April 2006 was the 100th anniversary of a momentous revolution in Christianity that began at 312 Azusa Street in a ramshackle part of downtown Los Angeles. A writer for a local newspaper captured the significance of the Azusa Street Revival when he noted that it is "now seen as the great awakening of the Pentecostal / Charismatic movement."1
On October 11, 1962, twenty-four hundred Roman Catholic bishops marched phalanx-style in rows of six through St. Peter’s Square. Behind them strode the College of Cardinals, followed by Pope John XXIII, seated in a massive chair and carried by attendants.
The entourage trudged up the steps into the splendid basilica, and the prelates took their seats in long rows. Across the aisle sat observers from other Christian faiths, invited by the Pope to attend the proceedings.
On January 30, 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany. But less than two months later, Hitler was the nation’s dictator.
Many German Christians at first openly welcomed Hitler’s Nazi party to power as a historic moment of Christ’s work on earth through and for the Aryan "Volk." A leading Lutheran theologian wrote in 1934, "Our Protestant churches have welcomed the turning point of 1933 as a gift and miracle of God."
For the first 300 years of the church’s history, believers faced many local and empire-wide persecutions of varying intensity. One of the most terrifying struck in a.d. 250. This was the “Decian Persecution,” named after the Roman Emperor Decius Trajan (249-251), who instigated it.
Swiss theologian Karl Barth has been called “the most outstanding and consistently evangelical theologian that the world has seen in modern times.” Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) called Barth the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas. By any measure, Karl Barth has had a profound influence on modern Christian leaders and scholars across a wide variety of traditions.
"The world will probably be converted into…a vast ocean of fire, in which the wicked shall be overwhelmed…their heads, their eyes, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their loins, and their vitals, shall forever be full of glowing, melting fire…they shall eternally…feel the torments…without any end at all, and never, never be delivered."1
Irenaeus has been called the most important Christian theologian between the apostles and the third century. He was a Greek born in Roman Proconsular Asia, today southwestern Turkey, probably between A.D. 130-140.
Raised in a worshipful Christian home, as a youth he heard and knew the bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp (c. 70-155). Irenaeus explained how Polycarp spoke of his conversations "with John [the apostle] and with the others who had seen the Lord."1
Each July 15th, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and some Protestant Christians commemorate the baptism of Prince Vladimir (956-1015). He was ruler of Rus, an area stretching from northwestern Russia to southern Ukraine.
It was Oct. 22, 1844. On this day, as many as 100,000 Christians gathered on hillsides, in meeting places and in meadows. They were breathlessly and joyously expecting the return of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The crowds had assembled because of the prophetic claim of an upstate New York farmer and Baptist layman named William Miller (1782-1849). He was certain from his studies of the Bible that Jesus Christ was going to return on that day.
In 1734, Northampton village in the colony of Massachusetts experienced a remarkable revival that became the catalyst for revivals throughout the Colonies and in England, Scotland and Germany. By the early 1740s, revival events dominated Colonial newspaper headlines from Boston to Charleston. They reported on itinerant preachers thundering out messages of eternal damnation and salvation to frightened, wailing and repentant crowds on city streets, in parks and at meetinghouses.