The Growth of Christianity

Jul 29, 2016 · 9 min read


You can find three main related factors that caused the growth and continuing development of Christianity, and finally its success. They were a mix of political, social and economic factors. The increase of early Christianity continues to be the topic of much debate and historical analyses. I am attempting to simply outline and comment on a few of the main social factors that lead to the rise of Christianity.

Christianity have come in the correct time, at a time where life was uncertain and many circumstances couldn’t be controlled such as the barbarians invading; fires home whole cities and plagues killing off a lot of the people, whether you were rich or poor it made no difference, life in the Greco-Roman world was very fragile and short. Life-span has not been great as well as the average person lived until across the day of 30 as well as much less. Life expectancy was suprisingly low along with what could possibly have drawn pagans was that the Christian religion and doctrines offered hope and certainty within the afterlife and even some personal divine protection in this world. These new doctrines would have seemed appealing to pagans, when there was clearly growing discontent with pagan practices along with a general spiritual unrest. Like Christianity the Roman Religion was to the ordinary man but interest was waning and also the mystery religions were too complicated for your common Roman, thus the people’s choice was likely to be Christianity.

Christianity also offered wish to a usually pessimistic society that thought that their destinies were fixed, with the idea to take the Gods’ favour as well as to be out of it, with no hope of redemption. Christianity offered an alternate with the much desired chance of salvation.

Christianity was primarily an urban movement, over these urban centre’s Christianity grew with a steady pace, the urban areas of cities including Antioch, were very condensed with folks roughly there have been 117 people per acre. In comparison with modern cities today this can be rather overcrowded. The overcrowding was extreme, entire families were living together in single room apartments; this left little personal space and allowed everyone to know each other’s business. Since urban centre’s were dramatically overcrowded which early Roman Greco cities had minimal sanitation or sewerage for the average apartments people would often just throw their bodily waste out your window of these apartments to the streets. Starks describe the specific situation over these urbanized areas as:

Given limited water and way of sanitation along with the incredible density of humans and animals, most people from the Greco-Roman world could have lived in filth beyond our imagining.

Apartments or condos were often Smokey, dark, damp and try to dirty. Mid-air was full of the odor of sweat, urine and faces. Onto of the conditions the rodents and bugs were everywhere over these apartments. Town streets are not much better they had open sewers, animal manure and crowds from time to time it turned out so bad there were dead human corpses abandoned in the streets. When cities were within a constant state of filth, insects and crowding, disease was rife during these conditions, particularly when these Roman societies didn’t have any antibiotics or understanding of germs. Often plagues would strike and physical illness was most likely an element of everyday life. Among it was your analysis of human faeces which are within a cesspit in Jerusalem showed large amounts of tapeworm and whipworm eggs, which shows poor sanitary conditions where humans often arrived to connection with human faeces.

Christianity revitalized the clear way of life in Greco-Roman society offering social change, which managed a few of the consequences of urban problems. Charity and hope was wanted to homeless and also the poor, often the cities were full of newcomers and strangers and Christianity offered a long family as well as a base for attachments as well as effective nursing services in times of disaster, that have been often attributable to plagues, earthquakes and fires.

Christianity’s attitude towards society and its particular social impact greatly led to the increase and success in the church. The church was particularly well-known for its acts of charity, it’s likely that this charity itself was probably the most influencing factors to the expansion of Christianity.

The church offered this charity to every one, including pagans and Jews. Through the third century the Church was caring for one thousand 400 widows in need of funds. The church itself was wealthy and in accordance with Eusebius, with the year 251 the church in Rome supported the bishop, 46 presbyters, 7 deacons, 7 sub deacons, 42 acolytes and 52 exorcists, reader and doorkeepers, but in addition over 1500 widows and needy persons. The churches obvious financial stability leads so that it is popular also it successfully expanded given it helped those involved with need, it offered help and often everyone was converted to Christianity as a result of the kindness and a focus they received. However the Roman Empire had some charitable services including the bread dole, Christian charity far outweighed the state’s charity.

Throughout the first century for the fourth century there was clearly government enforced persecution of early Christianity, though not constantly. Persecution and martyrdom became a sign of great and bad Christianity, which regularly shows when the movement was attracting attention in the Roman state. Such emperors that instigated severe persecution were Decius and Diocletian. There have been sufficient amounts of Christians in North Africa for martyrdoms being noticed, one of these brilliant martyrdoms were Perpetua and her slave girl, Felicity who had been thrown to the lions following a trial.

Tertullian wrote that “the blood of Christians is seed” and this can be misquoted as “the blood from the martyrs will be the seed from the church.” Tertullian may have been saying this as he believed that martyrdoms created new converts or could possibly have strengthened the church.

The Roman Empire planned to exterminate this new religion immediately and it seems it tried in the beginning to exterminate every Christian they may find but later under Decius they started new techniques to attempt to exterminate Christianity a proven way was by removing the clergy along with the bishops and in addition removing lands and churches in the Christians, no matter rank while forcing these to sacrifice for the states pagan gods or be punished severely with torture, exile, slavery and sometimes execution, according to numerous reasons and the duration of persecution.

This could have experienced to provide this new religion much publicity, particularly if it turned out within the circus arenas being killed by wild beats could have been creating attention, it appears many might have seen these peculiar people ready to suffer excruciating torture and even die for his or her God and religion, this will need to have left the pagan with something further to consider and consider whenever they were prepared to die for pagan gods.

The Christians may even have won converts in most areas, for their courage throughout the persecutions, the potency of their faith and the support they showed the other person, Tertullian said that pagans had exclaimed from the arenas during martyrdoms “See how these Christians relative another” this indicated the social nature of the Christian faith. The persecutions also created apologists these were people who would be writing trying to convince the police that they had done no problem, get the job done Emperors read these long letters of apology no person knows, it seems rather unlikely however you are able to suggest State officials having read these letters of apology.

Another facet of Christian growth was that Christianity and it is friendships formed from the inside of the Church lead to its successful growth because people who had become a Christian felt them to be to fulfil the truly amazing commission as taught by Jesus and the apostles and so they could pass the content onto their family and friends, this frequently generated an end knit community and also this was appealing in an era in the event it was expected person to provide for yourself. Within this Greco-Roman era religious and social life was very much interlinked. It absolutely was taught from the church when Christian travellers came from away from the city or were strangers to a different city, Christians were to provide their requirements and offer shelter to those Christians, it was not just taught inside the teachings of Jesus but in addition from the apostle Paul. So that it was a motivation to become Christian concerning was always help and internet sites that may give you support within a large empire. It absolutely was such as an nuclear family where ever you went within the Roman Empire. Eusebius writes that the Christian missionaries were so inspired by the Holy Spirit they saw mass conversions occur, this may also be a contributing factor.

Christianity also gained some favour in society due to the improvement inside the management of women, plus it elevation of the social status. Christianity taught that marital unfaithfulness in a single partner as serious such as another and that in in accordance with the New Testament, husbands should treat their wives with such consideration and love as Christ manifested for his Church, though women were considered homemakers and wives. It really is thought that Christianity made its way into the aristocracy in Rome during the time through the influence of the wives.

The Greco-Roman world was quite different woman had much less expensive rights than men. It absolutely was an extremely male orientated society where male babies were wanted and feminine babies rejected this ended in infant side of female babies. Some excavations have found a huge selection of babies bones within an underground sewer thought to be female babies. It was not uncommon that ladies were offered in marriage before they’d reached puberty to older men and the cultural custom was that the women were the property in the man, either the dad or even the husband. Women played a major role in the early Christian church this may have been because they received more rights within the Christian community when compared with women inside the Greco-Roman world. We percieve in some early writings regarding the persecution of Christians that many more females clothing were stored or found than men’s, over double, this may suggest there are much more females than males in early church.

If this describes genuine that there was far more females than males noisy . church then that permits for many secondary conversions. Secondary conversions are the ones which can be a consequence of another person being converted because of the first conversion, say for example a woman is converted however soon after her husband is converted which most likely would not have occurred if the woman was not originally converted. Christian doctrines were against abortion and infanticide. This could have experienced some impact on the birth-rates of Christian woman when compared with their pagan counterparts.

The spread of Christianity also involved Christian writings after the 1st century the writings of Paul and also the apostles of Jesus was spread sporadically through the Roman Empire. Apart to the early apostolic writers, others go about advocating, defending and propagating Christianity. Justin Martyr who lived around Ad 100–160 would be a Christian teacher and philosopher, he wrote the second apology. There are many subsequent Christian writers throghought the first years of the church, most often they were well-educated, such as Origen, Tertullian and many more. From the pagan mystery religions merely the elite could browse the sacred and secret texts, playing with Christianity usually the Gospels and Paul’s epistles were read out aloud for many to listen to inside the church, this may have drawn the pagans when contemplating an alternative in further religious observance. The Christian writings also acted as a technique of spreading the Gospel message around town, often reaching more the Roman Empire itself.

Overall there are many factors that led to the achievements the church. The looking after widows, the indegent as well as the sick, the Christians attitudes to death, when dealing with martyrdom, better equality among women and men along with the management of slaves, pretty much everything made a direct effect on society were these items were rare. Christianity was less likely to succeed by any ordinary standard of expectation however it did through the Christian application of charity as well as simple self-help guide to salvation. We simply cannot say or point to one cause and voice it out was the only real reason why Christianity was obviously a successful religion; the complexities mentioned create a substantial cumulative case for the rise of Christianity.


Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store