How did the number of Christians in the world grow from as few as 25,000 one hundred years after Christ’s death to up to 20 million in AD 310? He then goes on to add:
And before you respond, here are some qualifications you must factor into your answer.
• They were an illegal religion throughout this period. At best, they were tolerated; at the very worst they were very severely persecuted.
• They didn’t have any church buildings as we know them. While archaeologists have discovered chapels dating from this period, they were definitely exceptions to the rule, and they tended to be very small converted houses.
• They didn’t even have the scriptures as we know them. They were putting the canon together during this period.
• They didn’t have an institution or the professional form of leadership normally associated with it. At times of relative calm, prototypical elements of institution did appear, but by what we consider institutional, these were at best pre-institutional.
• They didn’t have seeker-sensitive services, youth groups, worship bands, seminaries, commentaries, etc.
• They actually made it hard to join the church. By the late second century, aspiring converts had to undergo a significant initiation period to prove they were worthy.
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