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When Was Christianity Founded?

When was Christianity founded?
Christianity has been founded many times. At Jesus birth. On the day of Pentecost. By the Emperor Constantine. Before the world began.

Table of Contents:

Christianity is the largest religion in the world with 2.38 billion followers, about a third of the world population.
Jesus Christ is its central figure, the Son of God, Redeemer of the World, and the only Way to salvation.
In its broadest sense, it is God’s plan to reconcile all things to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible explains fully all its aspects and teachings.
While there have been other answers offered to the question of when was Christianity founded, the most persuasive one is from 30 AD.

3 strong cheers for 30 AD!

The Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Pentecost nail it down for me!

Why 30? 3 essential events took place this year.

The crucifixion. This took place just after the Jewish feast of Passover, in the spring of 30 AD. The Bible relates how Jesus' enemies conspired together to kill Him, successfully convincing the Romans to nail Him to a cross where He died.

Those enemies thought He was finished and that the shedding of His blood was the end of His life and their opposition.
They were wrong on both counts.
His blood cleansed the sin of the world and opened eternal life to everyone who repents of their sins and accepted Him as their Redeemer.

His death was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world and the end of the ritual animal sacrifices at the heart of Old Testament worship in the Temple.

The Resurrection came on the 3rd day after Jesus’ crucifixion. Those who loved Him anointed the body for burial and placed it in a tomb carved out of rock. At the urging of His enemies, the Romans sealed the tomb with a massive stone and secured it with a guard of soldiers.

But on the 3rd day, there was a great earthquake, and an angel of God came down from heaven, rolled the stone away and paralyzed the Roman guard with fear and announced that Jesus was risen as he said.

The Ascension

40 days later, after He had appeared to His followers, disciples, brothers, and 500 others, He ascended into heaven. His last instructions were for them to wait for the promise of the Father who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and power to be witnesses for Him to the ends of the earth.


The word means 50th and refers to the Jewish “Feast of Weeks” which was CELEBRATED 50 DAYS AFTER PASSOVER. On this day God gave Moses the Torah on Mt. Sinai. At this time Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem.

120 of Jesus' followers obeyed His command to wait for the promise of the Father. On their 10th day of waiting, they heard a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:3-4

When the visiting Jews came to see what was going on, each heard the Gospel spoken in their own language. Peter explained that what was going on was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy and the affirmation that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Christ. As an immediate result, 3000 people joined the 120, and the church of Jesus Christ was born. This day also marks the beginning of its ministry to the world.

Finally, Pentecost is recognized by all 3 branches of Christianity as the birthday of Christ’s church.
Worshippers are encouraged to wear red as it “symbolizes joy and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Priests or ministers, and choirs wear red VESTMENTS, and in modern times, the custom has extended to the LAY PEOPLE of the congregation wearing red clothing in celebration as well. Red banners are often hung from walls or ceilings to symbolize the blowing of the “mighty wind”[34] and the free movement of the Spirit.

In some cases, red fans, or red handkerchiefs, are distributed to the congregation to be waved during the procession, etc. Other congregations have incorporated the use of red balloons, signifying the “BIRTHDAY OF THE CHURCH“. These may be borne by the congregants, decorate the sanctuary, or released all at once.”

4 BC: the birth of Jesus.

As the central figure in Christianity JESUS’ BIRTH IS A SIGNIFICANT EVENT. The Bible relates the miraculous story in 2 places, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

All the wonderful events we celebrate at Christmas have their foundation here, and so it is reasonable to think that His birth could be the foundation of Christianity.
But one important and obvious fact is that Jesus was not yet the Christ.

Certainly, He was prophesied to be the Messiah countless times throughout the Old Testament. But the Son of God born of Mary was simply Jesus of Nazareth*, subject to His parents and not yet confirmed as the Christ. So, when did Jesus become Christ? (* indicates there is a short biography in SPIRITUAL LIVES.)

26 AD: Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist

This is the view of the JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES and is certainly inspired by a miraculous event. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who taketh away the world’s sin" when He came to him to be baptized. John witnessed the opening of the heavens and the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus as a dove. He heard the voice of the Father saying, “this is my belovéd Son in whom I am well pleased.” But this was just the beginning of His 3-and-a-half-year ministry. He was not yet entered into the role of CHRIST, THE ANOINTED ONE.

The question was asked throughout His ministry, for the Jews were looking for their Messiah eagerly. It was St. Peter who got a divine revelation that his Master was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

But Jesus at once charged his disciples to tell no one He was the Christ. Why? Because He had yet to do the work of Christ to shed His blood for the sins of the world. Yet even then, He awaited the power of the Resurrection to CLAIM THAT TITLE IN ITS FULLNESS. Peter confirmed this after Pentecost when he publicly proclaimed to the Jews:

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. --Acts 2:36

And this, of course, was in 30 AD which Christians universally recognize as the birth of the church.

43 AD: Antioch

But even after Jesus was officially designated Christ after Pentecost, He was commonly referred to simply as Jesus, or sometimes Jesus of Nazareth. Although His followers were beginning to move away from the religion of the Old Covenant, they referred to themselves as walking in “THE WAY,” perhaps from Jesus’ assertion that “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Luke tells us in Acts that they were first called “Christians” at Antioch” in 43 AD under the teachings of Barnabas and Paul, and some would date say Christianity was founded at that point.

45-68: Writings of St. Paul

St. Paul was the greatest missionary, writer, and theologian of the first century. He used the word Christ 419 times in his writings, 73% of the 571 times Christ is used in the entire New Testament. This has led liberal Bible scholars to assert that PAUL WAS THE REAL CREATOR OF CHRISTIANITY. That Jesus never intended to set up a separate religion and never claimed to be divine.

This view has been widely spread through the PBS television series “From Jesus to Christ, the First Christians.” May God have mercy on these doubters and forgive their ongoing blasphemy of the Son of God. An excellent analysis of their mischief and false teaching is presented in THIS SHORT ARTICLE.

70 AD: Fall of Jerusalem End of the Apostolic Era

While the missionary activity of the Christians recorded in the Book of Acts was based in Antioch, the church of Jerusalem begun on Pentecost continued to face fierce and organized persecutions, killing first Stephen, the first martyr, and later James, the brother of the Lord

Once James was killed, in the early 60’s, Christians fled the city to Antioch and other cities where churches had been established by Paul and other missionaries.
The Romans attacked the city about 40 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and destroyed it totally in 70 AD, killing over 1 million Jews and selling another 100,000 into slavery.

The DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM de-centralized the Christian church which now spread through the widespread Roman Empire. It also established Christianity as a separate religion, distinct and independent from Judaism.

100-300 AD: Church Fathers

When Jerusalem was destroyed, there was no center for the church. There were dozens of churches, seven cataloged in the Book of Revelation where the disciples of the Apostles carried on the teaching they had received.

During this time difference in teaching led to what we now call heresies, i.e., unorthodox teachings, like that of the Gnostics or Arians.
It was the work of the church fathers during this time pushed Christians to see the need for unity in doctrine.
This was foundational in the development of Christianity, but we cannot honestly say Christianity was yet founded as we know it today.

St. John’s death marks the end of the Apostolic Era and the beginning of the Apostles’ successors’ ministries. It is to these men we look now to see the continuing growth of the church in the 2nd century, the church fathers and early martyrs. They will be followed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries by 3 great teachers and 2 Roman Emperors who played powerful and ESSENTIAL ROLES IN EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY and the founding of the church.

During this period, there was general unity on the way of Salvation, through Jesus alone. But there was great conflict over the nature of Jesus and His position as a divine Being.

The one thing that held Christians together was their refusal to worship idols, particularly to sacrifice to the Roman gods.

This the state used as evidence of treason and justification for the intense persecutions they suffered. How long this would have continued we will never know, for God stepped into the picture.

306: Constantine* becomes emperor

The 57th emperor of Rome was raised as a pagan and got to the top through his military success.

On the eve of his battle with an opponent whose army with more than twice the size of his own, Constantine had a dream in which he was told to mark his soldiers' shields with the Chi Rho, ☧, the sign of Jesus Christ.

This he did, and the next day, according to Eusebius,

“he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer “;

this occurred while he was marching at midday, the same time of day Saul of Tarsus saw Jesus shining brighter than the sun.

Constantine won the battle and entered Rome in 312. He stopped the persecution of the Christians and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, legalizing Christianity and other religions in the empire but making it clear that he owed his success to the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Roman Emperor, he was also Pontifex Maximus, the chief high priest of the Roman pagan religion with authority over the conduct of its worship.
He now used this position to influence the Christian faith, particularly in the conflict over Arianism, a dispute over the nature of God and the relationship of the Father and Son.

Constantine called for a council of bishops to deal with it. (He invited all 1800 bishops in the Roman World, but only 318 came to the site in what is now Turkey.) The result was the Council of Nicaea in 325 which defined orthodoxy via the NICENE CREED based on the doctrine of the Trinity.

This document and Constantine’s establishment of the church as the state religion of Rome answer our question “When was Christianity founded?” with a bold exclamation point!

There is no doubt of his importance to the history of the church of Jesus Christ. He served as emperor for 31 years, longer than anyone since the first emperor Augustus. He ended the persecution of believers and demonstrated the power of God to overcome the world. He is regarded as a saint by the Orthodox Church and called isapostolos (Ισαπόστολος Κωνσταντίνος)—an EQUAL OF THE APOSTLES.

Before leaving this question, 2 more views deserve attention.

Christianity was never founded because it never separated from Judaism or Christianity was founded before the world began.

The first of these views extend the ideas expressed in the section above “45-68: Writings of St. Paul.” There the liberal “Jesus Seminar” scholars advanced the view that it was St. Paul and not Jesus who founded Christianity.

Going one step further they point out that JESUS NEVER SEPARATED FROM JUDAISM and never intended to form a new church.
Any serious reading of the Gospels dispels this idea, beginning with the 2 verses in Matthew specifically mentioning the church.

The impetus behind this is healing the divide between Christianity and Judaism. The author of the article is Bernard Starr, PhD, Professor Emeritus at the City University of New York (Brooklyn College). He is organizer of the art exhibit “Putting Judaism Back in the Picture: Toward Healing the Christian/Jewish Divide.”

Although these thoughts are put into gentle terms, they are in fact an attempt to teach what Paul calls another Gospel than what we have received by revelation.

The devil wants to fool people into thinking Christianity is too narrow and too difficult a life to lead.
St. Paul teaches that anyone who teaches any other way but salvation by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus is “accursed.”

Jesus is the expression of God’s love for the world, and He is not willing that any should perish. That is why salvation is so easy! Only believe! Jesus is all that we need.

Before the world began. This is true.

The Bible tells us that God chose us in Jesus before the world began! The entire plan of saving and reconciling the world began even before that world was created. Yes, God knew us and chose us before we had any material existence. So why not just say that Christianity was founded before the world began?

One reason is that Jesus had not yet received His name.

He was present in the bosom of the Father when this grand design was conceived, but His name had not been given. He had not yet emptied Himself and come to earth as a man, for there was no earth!
But HE WAS THERE IN ETERNITY, then at creation and has been active throughout history.

Adam and Eve knew Him as the LORD. Enoch knew Him and walked with Him into Eternity. We don’t know the detail of their knowledge, but Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses saw Him! Jesus revealed Himself to them all and made over 80 theophanies in the Old Testament before He came into the world as Jesus of Nazareth and later as Jesus Christ.

What a fascinating journey this has been to understand when Christianity was founded. But the bottom line is that Christianity has been founded, in many ways, but founded on one solid Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Action steps we are called to take

Each of us needs to be sure that we are in the place Jesus has for us in His church. I trust every reader is already a part of His body and bride. If not, YOU NEED ONLY BELIEVE!

But there is more we can do.

We can take our part in Christ’s Great Commission and share the Gospel with everyone we know.
Let’s let our life be a light to the world.
Let’s share our testimonies, tell our stories and point others to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the one and only mediator between God and man.

The One who loves us, died for us, cleansed us from our sin and is even now making intercession for us in heaven where He is making a place for us so we can be with Him. Praise God!

Listen and/or sing along here:

The church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord, She is His new creation By water and the Word. From heaven He came and sought her To be His holy bride; With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.
Elect from every nation, Yet one over all the earth; Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth; One holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food, And to one hope she presses, With every grace endued.
Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore oppressed, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed, Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song.
The church shall never perish, Her dear Lord to defend To guide, sustain and cherish, Is with her to the end Though there be those that hate her, And false sons in her pale Against a foe or traitor, She ever shall prevail.
Mid toil and tribulation, And tumult of her war, She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore; ‘Til, with the vision glorious, Her longing eyes are blessed, And the great church victorious Shall be the church at rest.
Yet she on earth hath union With God the Three in One, And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won. O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we Like them, the meek and lowly, On high may dwell with Thee.

Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but

fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household

of God; And are built upon the foundation of the

apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being

the chief cornerstone; – Ephesians 2:19-20

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