This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): 70 - The Destruction of Jerusalem 313 - The Edict of Milan 325 - The Council of Nicea 367 - Athanasius Defines The New Testament Canon 451 - The Council of Chalcedon 1054 - East/West Schism 1456 - Gutenberg Produces the First Printed Bible 1517 - Luther Posts His "95 Theses" on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther 1545 - Council of Trent Begins 1962 - Vatican II Council Begins .
;theologicalstudies.citymax.com; The 10 Most Important Dates in Church History; by Michael J. Vlach.
Ten dates stand out to us as being the most important in church history. Here they are in chronological order:
70 - The Destruction of Jerusalem
In Luke 21:20 Jesus predicted that Jerusalem would be surrounded and
destroyed. This prediction was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman
general Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple. The
ramifications of this event were huge. It marked the end of the Jewish
state until recent times and ended the sacrificial system of the Jews.
The destruction also signaled a shift in the power structure of the
church. The mostly Jewish church quickly became Gentile. Plus, many in
the church also viewed this tragedy as God's judgment upon the Jews and
evidence that the church had become the "new Israel."
313 - The Edict of Milan
Before 313 Christianity was a religion on the run as persecution made
staying alive a top priority for the followers of Christ. This changed,
though, when the two Roman emperorsConstantine of the West and Lucinius
of the East agreed to allow Christianity to function as a tolerated
religion. But not only did the Edict of Milan allow Christianity to
function without hindrance, by the end of the century Christianity became
the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Thus the Edict of Milan helped
lead to the merger between the Christian religion and the statea union
that has existed until the last few decades.
325 - The Council of Nicea
This first of the four great ecumenical councils tackled the explosive
issue of whether Jesus Christ was equal to God the Father. Arius argued
that Jesus was a created being who was of a similar substance as the
Father. His opponent, Athanasius of Alexandria, however, asserted that
Jesus was not a created being. He argued that Jesus was of the same
substance as the Father. After a long debate, all but two of the nearly
300 bishops at the council agreed with Athanasius that Jesus was "true
God." Although debate oncerning the person of Jesus would continue, this
was a significant victory for the orthodox view of the person of Christ.
367 - Athanasius Defines The New Testament Canon
Others had mentioned the canonical books of the New Testament in their
writings, but Athanasius, in his Thirty-ninth Festal Letter, was the
first person to list all 27 books that now make up our New Testament.
Noticeably left out by Athansisus were the "Epistle of Barnabas" and
"Shepherd of Hermas." Included were the debated books of 2 Peter and
Revelation. Referring to these 27 books of the New Testament,
Athanasius declared, "In these alone the teaching of godliness is
proclaimed. No one may add to them, and nothing may be taken from them."
This "closed canon," as declared by Athanasius, was recognized by the
Christian church from this point onward.
451 - The Council of Chalcedon
This fourth and last of the great ecumenical councils solidified the
orthodox view of the person of Christ. Attended by 150 bishops, Chalcedon
affirmed that Christ had two natureshuman and divine, and that these two
natures existed within one person without being blurred.
1054 - East/West Schism
Although the parting of the ways between East and West began much
earlier, 1054 is often viewed as the official date for the separation
between Western Christians (Roman Catholics) and Eastern Christians
(Eastern Orthodox). Several religious and political factors were at play
in the division between Western and Eastern Christians, yet two stand
out. First, the Western Church asserted that the pope's authority
extended over the entire church, including the East. The Eastern Church,
however, rejected papal authority. Second, the Western church argued that
the Holy Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son. The East said
that the Holy Spirit proceeded only from the Father. These differences
could not be overcome and thus the Eastern and Western churches parted
1456 - Gutenberg Produces the First Printed Bible
Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press and the first Bible
were nothing short of revolutionary, both politically and religiously.
For the first time, books could now be mass-produced and not kept only as
the property of the state. Without this invention, the Protestant
reformation may never have taken root. But with it, the Bible was put
into the hands of the common people. As a result, the Protestant belief
of the priesthood of all believers could now also be joined with a Bible
in the hands of all believers. Gutenberg's invention of the printing
press was so revolutionary that Biography of the Millennium on the A&E
channel listed him as the most important person of the millennium.
1517 - Luther Posts His "95 Theses" on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther
posted his "95 Theses" on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. At
issue for Luther was the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church. The
ramifications of this event were huge both politically and religiously as
Luther's posting began the Protestant Reformation. When asked why he did
it, Luther said he was bound by Scripture and reason. Luther was
condemned as a heretic and sentenced to die. He escaped and the
Protestant Reformation spread.
1545 - Council of Trent Begins
The Protestant Reformation was met by what theologians have called the
Catholic Counter Reformation. In 1545, the Council of Trent, consisting
of 255 leaders, met to address internal clergy corruption and deal with
the Protestant threat. As a result, indulgences were banned and clergy
corruption was curtailed. Most importantly, though, the Roman Catholic
Church solidified its doctrines in the face of the Protestant challenge.
The Protestant doctrines of "scripture alone" and "justification by faith
alone" were condemned and curses were pronounced on those who believed
these doctrines. The findings of the Council of Trent, which relied
heavily on the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, characterized Roman
Catholicism until the 1960s.
1962 - Vatican II Council Begins
The winds of change were in the air on October 12, 1962 when twenty-four
hundred Roman Catholic bishops met in Rome to discuss what direction the
Catholic Church would take for the Modern Era. Some of the results of the
Council included: (1) a shift in emphasis from the church as a
monarchical structure organized under the primacy of the pope to the
collegial union of bishops; (2) a positive view of the role of
non-Christian religions; (3) an admittance that both Catholics and
Protestants were to blame for the division during the Reformation and
that Protestants are now to be considered "separated brethren"; and (4)
an acceptance of the use of vernacular language in the liturgy. Although
not officially rejecting the decrees of Trent, Vatican II offered a more
gracious approach to non-Catholics and in doing so set a different tone
for the church heading into a new millennium.