Sadly, it is difficult to discuss church history without mentioning dates. History happens in real time, thus the need for dates.
However, when it comes to dates, don’t be a hater. Why? Because dates can be an anchor in history.
Recently I heard a song lead explain that a certain song had been composed when America was torn apart because of the Civil War. He said the song reflected the feelings of being at war. The leader then said the song was written in 1850s. I didn’t say anything to him, but I knew the Civil War in America started in 1861 and lasted until 1865. I was anchored in history because I new a few dates.
So here are a few dates in church history. Not too many. I don’t want to overwhelm you.
My good friend and fellow teacher, Dr. Douglas Jacoby proposes these:
Six Phases of Church History
- Committed Church–1st and 2nd Centuries
- Cooling Off Period–3rd and 4th Centuries
- Catholic Period/Chaotic Period–5th-15th Centuries
- Restoration Renewed–1960-today
A Few Important Dates in Church History:
1-100—The Biblical Church
100-313—The Early Church
150—Bishops. Single elder called a Bishop
250—Calling church leaders priests. Clergy and laity system.
313-590—The State Church
313—Edit of Milan
325—Council of Nicaea
381—Christianity is the official religion of Rome.
590-1517—Middle Ages: The Medieval Church
Oct. 31, 1517—The Beginning of the Protestant Reformation
1648-1789—Rationalism, Revivalism, and Denominationalism
1801—The Beginning of The Restoration Movement
The 20th Century—Modernity