11.2.6 Christianity at the beginning of the nineteenth century

At a time when the natural sciences attempted to dominate large areas of thinking, when social issues challenged Christian ethics, and when national power politics sought to use religion to its own ends, the call to return to an awareness of the gospel and the related Christian hope for the return of Christ became louder and louder.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, missionary efforts were initiated mainly from Spain and Portugal. As a result, however, the Christian faith was often forced upon the populations of conquered regions. In the nineteenth century, devoted Christians cultivated intensive, peaceful missionary activities, especially in the colonised world.

This is the historical background in which God prepared for the renewed activity of Apostles.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the Lord's great commission, the Apostles began to proclaim the gospel, at first amongst the Jews, and later in the Gentile countries surrounding the Mediterranean. (11.1)

The activity of the Holy Spirit continued in many forms after the death of the early Christian Apostles. (11.2)

The concern of the Church Fathers was to defend the faith and define the fundamentals of the Christian doctrine. (11.2.1)

More than anything else, the doctrinal statements of the Church Fathers had a decisive influence on the Christian dogmas. At various church councils, the main contents of the Christian faith were emphasised as binding doctrine. (11.2.1)

At the end of the fourth century AD Christianity became the state religion in the Roman Empire. (11.2.2)

Monasticism played a special role in the spread of Christianity. Christendom became the most important variable to define life and society in Europe. (11.2.2)

In the East-West Schism of 1054 the Western Church (Roman Catholic Church) and the Eastern Church (Orthodox Church) separated from one another. (11.2.2)

Widespread secularisation came about in the Christian church during the European Middle Ages, which led to efforts for church reform. The search for the original form of the gospel defined a development in Europe which is summarised by the term "Reformation". (11.2.3; 11.2.4)

After the Reformation there was a renewal within Catholicism and in the development of other religious movements. (11.2.4; 11.2.5)

Beginning in the fifteenth century, missionary work began in countries outside of Europe. In the nineteenth century, this work was intensified. (11.2.6)

This is the historical context in which God prepared the way for the renewed activity of Apostles. (11.2.6)

See also