor Constantine VI and his mother, the Empress Irene, with the guidance of the Pope of Rome, Hadrian I in 787 overruling the Synod of Hieria convened by the Emperor Constantine V in 753• The council condemned “iconoclasm” a practice of destroying various images or “icons” of Jesus, Mary and the other Saints• Despite the council‟s findings, the Eastern Churches with the support of the Emperor, continued to practice iconoclasm until 843• The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne also tried to impose this on the Western Churches, but it was stopped by Pope Hadrian I• This is the last council which most of the Greek Churches as well as the Georgian and the Slavic Churches, also known as the “Eastern Orthodox Church” considers to be ecumenical
    16. 16. Great Schism• During the 9th century, there was a contention on who the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople should be resulting a council being convened in Constantinople• Two councils were held in Constantinople with the West accepting only the first while the East accepting only the second• The issues between the West and the East had been bitter mostly because of political, ecclesiastical, and theological differences and disputes• Some of the prominent issues were; the “filioque” clause inserted in the Nicene Creed, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, and the Pope of Rome‟s claim of universal jurisdiction• Though complex, split between the West and the East is conveniently dated as 1054 when Cardinal Humbert and the Papal Legates met with Cerularius to deny him the office of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and to also insist Rome as the head and mother of the churches, which he denied• This resulted in Cardinal Humbert to excommunicate Cerularius who in turn excommunicated him and the legates
    17. 17. Further Complications• Despite the mutual excommunications between the leaders of the two churches, the relationships between adherents of the two churches were generally friendly and as such the event of 1054 was not considered significant• It was during the Fourth Crusade, which was intended to reclaim the Holy Lands, that things became really hostile between the two• The Crusaders, which included the Venetians whom coveted Byzantine territories, invaded and sacked Constantinople in 1204, breaking up the Byzantine Empire against the explicit orders of Pope Innocent III• This contributed to the eventual conquest of the remnant of the Roman Empire by the Islamic Turks• Also, during the Northern Crusades by the Teutonic Knights, Pope Gregory IX endorsed the attempted invasion of the various Russian Republics which subscribed to the Orthodox faith in 1242
    18. 18. Another Great Schism• Between the 14th and the 15th Century, there was a controversy in regards to who should be the Pope of Rome with the issues being completely political• Prior to this event, the Pope resided in Avignon, where due to the influence of the French court, gained the reputation of corruption, estranging Western Christendom• After the death of Pope Gregory XI, who moved the papacy back to Rome, the Cardinals elected Urban VI as Pope in 1378, but soon regretted their decision due to his paranoia and temper• Because of this they decided to elect someone else, Clement VII as the Antipope in Avignon on September 20th the same year, resulting in one of the greatest turmoil in the Western Church• Though there have been several Antipopes, this was the first time the same group appointed both the Pope and Antipope• This resulted in diplomatic crises and several wars in Europe, with different kings supporting either Rome or Avignon• Attempts to resolve the issue such as the Council of Pisa resulted in an election of a third rival Pope, or Antipope in Pisa, and it was not until the Council of Constance in 1414 as the sixteenth ecumenical council that the dispute was finally resolved
    19. 19. Attempted Reunion• It was during the reign of Pope Gregory X and the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus that an end to the schism was attempted by convoking the Second Council of Lyon as the fourteenth ecumenical council in 1245• The council declared that Rome possessed supreme and full primacy and authority over Universal Catholic Church• Though the Emperor accepted the finding, the Eastern clergies did not and the Emperor‟s son Andronicus II repudiated the reunion upon his ascension• However, it was during the 15th Century a second attempt at reunion occurred and was almost successful when the Emperor John VIII Palaelogus sought alliance from the West due to the Turkish incursions• With Pope Eugene IV, the Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence was convoked as the seventeenth ecumenical council• All the Eastern Bishops agreed with the West on filioque, purgatory, and the primacy of Rome, except for the Exarch Mark, Bishop of Ephesus who maintained that Rome continued in heresy and schism.• Though it seemed like a success, upon returning, they found that the majority of the populace and civil authorities rejected the findings of the council and as such a true reunion was never realized
    20. 20. Attempted Reformation• The Avignon Papacy and the resulting Papal Schism had greatly tarnished the reputation of the Church, especially the office of the Pope of Rome• Much of this tarnished reputation can be attributed to the fact that European princes used these crises as an excuse to wage wars as well as exploiting the poor• At the University of Oxford during the 15th Century, a theologian called John Wycliffe became one of the earliest dissident to the currently established church• He challenged many practice such as the Papacy as well as monasticism while advocating vernacular translation of the bible, he himself translating the Vulgate into English• His followers, the “Wycliffites” also known as the “Lollards”, were a rebellious group who were anti-clerical and biblically-centered• Jan Hus of the University of Prague, a Czech priest, was a proponent of Wycliffe‟s teachings, preaching against indulgences and the crusades• It was during the Council of Constance that the issues raised by Hus the Papal schism were dealt with where despite the promise of safe passage, he was imprisoned, put on trial, and executed by being burnt on the stake for heresy• This would ignite the Hussite Wars resulting in the independence of Bohemia where his followers still exist today under various denominations and names
    21. 21. Protestant Reformation• The two Great Schisms would not be the last of its kind as issues within Christendom would continue to develop, especially within the Western church also known as the “Catholic Church”• The Catholic Church had successfully suppressed any challenges to its doctrines from the “Waldensians” of the 12th century to the Hussite Wars of the 15th century, though with very limited success for the latter case in the Czech Lands• The “Reformation” is thought to have started in 1517 when a German monk and university professor, Martin Luther nailed his infamous “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door of the Castle Church in opposition to what he perceived as false doctrines and malpractices of the Church• Some of the main issues were on; selling of indulgences, purgatory, devotion to Mary mother of Jesus, intercession of the saints, and the authority of the Pope• On 1520, Pope Leo X issued a rebuttal to some of the theses titled “Exsurge Domine” which ordered the retraction of 41 his theses where he believed Luther had erred, however instead of responding Luther burned it along with the volumes of the Canon Law resulting in his excommunication in 1521• Parallel movements occurred under Swiss theologian Ulrich Zwingli, who wrote the “Sixty-Seven Conclusions” and a French theologian Jehan Cauvin, or John Calvin
    22. 22. Division within the Reformation• Initially, the leaders of the reformation had very similar teachings, but not completely identical• Later, there were disputes and conflicts due to some differences between Luther and Zwingli, after Zwingli‟s death, between Luther and Calvin• The conflicting issue between the two parties was the matter of the Eucharist where Luther said that it was the real presence of Christ, not too dissimilar from the Catholic and Orthodox doctrine of “transubstantiation”, while Zwingli said it was purely a matter of symbolism• Some of the more radical followers of Zwingli would later form the “Anabaptists” among others, famous for their doctrine of “credo-baptism” also known as “believer‟s baptism” a radical idea even among the Protestants in that and was strongly opposed by both Catholics and “mainline” Protestants• The magisterial reformers, who were supported by the state, would establish the Lutheran and the Calvinist churches, the latter now existing as the Reformed and Presbyterian churches, while the radical reformers, who had no such support, would form the various Anabaptist groups
    23. 23. Radical Reformation• Unlike the movements by Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, or the “magisterial reformers”, the radical reformers were not supported by the state they resided in• They originated in Switzerland initially as disciples of Zwingli, but due to their perception of the Reformation being to conservative decided to split from the movement• This group known as the “Anabaptist”, due to their re-baptizing converts and the rejection of infant baptism, were millenarian, expecting the end times to be soon• The group fractured into many groups and now exists as the; “Amish”, “Brethrens” (Swiss and German), “Hutterites”, and “Mennonites”• They all have similarities in that they place absolute authority in the Bible, reject of creeds and civil authorities, the practice of pacifism, with some saying the conversion of Constantine was the start of the Great Apostasy• Due to these radical beliefs, they were relentlessly persecuted by the authorities of both Catholic and Protestant states
    24. 24. The Counter-Reformation• The Protestant Reformation brought into light a number of issues within the Church especially among the clergy• Pope Paul III convened the Council of Trent in 1543 to 1565 as the nineteenth ecumenical council to address these issues as well reforming the Church• While it improved Church structure and discipline, it also repudiated Protestantism and its doctrines• This movement of “counter-reformation” was a reformation in itself as well as a period of revivalism for the Catholic Church• As such new orders were formed such as the “Society of Jesus” or the “Jesuits” which worked in rural areas setting examples of this new renewal• An unfortunate side-effect of this period was the over-zealous laity resulting in countless bloodshed by both Catholics and Protestants alike regardless of being supported by the state or not
    25. 25. The Anglican Reformation• The English king Henry VIII was a devout Catholic who attacked Luther‟s teachings by writing the “Defence of the Seven Sacraments”, earning him the title “Defender of the Faith” from Pope Leo X in1521• Henry however, who at the time was married to Catherine of Aragon, wanted to have his marriage annulled partly due to the lack of a male heir and partly due to his attraction to the maid of honour Anne Boleyn• When Henry asked Pope Clement VII in 1527, the Pope refused partly due to a canonical impediment and partly due to his fear of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who happened to be the nephew of Catherine• In 1529, Henry summoned Parliament to deal with the annulment initiating the Reformation within England resulting in the papacy being replaced by the “Supreme Governor” an office held by the monarch• Today the church is known as the “Episcopalian Church” or the “Anglican Communion” with their own unique liturgy based on the Sarum Rite in the form of the “Book of Common Prayer” co-authored by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer in 1544
    26. 26. Reformation within Reformation• Between the 16th and the 17th centuries, a Dutch theologian Jakob Hermanszoon, or Jacobus Arminius, argued against Calvin‟s doctrine of “unconditional election”• He proposed that the elects were believers and as such it was conditional on faith• Though his views were challenged, he died before a synod could occur• His followers, or the “Remonstrants”, crafted the “Five articles of Remonstrance” in response to Holland‟s State General request as Arminius had died at the time• Due to this theological issues, the Synod of Dort was opened in 1619 which it condemned Arminius and his followers as heretics resulting in their persecution for the next twelve years, and the synod published the now famous “Five points of Calvinism” colloquially known as “TULIP”• Though the Remonstrants may exist as a small group today, their theology have greatly impacted Protestantism with the “Arminianism vs Calvinism” debate raging even today with the results still being inconclusive
    27. 27. Puritanism• The Puritans were an English Reformation group known for its zeal against Catholicism and its practices during the 16th and 17th centuries• They opposed the various practices, or the “via media” approach of the Church of England, which made them more like Catholic than Protestant and as such were called “Non-conformists” or “Separatists”• Like the Presbyterians of the Scottish Reformation, they were largely influenced by Calvinism adopting Reformed theology despite their criticism of Zwingli and Calvin• In 1620, many Puritans left Europe for America on the Mayflower as “Pilgrims” and established the Plymouth Colony• The Baptists and the Congregationalists are the modern descendents of the Puritan movement though with influences from the Anabaptists and the Reformed churches respectively
    28. 28. Pietism• Like the Puritan movement in England, there was a similar movement within Lutheranism in continental Europe, Germany in particular, called “Pietism”• The Pietist movement started by Philipp Spener, sought to “restore” the life of the Church by changing certain aspects• Some of these changes included; having private meetings, involving the laity, synchronizing the beliefs and practice, changing attitudes towards heretics and infidels alike, giving more prominence towards devotional life in theological trainings, and changing the style of preaching• For all intents and purposes, it was a reformation within the reformation for Lutherans as well as a period of revivalism• Unlike the Puritans, the Pietists did not leave a descendent group and as such eventually died out• However, the teachings did make a huge impact on Christianity where it influenced important thinkers such as John Wesley and Alexander Mack, the latter founding the Schwarzenau Brethren movement
    29. 29. Spiritual Revivalism• During the 18th century, John and Charles Wesley, and their friend George Whitefield, started a movement within the Church of England• The movement focused on the methodical approach to the bible studies as well as their lives earning them the nickname “Methodists”• They were known for open-air preaching and their enthusiastic sermons which was largely viewed as unorthodox• Though Wesley (John) was an ordained Anglican priest, many of the Methodists were not and as such were persecuted for lay-preaching as well Wesley himself breaking many regulations of the Church of England• The whole Methodist movement eventually split in the early stage due to the doctrinal differences between the founders, Wesley and Whitefield• While Wesley was influenced by the Moravian Church in Bohemia, one of the descendent group of the Hussites, and the teachings of Arminius, Whitefield was influenced by Calvinism resulting in a strained relationship in an otherwise amicable friendship though they eventually reconciled• The followers of Wesley established the Methodist Church which exists today, while the followers of Whitefield established the Calvinistic Methodists which is now known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales
    30. 30. Primitive Restoration• The “Restoration movement” or “Christian Primitivism”, was several movements by various groups particularly in North America during the 19th century that attempted to bring Christianity back to its “tradition roots”• It sought to continue the movements of the reformation, but unlike them they rejected the teachings of the 2nd to 3rd century Ante-Nicene fathers and instead relied solely on the Bible• Through the three periods known as the “Great Awakening” groups such as the Separate Baptists, Church of Christ and Christian Disciples by Stone and Campbell, Adventists and other Sabbatarians by Miller, and the Plymouth Brethrens in Ireland, came to prominence• During this period, anti-Trinitarian groups also came to prominence such as the Bible Students or Jehovah‟s Witnesses, Christadelphians, and the Latter Day Saints or Mormons, who were all strict biblical literalists and taught that all other Christian denominations fell into apostasy and as such they were the restorers to Christ‟s original and true teachings• Other teachings of some of these reformation groups were the denial of an eternal hell, but rather the utter and complete annihilation of the wicked
    31. 31. Charismatic Renewal• The “Charismatic movement” was a renewal movement during the early 20th century starting with the “Pentecostal movement” coming out of the “Holiness movement” which itself came out of the “Methodist movement”• The movement itself was a combination of both Revivalism and Restorationism where it intended on bringing new life to the Christian life as well as bringing it back to its roots• Though mostly Trinitarian, a large minority calling themselves the “Apostolic Church” also known as “Oneness Pentecostal” or “Jesus Name Only”, reject the Trinitarian doctrine and instead adopted “Sabellianism” or “Modalism”• The common characteristics of the Charismatic movement was the “gift of the Holy Ghost” which was supposedly evident by “Glossolalia” or “Speaking in tongues”• Though they were initially opposed by most denominations, in particular by the Reformed and any “high churches”, they gradually became accepted by most though opposition still exist• Unlike the other movements, this movement was not exclusively Protestant as some Catholic communities started practicing it and as such has been accepted as being legitimate by Catholic authorities though with some reservation while the Eastern Orthodox Church has been less enthusiastic than the Catholics
    32. 32. Summary of the Branching of ProtestantismGroups missing are: Evangelicals, Stone-Campbell Restorationists, and any non-Trinitarians
    33. 33. Modern Catholic Schism• In 1869, three centuries after the Council of Trent, Pope Pious IX convened the First Council of the Vatican as the twentieth ecumenical council to deal with the post-renaissance world, though the council was suspended indefinitely due to the Napoleonic invasion of Italy• While dealing with contemporary issues, the doctrine of papal infallibility was officially defined, resulting in several dissenting bishops, mostly Dutch and German, to break with the church of Rome• These groups later sought communion with either the Protestants or the Eastern Orthodox Church, where today they are collectively known as “Old Catholics” and “Liberal Catholics”, the latter having split from the former• In 1962, Pope John XXIII convened the Second Council of the Vatican as the twenty-first ecumenical council in the hope of unity as well as defining the church in the modern world• The process of the council involved revising the liturgy by involving vernacular languages instead of Latin, resulting in condemnation by some groups of bishops• Though most have not completely severed ties with the church of Rome like the “Traditional Catholics”, some have and established their own group where today they are collectively known as “Independent Catholics”
    34. 34. Modern Orthodox Schism• During the 1600s, the Greek and Russian church officials, including the Patriarch of Moscow, Nikon, noticed discrepancies between the Greek and Russian liturgical practices, concluding that the Russians must have deviated from the original Greek• Decision was made to reform the practice though it was met with opposition, led by the Archpriest Avvakum Petrov, protesting against the change without consulting the people who would be subjected• These dissenters or “Old Believers” were heavily persecuted by the Russian government until 1905, which still exist under various groups• In 1923, a proposal was made in Constantinople to make some adjustments to the Julian Calendar used by the Eastern Churches to have some synchronization with the Gregorian Calendar used by the Western Churches• When the revision was made and established, it was met with opposition as the decision was unilateral resulting in some rejecting the revision and causing a major division with those who accepted the revision being known as the “New Calendarist” and those who rejected it the “Old Calendarist”
    35. 35. Summary of Christianity• With three major denomination branch, twelve denominational families, and over 33,000 individual denominations, Christianity is the most divided religion• Though “denominationalism” says that there is one Christian religion and that denominations are just different names with no major doctrinal differences, just by looking at the history one can deduce that this is simply not true• The apostolic churches such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, claim to be the one true church Christ himself has established thus reject the claim made by denominationalists
    36. 36. Catholicism Today• The Catholic Church is the largest branch and denomination of Christianity with1.2 billion adherents• The Church is led by the Pope of Rome, who has universal jurisdiction over all Catholics• The Church is divided into 23 particular or “sui juris” churches with the Latin Rite of the Roman tradition being the largest and various Eastern Rites of the Byzantine, Antiochene, Alexandrian, Chaldean, and Armenian traditions• Furthermore, there are various groups that have separated from the main Catholic Church while still maintaining to be Catholic• These breakaway groups include; Apostolic Catholic Church, Independent Catholic Church, and the Old Catholic Church• The Anglican Church can also be counted as a group that have separated from the main body while maintaining to be Catholic, though some may disagree, particularly the “low churches”
    37. 37. Orthodoxy Today• The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest denomination of Christianity with 230 million adherents• The Church is led by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople who is considered “first among equals” with the other Bishops, acting as a figurehead• The Church is almost exclusively of the Byzantine tradition split among ethnic national churches, though non-Byzantine traditions exist for the small Western Orthodox Churches• The Oriental Orthodox Church are those who did not accept the Council of Chalcedon, with 82 million adherents• The Pope of Alexandria is the most senior Bishop, but does not have any jurisdiction over any other Church except his own• The Church is divided amongst the Alexandrian and the Antiochene traditions• Like the Catholic Church, both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches have breakaway groups that maintain to be Orthodox, but are not in full communion with any of the above• These groups include; Old Believers, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and Malabar Independent Syrian Church
    38. 38. Protestantism Today• The Protestants are the second largest branch of Christianity with 670 million adherents excluding the Anglicans who have 82 million adherents which itself is divided into two movements due to dispute• They also have the greatest division with a countless number of denominations• Within Protestantism, there are the Adventists, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Reformed groups with some groups achieving union amongst each other forming the “United Churches”• Protestantism is usually defined by the doctrines of the “Five Solas” which are; sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria• Despite this, there are many disagreements between various Protestant groups such as ecclesiology (Church structure) and soteriology (salvation, i.e. Arminianism vs Calvinism) being chief among them
    39. 39. Ecumenism• Although the Christian religion continues to divide and split over theological and social issues resulting in more groups, especially cults, there has been movements for re-union• This movement or “ecumenism” seeks to heal and unite the rift caused between different Christian groups• Within Protestantism, various organizations has been formed to seek unity with world alliances, councils, and federations forming as well as inter- denominational groups such as the World Council of Churches• Concurrently, the apostolic churches have been initiating dialogues also• The Catholic Church has in the past initiated dialogues with the Eastern Churches in an attempt to heal the schism while also lifting excommunication and now extending this to the various Protestant groups• There are oppositions however, as some group feel that these dialogues will result in compromising the truth therefore introducing heterodox doctrines• Despite this, there is still hope that the Church Christ has founded will be united and become one again as it was always intended
    40. 40. Overall Division of the Church
    41. 41. AppendixInteresting Materials
    42. 42. Division of the Church of the East
    43. 43. Biblical Canon• Unlike the New Testament, the contents of the Old Testament is a lot more contentious with various groups in disagreement• The various Protestants accept what the Jews accept on what is contained in the Masoteric text with some grouping some of the extra books found in the Septuagint, Peshitta, and the Vulgate texts in a section called “The Apocrypha”• The Roman Rite accept the Masoteric text as well as some of the extra books found in the Septuagint text• Within the Byzantine Rite, the Greeks accept the Septuagint text accepting all the books except one while the Georgians and the Slavs accept some additional books found outside the Septuagint• The Armenian Rite used to accept books that is considered a forgery• The Antiochene and the Chaldean Rites accept the Peshitta text with books that are not found in the Septuagint text while also lacking in the “Antilegomena” and the “Catholic Epistles” for the New Testament books• The Ethiopians of the Alexandrian Rite accept books that are not found in any other canon, but rather a set of Amharic texts which they preserved from the Ge‟ez texts, which also makes its canon significantly larger while the Copts have a similar canon to the Latins of the Roman Rite
    44. 44. Biblical CanonThe Various Texts The Development
    45. 45. Christian Denominations by Size
    46. 46. ReferencesComing Soon!