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n HTS : Theological Studies - Why did people choose for the Jesus-Movement? : original research

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Abstract

The must have been critical factors that made the growth of Christianity possible.


What factors made it possible for Christianity to grow from 0 to 10 per cent of the population of the Roman Empire in the year 300, and even to 50 per cent in the year 350? By the end of the first century hardly any of the 60 million people of the Roman Empire were Christians. How did they manage to reach the major milestone of 10 per cent in the year 300? Five factors are very important in this regard, namely, (1) The apostle Paul was an excellent advocate to promote the christian message. (2) His voyages, his frequent visits to several christian communities, his epistles and his rules of life enabled him to create a 'world wide web' of christian communities that were recognisable as such for every traveller. (3) At the time monotheism was more attractive than the polytheism of the ancient Greek times. 4. The universalism preached by Paul (Gl. 3:28) was attractive as well. (5) The emperor Julian (the Apostate) recognised that christians surpassed everyone else with respect to philanthropy. According to him, only if the priests of other religions followed suit would it be possible for their 'gentile' religions to survive.

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/content/hervorm/72/4/EJC191856
2016-01-01
2016-12-04
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