Skip to main content

History of Christianity: 18th 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: The 18th Century

By the 18th century the Christian Faith appeared to no longer be "One Body of Christ" but instead a plethora of church bodies, confessions, and denominations, competitive and mutually exclusive. There was a fundamental consensus among Protestants but no such consensus existed between Protestantism, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Eastern and Western Christendom finally began to realize the enormous costs borne by both sides from their alienation. The doctrinal differences between them did not affect individual salvation and so ought not have split the Church apart as they did.

An idea developed that it was not necessary to agree on dogma or doctrine to authentically participate in the Christian Faith. Simple obedience and genuine discipleship represented a path to salvation. What united all branches of the Christian Faith was the Nicene Creed.

August Hermann Francke wrote: "True Christianity consists in this, that one acknowledge the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord."



Protestants vs Catholics

Protestants and Catholics had a major disagreement about the infallibility of the Pope. Protestants also disputed the Catholic reading of Matthew 16:18-19, which insisted Peter himself was the "rock" on whom Christ built the church. To Protestants these verses mean that the "rock" is the doctrine that Peter confessed.

As to what constituted the One True Church, Catholics believed this to be their visible institution and hierarchy, while Protestants believed it to be the invisible elect of God.

Protestants firmly rejected the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, while they noted it was never accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Meanwhile, the entire tradition of the Catholic Church about Mary continued to be attacked, in particular the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. For Catholics, Mary was "the living image of God" and "the chief work of his hands;" "the advocate of sinners," set apart from humanity. Mary was uniquely accessible to the prayers of sinners as "mediatrix" of grace and blessings; devotion to her was inseparable from devotion to Christ.



The Canon of the Bible

Catholics asserted that they had set the Canon of the Bible and therefore they had the authority to interpret it, and to establish new traditions as led to by the Holy Spirit. Protestants refused credit to the Catholic Church for the Canon, instead asserting that the Canon was in fact established by the Holy Spirit, not by mortal men.

All parties agreed that Scripture was divinely inspired. As Jonathan Edwards said: "The Spirit of God may reveal and dictate to him [a biblical writer] mysteries that otherwise would be above the reach of his reason."

There is nothing in the Bible that is contradictory, but biblical interpretations by men and various groups had begun to clash. To Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox teachers, this was proof that the authority of an infallible church was much needed.




"The study of theology is the cultivation of the soul, under the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit." ~ August Hermann Francke

Samuel Werenfels wrote: "The task of the theologian is not only to confirm true doctrine, but to refute errors that are opposed to the truth, above all if they are dangerous and pernicious. But the theologian must strive to do justice to the opposing position, not to caricature it, because nothing should be imputed to someone that he does not acknowledge in deed or in word."

Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf taught that the important issue about the Trinity is not to debate what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to one another, but "what they are to us."

Zinzendorf was quoted as saying the simplest Creed of a Believer is "I believe that God created me."

Zinzendorf later wrote: "We must all become acquainted with the Savior personally; otherwise all theology is for naught. . . . as soon as the Savior takes possession of the heart, he immediately tells it about the difference between right and wrong."

Scroll to Continue

Barthelemy Durand made the observation that "Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (not only in this life but especially in the life to come)."




The Huguenot evangelist Pierre Poiret defined faith as "believing and trusting in those things that God has told us about divine matters."

Men should strive to align their wills with God's will. Grace is offered by God to all who hear the gospel. It is only by despising and rejecting this gift of grace that man excludes himself from living forever past the grave.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Fenelon described the state of grace as a state that "becomes real in the soul through the infusion of the Holy Spirit and through the total surrender of the soul and its activity."




August Hermann Francke contrasted persons to whom "eternal salvation is a matter of dead earnest" with those "wanting to have the kind of Christianity in which they can simultaneously please God and yet not displease the world."

Repentance is fundamental to salvific faith. Confession of sins to God must be, according to Francke, accompanied by "a heart filled with genuine repentance and true faith."

Repentance is a radical change of mind and a coming to self-knowledge, the outcome, as Francke wrote, of "a true and earnest penitential struggle that has first taken place in the heart."

True divine knowledge only comes through divine illumination. The earnest and sincere observance of the state of one's soul is a continuing duty. Awareness of one's sins, accompanied by repentance and confession, is a religious and moral duty and a means of grace.



Born Again

William Law stressed the importance of being "born again." "Nothing less than this great change of heart and mind" could "give anyone any assurance that he is truly turned to God."

Make Christ the King of your heart. All Believers are summoned to imitate Christ, but Law also emphasized that it was doubly important for clergyman, since they are engaged in a holy profession.

William Law: "The Son of God has redeemed us that we should live to the glory of God."

Gerhard Tersteegen wrote: "Our entire heart should become the heart of Jesus, so that he can impress his seal upon it and say: 'This is my heart.' "

August Hermann Francke added: "Christ exists, lives, dwells, and works within us through faith."



A Personal Relationship with God

In the 18th century, the Christians began to place more emphasis on preaching sermons extrapolated from Bible verses. There also came a new focus on the experience of repentance and the new birth.

The prayer of the heart is the most secret and intimate communication with God. Personal devotion can be cultivated by reading the Bible privately. As William Law wrote, "nothing is so likely a means to fill you with Christ's spirit and temper as to be frequent in reading the Gospels."

A shift seemed to occur from public worship to private devotion. Prayer is the way in which God communicates His Wisdom. This in no way disparages public preaching or the biblical admonition for the community of the faithful to meet together. Hearing the Bible was excellent; reading the Bible quietly was now seen as also excellent.

Protestant devotional writers exhorted adults and children to personally study the Bible. One should meditate on Scripture, in the hopes that, as Tersteegen wrote, it will be "as though God in this very hour were speaking about and to me, or about and to the present day."

Tersteegen added: "We can become participants in Christ's divine nature as he has become a participant in our human nature."

Private devotion and public worship should be mutually supportive, as are church and Scripture.



The Holy Spirit

The gift of the Holy Spirit is a divine gift. The specific source of that gift is God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit consecrates us as the temples of his residence. The Holy Spirit works the contrition of the heart, grants believers the mind which was in Christ, and brings illumination to the human spirit.

Jonathan Edwards warned that "There are other spirits who have influence on the minds of men besides the Holy Ghost, including above all the devil as the evil spirit."

With a religious and moral commitment to discipleship, the Holy Spirit might convey visions and revelations to individual believers. Private revelations and ecstatic visions have never been absent from the life and experience of the church. Any purported new revelation must be measured against the authority of the revealed Word of God, which it dare not contradict.




Miracles had become a important topic of discussion in the 18th century. This was the first century in which serious doubt was cast upon the veracity of miracles in the Bible and post biblical miracles. A miracle was defined by Elias Meniates as a "transgression of the common order of nature" and "visible demonstration of divine power."

A miracle was an "extraordinary work of divine power, striking the senses and calling forth the astonishment of those who see it." To deny the existence of miracles was to deny the existence of God. Above all, it was important to confirm the Virgin Birth of Jesus and His Resurrection. Catholic apologists argued that all centuries had witnessed supernatural miracles.

John Wesley had this to say: "every answer to prayer is properly a miracle."



Holy Music


John Newton was born in London in 1725. His father was a sea captain. Newton was at one time a slave, to the black mistress of a slave trader off the coast of Africa. He would go on to work in the slave trade, but while at sea he began to study the Bible and Christian books. In 1764, he became convinced that slavery was wrong and began a new life as a minister in the Church of England. His autobiographical hymn is entitled "Amazing Grace."


Isaac Watts stood five feet tall and had a huge head. He is considered the father of English hymnody. Watts was born in Southhampton in 1674, the son of a devout Christian schoolmaster who was imprisoned twice for his faith.

Isaac Watts was rejected by women, ridiculed for his appearance, and always in poor health. When he died in 1748 he had written over 600 hymns. He put Scripture to song. One of his biggest hits is "Joy to the World."


In 1776, Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) wrote perhaps the greatest of all hymns: "Rock of Ages." He never knew his father, who as a major in the English army was killed in battle before Toplady was born. Toplady only lived to be 38 years old. His life was plagued with a frail body and tuberculosis.


George Frideric Handel was born the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685. His father was the town surgeon of Halle, Germany. In 1741, Handel completed his masterpiece Messiah.




The Unitarian denomination was founded in 1773. It specifically rejects the Trinity.

A small number of Christian radicals arose who expounded universalism: Since God loves people he would not sentence anybody to damnation, and therefore all people will go to heaven.

The Moravians were spiritual descendents of Jan Hus. They would become the first Protestant denomination to send out missionaries.

The 420 Presbyterian congregations in America were organized by John Witherspoon.

After the United States became an independent nation, the American branch of the Church of England changed its name to the Episcopalian Church.

As to all these denominations, Johann Salomo Semler wrote: "Where can the true Christian religion be, amid so many forms of religion? It is completely in the souls of all true Christians regardless of party."




The Baptists were among the fiercest of patriots in America. Baptist houses of worship in New England alone grew from 25 to 266 from 1740 to 1790. And there were by then 218 in Virginia as well.

Baptists were distinctive by their complete rejection of infant baptism as unbiblical. Only full immersion of adults was authentic and biblical.

The first modern missionary society was founded in 1792 by Baptists. Congregationalists followed suite in 1795. Mission churches were to be established around the world alongside mission schools and hospitals. They would aim to translate the Bible into native languages and missionaries were taught to learn the tongues and cultures of the native peoples. As soon as possible, native ministers and missionaries would be trained to take over so the original missionaries could move on to virgin territories.

The foremost job was to take the Gospel message to peoples that had not heard it; to teach the true meaning, privileges, and responsibilities that come with the gift of salvation.



Universities Founded by Christians

All of the early universities in America were founded by churches; to train ministers primarily, but also to produce Godly future leaders of the colonies. All education was presented from within a framework of the Christian Faith.

Harvard was founded by Puritans in 1636; William and Mary by Anglicans in 1693; Yale in 1701 by Puritans; Princeton in 1746 by Presbyterians; Columbia in 1754 by Anglicans; Brown in 1764 by Baptists; Dartmouth by Congregationalists in 1769; Rutgers by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1770.

The only university in America of the 18th century not founded specifically for Christian purposes was the University of Pennsylvania.



Father John Carroll

Father John Carroll was born in Maryland in 1736. He knew the Roman Catholic Church had enemies in America because of its long battles in England with Protestants. Most of all, Americans were suspicious of people who swore fealty to a monarch and court of Machiavellian cardinals in distant, decadent Rome.

John Carroll would become the first American bishop, and archbishop. He also founded Georgetown University as a Catholic school of higher learning, on land donated by a Protestant friend.

When Father Carroll became bishop of America in 1784, there were 23,000 Catholics in the country and 24 priests. Catholics (like Methodists) chose Baltimore, Maryland as their home base.

Carroll worked hard to cultivate "a warm charity and forbearance towards every other denomination."

Under his guidance, the Catholic Church flourished in America, especially in the new District of Columbia. Catholic planters ceded most of the land where America's federal buildings now sit. The first mayor of "Washington City" was a Catholic.

Thanks to priests fleeing the French Revolution, the number of Catholic clergy grew rapidly in America. Holy orders were founded, one of the most famous being that of the great educator Mother (now Saint) Elizabeth Seton.

In 1808, new dioceses were founded in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. By 1829, America would boast 200,000 Catholics, along with 33 monasteries, 3 universities, 6 colleges, and 6 seminaries.



1755 Lisbon Earthquake

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, signaling the end of Portugal as a world power. Because the earthquake happened on All Saints Day, 30,000 Catholics died in the churches where they had gathered to worship.

This event provided ammunition to Voltaire against the Catholic Church and its belief that God is in control of all human events. It was as if Voltaire had had been waiting for such a catastrophe to attack the received wisdom of the age.

Some Protestants saw the great earthquake as fulfillment of Revelation 6:12. It may have been the most terrible earthquake ever recorded. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. The shock was nearly as severe in Africa as in Europe. At Cadiz, Spain, a tidal wave sixty feet high came ashore. Sixty thousand persons died the first six minutes in Lisbon alone. 90,000 lost their lives that day.





Catholic Europe


The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia had greatly weakened the papacy in regard to its power over matters that did not pertain specifically to the Church. The 18th century popes were rather non-descript. Pope Benedict XIV was probably the best of the bunch.

Many people in Europe thought the papacy would eventually disappear.


Chevalier de la Barre was a young man of Abbeville, France. In 1766, a group of Capuchin monks came down the street in a religious procession and Chevalier de la Barre did not doff his hat out of respect. He was charged and convicted of blasphemy, and the Catholic authorities cut off his hands, tore his tongue out, and then burned him alive. This barbarous torture was witnessed by Voltaire who made it his mission from then on to destroy the power over individuals possessed by the Catholic Church.


Madame de Guyon was a Mystic from France who was imprisoned for eight years after her book A Short and Easy Method of Prayer was condemned by the Pope. Guyon wrote: "Prayer is the key of perfection and of sovereign happiness; it is the efficacious means of getting rid of all vices and of acquiring all virtues; for the way to become perfect is to live in the presence of God. . . . Prayer alone can bring you into His presence, and keep you there continually."


The Jesuits had become despised in Europe for their gargantuan worldly power and riches; as well as their involvement in scandals and political assassinations. In the 1760s, most countries in Europe banned the Jesuits. Finally, they had sufficiently embarrassed the Pope that he dissolved the order in 1773.

The dissolution of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) threw Catholic schools and missions into chaos. Soon secular schools and universities would fill the vacuum in Europe.


In 1781, Emperor Joseph II of the Austrian Empire passed an edict of religious toleration, effectively ending the persecution of non-Catholics. From that time on, one no longer had to be a practicing Catholic to go to school, hold political office, or practice medicine or law. The celebration of saints' days, pilgrimages, and superstitions were discouraged by the Empire in order to modernize its realm.



The Dark Day

May 19th, 1780 was the Dark Day. The whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England was unaccountably darkened in the middle of the day. Most people thought it was a fulfillment of Mark 13:24.

The darkness remained until the middle of the next night—36 hours of darkness such as no one had ever witnessed. When it was over, the moon appeared to be as red as blood. Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded.

An eyewitness reported: "Fear, anxiety and awe gradually filled the minds of the people. Women stood at the door, looking out upon the dark landscape; men returned from their labor in the fields; the carpenter left his tools, the blacksmith his forge, and tremblingly the children fled homeward."




Hell served to restrain those who might otherwise plunge into wickedness. The Anabaptists proposed a new idea that there would be an end to the punishment of the damned.

While Hell deterred a great many souls from sinful deeds, sophisticated Christians began avoiding the subject, as they did not wish to think of God as ferociously vindictive. Enlightened people began to think that sins committed in time would be punished in time—not an eternal suffering. Those who reject God would be burned up by the righteous fire of His Presence and be no more—not suffer for millions of years, as had been taught. It was the Fire that was eternal, not the consciousness of the condemned.

Of course, there were conservative preachers who lamented this new concept of Hell as eternal annihilation. They felt that the threat of eternal suffering had an enormously powerful positive effect on the morals of their communities and that if men no longer feared this sentence, a crime wave would ensue.

It was widely thought that if the day came when men no longer feared going to Hell after death, there might be a marked increase in vanity, anxiety, disputes, wars, hostility, lying, theft, rape, pride, envy, murder, cruelty, sadism, lust, boasting, fornication, adultery, incest, homosexual behaviors, perjury, blasphemy, sacrilege, slander, swindles, fraud, anger, and violence.


My sources used for this article include: Christian Doctrine and Modern Culture by Jaroslav Pelikan; The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White; A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson; A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins; The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten; and Europe by Norman Davies.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 05, 2019:

Kivra ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article and leave such thoughtful insights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 05, 2019:

Cynthia Taggart ~ You are quite welcome. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement of my work. And I agree with you on both points you made in your comments here.

Kivra on November 21, 2018:

Dossier Familial - Google+

Cynthia Taggart from New York, NY on April 12, 2013:

Wonderful hub that summarizes the history of Christianity. Jesus did say "No one comes to the Father except through me," which clearly means it is not through Mary that we find salvation. Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2012:

kellyteam— You are quite welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my work. I sincerely appreciate the wonderful and gracious compliments. I am grateful that you shared this article with your acquaintances and for the voted up. :-)

Willette from Michigan on August 31, 2012:

Wow! that was truly a history lesson. Awesome hub! I'm sure I need to read through it again. It has some very relevant quotes that would be useful in Ministry. Thanks for the lesson. Thumbs up and a share! Awesome!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 18, 2011:

stephane86— It is a pleasure to hear from you again! I am blessed by your kind compliments. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I sincerely appreciate your remarks. :)

stephane86 on July 15, 2011:

James, your knowledge of Christianity and of history is extensive. What a blessing to have on hubpages. Keep up the good work!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 28, 2011:

Francisco Marques— Thank you! This is part of a series on the History of Christianity that now numbers over 30 Hubs. I am working on the 19th Century now.

Yes, the Jesuits did play an important role, particularly in education.

Yes, the Lisbon Earthquake was used by secularists to damage the Church, especially Voltaire. And the positivism of Auguste Comte was not far behind.

I appreciate your learned comments. I am pleased to have you read my article. Welcome to HubPages!

Francisco Marques on May 26, 2011:

Good structure and great choice of topics!

Jesuits had a very important role on catholic europe and in particular at the iberic península as christianizers and school founders. That's why portuguese and spanish kings use to send them along in their ships, it was a cheap way to have permanent settlement in far regions where they had commercial interests.

It wasn't an easy patnership, the Jesuits have been expelled from Portugal several times; also, after the Lisbon earthquake (and tsunami)there was a huge shock between science and religion-Jesuits tried to delay Lisbon recontruction demonizing the prime minister and architect's options.

This ended with father Gabriel Malagrida sent to death by fire.

This was a part of the general tension between liberalism/positivism and the Ancient Regime in XVIIIe century.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 28, 2011:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you for reading my work here on 18th Century Christianity. I appreciate your gracious compliments.

Yes, the division continues—not the Lord's doing. You hit on great Scripture there about "correctly handling the truth" and the wastefulness of "quarreling about words." And you are surely correct that we need the enlightenment that can only be provided by the Holy Spirit in order to be able to rightfully discern the Word.

Right you are about the chief purpose of the Church, and the lifelong struggle that is transformation into His likeness.

I do thank God for our Lord and Savior. You are so right about the need in the human soul to know Him.

Thank you for your blessings. And you are most welcome.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on April 26, 2011:

James A Watkins, This is a marvelous and as always concise informative account of the status of our Lord’s Church in the 18th century. No doubt the schisms and division continue on... However it has nothing at all to do with the Lord but man’s unquenchable thirst to dominate, control and exercise leverage over others. There is a continued hierarchy that desires to usurp and commandeer authority over others rather than be governed and led by the Lord themselves. This is why false teachers are able to persist within our Lord’s Church!

As you well stated: “There is nothing in the Bible that is contradictory, but biblical interpretations by men and various groups had begun to clash>” Amen & AMEN! You have excellently touched on many tremendous indispensable points to ponder! The Lord has told us “Keep reminding them of these things.”Warm them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of TRUTH.” 2 Timothy 2.

Much of it could be avoided if the Lord’s Word was really allowed to be the qualifier for the order of life & worship! One must really be led by His Spirit to rightfully discern His Word it is like no other! Consistent study and application of His Word is necessary for the believer! This is also how we can truly be on one accord…. The primary purpose of the Church is to point others to the Lord and allow His Holy Spirit to commence the lifelong process of regeneration and “Worship HIM!” not man… Thank God for JESUS! This is why it is so very important to KNOW the Lord and His Word for ourselves. Thank you for sharing your gift of the pen, as always brother this is a compelling, historical inspiring narrative. Excellent, wonderful, presentation, Professor! In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! God Bless YOU!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 19, 2011:

cristina327— Thank you! It is always a pleasure to hear from you, my dear. You are precious.

I sincerely appreciate your best regards and blessings. I certainly agree with your comments. And you are most welcome. :)

Cristina Santander from Manila on April 17, 2011:

Excellent hub indeed. What an excellent account of 18th century christianity. There are so many great things that happened in christianity in the 18th century. Christianity is still as strong as of today because of the many great revivals that happened in the 18th century. Thank you for sharing this great wealth of information. Remain blessed always. Best regards.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 13, 2011:

Brinafr3sh— You are welcome. Thank you for the nice compliment. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I will check out your Hubs soon. :)

Brinafr3sh from West Coast, United States on April 12, 2011:

Nice writing James A Watkins. I'm glad someone came up with baptism for infants by applying water to their foreheads (Christianing). Thanks James peace

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

drpastorcarlotta— I always appreciate your inspiring comments, my dear. Thank you very much for your gracious encouragement of my work.

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

Whidbeywriter— Greetings! Thank you for your kind compliments and blessings! I am well pleased that you offered your recognition of the "Hell" segment. I thought it important enough to be my closing section.

Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on April 08, 2011:

WOW! What a GREAT JOB!!!! I tell you James, people who don't believe in Hell doesn't believe in God!

Mary Gaines from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington on April 08, 2011:

Greetings dear James, what a great hub, so full of information - well done. I especially found the area of "hell" to be interesting in the fact that the things this world is experiencing so much of today as you listed are because "hell" is not taken seriously. It's not preached, but it is real and the consequences are devastating. Blessings to you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 07, 2011:

kashmir56— You are most welcome! Thank you ever much for the voted up and awesome! I sincerely appreciate your kind compliments. You encourage me.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on April 05, 2011:

Hi James, Very well researched and well written hub tracking the history of Christianity. Thanks for another very interesting hub!

Awesome and vote up !!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

stars439— Thank you my Brother! God Bless You and your family.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

H P Roychoudhury— I find the whole Mary cult quite mysterious myself, my friend.

Thank you for coming by to visit. I always enjoy hearing from you with your thoughtful comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

lilyfly— Why Lily, that is high praise indeed. I'm not sure I am worthy of it but I surely am grateful to you for it. Thank you. :D


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:— Wow. I didn't expect to have anyone respond that they had actually read Madam de Guyon. Interesting.

Zinzendorf was tuned in alright. I appreciate what you wrote: "If we just seek to know Jesus, adversarial debates would cease [and] the love of God and unity of the faith would be promoted."


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

Ingenira— Yes, I agree with you. I appreciate your kind compliments as well. Thank you for visiting and commenting. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

charmgirl— I certainly agree with you that a personal relationship with God is paramount. Thank you for your thoughtful insights. I appreciate the visitation from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

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

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 04, 2011:

Rudra— Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate your comments. John Newton is fixed in the pantheon of the Christian Faith primarily because he wrote the most beloved hymn in the world: "Amazing Grace." Beyond that, his story—slave to slave trader to anti-slavery crusader—is compelling.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 03, 2011:

Polly— I wouldn't say a religion was made of Mary. That is only a part of Catholicism. But it remains a stumbling block to the Body of Christ uniting as one. I would have thought that the reaction of Peter and Paul when people tried to bow down and worship them—Cut that out!—might have precluded the worship of or praying to any human person.

Unfortunately, there are bad apples among people of all persuasions. The thing about the child molestations by Catholic priests is what is not publicized: 99 percent of the cases were homosexual molestations. The Catholic Church was infiltrated by homosexual men in the 1970s, who were naturally attracted by the idea of being in close proximity to pretty little boys. These were almost all homosexual crimes. Political Correctness prevents this from making the news. That is wrong because it obscures what really went on there. Political Correctness is designed to cover up the truth. I have never seen one of those cases where the victim was a female, though I know from research there were a few. This is kept out of the media because it would hurt the homosexual movement, which has also been infiltrated by those who practice homosexual behaviors and their godless sympathizers.

Thank you for reading my work here. I would never delete your comments. I thank you for them.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 03, 2011:

Genna East— Thank you for the up and awesome! I appreciate your laudatory remarks. I am grateful to you for them. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 03, 2011:

CMerritt— Yes, a "visible demonstration of divine power." I have witnessed such a demonstration with my own eyes. A cousin of mine was healed in church of poor eyesight right in front of me. To this day, he does not require glasses at 60 years old. He was 15 when the miracle occurred.

I sure appreciate your gracious accolades. Thank you, my friend, for your encouragement of my work. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 03, 2011:

RealHousewife— You're welcome. What caused the Dark Day remains a mystery. Kinda spooky. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 03, 2011:

CARIBQUEEN— You are welcome. I very much enjoyed reading your thoughtful, insightful comments. I surely agree with all you said. Well done!

Thank you for reading my Hub. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on April 03, 2011:

Very nice hub, God Bless You Precious Brother.

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on April 02, 2011:

The article has nicely high lighted the history of Christianity. It is always a subject of mystery with regard to Marry, the ethics of Catholic and Protestant since the evolution of the faith of the Christianity.

lilyfly on April 02, 2011:

The best hubber, and the best hubs, bar none... excellent! lily from upstate, NY on April 02, 2011:

I read a great book by MADAME DE GUYON title "Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ". The book in my view just highlighted this french woman's very close walk with God. For reasons of power, control and jealousy the french Catholic church burned her books and had her imprisoned.

I like this quote by Zinzendorf: "We must all become acquainted with the Savior personally; otherwise all theology is for naught. . . . as soon as the Savior takes possession of the heart, he immediately tells it about the difference between right and wrong."

If we just seek to know Jesus, adversarial debates would cease the love of God and unity of the faith would be promoted.

Ingenira on April 02, 2011:

Well researched and well written.

"True Christianity consists in this, that one acknowledge the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord." The rest is secondary.

charmgirl on April 01, 2011:

You have certainly researched your subject thoroughly James. If we could all have a personal relationship with God there wouldn't be any need for one religion to think itself better than another and,therefore, no need for religious wars

Marcella Glenn from PA on April 01, 2011:

Just a great hub.

Rudra on April 01, 2011:

Very interesting and comprehensive history of Christianity. May I ask what John Newton had to do with religion. I guess he was a firm believer of god. His argument perhaps was that the world was governed by laws and the laws were in turn controlled by God.

Pollyannalana from US on April 01, 2011:

I think it is a shame that the bible says Mary would be honored among women and a religion became of that. The bible only says that and it clearly does not go with the making saints of how many people? I also think it is an amazing thing that priests in the catholic religion do not go to jail for molestation and rape but you let it happen in a Christian (Oh, I mean, any other) church. I bet I could find 100 links of Catholic Priests molesting and raping and getting transfers recommended not mentioning their perverted criminal ways and so they continue. Why would Catholics not know and do something about this and how can the catholic church keep paying off..well.. apparently everyone, and just keep on keeping on. I wonder if they don't think allowing marriage might be the answer since that is what the bible says to do if you must have sex. I guess I am veering from your very wonderful hub but since I couldn't say this in a hub of my own I thought this may be a wonderful place for people to think about those many children at the very least out there continuing to have their lives ruined and no one in the Catholic religion apparently cares.

I know I should just say love, love and ride on by, it may even get my two accolades back, but you can delete it, it won't make me mad, but reading your hub this is all that came to my mind.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 01, 2011:

Fascinating and well-researched hub Jim, as usual. Just amazing! Up and awesome.

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on April 01, 2011:

Wow KEEP on doing it. YOU never fail me. This was flat out interesting and entertaining to me. I enjoyed and I learned. Your segment on Miracles, for some reason really stuck with me...this was a recent family discussion and the "visible demonstration of divine power." is really a perfect answer in my opinion.

Nice job again James....


Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on April 01, 2011:

Haha! Mine too - I keep wondering what caused the dark sky! Thank YOU!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

RealHousewife— Thank you for posting your laudatory remarks. You are a divine new presence here on HubPages. I am well pleased to find that you share my interest in the spread of denominations, which is lamentable in many ways. But maybe not so bad, if it gives different people different modes of worship that suit them best as individuals.

The Dark Day was the most fun part of this story to me. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

no body— Thank you for the visitation, Bob. I am greatly grateful to humbly receive your accolades. I appreciate your ongoing encouragement of my work.

I surely have no label. And I agree with you that people of all denominations love the Lord. God Bless You!

Caribqueen from Trinidad & Tobago on April 01, 2011:

James: This hub is quite thought-provoking. It makes one think very deeply. History teaches us so much. Where the bible and religion are concerned, there are always more questions than answers. However, by continuous researching,reading and vigilant prayer, we continue to gain wisdom on a daily basis. Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

dramatis personae— I am well pleased at your kind comments. I see myself as a distiller of knowledge. It is what I enjoy. Thank you for coming. And welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

Enlydia Listener— You wrote: "History is amazing, because it shows us how we got to where we are."

I could well have made that statement myself. There is not much I enjoy more than researching and writing about history, for the very reason you noted.

Thank you for expressing your admiration of my work. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

Moonchild60— Hello! I am doing OK. I hope all is well with you. This is the last of five Hubs about the History of the Christian Faith in the 18th Century. It will be a while before I tackle the 19th Century. So I'll be taking a break from this subject.

I surely agree with you that what happened to Chevalier de la Barre is horrific. And no doubt Voltaire never forgot. He was traumatized by it. I think I read he had nightmares about it.

That's what happened alright! :D

Thank you for coming to see me. I always enjoy hearing from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

DiamondRN— Thought banquets! I love that! You have a way with words, my friend. I very much appreciate you posting my article on your Facebook page. I am honored by this. Thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 01, 2011:

SirDent— Thank you for being my first visitor! I love the quote you spotlighted too. It is, as you say, simple and to the point. I appreciate your gracious compliments, brother. Fight the good fight!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on April 01, 2011:

Very, very interesting Mr. Watkins! I have always been interested in the history of religion, and how the different denominations sprang to life. And you have gotten Voltaire in there again! Awesome. I also had never heard of The Dark Day.

Fabulous researcher you are!

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on March 31, 2011:

What I love about you Jim is that you dig out such interesting nuggets of history but the history you provide gives the reader the sense that Christianity bears no label. That is a good thing. God and Jesus have no label, no denomination. He spreads out His hands to all and dies. You find Catholic bishops and all kinds of folks from all kinds of backgrounds that show that they know the Lord in a real way by their quotes they say. I love that. Great job and great reading.

Kera from USA on March 31, 2011:

this is utterly fascinating and I have never seen so much history about this in one place and certainly not in one hub.....sincerely enjoyed this read from beginning to end.....very informative.

Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on March 31, 2011:

James, I admire the fact that you have spent time studying all this information and give it to us in nice proportion. History is amazing, because it shows us how we got to where we are.

Moonchild60 on March 31, 2011:

Hello James - Hope you are well. You certainly do write a great deal about Christianity.

You said "In 1766, a group of Capuchin monks came down the street in a religious procession and Chevalier de la Barre did not doff his hat out of respect. He was charged and convicted of blasphemy, and the Catholic authorities cut off his hands, tore his tongue out, and then burned him alive." - that would be fanaticism wouldn't it? Voltaire was probably traumatized by witnessing such an event. I certainly would be and that would be enough to make me question the behaviors of the uber-religious.

"It was widely thought that if the day came when men no longer feared going to Hell after death, there might be a marked increase in vanity, anxiety, disputes, wars, hostility, lying, theft, rape, pride, envy, murder, cruelty, sadism, lust, boasting, fornication, adultery, incest, homosexual behaviors, perjury, blasphemy, sacrilege, slander, swindles, fraud, anger, and violence". thats what happened.

Bob Diamond RPh from Charlotte, NC USA on March 31, 2011:

James, I linked this article on my Facebook page.

My tag was: Written and compiled by fellow-Christian James A Watkins. His articles are always well-researched thought banquets.

SirDent on March 31, 2011:

Such an awesome account of the history of Christianity. Not all was good and some parts were really.

I love the quote, "True Christianity consists in this, that one acknowledge the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and Lord." It is simple and to the point making it easy to understand.

Your writing never disapoints me.

Related Articles