Church history is the chronicle of Christianity and the church including notable historical figures, and the rise and fall of various traditions.

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What role did the Donation of Constantine have on the development of the doctrine of Papal supremacy?

In the late Middle Ages, two documents arose which, together, are called the The Donation of Constantine. They made a large number of statements which would have had the effect of making the Pope the ...
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Why was Paul allowed to write in jail?

We know that Paul was held under some brutal conditions—his feet in stocks in one case. Yet he was still able to write many letters from prison. Was this during some of his "nicer accommodations", or ...
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At what date in history was the last papal anathema officially applied through the death penalty in a papal court against a heretic or protestant?

I was just wondering when in history the official papal death sentences really ended. I am not interested in any killing that was not officially authorized by a pope (or his authorized ...
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545 views

When (and why) did the empty cross v.s. crucifix split happen?

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix whereas most Protestant denominations have an empty cross. Did this empty-cross split happen around when Martin ...
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175 views

How much time did medieval Christians devote to prayer?

I was critiqued on this answer concerning it taking less time out of the day for someone to be a Muslim than a Christian, and that may be untrue for a majority of Christians today. But how much ...
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Did Paul write other letters that are not in the Bible?

I've heard it said that Paul wrote other letters that didn't make it into the Bible, including at least one more letter to the church at Corinth, and a letter to the church at Laodicea. What is the ...
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Why was Thomas More canonized?

Thomas More has been canonized in 1935 by the Catholic Church. During his chancellorship between 1525 - 1529 in the campaign against the reformation people were killed and tortured in his name, for ...
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How should a Christian deal with destructive higher criticism of the Bible?

In recent times authorship of Biblical books has been called into question by modern scholars. It is believed that Isaiah didn't write Isaiah, John didn't write John, Matthew didn't write Matthew, ...
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Why are the books of the Protestant Bible in the order that they are in?

I am curious why the books of the Protestant Bible are in the order that they are in? Someone told me they thought the books were in some sort of chronological order - is that true? (I know the ...
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Was Peter part of a militant sect?

John 18:10 (NLT)  10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. The pastor at a church I used to go to once said1 that Peter was ...
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Was the Apostolic Tradition of rejecting soldiers from the church ‘permanent’, or was this ‘tradition' briefly enforced?

In the Bible Jesus encounters Roman soldiers but does not tell them to 'quit their day job'. Jesus encountered a centurion with 'great faith' as recorded in Matthew 8. Peter as well baptized a ...
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What is the meaning of the question Luther's companions shouted on his deathbed?

In Martin Luther's Biography, In his final hour, Justus Jonas and Michael Coelius who were his companions shouted loudly and asked this question: "Reverend father, are you ready to die trusting ...
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History of the “three” wise men

From Matthew 2, NIV: 1bMagi from the east came to Jerusalem... 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their ...
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How was the Old Testament compiled?

While this question is similar to this question, I'm certain the answer will be very different, and far more complex.... How was the Old Testament compiled?
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To what are the scriptures referring when they speak of the books of the “chronicles of the kings”?

In the books of 1 and 2 Kings, there are quite a few places where the author refers to "the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah" or "the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel". ...
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What was it like in the Temple at the time of Jesus?

In the New Testament, there are many stories of Jesus and the apostles spending time in the Temple teaching and preaching. The apostles also do this after the resurrection. What was the structure of ...
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262 views

What was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s understanding of salvation?

I've been reading A Testament of Hope which is a compilation of sermons by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. I also know he's a Baptist. (I even got to stand and preach for a minute in his pulpit last ...
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333 views

Where do Catholics believe the historical narrative of the Bible begins?

I heard on the Relevant Radio recently that the Genesis account of the deluge is prehistorical. Meaning, it wasn't really recorded in histories the way other more specific accounts of historical ...
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166 views

When were the Fasting Patterns of the Eastern Orthodox Church Established?

I am under the impression that the fasting patterns of the Orthodox church were established over the course of several centuries. I am interested in some sources that would clarify when the pattern ...
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How did Christians of WW1/WW2 view the book of Revelation?

I do not know of a single time period where Christians did not believe that "the end time was near." For many people in the centuries immediately after Christ's death, it's not unthinkable that they ...
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657 views

How did Adam and Eve win at Hide and Seek?

I began reading the KJV a couple months ago, and one question that keeps plaguing my mind is, "How did Adam and Eve successfully hide from God?" Genesis Chapter 3: 8 And they heard the voice of ...
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695 views

What is God's shape or form?

How do we describe God? Does He have a shape or form? Is He human-like, a light, or something else? Does He have a shape? What does Christianity say about it?
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When did the African-American population become Christian?

As someone who's never been to the USA I might be making a completely wrong assumption, but from all the media, it seems that the majority of the African-American population were traditionally ...
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538 views

What is the historical reason the King James Version was created?

Many years ago, I heard someone say that the KJV came about because King James I wanted a version of the Bible that supported him getting a divorce. Nowadays, I can't help but wonder how true this is. ...
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Must a Christian accept the Bible to be infallible and/or inerrant? [closed]

Related question: What is the difference between "infallible" and "inerrant"? I have heard lists of requirements to be considered Christian; among those, I find these the most ...
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How does the Bible explain the existence of fossils that are millions of years old? [closed]

People have been finding fossils for many years. Millions of fossils fill museums and storage vaults around the world, and we've yet to find a single one of a human. This suggests that the animals and ...
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Why did Daniel consider the allotment of food and wine to be wrong for him to eat?

When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel and took Daniel and other Jewish men into his court, he assigned them food and wine from the king's table. The king appointed for them a daily ration from the ...
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538 views

Are there any tenets of Gnosticism that are still present in the church today?

Towards the end of the New Testament writing, the heresy of gnosticism was one of the chief "false teachings" against which Paul and the other writers were contesting. Could someone present some of ...
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How many children did Adam and Eve have?

I recall someone suggesting to me one time that Adam and Eve had a total or twenty of so children, and that this came from some Jewish writings. Is there any indication, then, from history regarding ...
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Where did the religious symbol of the 'halo' come from?

I once read somewhere that the 'halo' was inherited by Christianity from ancient worshippers of the Sun.  However, although this seems believable I never bothered to verify its historic credibility - ...
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543 views

Were witches ever executed by the Eastern Orthodox Church?

If we don't count lynchings, were people ever executed for witchcraft be the Eastern Orthodox Church? In western Christianity, the execution of witches was condemned until 1484, four centuries after ...
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How many kinds of Catholics are there?

Until recently I was under the impression that Catholics are unanimous in their beliefs and don't have the kind of fragmentation that Protestants have. But I’ve learned that there are several small ...
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254 views

What's the deal with oil?

If you look across the Bible, there are many instances where oil is used. The anointing of Saul and David; Jacob pouring oil over the rock where he had his dream of the staircase to heaven(?); Maria ...
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Is there scholarly concensus on the historicity of Foxe's Book of Martyrs?

Foxe's Book of Martyrs purports to recount the lives and deaths of many who are regarded as the heroes of the Christian faith, and is revered as a classic within the genre of Christian literature. The ...
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192 views

What happened to the Sarum rite?

The Sarum rite was the traditional rule of liturgical worship for Catholics in England, and to some extent in the rest of the British Isles, for many years. It is related to the Roman rite, and to ...
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154 views

Has the Church historically considered biblical texts concerning slavery to be transcultural or finite?

How have the Bible's passages concerning slavery been interpreted and applied throughout Christian history, especially passages such as Exodus 21:2-11, Leviticus 25:44-46, and 1 Timothy 6:1-2? Have ...
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1answer
130 views

Did John Wesley admire and learn from Arminias or did he just have a couple similiar ideas?

I do not know a lot about Wesley, but when I encounter him, I tend to like what he says, even though I am a Calvinist. On the the other hand when I encounter people arguing for Arminian doctrines in ...
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1answer
117 views

Was the Nicene Creed accepted under duress?

In the book Are you Really that Stupid? Observations of a Skeptical Believer, author Joshua Christian makes the claim that the Nicene Creed was accepted under less than ideal (from a theological ...
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186 views

Did the pope choose sides between the Allies and the Axis in World War 2?

Simple question. I was just wondering how the Catholic church positioned itself politically at the time of world war 2. Did it align with the Allies, Axis, or neither? Did the pope choose sides ...
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1answer
364 views

Are there any secular historical references to the natural phenomenon that occurred at the crucifixion and resurrection?

The Scriptures record that there was three hours of darkness during the crucifixion of Jesus. This is a pretty significant meteorological event. Furthermore, the morning of Jesus' resurrection, the ...
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When did Christians switch from an ‘immediate baptism’ to ‘after years of instruction and scrutiny’ baptism, such as in the Apostolic Tradition?

According to this article ‘Catechumen’ means one receives instruction from “a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism”. I understand that some churches have this ...
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What does TS Eliot mean by “old dispensation” in The Journey of the Magi?

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Journey of the Magi he's offering a imaginative view into the interior experience of one of the wise men from the East who came to Jesus's birthplace. The last few lines of ...
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Where did the Young Earth Creationist doctrine originate from?

I heard the other day that the literalist interpretation of biblical creation (A literal 7 day creation of the universe) isn't the classical historical interpretation that past Christians held. I was ...
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271 views

Was Billy Sunday the first evangelist to equate the “altar call” with salvation?

According to this article from the The Society for Effective Evangelism: Up until Billy Sunday, altar calls were invitations for seekers to come to an after-meeting or inquiry room where ...
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1answer
58 views

Were the “prophecies” in Montanism related to the paganistic oracles?

I was reading about Montanism and saw this passage (from Wikipedia): The Montanist prophets did not speak as messengers of God but were described as possessed by God while being unable to resist. ...
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How literally is Romans 10:14 supposed to be taken?

I recently learned that St. Augustine held an extremely literal view of a particular verse in Romans... Romans 10:14 (NLT)  14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they ...
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162 views

Why is Mark not the first gospel?

We all know that Mark is the earliest gospel ever written: why is it that when the New Testament was compiled, Mark was not listed as the first book in the NT? What are the reasons that the Early ...
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Was Christmas a replacement of the feast of Hanukkah or of the 'Invincible Sun'?

Was Christmas a replacement of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah that was celebrated by the early Christians or was it to replace the Pagan festival of the 'Invincible Sun' instituted in 274 CE.
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The “eye of the needle gate” today

There is a great set of answers that covers some of my question regarding the interpretation of this passage over on the Biblical Hermeneutics site, but it didn't answer all of my questions. Today I ...
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1answer
493 views

How did Luther view relics, like the 'preserved head of John the Baptist'?

According to wiki  Roman Catholic tradition holds that the head on display in San Silvestro in Capite in Rome is that of John the Baptist, discovered for the second time, as also maintained by ...