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When Did Christianity Begin

James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, historian, and author of three non-fiction books. James enjoys people, music, film, and reading

When Did Christianity Begin

'When did Christianity Begin' is part of a series of articles regarding the history of Christianity. In this episode, we take up where we left off in my last post, entitled 'Roman Catholic,' about the year 630, and continue on to the year 787.





History About Christianity

In 638 AD (Anno Domini [The Year of the Lord]) Emperor T'ai-Tsung of China officially recognized Christianity as an accepted religion, and commanded that the Bible to translated into his language, saying, "This teaching is beneficial to all people."

At the same time, missionaries were converting the English from two directions: The Celtic Christians coming south from Lindisfarne, and Roman Catholics coming north from the Continent. By 664, King Oswy officially declared Britain to be Roman Catholic.

The Eastern Church, headquartered in Constantinople (Byzantium), faced an existential danger with the rise of Islam. Muhammad (575-632) founded this religion in Mecca about the year 615, and by the time of his death all of Arabia had embraced Islam (become Muslims). His successors encouraged jihad, or holy war, against all non-Muslims, and within 100 years built an empire from Spain to India—by conquering Christian lands, where Christians had to convert to Islam or have their heads cut off.

This was quite different from Christianity, in which conversion was to be accomplished by preaching, not coercion—voluntary faith, not compulsory faith.

In former strongholds of Christianity such Syria, Iraq, North Africa, Persia, Egypt, Armenia—and even Israel (the Holy Land)—churches were destroyed or turned into mosques. These wars of conquest are the seed of the conflict between Christians and Muslims that was to go on until the present day.

The Muslim conquests in Europe reached France, where they were defeated by Charles "The Hammer" Martel (688-741), king of the Franks—and driven back into Spain. Martel instituted the use of horse-mounted, heavily-armored cavalry: later to become known as Knights. He was able to win because of the invention of the stirrup, which made it possible to stay on one's horse during heavy fighting.

Martel went on to conquer Germany, and with the help of an English monk, Boniface, convert the Germans to Roman Catholicism. The alliance between France and the Roman Catholic Church saved the Church and helped create the papal power that was to dominate Europe for 1000 years.

Italy was under attack from Lombardy in the north and Byzantium in the south when an historic deal was struck: Pope Stephen II anointed Pepin the Short king of France in exchange for the Franks driving out the invaders of Italy, which they did. Thus, for the first time, a king was proclaimed by the Church (rather than conquest or heredity). And a 200-mile-long Papal State was formed in Italy.

It was about this time that one of the greatest frauds in human history took place: the Donation of Constantine. This was a forged document that the Roman Catholic Church produced suddenly—and claimed it had been hidden 400 years for safekeeping. The document was supposedly written by Constantine the Great, and states that the Pope in Rome is to reign supreme over all Christian churches and over all the kings of Europe. This forgery hoodwinked the world for 800 years.

The three holiest Christian cities of the East were by now lost to the Muslim invaders: Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. Christians were no longer able to safely make pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

How did this happen? As the Arabian hordes swarmed out of the desert, Byzantium and Persia had recently devastated each other in war; so Christian lands were weak militarily. They were also not united as a Church, with many divisions among them doctrinally. And the unorthodox among them were being persecuted by the Byzantines, and thus not willing to fight for Byzantium.

The Muslims reached the gates of Constantinople itself before they were turned back in 677, after the Byzantines invented a devastating new weapon: flame-throwers.







The Church in the Latin West

Meanwhile, the Christian Church in the 7th and 8th centuries began to crystallize its doctrines, by the authority of Scripture and traditional teachings of the earliest Church Fathers, true to the catholic (universal) faith. It was heresy (teachings by those inside the church at variance with orthodoxy) that often would provoke the Church to clarify its doctrines.

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The two cardinal dogmas of the Christian faith were defined as the worship of God in Trinity; and the belief in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ—divine and human in one.

A Christian was defined as one who imitates Christ. But it is the mercy, grace and will of God that brings humans to Him. Christians could become beautiful not because of their merits, but because God was the artisan who crafted them.

The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The writers of Scripture did not write their own words, but words of knowledge and authority received by them from the Spirit of God. Therefore, the true author of Scripture is the Holy Spirit, who dictated the words to the writers. Thus, the Bible has the same authority as Christ himself, and Christ cannot be understood by those who are ignorant of the Scriptures.

It was assumed that while the essential meaning of the New Testament is clear, it could only be rightly interpreted in the light of the traditions established by the Church Fathers. The Church had authority because it represented the consensus of a single and universal Christian community.

Therefore, the unity of the Church was fundamental to Christian faith. And it followed that apart from fellowship in the one catholic Church, salvation was not possible. The twelve apostles were the forerunners of bishops, and the seventy disciples sent by Christ were now represented by priests. Through baptism, all Christians participate in ministry. This was all put together in the institutional, hierarchical Catholic Church of those who acknowledged the authority of Rome.

There was substantial resistance to the idea of the primacy of Peter from those who believed authority should proceed from the whole apostolic college, but the Latin West acknowledged a papal monarchy—that the church in Rome was mother and teacher—whose authority was to be sought on all questions of faith and morals, and her instructions to be obeyed.

A sacrament is a ritual in which God is active. Baptism is first among sacraments. It was taught during these centuries that one cannot be a Christian without baptism; hence the baptism of infants was widely practiced, should they die before reaching the age of accountability. Missionaries baptized adult converts. This represented a compact (peace between two parties) with God, by which sins were forgiven; and a holy angel was assigned to protect you.

As infant baptism grew commonplace, the significance of baptism to forgive sins waned and the idea of penance grew in importance. This involved confession to a priest, who would then determine the acts of compensation required for offenses, and grant absolution (forgiveness).

It became the consensus of early medieval theologians (those who study God and His relation to the world) that forgiveness was not possible outside the Church. So, in the 7th and 8th centuries a system of the sacraments—baptism, penance, and other rituals designed to convey divine grace through earthly means—came to be defined.

From this framework of sacraments evolved praying on behalf of the dead. For this to make any sense there had to be created an intermediate state between heaven and hell—and so it was: Purgatory. This was no place for the blessed saints—they went straight to heaven—nor for great, hardened, rebellious sinners—they went straight to hell; but a place for those who died guilty of milder sins. These would be examined and purged in a transitory fire—over which the Church on Earth had authority.

It was a small leap from here to pray to the dead—to outstanding saints who could act as patrons for the living.

Among the prominent churchmen of these times were Bede, Alcuin, Isidore of Spain and Boniface—all of whom helped define orthodoxy (generally approved universal doctrines) in the Latin West.

Isidore (560-636) was Archbishop of Seville over 30 years. He was known as the most learned man of his age and is known today as the "last scholar of the ancient world." Isidore was the first Christian writer to create an encyclopedia of universal knowledge—which remained popular for 1000 years. In it he wrote that the Earth is round. Isidore said, "The Pope is the chief priest who appoints all other priests."

Bede (672-735) was a monk, scholar, author, and only Englishman ever named a "Doctor of the Church." He is also known as the "Father of English History." Bede called St Peter "patron of the entire Church" and "first pastor of the Church" as well as "prince of the apostles." He said, "The primacy was given to Peter for the purpose of commending the unity of the Church" and "The Lord commanded St Peter to take care of His entire flock, that is, of the Church."

Boniface (672-754) was also from England. He is the Patron Saint of Germany, and known as the "Apostle to the Germans." Boniface said, "God descended to men, so that men might be able by obedience to ascend to God" and "The righteousness of the believer is not a state that is reached, but a process of growth."

Alcuin (735-804) was yet another Englishman. He was a scholar, poet and abbot, but is most famous for becoming the teacher of Charlemagne, his family, and his court. Alcuin defined orthodoxy as "introducing nothing novel" meaning nothing not found in Scripture and in the writings of the Church Fathers. He defined heretics as "those who take pleasure in making up new terminologies for themselves and who are not content with the dogma of the holy fathers." Alcuin announced, "We take our stand firmly within the borders of the apostolic doctrine and of the Holy Roman Church, following their established authority."









The Church in the Greek East

By the 7th century, linguistical barriers, liturgical (public worship rituals) differences, and political divisions had isolated the culture, mind and spirit of the Greek Eastern Church from those in the West.

Catholic orthodoxy in the East had its own identity, doctrines, and theology. There were some in the Greek East who felt that their Church had a special destiny, illuminated by the rising sun. Christ had come and will come from the East; the Garden of Eden was in the East; the Christian Church began in the East; Abraham came from the East; Israel was in the East; the Magi had come from the East; Orthodox Greeks prayed facing East.

More importantly, all Christian dogma and liturgy had its origin in the East; and most importantly: the New Testament was written in Greek, which was considered a superior language for precise expression of the conceptual distinctions of theology.

Maximus Confessor (580-662) was a giant among Eastern theologians, and has been described by historians as the "Father of Byzantine Theology." His principle idea was the doctrine of deification, as the theme of the Christian faith.

Maximus said, "The purpose of the Lord becoming man was our salvation."

He taught that the dogmas of the Church were divinely revealed truth, and as such were changeless. "The word of truth is such that it is uniform and unshakable by its very nature, and it cannot be subjected to differences of viewpoint or to temporal changes. It is always the same, teaching and advocating the same thing, because it transcends all addition and subtraction."

Maximus added that a heretic was a "discoverer of novel dogmas."

While persons must be forgiven if repentant of following false doctrines through ignorance, as is required by the gospel; forgiveness is prohibited to those who are false teachers.

Scripture is the supreme authority of Christian doctrine. The foundation of faith was the authority of the apostles. The apostle Paul was considered the greatest of these in the Eastern Church.

The understanding of spiritual matters was best left to those who dealt with the word of God "mystically" and this gift of discernment was given only to those "worthy" of the Holy Spirit. The apostles had instructed their successors, and these had instructed their successors.

Heresies lacked the authority of Scripture and the Church Fathers. Orthodoxy was "in accord with Scripture and the tradition of Church Fathers."

The authority of Scripture, therefore, was the authority of Scripture properly interpreted, in harmony with the Church Fathers. "We do not invent new formulas, but we confess the statements of the fathers."

All that was orthodox had to be apostolic. Anyone who contradicted this was to be excommunicated.

Maximus taught that man was only able to perceive that God is, not what God is. God was to be worshipped not on the basis of what He is—as this is unknowable—but for the magnificence of His handiwork; providence for His creation; and His loving-kindness toward humankind. Theology is not a science but a divine revelation. When speaking about God one should be careful to stick to the revelation of Him.

The Council of Constantinople (681) made orthodox the doctrine that Jesus had both human will and divine will—but that the two wills never conflicted with each other. This is similar to the Trinity, which is, that there is one God who has three distinct manifestations of Himself—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three are the same in their will and essence, but each is distinguished by special properties and functions. Christ was one person but both human and divine. Thus the divine Christ came to dwell in the flesh and walk the Earth.

These are mysteries that cannot be fully grasped or explained by humans. Therefore, for Christians to question revelation because we can't grasp it in relation to our experiences in this temporal world, is not proper. These are matters to be accepted by faith, not matters of which to demand empirical evidence.

Salvation was achieved through this union of the human and the divine in Christ—and by this union in believers, who are flesh inhabited by the Holy Spirit.

"The Savior, as man, had a will belonging to His human nature in sublime conformity to His divine will and to that of His Father," said Maximus.

His human will was completely subject to His divine will; yet when He was hungry or thirsty, it was His human will that desired food or drink, which His divine nature did not need. Jesus carried out divine actions in a bodily way and human actions in a divine way. I would think we should strive to the same.

John of Damascus (676-749) was another towering figure in the Eastern Church. He was an Arab Christian monk and priest, who was an expert in theology, philosophy, law, and even music. His hymns are still in use today in Orthodox monasteries around the world.

John said, "If Christ had not been capable of being sad, he would not have liberated human nature from sadness."

We were saved by the God-man, fully divine and fully human and altogether one. The eternal Son, begotten by the Father, died for us not in His divine nature but in His human nature. For the divine was and is incapable of suffering or death. Perfect God became perfect man. The difference between His humanity and ours was that His was free of sin in its origin and in its life.

Christ "Keeps the characteristic and distinctive property of the divine Sonship of God, by which He is distinguished from the Father and the Spirit. He also has, according to the flesh, characteristic and distinctive properties distinguishing Him from His mother and from all other human beings."

John may have been even more influential in the West, since his writings were among the few of the Greek fathers that were translated into Latin during the Dark Ages.









Christian Church

By the year 800 AD, fasts and feasts were imposed by law throughout Christendom. The feasts were multitudinous, celebrating important events in the lives of Jesus, Mary and the saints. These were made festive for hungry peasants by the fact that the Church or the king would supply the food and drink.

Whatever pagan holidays and rituals that had not been extinguished were simply usurped by the Church. The Church baptized you, married you, and buried you (hatch, match and dispatch). The Church was at the center of life.

By this time the Church demanded universal membership for those who wished to be included in the political, business, and social community. There was little regard for individualism, or individual rights. Church and state were decidedly intermingled. To be a heretic was to be a traitor.

Churches were, without exception, the tallest buildings in every town. The Mass had evolved into a mysterious ceremony of music, incense, relics, vestments, and Holy Communion. Preaching declined and few understood the language anyway. So, it was icons (sacred art) that provided most of the teaching to the peasants.

The only way to be saved from the fiery furnace of Hell was to stay in the good graces of the Church. Through the sacramental mystery of baptism, believers became members of the holy Church, worthy of forgiveness, united to the holy Catholic Church, in the chosen flock.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 27, 2019:

TCurtis Moore ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your gracious compliments. I enjoyed reading your fine remarks.

TCurtis Moore on May 11, 2013:

It's really sad that they missed it. Christ said, did I come with a sword, and rebels. Not an exact quote. The point is we are to teach others about the love of Christ. Not conquer lands to bring people into submission.

Nice history lesson about how people are, and how power corrupts. You did a fine job.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2012:

Martus— Thank you ever much for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate your respectful and insightful remarks. There is no doubt some of the trappings of the Christian religion are man-made however one would hope the Holy Spirit of the all powerful all sovereign Father God has His hand right in there someplace. :)

Thanks again for the visitation.

Faithfully Yours,

James the Younger

(The King James Version as one of my friends calls me)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2012:

Sagittarius 2012— I sincerely appreciate your gracious compliments. Thank you for taking the time to read my work and post such thoughtful remarks. You have a lot of interesting ideas.

You asked, "James, have you ever [wondered] what events caused the emerge of Islam?"

Yes, I have. I think the split in the Church after the Council of Chalcedon paved the way. Despite what postmodern deconstructionists teach our children in college and public schools, "diversity" has no advantages whatsoever. Unity is where strength lies. Time and time again we see in history a group of people split apart by internal divisions and before long they are conquered by outsiders.

The Doctrine of the Trinity—and even more so great misunderstandings about what it meant—surely gave rise to the acceptance of Islam. And yes, there has been enmity between the Jews and Christians since the beginning. It is politically correct nowadays to blame this only on Christians but that is historically false, as I am sure you know.

I appreciate the historical background you provided about Arabia. Thanks again for engaging in this discussion.


Martus on June 06, 2012:

James A Watkins,

Your work in this hub is least to say--admirable.

Perfectly presented historical facts of man-made Christianity.

However, somewhere along the way of "developing" the "historical Christianity", the original , fundamental purpose and mission of coming the Lord Jesus the Anointed Son of the Most High God, the God himself,-- has become unpracticed, diverted.

Now the Supenatural of God continues apart of the religious movement called "Christianity."

Respectfully, Martus.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 30, 2012:

c— I assume you are referring to the Muslims?

Thank you very much for reading my article. I appreciate your comments.

c on May 29, 2012:

too bad they killed people to make them sad..

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2011:

wwwpedia— I do not know where you get your information but what you wrote is simply not true. Everything in the New Testament was written by people who knew Jesus or who were dictated to by those who did. Nothing in the Bible was written 300 years later. All of it was written within 60 years of His life and the last books were written by the Apostle John, whom Jesus loved.

Perhaps you could read about this further here:

I do appreciate this visit from you. Thank you for your comments.

wwwpedia on September 28, 2011:

I have learned that nothing has be recorded or written about the teachings or the revelation of Jesus in his life time by any one! Perhaps 300 years after, by unknown historians who have never walked, prayed, lived or shared during his time therefore its absolutely doubtful about its authenticity. The bible has contained so much absurd stuff I wont be able to read or translate in front of any decent person. This could not have be the case if it was the word of GOD.

short study...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 29, 2011:

Kaie Arwen— You are going to read the whole series again!? I am honored. Thank you for encouraging me in my writings, especially this series. It is an ambitious project. With you as inspiration maybe I can get it done. :D

Kaie Arwen on June 27, 2011:

J- So here I am back at the beginning and ready to retake the journey. This series is my favorite as you well know, and I intend to make my way through the centuries with a bit more attention to detail this time. And so it begins................ ;-) Q '>0-

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 22, 2011:

stephane86— Well I am sure glad you do. I appreciate the laudations. It makes a man feel good. I do my best as the Spirit moves me. Thanks for coming!

stephane86 on February 21, 2011:

James, I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles. They are well organized, well researched and always knowledgeable. You are a wealth of information.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 26, 2011:

Katie— You're welcome! Thank you for letting me know it is useful. :-)

Katie on January 25, 2011:

This was very useful thanks!

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

Simon Paulus— You are welcome. I hope this information can be trusted. I performed much diligent research before writing this article. I appreciate your visit and comments.

Simon Paulus on December 14, 2010:

thanks for u valuable contribution to this site and help available for the people. But are these information can be trusted.

This is my Mail:

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 23, 2010:

avatar144— You got that right! Amen. They sure are. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

avatar144 on November 23, 2010:

some are saints , some are sinners.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 28, 2010:

jvhirniak— Thank you for your kind compliments, my friend. I think the East-West split had its genesis about this time. It took centuries—as you noted—to reach actual schism. I find it sad that something such as the Filioque could split Christendom. A heavy price was paid for this splitting of hairs.

I appreciate your fine insights. Thank you for your comments.

jvhirniak on August 28, 2010:

James - an excellent synopsis. Interesting how you framed the divergence between eastern and western Christianity (earlier than I would have thought). I always remembered the date 1054 as the formal split between the two (Schism) and of course the 1215 sacking of Constantinople as the point of no-return, despite the cultural barriers. Also, the issue over the Filioque continues the discord between two churches on a doctrinal level to this day.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

magnoliazz— You are quite welcome, my dear. As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a history buff. I agree with everything you wrote and I thank you for visiting and leaving your words of wisdom, especially these:

"As Christians it is our duty to tell the rest of the world about Christ and the wonderful gift he has for each and every human being. If they want to accept that gift, great, if not, they will have to deal with that choice."


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

magnoliazz— According to Muslims, Jesus was a mighty fine feller who paved the way for Muhammad.

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on April 22, 2010:

Don't get me wrong, I am a devout Christain....however religion has left me cold. Especially after the child abuse and sex scandals associated with some of the churches, not just the Catholic church either, all of them are guilty!

Many wars are fought in the name of religion. And there is no doubt, the Muslims killed people if they did not convert. Even to this day, that is their policy, and I think it is very dangerous.

I think it is best to live and let live. As Christains it is our duty to tell the rest of the world about Christ and the wonderful gift he has for each and every human being. If they want to accept that gift, great, if not, they will have to deal with that choice.

Another thought provoking hub. I love the hubs dealing with history. And, this hub is so much more in depth than the History channel.

Thank you James!

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on April 22, 2010:

Jesus actually raised people from the dead, however the Muslims say he is not the son of God, then, what is he?

Wonderful, hub. History repeats itself, there is much to learn here!

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

Kharisma1980— The chief sources used for research include: The Christians by the Christian History Project (highly recommended); Europe by Norman Davies; The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten; A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins

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

Kharisma1980— Thank you for your gracious words, Rob. I used about seven books, and the Internet, to make sure I had my facts straight. I do not know how to put footnotes in a Hub. If you see something interesting here that you want to write about, I am sure you can find a source whereby to verify what I wrote and use it as a source.


Kharisma1980 from Toronto on April 14, 2010:

WOW. You are thorough! I'm a divinity student myself, so coming across a meaty hub like this one gets my Jesus-loving scholar's heart all excited. One thing I haven't figured out is a good way to incorporate footnotes into hubs. There's lots of really good information here, yet it would not be an acceptable source for a paper I wrote, for example. Any thoughts?

Grace, peace, and deep blessings!


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 21, 2009:

Great Content— Excellent comments. Yes, the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD did mark the turning point of Christianity, although plenty of converts came from Judaism still for centuries to come. That the Jews greatly persecuted the Christians for 40 years prior contributed to this rift also, lest we forget the purpose of Paul's visit to Damascus. When Jews took sides with Persians against Christians a few hundred years later and worse yet actually took the side of Muslims against the Christians in many cases an enmity between them was sealed, which has only improved markedly these past 60 years since the founding of the state of Israel with Christians as their only true friends today. So, a healing has begun. I have noticed more and more Messianic Jews lately and my tour of the holy land I wrote about recently was lead by one. I think the Christians have always given the Old Testament a revered place in Scripture and maybe more so lately. Thank you for reading my work and leaving your insights.

GreatContent on December 20, 2009:

Christianity began when the Gentiles removed the Hebrews from their city, and Gentiles began to take over the Church. Before that, Christianity was a sect of Judaism, but the Gentiles removed Judaism from Christianity, thus creating its own religion apart from the Torah.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 08, 2009:

pinky— OK. I thought teaching was useful.

pinky on December 08, 2009:

you should all get a life!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't waste time doing crap on the internet. Be useful really.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 30, 2009:

mattmilamii— Thank you very much. I look forward to reading your work. I appreciate the visit and welcome to HubPages.

Matthew Milam II from Chicago - Be A Blessing... Become A Hand Of God on November 30, 2009:

A great study in Biblical history. I also enjojed the commentary as it was insightful. I will be looking forward to more of your work.



James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 24, 2009:

Jessica— Why under a different name?

Jessica Jones on November 24, 2009:

No prob. I will be writing about the abbey soon, however under a different name.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 23, 2009:

Jessica Jones— That is a fascinating story. Thank you for that link. Augustine was at Canterbury I have just figured out. I see that Dunstan, who I wrote about in my latest episode of the History of Christianity was at both places. Augustine was a 6th century guy who I wrote about in the episode preceding this one. I am intrigued by history. Glad to see you are too.

Jessica Jones on November 23, 2009:

I am not sure if Augustine is connected with Glastonbury. The following page gives us a very good summary of the history of the abbey:

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 22, 2009:

Ricky Covit— Thank you for the accolades. This piece is part of a series about the History of Christianity, now up to nine Hubs. The next episode will be the Crusades, quite an interesting time.

I am working on a book, about the effect of the Woodstock Generation on American Society.

Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Ricky Covit from Toronto Canada on November 22, 2009:

A very well written hub and I read that you put in twelve hours to publish one hub. Great effort. I think you should think about doing a mini series about a topic and then also write a book. you have potential.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 21, 2009:

Jessica Jones— I haven't been to Glastonbury but I would like to go there. That is where Augustine was, right? Not St Augustine, the other Augustine.

Thank you for your compliment.

Jessica Jones on November 21, 2009:

A very informative hub. I recently visited the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey in the UK. It is thought to be the site of the first Christian Church. Even in ruin, the scale and beauty of it is breathtaking.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 05, 2009:

HOOWANTSTONO— Thank you. I agree with you in your comments. And I appreciate you making this important point here.

HOOWANTSTONO on November 05, 2009:

Hi JAW nice history job here.

I always give an off the beat comment and here is another.

Christianity began before God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden. The key words "Foundation of the World"

M't:25:34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

M't:13:35: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Re:13:8: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Predestined also comes to mind, but not for now.

Go well

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 05, 2009:

Shetslo— Thank you! You are welcome and I want to thank you for visiting my humble Hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 05, 2009:

Misstika1— Thank you very much. After viewing your photograph, how could I not become your fan and read your work? I am a man after all. Thank you for the links and the visit. :D

Shetslo on November 04, 2009:

James, this is a great hub! Very informative and clearly presented. Thanks and keep up the good work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 29, 2009:

Gypsy Willow— What a pleasure to hear from you again. Thank you for your comments. Yes. It is indeed a pity. In many ways, this is a sad world.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on October 29, 2009:

Very interesting hub, James. It is a pity that the history of religion is so tinged with blood.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 29, 2009:

appleoliver— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! Thank you for your comments and you are welcome. :)

appleoliver on October 29, 2009:

Thank you for this information. I feel well-informed now of the origins of Christianity.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

arah abrahim— I appreciate you visiting my Page and leaving your commentary. I have been out of the country and just returned, or I would have responded earlier.

Regarding your quotes from Deuteronomy, that is from a section of Mosaic Law given to regulate the conduct of Jews living in ancient Israel and has no application to a modern day Christian, such as myself, living under the New Covenant. A Rabbi could answer that question better than I. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have about the New Testament.

It is an amazing coincidence you quoted Romans 1 because that was my scheduled morning reading from my daily Bible study today. My Bible says "those who do such things DESERVE death" (Romans 1:32) and of course, along with the rest of us, they shall have it. You might notice it does not say that you or I should murder those who do such things. That is God's job to deal with the ultimate fate of sinners.

As far as your quotes from the Quran, the 1st seems similar to the Bible; the 2nd I found very interesting because Islam has a long history of "conversion or death" and "death to apostates." Maybe you can explain to me where this comes from if "no compulsion" is the Quran's position. From the Hadith?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

50 Caliber— Sorry for the delayed response. I just got home from Israel and have been two weeks without a computer.

Thank you very much for your kind remarks. I appreciate you letting me know that you have been reading my works. I am uplifted by this news.

arah abrahim on October 21, 2009:

Is Christianity was to be accomplished by preaching, not coercion—voluntary faith, not compulsory faith???

Why the following are written in the bible:

Kill People Who Don't Listen to Priests

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

Kill Followers of Other Religions.

1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

Infidels and Gays Should Die

So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)

But I found the following in the Quran

2:255 (Y. Ali) Allah. There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).

2:256 (Y. Ali) Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Please explain.

50 Caliber from Arizona on October 16, 2009:

James, as usual, excellent job! It always spurs me on to the Bible to seek passages of what I think, or thought I knew.

I don't always comment but so you know I always visit and am never disappointed!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 11, 2009:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you. Your friendship has meant so much to me these past few months. When you write even simple comments, I hear the Holy Spirit speaking through you. That is an amazing gift—to be a Prophetess.

I'm excited. I have a feeling I will come back a different person. I am going to be re-baptized in the River Jordan. I trust you will hold down the fort while I am gone. :-)

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on October 11, 2009:

James A Watkins,

I too am excited for you that the Lord has provided for your journey to Israel! It also shows that the Lord gives you the desires of your heart when it is in His will for you. So have fun, enjoy and Rejoice! What a wonderful opportunity to see more of this wonderful earth He has created! I am sure that it will further enhance your future commentaries that I too am looking forward to as well!

As RevLady says; “Be safe, be careful, be blessed.” May the Lord’s Favor, Protection and Peace rest upon you! Godspeed


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 11, 2009:

RevLady— Thank you both very much. I am excited to be going. I had planned this trip back in the spring before my finances disappeared. I canceled this summer and late last week God stepped in and produced a benefactor who is paying my way! What an unbelievable blessing I have received. I'll tell you all about it when I get back. You can count on that. :D

I appreciate your remarks. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

RevLady from Lantana, Florida on October 11, 2009:

I agree with DeBorrah, your writing is superb. It is not only stimulating, but stirs the soul, enlightens the mind and elevates the spirit. The perfect pre-church preparation. Thank you.

I look forward to my pilgrimage to Israel (vicariously through you) upon your return. Be safe, be careful, be blessed!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2009:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— You write the most lovely comments. Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement. I won't be around for a few weeks as I am going to Israel—for the first time. I'm sure that will give me plenty to write about when I return.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on October 10, 2009:

James A. Watkins,

I think that it is quite wonderful that you are taking the time to share with others what has been recorded in history. Knowing the history immensely helps others to better understand. With this knowledge they can better formulate their own opinion. The TRUTH will stand the test of time! But so often it is buried and covered up.

I think thus far you have presented an excellent non-biased account! The history is quite intriguing and I hope that your audience increases and continues to follow along. One thing I know for sure what matters most with the Lord is when your heart is in alignment with His Word! I genuinely believe your desire is to bring about a clearer understanding as to why we are at this point! I truly believe that this historical account will help both non believers as well as believers. I applaud you for this!

The wonderful thing about the Lord is that He always gives us the Freedom to choose. I think that this unbiased series will give others a broader understanding. If will also help one realize just how liberal, kind and patient the Lord truly is! It is by His Grace that we exist! God makes all the difference in the world in your life. I believe that God has a purpose for each of His children. Again No doubt the Lord has multi gifted you and given you a passion for History, politics as well as the arts and in many other areas I am sure... As always you have given wonderful illustrations. As the Word says “Your gift will make room for you.” As always my brother in the Lord,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2009:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you for your kind comments. I have long harbored a secret desire to be a history professor, or high school history teacher, but alas—I've not been to college. :)

I agree with every word you have written. I was called to write this series because there is an awful lot of misinformation out there and in here about how Christianity developed into what it is today, meaning thousands of denominations and misunderstandings about dogma, doctrine, canon, sacraments, etc. I intend to tell a truthful, non-biased account, which should get really interesting once I reach the Reformation and the denominational splits. There is a great question here centered around our command for unity, to gather together in the Body of Christ, and yet all the division we obviously see. So, my search is for: How did it get to be this way?

My personal beliefs are right in line with yours. And that is far more important than history. But I love history and this gives me opportunity to stretch out in that area for those who interested. These have been some of my most viewed Hubs actually, which tells me people are interested in this subject.

Thank you for your wise words. I love hearing from you always.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on October 08, 2009:

James A Watkins,

This is a well written article. You have done some wonderful research from a historical point of view. I think you would make an excellent History Professor! But I subscribe to the fact that Jesus is the Head of His Church and this has been the case from the very beginning of time.

Jesus Christ never intended for His Church to become just a religion. Christianity was meant to be an every day lifestyle centered around God. We were created to Worship Him! “Let everything that has breath, Praise ye the Lord!” Doctrine has played a great role in dividing believers down through the ages. (It usually boils down to power. Someone wanting to have the rule over you.) This is not , nor has it ever been my intent. It is to bring about the awareness that “God does not change.” Religion according to the Word of God, Pure religion is; “…to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world…” James 1 John even said; “the kingdom of God is at hand.”

When you accept Jesus Christ you are given the gift of His Precious Holy Spirit. Your body becomes a living Temple where His Spirit resides…. I waited to comment on this article. I respect the diligent effort you have made here giving a chronology of events. No doubt the Lord has given you a magnificent gift to astutely use the pen.

In His service,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 07, 2009:

paulhvv— I know the title is a bit confusing. The main thing I wanted was for the article to be read. This title is searched on Google over 100 times every day and in the first words I explain that this is part of a series, in which today's lesson starts in the 7th century. I agree with you, that technically, Christianity may have begun when time began. But by its definition as a religion, with that particular name, it started in human history in about 40 AD, and this is a human history I am writing, more than a discussion of theology or dogma. I hear you; and you are right. Thank you for pointing this out. Hopefully, it will edify some of the readers to realize your message. :)

paulhvv on October 07, 2009:

Great hub James.

I can see the amount of work you put into the hub. Love my History.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image". So to be picky Christianity was from this time in reality, but we were not aware of it till Jesus,Immanuel(God with us)came down.

We are the seeds of Abraham according to God. Also an earlier discription. Should we believe in Jesus.

To me there is only God's way. Anybody that knew God before Christ was born is part of God's family. We will meet them all (through the grace of God)

God had his way of covering His people then, enabling many to get to heaven (The Old covenant)

They are our brothers and sisters.(In Christ perhaps?)

May God bless you.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 02, 2009:

stars439— Well, I'm sure the Father was in there most of the time. :)

Lord knows, I'm no angel. But I am trying to redeem the time. Thank you so much for your gracious remarks.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on October 02, 2009:

Oh My Lord In Heaven! You are and Angel of God to be sharing so much of what you know about our Heavenly Father. God Bless You.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 30, 2009:

broussardleslie— I'm lucky to have you as a supporter! I enjoy your Hubs, too. Thank you for your gracious words. :)

Leslie Broussard on September 30, 2009:


You are so thorough in your hubs and in your comments. HubPages is lucky to have you!



James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 28, 2009:

Tina Irene— Perhaps I misunderstood. Maybe you can clear it up for me. These are all direct quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"By this name [Donation of Constantine] is understood, since the end of the Middle Ages, a forged document of Emperor Constantine the Great, by which large privileges and rich possessions were conferred on the pope and the Roman Church."

"In the second part (the "Donatio") Constantine is made to confer on Sylvester and his successors the following privileges and possessions: the pope, as successor of St. Peter, has the primacy over the four Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, also over all the bishops in the world. The Lateran basilica at Rome, built by Constantine, shall surpass all churches as their head, similarly the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul shall be endowed with rich possessions. The chief Roman ecclesiastics (clerici cardinales), among whom senators may also be received, shall obtain the same honours and distinctions as the senators. Like the emperor the Roman Church shall have as functionaries cubicularii, ostiarii, and excubitores. The pope shall enjoy the same honorary rights as the emperor, among them the right to wear an imperial crown, a purple cloak and tunic, and in general all imperial insignia or signs of distinction."

"The authenticity of the document, as already stated, was doubted by no one before the fifteenth century."

"Most investigators accept as the earliest possible date the pontificate of Stephen II (752-757), thus establishing a connection between the forgery and the historical events that led to the origin of the States of the Church and the Western Empire of the Frankish kings."

"Others again locate its origin in the pontificate of Adrian I (772-795), on the hypothesis that this pope hoped thereby to extend the secular authority of the Roman Church over a great part of Italy and to create in this way a powerful ecclesiastical State under papal government."

"The first pope who used it in an official act and relied upon, was Leo IX; in a letter of 1054 to Michael Cærularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, he cites the "Donatio" to show that the Holy See possessed both an earthly and a heavenly imperium, the royal priesthood."

"Urban II made use of it in 1091 to support his claims on the island of Corsica. Later popes (Innocent III, Gregory IX, Innocent IV) took its authority for granted (Innocent III, Sermo de sancto Silvestro, in P.L., CCXVII, 481 sqq.; Raynaldus, Annales, ad an. 1236, n. 24; Potthast, Regesta, no. 11,848), and ecclesiastical writers often adduced its evidence in favour of the papacy."

Tina Irene on September 28, 2009:

James -

I didn't read all of this hub because the topic of "the Donation of Constantine" and what you have to say about it caught my eye.

News flash: the Church never supported it and never used it as a power play because the Church always knew it was a FORGERY. Period.

What's more and as I mentioned to you before, for 1,000 years there were no other bodies or groups that wanted, or even could, rule. And if the Church didn't, there would be those who would be complaining about THAT, instead.

If I can get around to reading the rest, I will; but if it it's like your opinion on that forgery then, this comment section may end up much longer than it is. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 28, 2009:

Ngozi MBaise I— Thank you for your compliments. I appreciate you coming to visit. I will send it to your friend.

Ngozi Mbaise I on September 28, 2009:

Thats a lovely findings! Keep it up. l wish u can send it to my freind e mail, thanks a great deal!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 28, 2009:

dusanotes— Thank you, Don. I hadn't thought of putting these into a collection until a few days ago, when as yourself, a few folks made this suggestion. I believe all the art I have used has passed into the public domain by now. It is an an intriguing idea and one I take seriously.

Thank you for visiting my humble Hub. And for your fine comments.

dusanotes from Windermere, FL on September 28, 2009:

Great Hub again, James. You should give some thought to gathering up all of your historical religious themes and Hubs into one and making them a book. It would be one heck-of-a book! You have jammed into this hub so many ideas and pictures - if you can get reproduction rights on them for a book, it may be a good idea to produce something permanent for the book stores. Maybe you've already thought of that? Keep the good stuff coming. Don White

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 28, 2009:

Allan McGregor— Your comments here are not only wise but beautiful. Thank you. :)

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on September 28, 2009:

James & Timely-

How right you are. Differences in doctrine should never separate believers because we are not saved by our right doctrine but by the righteousness of God imputed to us through faith in the shed Blood of the Lamb.

The Pharisees thought they had it nailed and ended up nailing their own God to a tree. Once we elevate our own understanding above the grace of God we walk slap bang right into the brick wall of 'works'.

But the Spirit of Love dwelling in us blows down every wall of separation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 28, 2009:

Timely— You are so right. The test of faith is to believe. Tests of faith are all over the Bible as the common theme. I agree with you, we are to rely on what is revealed to us, not nitpick about what is not revealed or we just don't understand.

You have a discerning spirit. Your comments always display it and that's why it is a delight when you come by and speak.

Timely from United States on September 28, 2009:


You are right, we are only human. If God wanted us to have all the answers we would. But, the test of faith for us is to believe, though our structure is an intangible outside of interpretations.

The knowledge of a Christian relies on the Bible, which if laid out with all the intentions of God for us to learn from, would probably span the world. It takes alot to put interpretation out there, but if it is led by the Spirit, it will be a blessing for many:)

God Bless, have a great day!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2009:

Nemingha— I surely appreciate you saying so. Thank you for the affirmation. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2009:

Waren E— Nicely put. Thanks for visiting and leaving your remarks. You are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 27, 2009:

Timely— You may feel free to comment to your heart's content. I always enjoy your remarks and it pleases me to see that you came by.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there, but we're only human and see through the glass darkly. I have been truly blessed by God and I am eternally grateful to Him.

You are welcome and thank you for your wise words.

God Bless You!

Nemingha on September 27, 2009:

A very well constructed and informative hub James.

Waren E from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............ on September 27, 2009:

Thanks for this walk through the corridors of history Brother James!

God Bless!

Timely from United States on September 27, 2009:

People lose sight that Christ was in a human state, which gave deep and real meaning of God's ultimate sacrifice for us. I have often heard people comment that if Christ was part of the Trinity, He would not have gone through the suffering on the cross. Obviously they have a long road in front of them.

Being raised in the Catholic faith, I am so thankful now to be beyond the mediation of a preist when in repentance of sin. My relationship with Christ is immeasurable in definition.

This was a great hub! Would like to further comment but then it might have taken forever to comment.

Thank you for your diligence. Many when searching their heart while reading this hub, would be hard pressed not to hear the many messages it contains:)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

no body— Yes, it is interesting. I agree, the pure doctrine is always there.

Your comment is very interesting. Sola Scriptura. That's your creed. I can't argue with that.

Thank you for your kind comments. You always show great discernment in your wise words.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on September 26, 2009:

History is interesting and all through it a thread of pure doctrine is present. God's word and doctrine remains pure through the words spoken by Him. If anyone adds to it or takes away from it there will plagues. I notice that each one just about had varied from "thus sayeth the Lord." I find myself hoping for them to get it right. They were brave in their own way but for that variance they had. I just want my own doctrine to be pure. Great hub brother. Luvya.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

Rick Marlow— Thank you so much, Rick. I am thankful for your accolades. I have long wanted to be a teacher. But I don't have the degree. That doesn't stop me from Hubbing though, does it? :)

The comments here have been great. I have really enjoyed them. None more than yours.

Rick Marlow on September 26, 2009:

As usual James, your hubs are informative and always interesting.You should be teaching.Also it is refreshing to read the interactive comments from readers without all the rancor and bitterness that`s so prevelant on other hubs.Thanks for always having such quality material to feed our minds.Above the mark as always.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

Scott.Life— Thank you, Scott. You guessed it: I am a history buff.

You're right, it does happen. But you can tell if somebody actually read the thing or not. Kind of like the health care bill. (Whoops! Wrong Hub!) :D

I am thinking about that ebook thing. I figure I have about seven more articles before I arrive at the present—at least. So, it may be a while yet. Maybe a few months. Because I have other subjects to write about, too, as you know.

I think I'll turn back to politics a bit—also based on my study of history.

I really appreciate your encouragement. You are one of the best new writers to come on board HubPages in the last few months. I look forward to a long acquaintance with you.

Scott.Life on September 26, 2009:

What an epic collection of history James. After reading this I went back and examined all the previous Hubs. You certainly come across as a man fascinated by history. It frustrates me to see that some in this comment thread have obviously only read your title and first paragraph before choosing to give their view, but it happens. You have given a concise historical run down on events and facts that is both interesting and illuminating. i am not often one to read religious Hubs, but this was a joy and time well spent. You really should collect all these into an e-book at the least my friend.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

itakins— You are surely welcome. So, we are on the same page. That's good. I appreciate your readership and keen eye. If you see anything that needs correcting, let me know, please. Thanks for coming.

itakins from Irl on September 26, 2009:

Thank you James,

i do appreciate your response.....Amused that you make reference to the same page, because, as you were writing this- I was on your latest hub issuing some friendly fire.

Yes I do think we're on the same page and I appreciate the basis of your article.Actually ,I'm going to print them off and read them.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

itakins— I agree with you that methods of worship don't matter as long as we are all focused on Him.

As far as agreeing or not agreeing with this article: This Hub does not represent my opinion. Rather, it is historical research. It seems praying to and for the dead was widespread 1200 years ago. This piece does not address the practices of Christians today; only the practices of Christians way back then.

Thank you for your gracious words. I think we're on the same page.

itakins from Irl on September 26, 2009:


Yes ,I suppose this is one of the issues that separates Christ's brethren.So,what does any of it matter so long as we are focused on Him!.It's a great hub,even if I don't agree 100%.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

itakins— Thank you for your fine comment. I understand what you have articulated. I only meant that the saints are dead in the respect they are no longer physically alive, as we are, on the Earth. Whether they sleep until the resurrection of the dead at Judgment Day; or are in Heaven right now, is probably moot since time itself may not exist in eternity. So, prayers are addressed to those the world thinks of as dead. How about that?

I appreciate the visitation.

itakins from Irl on September 26, 2009:


Those who die in the grace of God,are born into a new life in Christ.They are with Him in Heaven.We have Christ's own assurance-at the death of Lazarus while speaking to Martha-that 'We will rise again on the last day'.Indeed,He went on to point out that ''Those who believe in Me''(ie. those who follow him ,in word and action)-will never die.

Catholics therefore do not pray 'to' the dead:we pray to Christ ,sometimes asking the intercession of those who have died in His grace-and whom He listens to now just as he did when He was on earth.All prayer is to Christ.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

ethel smith— Thank you. I had hoped to make it interesting, to come alive. To me, little is more fascinating than history—how things came to be as they are. Thanks for your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 26, 2009:

hello. hello,— You are welcome. It was my pleasure to answer the call. I appreciate you reading it and leaving word of your gratitude.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 26, 2009:

What a lot of interesting detail. I tend to only know the basics re christianity worldwide and reading about the world's christianity is fascinating

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