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History of Christianity: 17th Century

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

History of Christianity: 17th Century

Out of the foundations—or the debris—of the 16th century Reformation of the Christian Faith, we see the rise of denominations. What was once a unified Christian Church based in Rome, had been torn asunder centuries earlier when the Eastern Orthodox Church went its own way. The Reformation had further split the Western Church into Roman Catholics and Protestants; and then cleaved the Protestants into Lutherans and Calvinists, the latter also known as the Reformed Church.

Efforts were made, especially by the Lutheran theologian Georg Calixtus, to unify the Church by formulating a "consensus of the first five centuries." All three major branches met in Torun, Poland in 1645, but could not reach such a consensus.

Roman Catholics insisted that Rome was the ultimate authority in matters of the Faith. Protestants proclaimed that Scripture alone was the ultimate authority. Catholics countered that if the Church in Rome had—through the guidance of the Holy Spirit—selected the Canon of Scripture, which Protestants acknowledged, Scripture could not possess sole authority. Another key issue became the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility—which Protestants could not abide.





What Christians Believe

All Christians, high and low, far and wide, agree that the Scriptures are without error, for the Author of the Holy Scriptures is God. The Scriptures were written down by mortal men, but authored by the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible are the words of the Holy Spirit of God.

All Christian theologians agreed on the basic tenets of the Faith, particularly the doctrine of the Trinity. All Christians agreed as to who Jesus Christ is, specifically His "preexistence, kenosis, and exaltation."

Jesus Christ was "the conjunction of the two natures, divine and human, subsisting in one Son of God." This means that Christ was both God and man. And He was both so that the work of redemption, atonement, and salvation might be accomplished. Christ had died on the cross, and "by the obedience of his death made satisfaction to God the Father."

There was a split in belief as to whether Christ made satisfaction for all humankind, or as the Calvinists believed, only for the elect. Those not of Calvinist persuasion believed that "Jesus Christ, the Son of God but also the brother of all humanity, issued his summons to the entire human race."

Satisfaction is not to be confused with appeasement of divine wrath. In the death of Christ "the end of punishment is the manifestation of retributive justice in regard of sins."

All Christians agreed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, who suffered, was crucified, died, and was resurrected from the dead. All saw God as the Author of this Plan of Salvation.

Lutherans and Calvinists also agreed on the doctrine of justification by faith, "embracing the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ."







Reformed Theology

The 17th century was a time to systematize theology according to the outcome of the Reformation. In 1619, the Synod of Dort—a council of Reformed churches from eight countries—settled five major points of doctrine that were in dispute. In 1647, the Reformed church produced a major statement of doctrine, the Westminster Confession, which is still in use in a revised form by Presbyterian churches today. The official purpose of this was to provide documents by which to reform the Church of England.

In Reformed theology, God had decreed "to reveal his glory; to create the world; to preserve and govern the world; to select some in Christ . . . and to leave others in their sins and condemn them." Reformed theologians insisted that God had the right to choose whomever he pleased.

The seventh chapter of the Westminster Confession, "Of God's Covenant with Man," states: "here for the first time a confession makes the doctrine of the covenant authoritatively binding for a major church." To orthodox Calvinists, this consideration of time and history did not imply that eternal decrees by God were in any manner conditioned by what was the human and historical response to them.

Scottish theologian Robert Rollock wrote: "The whole of God's word has to do with some covenant, for God does not communicate to man unless it is through a covenant." Without understanding the covenant, "no context of Holy Scripture can be explained solidly, no doctrine of theology can be treated properly, and no controversy can be decided accurately."

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In Reformed theology, "A covenant of God is an agreement between God and man, by which God, by the eminent right that he has and by his singular goodness, promises eternal life under certain conditions and seals it by certain signs, and as it were, pledges." God had made a "covenant of works" with Adam; which was replaced by a "covenant of grace" in Christ.

The Law and the Gospel are not contrary to each other, but they do differ greatly. They presented mankind with opposite paths to salvation. The covenant of works with Adam promised man eternal life in heaven on the condition that man must obey God's Laws; and promised eternal death if he did not obey. The covenant of grace in Christ promises all who believe in, and follow Him, eternal life in heaven.

The death of Christ on the cross ratified this new covenant. Christ atoned for human sin, and thus rendered null and void the power of the law to punish those who accepted the covenant of grace. But this new covenant included an obligation to strive for a life lived in accordance with the law.

It later came to be believed by many theologians that God had made separate covenants through Adam; Abraham; Moses; and Christ. And later still, some added covenants with Noah and David as well.

What all Protestants agreed upon was that the entire definitive revelation was in Scripture; rather than, as Catholics believed, in Scripture and subsequent church traditions. All Christians believed that the covenant through Christ is the final covenant between God and man.

To Calvinists, if you have salvific faith, it is because God has preordained that you will have it. Some Reformed theologians believed that God predestined even the original fall of man.








Lutherans did not buy into Calvinist predestination as such. The Lutheran view is that "we have been elected on the basis of our divinely foreseen faith, as this finally takes hold of the merit of Christ."

This also meant that the condemned are condemned not by God's will, but by God's foreknowledge of their unbelief. All parties agreed that the cause of damnation is ultimately human sin. And that redemption is a response to sin and the fall of man.







Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church continued to assert itself as the sole authority in all matters of the Christian Faith, and stressed the authority of Church traditions over the entire Body of Christ. The Catholic Church cited the daily prayers of the church as authoritative on the efficacy of grace, and prayed even for the dearly departed.

The Catholic Church declared John Calvin the worst heretic; his theology was false and contrary to the Catholic Faith. There is no such thing as predestination, though God, existing as he does outside of space and time, knows in advance of human time what individual persons will do with their free will. Catholic doctrine rejects "fate." The grace of God and the free will of man are not antithesis but "two parts of a single integrated cause of the act of believing."

Cornelius Jansen wrote that grace was "altogether necessary for every good work" based on the words of Jesus that "apart from me you can do nothing." Catholic theology sees it more as cooperation between divine grace and human free will.

According to Catholic theology, there is such a thing as natural morality. Grace and faith are not needed to make an act morally good. In the words of Catholic theologian Luis Molina, "There cannot be a meritorious act apart from grace and love, but there can be a morally good act apart from grace and love and even apart from faith."



The Church of England

The Church of England, known as the Anglican Church (and its American offshoot, the Episcopalians), sought a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

In the 17th century, church attendance was required by law in England. The majority of the English People were satisfied with this arrangement. But on both ends of the spectrum stood a large group of dissenters—those who wished to remain Roman Catholics, and those who wished to purify the Church of England of all vestiges of Roman Catholicism. From the word purify we get the word Puritan.

A large group of Puritans left England, to settle in the Netherlands. They felt so strongly about their beliefs that they left behind their homes, most of their possessions, and their means of livelihood; to dwell in a strange land among people of different language and customs.

After a time, the Puritans (and Pilgrims) in the Netherlands were convinced that God was calling them to sail across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean to the sparsely inhabited wilderness of North America; to establish a state for themselves. This state would eventually become the greatest of all nations: America.



The King James Version

In 1611, the King James Version of the Holy Bible was published. It is the result of the work of 54 middle-aged scholars divided into six translation teams over 33 months. They were chosen for their skill in the ancient languages of the Bible, knowledge of theology, and biblical scholarship.

The King James Version helped standardize the English Language. It set the standard for English phraseology, rhythm, and syntax for centuries to come. Even today, "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name," may be the most frequently spoken phrase in the English language.

The King James Bible translators searched for words that would not only read beautifully, but also that would sound beautiful, for this Bible was designed to be read aloud.

The King James Version of the Bible could be understood by every ploughboy, built on a spare and simple vocabulary of only eight thousand different words. Eighty percent of the King James Version is identical to William Tyndale's translations. William Tyndale had been tracked down and burned at the stake 75 years earlier by agents of King Henry VIII.

Well into the 20th century, nearly every English speaking household in the world had a King James Bible. Millions came to personally know God through its pages. It remains the bestselling book of all time.

The King James Version was so beautifully done; it was not revised for nearly three hundred years. When it was revised, it was not to "change" the Bible, as the anti-Christ would spout, but merely to modernize the language, as the use of English words and grammar had changed.



Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

John Bunyan of England published Pilgrim's Progress in 1678, which for 100 years would be the bestselling book in the world besides the Bible. It remains in print today.

Like many of the Lord's chosen vessels, John Bunyan may seem an unlikely choice to author such a monumental work. Bunyan was a tinker—a mender of pots and pans. In 1660, he was put in prison for preaching without a license. Bunyan, father of six children, could not get a license because he was uneducated and disagreed with the Church of England about some doctrinal issues.

Bunyan would spend parts of the next twelve years in prison—each time they would let him out he would go right back to preaching. In prison he made shoelaces to support his family—and wrote Pilgrim's Progress. The theme of the book is the answer to the question: "What must I do to be saved?"




In 1685, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, thus ending religious toleration in France. King Louis did not tolerate the 1,500,000 French Protestants known as Huguenots. Their churches were burned, their schools and hospitals closed. They were banned from decent jobs, and forced to pay extra taxes. Some of their children were whisked away from them.

French soldiers systematically persecuted the Huguenots. They forced some of them to dance until they collapsed; others had boiling water poured down their throats; some were beaten on the soles of their feet and their hair pulled out of their beards; arms, legs, and hands were burned by candles or hot coals; Huguenot women were forced to stand naked in the streets.

400,000 Protestant Huguenots snuck out of France. They flooded into England, Holland, Germany, and America. There arose a Huguenot Quarter in London. Huguenots soon comprised a fifth of the population of Berlin.



Baptists, Quakers, & Pietists

In 1609, Pastor John Smyth of England founded the Baptist denomination, after he and his followers rejected infant baptism in favor of the believer's baptism. Smyth and the Baptists also rejected predestination, believing in the total free will of human beings.

In the late 1640s, the Quakers were formed in England. They did not believe in rituals, or even in having ministers. They did believe that all people have the inner light of God inside them.

In 1670, Philipp Jakob Spener started the Pietism movement. This involved small groups of Christians getting together in the middle of the week for Bible study, discussion, and prayer. They held each other accountable, and shunned dancing, playing cards, and gluttony. The Pietists launched a movement toward Godly living and spiritual rebirth.



The Great Commission

Christian missionaries enjoyed great success during the 17th century. They converted nearly the entire population of the Philippines, through teaching the Gospel and performing social work among the needy. The missionaries had success at winning converts, on a smaller scale, in Viet Nam. They had no luck in Japan, where missionaries were crucified; burnt alive; boiled alive; or buried up to the neck at low tide on the beach.

Catholicism came to dominate Mexico, as well as Central and South America, where missionaries organized their converts into villages, in which they were kept safe and fed.




My sources include Reformation of Church and Dogma by Jaroslav Pelikan; The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten; A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins; The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White; and Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 15, 2015:

Paraglider! Hello old friend. It is quite nice to hear from you again. My, how time has flown. Yes sir, I agree with you wholeheartedly: the tinker man could write. Thanks for the quote. It is very cool.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 15, 2015:

MHiggins~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my Hub and for your awesome accolades.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 15, 2015:

Timely~ Thank you for your lovely and heartfelt comments. God Bless You!


Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on March 13, 2015:

From Pilgrim's Progress, from memory -

After this, it was noised abroad that Mr. Valient-for-Truth was taken with a summons, and had this for a token that the summons was true: that the pitcher was broken at the fountain. When he had understood it, he called for his friends and told them of it. Then, said he, "I am going to my Father's. And though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now, I do not repent me of all the troubles I have been at, to arrive where I am.

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage. And my courage and skill, to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles, Who now will be my rewarder.

When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the riverside, into which, as he went, he said, "Death, where is thy sting?" And as he went down deeper, he said, "Grave, where is thy victory?"

Soon he passed over. And all the trumpets sounded for him, on the other side.

- - - The tinker man could write !! ---

Michael Higgins from Michigan on December 19, 2014:

Great hub! I'm impressed with all of the research. The history of the church is very interesting.

Timely from United States on September 02, 2013:


Been a while! Was scrolling through your hubs and the picture of Christ head drew me in. The same picture is in my living room and it is all I have left that was from my mother.

Reading through your history lesson of the church was enlightening to say the least. The last picture of Christ looking over the earth pretty much sums it all up. Thankfully faith is as simple as believing and trusting in Him.

Know you stay busy. Would love to hear from you:)

God bless you. Timely

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 05, 2011:

Ivona Poyntz— I am so glad that you appreciate this article. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed your profile page and we share many of the same interests. Welcome to the HubPages Community! :-)

Ivona Poyntz from UK on December 05, 2011:

Extremely informative: there are so many christian denominations its hard sometimes to keep track of what differentiates them.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 31, 2011:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— How great to see you here, Sister! If you like this article it must be pretty good because you are a terrific teacher. Thank you for your compliments, and blessings.

I am glad you enjoyed the illustrations. I surely agree with your analysis that spending time in the Lord's Word is of significant importance. Yes, we need the Word and the Holy Spirit to illuminate it for us. It is designed to point us toward Him.

I am grateful for your encouraging words. And you are most welcome. Thanks again! :-)

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on January 28, 2011:

James A Watkins, Splendidly marvelous, instructive commentary! Much to ponder… I always know when I examine one of your articles it will be a meaningful, thought provoking, exciting, contentious, insightful and informative experience. The Lord has favored you with the gift of the pen. You have the ability to compose multi dimensional writings that are akin to a work of art… Fabulous illustrations as well!

After reading this, one can see the significant importance of personally spending time in the Lord’s Word! There is much historical background within the church and much of it quite controversial! Know the Word for yourself so “you will no longer be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctors of men…” Ephesians 4. What is so amazing is His Word remains the same although it has been translated in order to help others better understand The Gospel of Jesus Christ! Which was designed to point us to HIM… He has been with us since the beginning… This is why we ALL need His Holy Spirit to help us better understand His Will and WAY!

Thank you for sharing as always this has been enjoyable. In His Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 09, 2011:

macrobin— You are quite welcome. Thank you for your gracious compliments. I also have Pilgrim's Progress but have not read it. :D

I agree with you that we can learn all we need to know through reading the Bible, with the Holy Spirit as our illuminator. I have though learned much from preachers on occasion, and learned an immense amount from books by Christian writers, such as C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, John Stott, Oswald Chambers, et al.

Church is for worship and community, and fulfills those purposes beautifully. For wisdom it can help, but studying the Word prayerfully is tops.

macrobin from Amarillo, Texas on January 08, 2011:

Hey James this is an awesome source of information! THANK YOU! I have the book Pilgrims Progress but have never read it, so I'm picking it up tonight and I'm going to start on it. As far as what Jesus looked like, I personally could care less if He was purple polka dotted. He is our Savior and it doesn't matter what His skin color was. As far as church, I've personally learned more from God Himself on a personal one on one basis than from any pastor/preacher at any church I've attended and I've been to many of almost every denomination. I've come to the conclusion that the older I get, church is just a 'perk' as Donkey put it on Shrek. When you have the Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) within you, He will teach you what you need to know. I could go all day on this subject but I'd rather just thank you for all your posts and I will always continue to read them! Thank you again!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 31, 2010:

christ4ever— Thank you very much! I appreciate you coming back, Reverend Ted. You are welcome to borrow freely from my text.

I find my pictures through Google Search. I don't use pictures from bloggers and such, as I am not sure where they got them. I look at the source of the pictures, and bypass those that are copywritten.

Museums, universities, and encyclopedias are my usual sources, as well as Wikipedia (as a last resort).

I am grateful to read your gracious words. God Bless You!


Rev. Teddy C. Ryan III from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia on December 29, 2010:

Fantastic work James!... I had to come back and take more of it all in since. You are doing a well documented and researched history in your series that I may have to "borrow" a few notes from time to time (it may be faster than Wiki--LOL). Keep up the good work and you are doing the Lord great honor in revelaing more of these facts for all to see (even if it may stir a few emotions here and there). May God's peace continue to follow you... Rev.Ted

P.S.- Nice PIX BTW--Where are you finding all the public domain graphics? (I'm starting to run low on good sources)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 27, 2010:

bettybarnesb— Hello! Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

I love history too. Yes, I had to spend quite a bit of time on this one. I agree that HubPages has a wonderful group of Christian writers. I am blessed to be here with them too. I'm glad you have joined us. I look forward to reading your work soon.

Thank you for your gracious compliments. I appreciate the visitation. :D

bettybarnesb from Bartlett, TN on December 27, 2010:

Hey James - I love History. I know it took a lot of research to write this hub. Excellent presentation. The Christian community on HubPages is so great. I am so blessed to be a part of it. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2010:

kpprobst— I see you know your history! Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate the visit and your comments. This Hub is part of a series. The next Hub will cover the 18th century and of course include the Wesley brothers. The Hub before this featured a section about Arminius:

kpprobst from Columbus,. Georgia on December 18, 2010:

No mention of John Wesley or James Arminius??

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 18, 2010:

Nayothara— Thank you so much for the accolades! I am grateful to you for these words of praise for my work. Welcome to HubPages! :-)

Nayothara on December 17, 2010:

Interesting. And I totally respect and enjoyed your grate hub here. AWESOME!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 16, 2010:

Cheryl J.— Amen! You are quite welcome. Thank you for reading my work and responding with such gracious compliments. I am grateful for your words. :)

Cheryl J. on December 16, 2010:


I feel anointed and blessed reading your hubpage on the History of Christianity-17th Century. You are indeed a blessing in my life. Thanks for the wondferful information.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 15, 2010:

cristina327— You are welcome, my dear. What a pleasure to receive you here. Thank you for your gracious compliments. You are too kind. Love and Blessings to you!


Cristina Santander from Manila on December 14, 2010:

Excellent hub, excellent work. Thank you for sharing this great wealth of information. I find this hub very interesting. You have really done a great job here. Remain blessed and regards.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 09, 2010:

prasetio30— Good evening! I am fine today. How are you? I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub, my friend.

Maybe the monotheistic religions do have similar goals. Kindness is certainly a good attribute. Thank you for your warm words. I enjoy hearing from you always. You are gracious. You are welcome, Prasetio. God Bless You!


prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 08, 2010:

Good morning, James. How are you today? I hope you always fine and healthy. I really enjoy to read this hub. Although I am a Muslim, but I try to appreciate other religion like Christian. I thought all religions has the same purpose and goal. They they taught us kindness, right. I am glad to read about the history of Christianity in 17 century. You did a great job, my friend. Thanks for showing me about this. This is also shown your spirituality side. God bless you.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 08, 2010:

Hello, hello,— You are most welcome. I hope it wasn't too long, or worse, too boring. I appreciate this visitation from you, and your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 07, 2010:

American Romance— Thank you for your kind comments, and the vote up! I have written about that a little. I'll give you a link to one of my Hubs:

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 07, 2010:

tinamarie9884— Hey! It's good to see you again. Thank you for visiting my Hub. I sincerely appreciate your laudatory remarks. :-)

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 07, 2010:

Wow, you will make Hubpages run out of space. Thank you for a very comprehensive, informative hub about these various religion.

American Romance from America on December 06, 2010:

Great write, I would like to see a write about the martyrs of Christ by the Catholic church, voted up!

tinamarie9884 on December 06, 2010:

James, I am always waiting to read your hubs, great information and great job, very well written.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2010:

sheila b.— Thank you, my dear, for your kind compliments. I am gratified that you enjoy my work. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2010:

lionswhelp— You are only human!? Me too! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2010:

Coming of Age— Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your support.

sheila b. on December 05, 2010:

You write so well. I am enjoying learning all of this history.

lionswhelp on December 05, 2010:

Yes, I see. Sorry to mislead you but I'm only human. I make plenty of mistakes. I need to review things before I sent them to make sure I get the verses right. Thanks for reminding me.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 05, 2010:

lionswhelp— Thank you for coming back with your excellent comments. I see now what you saying about 1 Samuel 16:12 (I was looking at 6:12 before I think). What you say makes sense to me. I appreciate it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 05, 2010:

Wesman Todd Shaw— Thank you! Your comment about the Hebrews is spot on. I appreciate you for reading my article.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 05, 2010:

SirDent— Thank you for your wonderful, illuminating remarks. I am glad you liked this piece. I always look forward to hearing from you, brother. God Bless!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

carolina muscle— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

ecoggins— The book by McGrath sounds fascinating. I haven't read it. For an in depth study, I cannot recommend more highly enough a series of five books I have read by Jaroslav Pelikan, representing thirty years of work:

I appreciate your knowledgeable comments regarding George Fox, Quakers, and Evangelicals. I'll get more into that in future Hubs.

I always am glad to hear from you, my friend. God Bless You!

Coming of Age from Rocky Mountains on December 04, 2010:


Understood, but if you look at you original post you notice it mis-typed.

First post does not say 1st Samuel 16:12

Says instead 1st Samuel (SIX):12

Now I see the "ruddy" reference. No big deal, just a "typo" we all do it. Thank you for the correction.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

Ictodd— Thank you my dear, for your gracious words. I enjoy hearing from you. May the joy and peace of the Lord swaddle you in love and comfort. God Bless You!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

Coming of Age— Me too! I looked for the red-headed David and couldn't find him.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

lionswhelp— Thank you very much!

I am looking at 1 Samuel 6:12 in two Bibles and I don't see anything about David's complexion. I have heard something about a "ruddy" complexion, which I suppose is sort of like an Irishman who has been drinking. :D

You quoted these magnificent Words: "Believe in Jesus Christ repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Then if we have done this right we can be known by our faith and works through God's grace and be born of the Spirit"

You wrote: "Grace is undeserved pardon from sin of which all of us need."

Amen to that!

1 John 2:1-4 is a set of powerful verses alright.

John 14:6 does make the "there are many different paths to the same truth" concept look suspect.

Thank you for this insightful Scripture you reminded us of: 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

I sincerely appreciate your wise admonitions. You have done a needful thing. Well done!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

Marcella Glenn— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

Kaie Arwen— That's a funny story. I appreciate you sharing it with us here. :-)

Thank you for reading my Hub, and for your kind compliments. And you are most welcome.

lionswhelp on December 04, 2010:

Coming of Age,

Strong's Concordance Hebrew #132- admowniy - reddish from 119 says ruddy can mean red haired or red complexion, along with 1 Samuel 16:12 & 1 Samuel 17:42.

Also Jacob's brother was red haired and had a ruddy complexion, Genesis 25:25,30- Esau or Edom means red. Even though Jacob was plain some of Christ's descendants could also be red haired like David if he was. It would be in their genes or from inter-marriage with Esau's children and show up once in awhile.

Some think of Jews as being dark but this is not so, it is aways a matter with whom they inter-married with. Some are light skinned with freckles & red hair and blonds. Others are darker with wirey hair.

Sephardic Jews could be either dark or light skinned. The same with Askenazi Jews of eastern Europe. Some of these are descendants of Esua who was red haired. My wife is of a Jewish - Irish back ground and has Strawberry - blond hair and freckled.

It is interesting to note that the Bauer's who became the Rothschilds, which means red even though they adopted this name. Maybe they were red heads too. Take your pick.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on December 04, 2010:

Excellent article.

The guy up there spouting off about what Christ looked like has a point; but it's not really that important of a point. Sephardi Jews are actually Hebrews, or descended from Hebrews.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

Rod Marsden— Thank you for your excellent remarks. I learned a few new things from you just now. It is good of you to come by and offer up your knowledge for our edification. I appreciate it! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 04, 2010:

randslam— I agree in general that the Hebrew language is best for understanding the Old Testament. That is why many people study it with Hebrew word references at the ready, to capture a fuller meaning.

You wrote: "As for the statistics of conversions in the Philippines, Viet Nam, Mexico, South America and Japan? I don't understand the signifigance--unless I were either Catholic or Japanese."

It is only significant in that mission work is part of the story of the history of Christianity, particularly in the 17th century, as it was spread to new parts of the globe.

You wrote: "It has been, and will always be, mankind's wish to organize and control. Is that God's wish? To control human beings and give them rules and guidelines and bylaws and commandments?

Nope...He wanted us to "love one another." Humankind hasn't even started to understand that law--the one that replaced the ten commandments."

I agree with your words here. Except you left out the most important part of the Great Commandments: Jesus replied, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).

You left God out. Then you wrote: "

If we have not love--we are as useless as a tinkling cymbal, ice cubes at the north pole, or a heater at the equator."

Amen! Thank you for your presence here and for your fine comments.

SirDent on December 04, 2010:

Very good. I love reading your history lessons. For some reason unknown to me, something has been going through my mind the last couple of days.

The Old Covenant was a covenant of justice, meaning punishment for sin. The New convenant is a covenant of Grace and Mercy, meaning we can be Pardoned for our sins. The thing most miss is that a Pardon isn't really a Pardon, unless it is accepted by the one being Pardoned.

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on December 03, 2010:

Well written and thoughtful post, James!

ecoggins from Corona, California on December 03, 2010:

I just started reading Christian Theology - An Introduction by Alistar McGrath. It chronicles church history from the second century until present day. It is fascinating. You have done a superb job setting forth the different periods of church history in all the different hubs you have written on the subject.

The founder of the Quaker movement (the Society of Friends) was George Fox. Although my parents were not born into Quaker families, I began attending a Friends (Quaker) church in 1974. Then in 1993, my wife and I helped start a new Friends church where we attend now in Corona, California.These days there are both programmed (with a pastor) and unprogrammed (without a pastor)Friends churches. The Friends movement got their new from John 15 where Jesus told his disciples that "you are my friends if you do what I command."

Traditonally Friends eliminated all outward sacraments because they saw that supposed adherents in the Church of England would think that being baptized and taking communion was all that was required for sanctification. Today, many evangelical Friends churches have returned to celebrating the sacraments of baptism and communion.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

Tamarajo— Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed this article. Yes, people in all ages can be brutal and vicious. I appreciate this visitation from you, and your remarks are well received.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

stars439— I am truly touched in my heart by your warm words, my brother. I have never received a comment for which I am more grateful than yours here.

Thank you for writing these gracious words to me. I am inspired and encouraged by you. I am thankful to have you as my friend. God Bless You! I love you.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

always exploring— You are most welcome, my dear. I am glad you found it to be educational. God is the reader of hearts. I, personally, don't think you can be in a "wrong" denomination.

Thank you for reading my Hub. I appreciate your insightful comments. :-)

Linda Todd from Charleston on December 03, 2010:

I have enjoyed reading all of these words. It is evident that we all know one thing and have one thing in common. We believe in Jesus Christ and His word. Beautifully given and beautifully received. God Bless James.

Coming of Age from Rocky Mountains on December 03, 2010:


Please check your scripture references again...I checked both 1st & 2nd Samuel verse 12, in two separate versions, and niether of the verses make reference of a "redheaded" king David.

lionswhelp on December 03, 2010:

Great Hub James,

As far as what Jesus may have looked like we can get a little of how he may have looked since he was a grandson of King David. King David had a ruddy complexion or may have been red headed, 1 Samuel 6:12. Jesus may have been redheaded also. I have known several Jews that are blonds or redheads but then some say he was blond. Its hard to say and it makes you wonder but we shall find out some day. Many Israeltes are redheaded or blonds even brown and black haired. Nordic's like to think of Jesus as a big blond person. He was taller than his uncle Joseph of Arimethea because his place of burial where they laid him, had to be made larger when he was placed in Joseph's tomb.

Grace is undeserved pardon from sin of which all of us need. In the Old Testament the sacrifice of animals could never really take away a persons sins but were there to show that we needed a Savior. It says in Romans 8:1-4,5-6 > That there was a need for the giving of the Holy Spirit again since the vast majority of humankind have been cut of from the Tree of Life, or Holy Spirit of God since Genesis 3:24. Many humans before the flood of Noah had to take of the Tree of good and evil as many do today. Hence with Christ's sacrifice now all can have the help to once more partake of the Tree of Life through Christ Jesus. Now we can learn to keep the Law through God's Grace.

There was nothing wrong with God's Law for it is holy, just and good, Romans 7:12-14. Now we can become more spiritual and overcome our fleshy carnal nature. Jesus in no way did away with the Law, Romans 7:24-25. As Jesus said not one jot or one tittle will pass from the Law, Matthew 5:17-19.

After reading your amazing Hub it just confirms to me that many who say that they know Jesus Christ still do not do as he said to do even today, 1 John 2:1-4, and even try to replace His words with man made corruptions of what they said we should do, Matthew 15:7-9. Many still do this today and kind of shoot themselves in the foot by not keeping what he very clearly said to do. Too many still are taking of the Tree of good and evil instead of the only Way of life, Jesus Christ, John 14:6.

Jesus knew it would not be easy on our own to keep his Laws so we all need to do as Peter said to do in Acts 2:38-41 Believe in Jesus Christ repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. Then if we have done this right we can be known by our faith and works through God's grace and be born of the Spirit, Matthew 7:12-26, John 3:3-8.

There are so many different churches claiming to follow Christ but many and even all, both 7th Day and First Day have things going on in them that would keep them out of the Kingdom of God. Some make it harder on themselves than other churches do. However, God has given us fail safe scriptures in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. God looks at our hearts and will judge us according to our fruits whether they are good or bad so it is still possible to make it into his Kingdom as long as we have the Holy Spirit guiding us.

For all those not yet called to have the Spirit given to them, they will have to wait for the White Throne judgment when Satan is not around to vex them, Revelation 20:10-15. They can repent then. Today is not the only Day of salvation as many taught falsely, and like many teach now.

Jesus Christ pointed the Way to this Day in John 7:37-40 as part of the Second Great harvest of souls based on God's Holy Day plan of salvation which can be found in Leviticus 23 along with the Last Great Day, which Christ and his disciples kept in the early NT Church and still do today, Revelation 12:7-16,17.

Just think how different things will be when Christ returns when all will keep God's Commandments, if they chose too, that Christ never did away with,Isaiah 66:18-21,22-23. Awesome! Keep up the good work!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

Coming of Age— You are most welcome. Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad you recognized my little witty asides here and there. I always enjoy your remarks. I appreciate your encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

drbj— You are welcome. I am glad you find it fascinating. I do hope you'll come back by for another look. Thank you for visiting and commenting. :D

Marcella Glenn from PA on December 03, 2010:

Interesting hub.

Kaie Arwen on December 03, 2010:

James- My great-grandfather was a strict baptist............. he once chastised a visiting minister over wearing a ring................ the minister responded that my great-grandfather was wearing a tie. I guess it was a stalemate.......... grandpa always wore a tie! :-D

Great history............ thank you for the lesson. I love this series, keep them coming! Kaie

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

Vladimir Uhri— You are welcome, my brother. Thank you for the gracious compliments. I am always well pleased to hear your voice. Your comments are outstanding and well appreciated. I agree about the Ethiopian Jews.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

CMHypno— Thank you for the visit. I appreciate your compliments. You wrote:

"I have never quite got my head around the fact that people were happy to execute other people in horrible ways just over a few minor theological differences, or were willing to be martyred."

People will execute people for lots of reasons. Look at the Rwanda situation: 800,000 dead. But it had nothing to do with religion. Look at the 100,000,000 dead in China and the USSR because of political differences. Cruelty, brutality, and suffering are part of the world we live in. Always have been.

You wrote: "Also do you think that the current pope really thinks that he is infallible or just toes the liturgical line?"

I don't know the answer.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

fred allen— I can feel the emotion in your words, my brother. And I can see how the story of the Huguenots can rile you up.

The thing to keep in mind is that life is complicated. In this case, it was not strictly a religious thing that troubled Louis XIV about the Huguenots. He saw himself as the mightiest monarch in history and was big on two things: having absolute power; and having a unified populace.

Louis saw Huguenots as a divisive force that weakened French national unity, and as potential traitors, and perhaps spies for the Protestant enemies of France.

He questioned the loyalty to France of Protestants in a largely Catholic country. Would they see their first allegiance as being to France, or to Protestantism?

In a weird way, it is sort of like Americans being unsure if a Muslim American is an American first or a Muslim first. I never read anywhere that Louis did this for Christ or for Christianity. He did it for France.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

TheManWithNoPants— Hey Jim, nice to hear the website is looking good. I look forward to receiving your email.

Thank you for your kind compliments. It is always good to hear from you.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

DavePrice— Your comments are brilliant. I do hope to provoke the pursuit and not just the response.

Thank you for your keen insights. I love your words here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

CMerritt— You are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and leave your excellent comments. Denominationalism is both good and bad. It does muddy up the waters, and divide the Body of Christ. On the other hand, it gives people many options to worship with a community of believers who are like minded and want to worship the same way—something for everybody. I have attended church in nearly every denomination and I enjoyed all of the services, from Catholic Mass to Pentecostal Holy Rollers. You sure hit the nail on the head with this:

"To love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself."


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2010:

H P Roychoudhury— Thank you my friend! Thank you very much. I appreciate your kind comments. :)

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on December 03, 2010:


The King James version of the bible when it first came out was not accepted in Scotland by many Church goers(Kirk goers)and there was trouble. There were also words used in this version of the bible aimed at currying favor with the king. James, for example, had written a book on witchcraft. And so "Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live" became "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Since witches were often accused of using poison the difference probably didn't seem that important to the scholar or scholars responsible for the change.

The 'modern' version on the King James bible is a bit of a politically correct mess without much in the way of heart.

Rand Zacharias from Vernon, British Columbia on December 03, 2010:

Lost in translation...

One of the most important aspects of the the Hebraic language is duplicity, and multiplicity, in meaning. There are almost always more than one meaning to any phrase spoken or written in the Hebrew language.

The sad portion of the English translation of the Bible is the loss of that very thing. The old testament cannot be properly translated into English because of the simplicity of the English language.

As beautiful as the psalms and proverbs may be, in English, the complete understanding of them can only be done in the language of origin.

As for the statistics of conversions in the Philippines, Viet Nam, Mexico, South America and Japan? I don't understand the signifigance--unless I were either Catholic or Japanese.

The Catholic church has much to respond to in the future--for it's past. It astounds me that anyone who reads the Bible would think of this organization as the authority even though their library is filled with important literature--the withholding of these documents is a travesty and certainly not in the Catholic administration's best interest.

Christ said, "Where two or three of you gather in my name...there am I."

It has been, and will always be, mankind's wish to organize and control. Is that God's wish? To control human beings and give them rules and guidelines and bylaws and commandments?

Nope...He wanted us to "love one another." Humankind hasn't even started to understand that law--the one that replaced the ten commandments.

It is a sad commentary on humanity--no creed of Christianity left out--that we cannot come to the real understanding of Christ's sacrifice. It is not one of exegesis, hermeneutics, transubstantiation or any other word that 99 percent of humanity couldn't define when asked.

We can write of these things historically--we can hope for Christ's return--but the fact of the matter? If we have not love--we are as useless as a tinkling cymbal, ice cubes at the north pole, or a heater at the equator.

Tamarajo on December 02, 2010:

Wow! Super interesting as usual. I did not know John Bunyan was from this era.

Liked the history of the King James Bible and all the different movements of the time.

The poor Huguenots! How can people be so mean?

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on December 02, 2010:

Dear James :It is always a wonderful delight to read your work. With wisdom and knowledge you bring us the light, and the trappings of Christianity into our lives like a golden artist that understands the magnifecence in his formidable study. And like the musician you are, you work in goals of perfection . You serve our precious Christ and Lord of Heaven and Earth, and all of us with grand gifts of knowledge that can grace our lives for a life time. You are our gift, and joyful blessing from a Dear and precious maker of all things in the Universe, and you are our gift from a good mom, and dad, and very sweet family. In you we have discovered a very good recipe for what we all cherish in our hearts, and in our minds. It is so very seriously important for us all to know how goodness is born in all that we love and cherish in life. Thank you for being on Earth with me , and with all of us in our sometimes sad and lonely times when wars, and battles, and sinceless things happen that can break many hearts. Because knowledge of God and of sweet, fair, and just and good things are our only hope. GBY.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 02, 2010:

I've learned a lot from reading this hub.Who knows which religion is the most perfect and closest to the original transcribing of the teachings of God.Thank you for all of your research compiling this hub.

Coming of Age from Rocky Mountains on December 02, 2010:

You have a great sense of humor James...I've noticed in a lot of places on your various hubs...LMAO

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

edelhaus— Why, I thank you very much for your lovely comments. I appreciate this visitation from you. Once again, welcome to HubPages! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

Coming of Age— I agree with your comments about the looks of Jesus. As far as I know, Max von Sydow was the only actor to play him in a film with short hair. Great performance, too.

You sure are up on your Bible translations. I had an uncle once that told me he wouldn't read anything but a King James Bible. I asked him why that was and he said "I want to hear the words just like Jesus said them." I said "You mean Jesus was an Elizabethan?" :D

I wrote a Hub about John Wycliffe:

Thank you very much for your learned remarks. I appreciate you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

Vladimir! Hello, my old friend. It is great to see you here.

I agree with each word you wrote in your comments. I thank you for them. I appreciate you. I send agape love back your way, brother.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

eovery— I agree with you, my friend. Thanks for coming by to visit. I'll keep on Hubbing as long as I can. :)

Coming of Age from Rocky Mountains on December 02, 2010:

Great correction James-I should have figured that you had touched on Arius in a porevious article in the series.

I am still doing some catching up and reading other of your articles, but you've had a couple lately get so hot that I have confined most of my comments to those.

Thank you for the Nicene Creed answer. I thought tht to be the case, and of course I am still waiting to see re-unified, rather than dividing into more denominations.

Great hub James, thanks again.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 02, 2010:

Fascinating, James, and apparently a firestorm as well to some readers. Regardless, there is so much here to digest, I will come back more than once to drink it in.

Thank you for the meticulous research - I shall return.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

Coming of Age— Hello! Thank you!

You wrote: 'I do wonder however where one item came from, and that is: "All Christians agreed on the basic tenets of the Faith, particularly the doctrine of the Trinity."'

I should have said "Christian theologians" (of the four branches: Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Reformed). I have revised it now.

I am familiar with Arianism. It has surely mounted a comeback in the last 200 years. In the books I used for research, I saw no mention of it in the 17th century—though I am sure it was not dead. I lightly touched on Arius in this Hub:

The Nicene Creed is used by Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians, yes.

Thank you for coming by with your excellent and learned comments. Always good to hear from you. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

kimh039— You are welcome. I am glad to be of service. Your questions will be more fully answered as I continue into the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your compliments. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 02, 2010:

awesome77— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. I look forward to reading your Hubs. Thank you for visiting my Hub Page. I appreciate your comments.

No one knows what Jesus looked like. I used representative pieces of art here, selected solely because I found them to be beautiful, and because they illustrate important points in the life of Jesus. I meant to infer nothing about how he looked. I didn't paint the paintings myself, of course.

I am fully aware of the position on maps of Egypt and Israel. I am a bit of an amateur cartographer in fact. I draw maps of cities, counties, states, countries, and the world free hand.

Of course, Egypt comes into play in the Bible. Off hand, there are the stories of Moses, Joseph, Jesus' parents fleeing there. I wouldn't say "most" of the Bible took place in Africa, however. Jerusalem is in Asia, and certainly the center of the action.

You wrote:

"The western civilization usurped the African origin of the Bible to justify slavery!"

I must say this is the first I have heard of this. Why would they need a Bible to justify slavery? Slavery was a fact of life around the globe since there have been people. There is still much slavery in Africa and Asia today.

Are you saying that the Jews today do not have the "real" Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament? Or only that the New Testament is corrupted?

You wrote: "the original BIBLE said he was of Brown or black skin and had hair like wool!"

Jesus was a Jew from Israel. More than likely he looked like a Jew. Where do you see him described as above in the Bible? I have never read it. But I'm willing to.

You wrote: "Have you heard of Ethiopian Jews? They were the original Jews, when you look at the historical facts of the BIBLE!"

Well, of course I am aware of the Ethiopian Jews. Are you saying that Abraham and Moses and David were from Ethiopia? Where do you get such ideas?

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on December 02, 2010:

James I appreciate your writing very much. I am also glad that photography did not exist to see Moses or Jesus. Therefore I appreciate WORD, one can hear but not see. It is sad that some make problem of race from it. By the way Ethiopian Jews came from Sheba