27 votes

Can somebody summarize the different "branches" of Christianity to me, and explain why they exist in the first place?

The branches come from difference in opinion. Here is a diagram showing where Christianity diverged. Image source From the beginning Christianity diverged from Judaism1: where Christianity ...
depperm's user avatar
  • 9,149
23 votes
Accepted

What does "see" in "the Holy See" mean?

"See" comes from the Latin word sedes, which means "seat" or "chair". "Holy See" is Sedes Apostolica (lit. "Apostolic Chair") in Latin. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives this etymology for ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 39.1k
23 votes

What have Christians taught during past plagues and pandemics?

Martin Luther writing to Johann Hass: Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your ...
22 votes

Seeking a graphic or flowchart of the history of the formation of Christian denominations

Wikipedia's article on Christian denominations appears to have what you are looking for. The major branches are listed in one graphic: Branches of Protestantism are best shown separately, for ease ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

How do Protestants answer the Catholic accusation of historicity?

Protestant reformers were at pains to argue that all they sought to do was restore the church to purity which had become corrupted in medieval times. They wanted to ensure that their teachings were ...
Phill Sacre's user avatar
  • 1,579
20 votes

What does "see" in "the Holy See" mean?

What does “see” in “The Holy See” mean? Each bishop and archbishop has the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of an episcopal see. The Roman Pontiff (Pope) has complete jurisdiction of the Holy See, also ...
Ken Graham's user avatar
  • 70.6k
19 votes
Accepted

What is the earliest known instance of a petition directed to Mary?

Sub Tuum Praesidium The earliest known, extant petition prayer to Mary the Θεοτόκος (Theotokos), or Dei Genetrix (the Greek and Latin, respectively, for 'God-bearer' or 'Birthgiver-of-God') is found ...
Sola Gratia's user avatar
  • 8,290
18 votes

Can somebody summarize the different "branches" of Christianity to me, and explain why they exist in the first place?

Such a simple question, and so difficult to provide a simple answer! Probably the main reasons for Christianity dividing into branches and sects are: (a) issues of dogma: disagreements about points ...
Michael Kay's user avatar
18 votes

What have Christians taught during past plagues and pandemics?

Cyprian wrote the following during the plague of 250 AD to remind his diocese that Christians are not to expect special protection from disease: It disturbs some believers that the power of this ...
17 votes
Accepted

What is the earliest historical testimony of the celebration of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Attitudes on birthdays In the early church, birthdays (in general) were not seen as something to celebrate. For example, in Origen's 8th homily on Leviticus he writes: But the saints not only do not ...
ThaddeusB's user avatar
  • 7,773
16 votes
Accepted

Why is Pontius Pilate blamed for killing Jesus in the Apostles' Creed?

Piotr Ashwin-Siejkowski in his book, The Apostles's Creed: and its Early Christian Context, argues that Pilate was specifically mentioned primarily in order to argue for and defend the humanity and ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
16 votes
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Did Martin Luther ever admit that his approval of Philip's bigamy was wrong?

Luther did not recant. From: John Alfred Faulkner, "Luther and the Bigamous Marriage of Philip of Hesse, The American Journal of Theology Vol. 17, No. 2 (Apr., 1913), pp. 206-231 (on pp. 228-9) - ...
bradimus's user avatar
  • 3,670
16 votes

Is there a theological basis for climate change skepticism among evangelicals?

In this video I explored reasons that there is sometimes strain between faith and science. If, because I am a man of faith and I love science, I am not the target audience you're looking for, I can ...
Hold To The Rod's user avatar
16 votes

What was the Early Church’s view on socialism?

To what extent was the early church "socialist"? Acts 4:32-37 (NASB95) And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one [of them] claimed that anything ...
mojo's user avatar
  • 5,929
15 votes
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What is the earliest mention of how often the Eucharist was celebrated?

The earliest indication may be in the Didache, typically dated at the end of the first century. It describes the celebration of the Lord's Supper in terms of the cup and breaking bread, and then says:...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
15 votes

Why is there no archaeological evidence that Christians existed for 200 years after 70 AD?

Douglas Boin addresses the two main reasons given for the lack of archaeological evidence of Christianity during the period in question: Theological: Christians applied a Biblical prohibition on ...
Revelation Lad's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Why are the Vatican archives kept secret?

"Secret" is probably about the worst possible translation I can think of for the original term. The "Archivio Segreto Vaticano" is the current term in Italian, as documented on the ...
Matt Gutting's user avatar
  • 18.5k
14 votes
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Was universalism the majority belief of the early church?

Background Obviously, this topic suffers from dogmatists on both sides. Universalists are desperate to overstate their case, and traditionalists are desperate to prove the early church didn't have ...
Joseph Hinkle's user avatar
14 votes
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Since when did the Catholic church accept Protestant baptism, and what was the original rationale for accepting?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent fully accepted baptism administered by heretics and infidels, provided that those who administered the sacrament intended to do what the Catholic Church did [does]...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 14.2k
13 votes
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What are the first references to a tradition of fasting before partaking of the Lord's Supper?

This practice is attested as early as the first half of the third century, by Tertullian and particularly Hippolytus. Tertullian addresses the topic tangentially while addressing the dangers of women ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
13 votes
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What is the Catholic Church's historical position on capital punishment: how did we get here?

Wikipedia's article on this topic is a pretty good place to start, and for in-depth treatment, you'll want By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed (Feser and Bessette; in favor of the death penalty) and ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
13 votes

What was the Early Church’s view on socialism?

Modern-day Socialists would be unlikely to view the first century Christians as Socialists, despite a few similarities. This dictionary definition of socialism states that Socialists believe in a &...
Anne's user avatar
  • 28.9k
12 votes
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What is the earliest extrabiblical teaching of baptism using a trinitarian formula?

Two early church writings can be seen to address this issue: the Didache and Justin Martyr's First Apology. Didache Early evidence for a trinitarian formula in baptism might be found in the Didache, ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Who are the hypocrites associated with fasting in the Didache?

It is indeed about the Pharisees. Here's what Shmuel Safrai's paper “Religion in Everyday Life" says: Mondays and Thursdays, which were synagogue days, when country-folk came to town and the courts ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

What is the oldest surviving photograph of someone who was later canonized as a saint?

St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879), the Lourdes visionary, is the first saint of Ann Ball's Modern Saints: Their Lives and Faces to feature a photograph: Bernadette was photographed often and her ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 39.1k
12 votes

What have Christians taught during past plagues and pandemics?

The third cholera pandemic (1846–60) was the third major outbreak of cholera originating in India in the nineteenth century that reached far beyond its borders, which researchers at UCLA believe may ...
Lesley's user avatar
  • 30.7k
12 votes

Is there a theological basis for climate change skepticism among evangelicals?

A significant fraction of Evangelical Christians also believe in "Young Earth Creationism", which is to say they take Genesis 1-3 at face value and believe that the Earth is ~6,000-7,000 ...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 7,561
11 votes
Accepted

What is the Catholic definition of meat for Lenten Fridays?

"Meat" in this sense means, and has historically meant, what used to be called "flesh meat", which St. Thomas Aquinas described as "the flesh of animals that take their rest on the earth" [including ...
Matt Gutting's user avatar
  • 18.5k

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