Christian History Timeline

This is a complete overview of Christian history. I am trying my best, on this page, to make each line equal 25 years so you can feel the passing of time better. As we drill down over the next few days, each line will equal less years.

AD 1 – Jesus is at least 4, probably 6 years old. (see Early Church History Timeline)
AD 33 – Jesus dies on the cross, rises again, and the fullness of Pentecost happens.
AD 70 – Jerusalem is destroyed by Titus. Paul and Peter have died.
AD 90’s – (personal opinion) Gospel of John is the last of the apostolic writings.
c. AD 100 – John, the last of the apostles, dies.
AD 70-325 – Pre-Nicene Era: we will do a separate timeline on this era.
303-311 – Great Persecution
312-337 – Constantine ends persecution, “turns his flock over to the church,” and the Council of Nicea happens.
325-383 – The churches in the eastern Roman empire and the emperors fight over the decision of the Council of Nicea
405-476 – Barbarians repeatedly sack the city of Rome and finally take the western Roman empire.
590-604 – Pope Gregory the Great gains the loyalty of the barbarian kings and is the first pope with full secular and spiritual oversight of the former western Roman empire and Europe.

630-800 – Sorry I don’t know the dates better, but this is the time period of the rise of Islam and its conquest of North Africa.
1054 – The Great Schism: The bishop of Rome (the pope), who had been battling for sole primacy for a few centuries, excommunicates the bishop of Constantinople, his greatest rival.
1096-1291 – The Crusades. Historians suggest there were seven major crusades into the Holy Land and even to Constantinople, where the eastern Roman emperor still reigned.
1300-1500 – The Renaissance: the rise of the middle class led to education and learning that was previously limited to monasteries and universities. The Western Great Schism produce multiple popes from 1294-1414.
1453 – Constantinople falls to Muslim Turks
1517 – Martin Luther nails 95 theses to the cathedral door at Wittemburg beginning the Reformation
1500-1700 – The expansion of Protestantism and the development of a large percentage of our modern denominations
1700-1800 – Two most well-known figures are John Wesley & George Whitefield. This is also the rise of pietism.

1800-1900 – Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney*, and the Plymouth Brethren movement, which affects almost all Protestants more than we realize. Millerism led immediately to the Seventh Day Adventists and later to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Joseph Smith and the Mormons also began in the early 19th century, as did the Great Awakening.
1900-2013 – The Pentecostal movement began with the Azusa street revival in 1906. The charismatic movement belongs to the second half of the 20th century.

* Ironically, has an article accusing Charles Finney of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

A task like this is impossible to be done perfectly by one person. All suggestions for inclusion or exclusion are welcome. I will be expanding only the first 400 years because those are the only ones I’m really qualified to expand.

You can see some of the big gaps in my knowledge above. You can also see that I am focusing on European Christianity. I don’t know Eastern Orthodox history very well.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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7 Responses to Christian History Timeline

  1. Paul Pavao says:

    Thanks, that is worth mentioning. I want to lightly cover some of those events, and that is definitely an event worth covering, and worth tying to the fall of Jerusalem and the Bar-Kochba rebellion, which are both used to date early writings. in fact, I’m pretty sure I put the Bar-Kochba rebellion in the fuller timeline. It’s on paper right now, not on my computer or blog. I have an even skimpier timeline for Wednesday.

    • I count it as probably the pivotal event of the Early Church since it both officially clears up the issue of the Gentiles and is also the prototype for the future Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

      • paulfpavao says:

        Fair enough. I’m not Catholic or Orthodox, so I’m not much of a fan of the councils after Nicea. However, you’re right that we have a precedent for councils set by Acts 15.

      • I just figured if you’re going to track the development of the Papacy, it would also worth tracking the development of the conciliar model too.

        • paulfpavao says:

          Depending on what you mean by the conciliar model, I may not be able to do that. I may not be equipped to do so without research. I will definitely talk about Nicea 1, Constantinople 1, Ephesus, and Chalcedon when we come to them, but I can’t go very far on Ephesus and Chalcedon due to lack of knowledge. I know nothing of 5-7 except that 7 is the icon council, Nicea II.

          You may have to help! I can probably force you to help by making some egregious mistakes when I get to events important to “the conciliar model.”

          • Restless Pilgrim says:

            hahaha… simply including the Council of Jerusalem is enough to record the Scriptural precedent for councils as a means of resolving disputes and providing binding Church teaching.

  2. ~ AD 50 Council of Jerusalem

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