SECTION 1: WHO ARE THE CHRISTIANS?—a History
Albert Schweitzer once said "One truth stands firm. All that happens in world history rests on something spiritual. If the spiritual is strong, it creates world history. If it is weak, it suffers world history.” Section one of Where are the Christians? takes on the daunting task of providing a concise and compelling history of Christianity to give readers a background of where it all began as a foundation moving forward. To help the reader navigate an otherwise complicated history Shuster divides the 2000 year period into four segments, one for each of the four chapters in section 1.
Chapter 1: They Were Evangelizers and Builders (up to AD 299)
While some might think Christianity began the day Christ was born, Christianity was long prophesied in the Old Testament. The over two centuries that followed during the Evangelization and Formation Period were defined by seven major categories of events: persecution of the church, martyrdom of its early leaders, the spreading of the gospel outside of Palestine, the conversion of Paul, the formation of the church, early heresies, and the writing of the New Testament.
Chapter 2: They were Legitimized and Codified (AD 300-999)
The Legitimacy and Codification Period from AD 300 to 999 was a time for Christianity to continue its global proliferation, while codifying its doctrines and legitimizing its place in religion and politics. This period of Christianity was defined by seven categories of events: the continuation of persecution and evangelization, increased heresies, doctrinal codification, hierarchy and politics, validation, and the seeds of corruption.
Chapter 3: They were Corrupted and Divided (1000-1499)
As the Christian Church neared the millennial landmark it began to be faced with significant issues of leadership that would rupture its unity. Although Christianity was still spreading throughout the world, the organization of the Church would be challenged by its integration with the political structure and an increasingly corrupt leadership. The Corruption and Division period (1000-1499) is marked by four categories of events including doctrinal evolution, church and state integration, corruption and division.
Chapter 4: They were Reformed and Scattered (1500 to the Present)
The final segment of Christian history covers the year1500 to the present and is called the Reform and Denominational Proliferation Period. During this period individuals came forward to challenge the established Christian Church to reform itself from corruption. This period is marked by five major activities including the carryover of corruption, the emergence of refiners, reformers and restorers, Christian movements and influencers, the propagation of published scripture and the proliferation of denominations.
Modern-day Christians are influenced by the past and are products of their own history. It is a history that produced the best and worst of humanity over a 2,000 year period. Our faith walk today is affected by and reflects these four periods of Christian history. Having a better understanding of where we came from as a Christian people we are now ready for the next leg of our journey to answers the question: “What is a Christian?”
Go to www.findyourchristianity.com to watch the book trailer, find out what type of Christian you are, and to order the book