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Christianity and the Roman Empire

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1 Christianity and the Roman Empire
OMS Coach Parrish Chapter 9, Section 2

2 Founding Jesus – founder of Christianity. In the beginning, followers of Christianity were mainly the poor and slaves. Over time, it spread throughout the Roman Empire.

3 Jesus

4 Rise of Christianity Christianity was one of many religions in the Roman Empire. It was tolerated as long as its followers recognized Roman gods and the emperor.

5 Unrest in Judaea Romans conquered the Jewish homeland of Judaea in 63 BC. At first the Romans allowed the Jews to worship their god but the Jews resented foreign rule. In 37 BC, the Roman Senate appointed Herod the new leader of Judaea. It was during the reign of Herod, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

6 Unrest in Judaea Stories about what Jesus taught and how he lived are found in the New Testament of the Bible. After Jesus died, his disciples – or followers, told stories about his life and teachings. Four stories exist about Jesus’ life. The authors are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are called the gospels.

7 Christian Beliefs According to the New Testament, Jesus grew up in Nazareth. He learned to be a carpenter and began to teach His beliefs when he was 30 years old. A few Christian beliefs: 1) There is only one God. 2) You must love God and your neighbor. 3) Followers of Jesus will have everlasting life.

8 Fears about Christianity
Jesus’ teachings alarmed many people. People complained that Jesus taught that God was more important than the emperor. These fears caused the Romans to condemn Jesus to death. He was crucified, or put to death on a wooden cross.

9 Christianity Spreads Many people who followed Jesus spoke Greek. The Greek word for messiah is cristos. The Greek people began to refer to Jesus as Christ and eventually spread the religion all the way to Rome (city).

10 Letters of Paul One of Jesus’ most devoted disciples was a Jew named Paul. According to the gospels, Paul originally rejected Christianity. One day, as he walked toward Damascus, Jesus spoke to him in a vision. Paul’s writings were known as epistles – letters. Some appear in the Bible.

11 Paul

12 Spread of Christianity

13 Christianity Moves to the Cities
By 100 AD, many Christian groups were gathering in cities such as Corinth, Alexandria, Ephesus, Thessalonica, and Rome.

14 Ways of Worship Early Christians shared beliefs, but because of their regional differences, the ways they worshipped varied. Christians set aside Sunday for worship because they believed this was the day he had risen from the dead. Jesus also instructed Christians to practice two holy acts: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

15 Baptism

16 Rome Burns One night in 64 AD, a fire was started in Rome that burnt for nine days. Emperor Nero blamed the Christians and had them imprisoned. Some were sentenced to death, and some were forced to fight animals in the Colosseum. Some were burnt alive, and some were crucified. Paul was imprisoned for two years and then killed.

17 Fire of Rome, 64 AD

18 Treatment of Christians
The Romans continued to persecute Christians for the next 250 years. The Romans blamed the Christians for their declining empire. It became a standard crime to follow Christianity. The punishment was death.

19 Appeal of Christianity
Despite persecution, Christianity began to spread. Emperor after emperor tried to halt the spread of Christianity. Christianity appealed to the poor because of its teachings and the gospels help to spread the message. Many Romans saw Christians as martyrs – someone who dies for a cause. By the 300s AD, about 10% of all Romans were Christian.

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