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Historical Timeline of Church History and Bible Translation

great awakening christian painting
Anglican preacher George Whitefield sparked the Great First Awakening. An evangelical movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, and the American colonies, in the 1740s

The Great Awakening

The Great Awakening is marked by three or four major periods in American religious revival. Although it can be said that it covers the period from the 1500s (Protestant Reformation) up to the 1970s (Evangelists), the first Great Awakening happened from 1730 to 1740, impacting Europe, England, and American colonies.

The Roman Catholic church is credited for spreading Catholicism and Christianity to most of the unknown world. The Protestant Reformation that began in the 15th century spread from Europe to Asia and the Americas and the 18th century marked Great Awakening of Europe, British America, and the American colonies.

The Roman Catholic church is credited for spreading Catholicism and Christianity to most of the unknown world.

From the 1850’s to early 1900s, the Third Great Awakening or religious activism in American has spread across. After the American civil war, Dwight L. Moody who was an American evangelist made revivalism the centerpiece of his activities in Chicago by founding the Moody Bible Institute.

Great awakening in modern times

The ‘Fourth Great Awakening’ is said to have taken place in the USA, from the 1960s to 1970s, while others look at the era following World War II. Regardless, a great revival did happen at the turn of the 19th century reaching its peak towards the millennium of 2000, where internet contributed to the spread of Christianity.

Billy Sunday was a professional baseball player before becoming the most celebrated and influential American evangelist at the turn of the 19th century. Billy Sunday became the nation’s most famous evangelist with his colloquial sermons and frenetic delivery.

Billy Graham led a spiritual revival in the 1960s. Graham’s crusade to let Christ be known, especially to young people inspired many to become followers of Jesus. Millions have responded to the invitation of Billy Graham to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Billy Graham is also known as spiritual adviser to several US presidents.

He has influenced the lives of around 80 million people, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono (U2), Muhammad Ali and the United States presidents from Eisenhower to Bush. He has been rated by the Gallop organization as “One of the Ten Most Admired Men in the World” a staggering 51 times. He is regarded by contemporaries as humorous, non-judgmental, sincere, innocent and accepting.

Transdenominational movement
Christian missionaries from Europe and Americas went to other countries particularly Asia, to spread the gospel of Christ. They were later known as Evangelical Christians which is a transdenominational movement who established religious organizations. Although most were independent of each other, today all Evangelical Christians are united in the doctrine of Salvation.

1545 to 1900s – The Shaping of the Roman Catholicism and Protestant Christians

Through the century, the Roman Catholic Church have responsible for the spread of Catholicism that introduced Christianity to the world. With the success of the Protestant Reformation, a definitive line between the two faiths have become distinct by the turn of the 19th century. The rise of Evangelists influenced millions who left Roman Catholicism and became Evangelical Christians or Born-Again Christians.

The counter-reformation (against Protestantism) of the Roman Catholic beginning with the Council of Trent (1545–1563), instituted doctrines that permanently divided the two religions.

Born-Again Christians

The term ‘Born Again’ is not a religion or organization. It is simply a term used to define believers in Christ (especially Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism), which means to undergo a “spiritual rebirth”, or a regeneration of the human spirit from the Holy Spirit. This is contrasted with the physical birth everyone experiences. The term is derived from an event in the New Testament in which the words of Jesus were not understood by a Jewish pharisee, Nicodemus.

Counter Reformation and Extra-Biblical Dogma of Catholicism

The Council of Trent in 1563 upheld that salvation is appropriated by grace through faith and works of that faith (not just by faith, as the Protestants insisted) because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26).

The verse is often taken out of context in an attempt to create a works-based system of righteousness, but to say that salvation is FAITH + WORKS is contrary to many other passages of Scripture. The Apostle James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works.

The Apostle James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God but that real saving faith is demonstrated by good works.

‘Good works’ are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works. Paul basically says the same thing in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. James contrasts two different types of faith—true faith that saves and false faith that is dead.

Benevolent acts are important to God, Jesus commands us to love one another, but if a person will brag on the many good things he did to attain heaven, Jesus need not die. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

1854 – Dogma of the Immaculate conception of Mary.
Considered as heresy by Protestants, The Immaculate Conception, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, was the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne, free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus Christ. It is entirely based on the Pope’s edict and not from the Scriptures.

1870 – Dogma of Papal infallibility proclaimed. (First Vatican council)
Webster dictionary defines infallibility as ‘incapable of error’. It is articulately defined as the Pope, being preserved from the possibility of error “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church”.

The doctrine relies on one of the cornerstones that of Petrine supremacy of the Pope and his authority as the ruling agent who decides what is accepted as formal beliefs in the Roman Catholic Church.

Petrine supremacy
Pope Benedict XVI on Papal Primacy

The deception of the Petrine supremacy

In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI reminded a crowd in St. Peter’s Square that the foundation of his authority is the rock on which Jesus founded the Catholic Church—that rock being the Apostle Peter.

He said, “Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter… will be increasingly recognized in its true meaning by brothers not yet in communion with us”.

In effect, Pope Benedict was proclaiming that all who call themselves Christians should acknowledge the Roman pontiff as the unique and singular head of the Christian world.

Scripture clearly shows that the Church was not founded on Peter alone but was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).

Jesus described His Petros—Peter—as a foundation stone of the Church and the other apostles and prophets.

Scripture clearly shows that the Church was not founded on Peter alone.

In the original Greek text, Jesus’ statement is actually a play on words. The Greek word for ‘Peter’ is ‘Petros’ (meaning a small stone), and the Greek word for ‘rock’ is ‘petra’ (a huge rock or mountain). The Bible clearly shows that Jesus Christ is the Rock (see 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:4; see also Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16). He was referring to Himself as the petra, and to His disciple Peter as the Petros. (Tommorrow’s World)

The Bible say all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and that includes any Pope who therefore incapable being error-free.

1950 – Dogma of the Assumption of Mary.
Also known as the ‘Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, the Assumption of Mary means that her mortal body was taken into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. The scriptures only record the assumption of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.

Modern history and Bible translations

At the turn of the 19th century, missionaries from Europe and America began spreading Christianity in other countries through mission work. The rapid spread of Christianity to the rest of the world paved the way for modern translation of the Bible, as well as translation to other languages. From 1611, new versions of the bible were introduced, revised, or updated, using the King James version as the main reference.

1906 – Azusa street revival in Los Angeles. Beginnings of the Pentecostal movement.
1910 – World mission conference held in Edinburgh.
1918 – Billy Graham is born.
1948 – Formation of the World Council of Churches. (WCC)
1962 – The Second Vatican council. (Reforms in the Roman Catholic church)
1971 – NASB or New American Standard Bible (1995).
1978 – NIV or New International Version (1984, 2011).
1982 – NKJV or New King James Version.
1996 – NLT or New Living Translation (2004, 2007, 2015)
1999 – Signing of the ‘Joint Declaration on Justification’* (JDDJ)
2001 – ESV or English Standard Version.
2004 – HCSB or Holman Christian Standard Bible is completed.
2006 – World Methodist Council adopts the ‘Joint Declaration on Justification’.
2013 – Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who is succeeded by Pope Francis.

* The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) is a document created, and agreed to, by the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999, as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue.


Which Bible translation can be trusted?

There are more than a hundred versions of the bible from several religious sect and denominations but not all Bible translations or version should be trusted. Some of these Bible include insertions and extra-biblical source that are not considered of God. Other religious group goes as far as changing the intended use of certain passages to justify their religious practices.

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FURTHER READING:
Is Genesis a historical account?
Which Bible Translation can we trust?
How the Bible is twisted by others.
Historical Jesus, Lee Strobel.

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