The Growth of Christianity

You will find three main related factors that caused the growth and expansion of Christianity, and ultimately its success. These were a combination of political, social and economic factors. The increase of early Christianity may be the topic of much debate and historical analyses. We are attempting to simply outline and discuss some of the main social factors that cause the rise of Christianity.

Christianity has come at the right time, in an age where life was uncertain and many circumstances could not be controlled such as the barbarians invading; fires home whole cities and plagues killing off a lot of the population, whether you were rich or poor it made no difference, life within the Greco-Roman world was very fragile and short. Life span was not great and the average person lived until across the age of 30 or even considerably less. Life expectancy was minimal and what may have attracted pagans was that the Christian religion and doctrines offered hope and certainty within the afterlife and even some personal divine protection these days. These new doctrines would have seemed attractive to pagans, when there were growing discontent with pagan practices plus a general spiritual unrest. Like Christianity the Roman Religion was for that ordinary man but interest was waning and also the mystery religions were far too complicated for the common Roman, thus the people's choice was likely to be Christianity.

Christianity also offered desire to a usually pessimistic society that considered that their destinies were fixed, to be in the Gods' favour in order to be out of it, without hope of redemption. Christianity offered an alternative with the much desired chance of salvation.

Christianity was primarily an urban movement, in these urban centre's Christianity grew in a steady pace, the cities of cities for example Antioch, were very condensed with others it is estimated that there were 117 people per acre. In comparison with modern cities of today this is rather overcrowded. The overcrowding am extreme, entire families lived together in single room apartments; this left little personal space and allowed everyone to learn each other's business. Considering that urban centre's were dramatically overcrowded and that early Roman Greco cities had minimal sanitation or sewerage to the average apartments people would often just throw their bodily waste your window of their apartments onto the streets. Starks describe the problem in these urbanized areas as:

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

Apartments were often Smokey, dark, damp and always dirty. The air was stuffed with the smell of sweat, urine and faces. Onto of the conditions the rodents and bugs were everywhere over these apartments. The city streets were not much better they had open sewers, animal manure and crowds from time to time it was so bad there were dead human corpses abandoned within the streets. When cities were inside a constant state of filth, insects and crowding, disease was rife over these conditions, especially when these Roman societies did not have any antibiotics or knowledge of germs. Often plagues would strike and physical illness was most likely a part of daily life. An example of this was the analysis of human faeces which are found in a cesspit in Jerusalem showed large amounts of tapeworm and whipworm eggs, which shows poor sanitary conditions where humans often entered contact with human faeces.

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

Christianity's attitude towards society and it is social impact greatly triggered the expansion and success from the church. The church was particularly well-known for the acts of charity, chances are that the charity itself was one of the most influencing factors on the growth of Christianity.

The church offered this charity to everyone, including pagans and Jews. Through the third century the Church was caring for one thousand five hundred widows in need of funds. The church itself was rich and according to Eusebius, by 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, and also more than 1500 widows and needy persons. The churches obvious financial stability leads that it is popular and it successfully expanded given it helped those in need, it offered help and frequently people were converted to Christianity due to the kindness and attention they received. However the Roman Empire did have some charitable services such as the bread dole, Christian charity far outweighed the state's charity.

Throughout the first century on the fourth century there is government enforced persecution of early Christianity, though not constantly. Persecution and martyrdom has been a sign of the strength of Christianity, which regularly shows if 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 to become noticed, one of these martyrdoms were Perpetua and her slave girl, Felicity have been thrown to the lions after having a trial.

Tertullian wrote that "the blood of Christians is seed" which are often misquoted as "the blood in the martyrs is the seed in the church." Tertullian was saying this as he believed that martyrdoms created new converts or may have strengthened the church.

The Roman Empire planned to exterminate this new religion as fast as possible and it seems it tried in the beginning to exterminate every Christian they might find but later under Decius they started new solutions to try and exterminate Christianity one of the ways was by detaching the clergy and the bishops and also taking away lands and churches through the Christians, irrespective of rank while forcing these to sacrifice to the states pagan gods or why not be punished severely with torture, exile, slavery and often execution, depending on numerous reasons along with the time of persecution.

This would experienced to give this new religion much publicity, particularly when it was in the circus arenas being killed by wild beats might have been creating attention, it appears many would have seen these peculiar people happy to suffer excruciating torture and even die for their God and religion, this have to have left the pagan with something further to take into consideration and consider if they were ready to die for their pagan gods.

The Christians could even have won converts in most areas, because of their courage through the persecutions, the strength of their faith and the support they showed each other, Tertullian said that pagans had exclaimed from the arenas during martyrdoms "See how these Christians love one another" this indicated the social nature with the Christian faith. The persecutions also created apologists these were people who would be writing looking to convince the authorities that they had done nothing wrong, choice . Emperors read these long letters of apology nobody knows, it seems rather unlikely however you are able to suggest State officials having read these letters of apology.

Another aspect of Christian growth was that Christianity and its particular friendships formed from inside the Church cause its successful growth because those who had become a Christian felt that they are to fulfil the truly great commission as taught by Jesus and also the apostles and they were to pass what it's all about onto their friends, this quite often triggered a close knit community and this was appealing in the era when it was expected of you to look after yourself. Within this Greco-Roman era religious and self confidence was very much interlinked. It absolutely was taught in the church that if Christian travellers originated from outside of the city or were strangers to a different city, Christians could provide their needs and provide shelter to these Christians, this is not only taught inside the teachings of Jesus but also by the apostle Paul. In order that it was an incentive to be a Christian as there was always help and social networking sites that could support you in a large empire. It absolutely was like an extended family wheresoever you went in the Roman Empire. Eusebius writes the Christian missionaries were so inspired from the Holy Spirit they saw mass conversions occur, additionally, it can be a contributing factor.

Christianity also gained some favour in society due to the improvement in the treating women, and it elevation of these social status. Christianity taught that marital unfaithfulness in a partner as serious like the other and that in based on the New Testament, husbands should treat their wives with such consideration and love as Christ manifested for his Church, though women remained considered homemakers and wives. It's believed that Christianity made its way into the aristocracy in Rome back then through the influence with their wives.

The Greco-Roman world was quite different woman had far less rights than men. It had been a very male orientated society where male babies were wanted and female babies rejected this led to infant side of female babies. Some excavations have discovered hundreds of babies bones in an underground sewer viewed as female babies. It had not been uncommon that girls were offered in marriage before that they reached puberty to older men and the cultural custom could be that the women were the property of the man, either the father or the husband. Women played a large role in the early Christian church this might have been because they received more rights in the Christian community when compared to women in the Greco-Roman world. We view in some early writings with regards to the persecution of Christians that lots of more females clothing were stored or found than men's, over double, this may suggest there are far more females than males in the early church.

If this is true that there were far more females than males in early church then which allows for many secondary conversions. Secondary conversions are the ones that are a result of somebody else being converted because of the first conversion, for instance a woman is converted but then shortly after her husband is converted which more than likely would not have occurred if your woman was not originally converted. Christian doctrines were against abortion and infanticide. This might have had some effect on the birth-rates of Christian woman in comparison with their pagan counterparts.

The spread of Christianity also involved Christian writings by the end of the first century the writings of Paul as well as the apostles of Jesus have been spread sporadically from the Roman Empire. Apart for that early apostolic writers, others start advocating, defending and propagating Christianity. Justin Martyr who lived around Ad 100-160 was a Christian teacher and philosopher, he wrote the first and second apology. There were many subsequent Christian writers throghought early years of the church, usually they were well-educated, such as Origen, Tertullian and many more. In the pagan mystery religions exactly the elite could read the sacred and secret texts, in Christianity often the Gospels and Paul's epistles were read out aloud for all those to hear in the church, this might have appealed to the pagans when contemplating a choice in further religious observance. The Christian writings also acted as a technique of spreading the Gospel message around, often reaching further than the Roman Empire itself.