Jesus, the Savior of the world, is born. “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21–22).
Jesus visits Jerusalem as a child. “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46–47).
Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13–17).
Jesus begins His first preaching trip through Galilee. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23–25).
Jesus chooses the twelvedisciples. “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house” (Mark 3:13–19).
Peter says that Jesus is the Son of God. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mat thew16:13–16).
Sunday—Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:7–10).
Monday—Jesus cleanses the Temple. “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:14–16).
Tuesday—The authority of Jesus is questioned. “And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?” (Mark 11:27–28).
Wed—Judas plots to betray Jesus. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14–16).
Thursday—Jesus is arrested in Bethany. “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him” (Matthew 26:47–50).
Friday—Jesus is crucified. “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:22–28).
Sunday—The Lord Jesus is resurrected. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:2–6).
Stephen is stoned to death. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59–60).
Pilate massacres a group of Samaritans and is relieved of his position as procurator for this act and his conduct regarding Herod Agrippa. He takes his own life in Italy a year later.
Paul meets with key apostles in Jerusalem. “And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:22–24).
Paul and Barnabas preach the gospel in Antioch; the term “Christian” comes to be used there for believers. “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:25–26).
Paul and Barnabas embark on their first missionary trip to Cypress. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus” (Act 13:2–3).
Council of Jerusalem deals with the subject of Gentiles in the church. James—not Peter—issues a decree that the Gentiles are relieved from following the Torah and becoming circumcised.
The first book of Thessalonians is believed to be the very first letter written by Paul. The second book of Thessalonians is written shortly after the first. Paul seems to allude to a third letter to the Thessalonians, but it remains lost to history.
Paul and Barnabas separate over young John Mark; Paul undertakes second missionary journey with Silas and spends eighteen months in Corinth.
Paul writes the book of 1 Corinthians to the church in the city of Corinth, a wealthy commercial port city located on the isthmus between the Aegean and Adriatic Seas.
Paul writes the book of Romans from Corinth as his sixth letter and seventh New Testament book. He writes this letter to the church at Rome to prepare the way for his visit and to address the unbelieving, idolatrous, and religious condition of the church.
Paul is tried before Festus, appeals to Caesar, and is sent to Rome for two years; evidently, Nero finds him innocent of wrongdoing.
Paul writes a letter to the Christians living in the city of Ephesus, a major commercial center of Asia Minor.
The book of Acts is completed, tying the Gospels of the New Testament to all the other books. Luke is considered the author of Acts, and it is believed to predate his own Gospel. Acts seems to cover a span of around thirty years.
James, head of the Jerusalem church, is stoned and clubbed to death. Simeon, son of Cleopas, succeeds him. Mark, who heads the church in Alexandria, gives up the position to Ananias.
The Gospel of Luke is written by Luke the physician, and is addressed to a noble person named Theophilus. It is written at the same the Jews are forming a rebellion against Roman rule. This is also the time of Paul’s first imprisonment.
In July of AD 64, fire erupts in the merchant area of Rome. Fanned by a summer breeze, the flames quickly race through the dry, wooden structures of the city. By the time the fire finally runs its course, 70 percent of the city lies in smoldering ruins. Nero blames the Christians for the conflagration, and severe persecution begins.
The books of 1 and 2 Peter are written. The first epistle addresses believers who are struggling in the midst of persecution and the second has as its main message a warning against false teachers.
The book of Jude is written. Jude is the half-brother of Jesus, since he describes himself in verse 1 (evidence) as the “brother of James,” whom we know to be Christ’s half-brother. This book addresses all the believers of Christ’s gospel.
As if by divine guidance, Simeon leads the Christian Jews out of Jerusalem as the Jewish rebellion against Rome formally starts. This same year, Peter and Paul are martyred by Nero.
The book of Hebrews is written. There have been many discussions as to the authorship of this book of the Bible. Candidates include Paul, Apollos, Silas, Barnabas, Aquila and Priscilla, and Clement of Rome. There is also controversy about where Hebrews is written.
The Roman army, under Titus, destroys Jerusalem and levels the Temple to crush an uprising of the Jews. According to the historian Josephus, about 1.1 million Jews are killed. Others are taken as slaves.
Domitian succeeds Titus as emperor; eventually, he begins a severe persecution of Christians after an assassination attempt. The persecution launched by Domitian against the Christians is so severe that on one occasion he executes his own nephew, Flavius Clemens, for refusing to offer up sacrifice to his image.
The books of 2 and 3 John are written. A sect known as the Nicolaitans, which is mentioned in the book of Revelation as impacting Christianity forever, arises in Pergamum. Taking its name from Nicholas of Antioch, an early church elder mentioned in the book of Acts, the Nicolaitans promote a number of false doctrines. Their lasting impact is to greatly elevate the priesthood above the laity, which later gives birth to the Catholic and Orthodox hierarchies.
Domitian is assassinated. The book of Revelation and the Gospel of John written. Clement of Rome writes a rebuke to the church at Corinth; this is the cornerstone of Catholic assertion that the Roman Church had authority over all Christian churches.
John, the last of the apostles, dies in Ephesus. The Orthodox church has always believed that John never died. Legend says he orders his followers to dig a grave as deep as his height in the form of a cross. He has them cover him with earth to the neck. They kiss him for the last time and place a napkin over his face, weep bitterly, then cover him entirely. Soon after, others, upon hearing about this, supposedly dig up his grave and find nothing.
Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem and last verifiable relative of Jesus, is martyred at the ripe old age of 120.
The term “Old Testament” is first used by the bishop of Sardis. This list does not mention Lamentations (usually understood to be part of the book of Jeremiah) or Nehemiah, which is normally appended to Ezra. The only other omission is the book of Esther.
Constantine superficially converts to Christianity after a dream leads him to a military victory. He remains polytheistic until his death, even striking coins to honor Apollo.
Constantine declares Sunday the official Christian Sabbath day.
Christianity becomes the official state religion of Rome. Constantine finally receives baptism as a Christian (from heretical Arian priests) and dies on Pentecost.
Codex Vaticanus, the first complete Bible, is written. This manuscript is currently housed in the Vatican library in Rome. It originally contained the whole Bible, but parts have been lost.
A Roman Catholic scholar in Bethlehem by the name of Jerome translates the entire Old and New Testaments into Latin. This Bible becomes the standard in the Catholic Church for well over a thousand years.
The word “pope,” formerly applied to all Church bishops, now is used solely by the bishop of Rome.
Pope Boniface III petitions Emperor Phocas to decree that “the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches” and that the title of “Universal Bishop” should be reserved exclusively for the bishop of Rome, in opposition to the bishop of Constantinople.
Pope Urban II preaches the first crusade. Upwards of twenty thousand individuals obey his summons and prepare to march on the Middle East. The goal is to liberate the Holy Land from Muslim rule.
King Louis IX of France dies of plague while on crusade. His death leads quickly to the end of the seventh and final crusade.
John Wycliffe is the first to plan a complete English translation of the Bible from Latin. His translation is based on the Latin Vulgate. He completes the New Testament prior to his death, and his friends completes the work after his death.
In the fifteenth century, Johannes Gutenberg invents a way of producing movable metal type, as well as printer’s ink and the printing press, leading the way to mass production of books. The Gutenberg Bible, printed in Germany in around 1455, is the first substantial book to be printed using moveable type.
The Spanish Inquisition begins by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands, including Jews.
Martin Luther has the revelation that a man is saved by faith in Christ alone, apart from either works or the sacraments. This revelation is in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther is a professor of theology and the door is commonly used as a bulletin board to post topics for debate. The nails pounded into the door on this day change the course of history. It is the first public act of the Reformation.
In June of 1520, Luther is sent a Papal Bull of excommunication in which he is ordered to recant his teachings. Luther reacts by burning the Papal Bull along with the book of church law and many other books by his enemies on December 10, 1520, in Wittenberg. He is said to have yelled: “Because you, godless book, have grieved or shamed the holiness of the Father, be saddened and consumed by the eternal flames of hell.” On January 3, 1521, the Pope excommunicates Luther.
Henry VIII splits with Rome by declaring himself “the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England.” This is not based on a doctrinal split. Henry’s wrangle with the pope is over the issue of him declaring his first marriage void. Henry VIII’s move eventually helps cement England as a Protestant nation.
John Calvin writes his famed work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin’s writings influence the Protestant movement from that time forward. Before his death, Calvin himself cold-heartedly executes (in some cases by torture) more than fifty people he considers heretics.
In Jerusalem, the Moslems seal up the Golden Gate to prevent, as the Jewish tradition asserts, the entrance point of the Messiah into the Holy City.
The Council of Trent forms to respond to the schism started by Luther, eventually ratifying a number of key doctrines that affect the Catholic Church to this day. Included are: Faith alone is not sufficient for salvation; Scripture and tradition hold equal value; the seven sacraments are necessary for salvation; transubstantiation is formally acknowledged; priests are forbidden to marry; and the Catholic canon of Scripture is formally ratified.
Pope Gregory introduces his famed Gregorian calendar, changing the New Year from April 1 to January 1. To make the change, there needs to be a ten-day correction. Gregory takes the advice of mathematicians and shortens October of AD 1582 by ten days. Thursday, October 4, 1582 (Julian) is followed immediately by Friday, October 15, 1582 (Gregorian).
The King James Bible gets its start from a meeting assembled to consider the complaints of the Puritans. Although Bible revision is not on the agenda, the Puritan president of Corpus Christi College, John Reynolds, “moved his Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the Original.”
John Smith and Thomas Helwys share the credit for starting the first Baptist churches. They separate from other churches over infant baptism, with the Baptists believing in adult baptism. From the beginning, Baptists embrace free will as the fundamental determinant of salvation.
The completed King James Bible is issued in 1611, the title page reading: “THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Original tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties Special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majesty. ANNO DOM. 1611.”
George Fox is born in Fenny Drayton, Leicestershire, in 1624. Apprenticed to a Nottingham shoemaker, Fox develops strong opinions about religion. He rebels against the state control of the Church of England and in 1643 begins touring the country giving sermons in which he argues that consecrated buildings and ordained ministers are irrelevant to the individual seeking God. George Fox is arrested many times for his religious views. On one occasion, a judge tells Fox “to quake in the presence of the Lord,” and afterwards, members of his movement become known as Quakers.
Galileo is forced by the Catholic Church to renounce his teachings that the earth revolves around the sun. Of course, it will eventually become impossible for Rome to maintain the idea that the earth is the central point of the solar system.
Jonathan Edwards, born in S. Windsor, Connecticut, as the fifth of eleven children in a strict Puritan home, entered Yale College at age thirteen. In 1727, he is named a pastor at his grandfather’s church in Northampton, Massachusetts. His most famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” vividly evokes the fate of unrepentant sinners in hell.
John Wesley, Anglican clergyman, evangelist, and cofounder of Methodism, is the fifteenth child of a former nonconformist minister who graduates from Oxford University and becomes a priest in the Church of England in 1728. From 1729, he participates in a religious study group in Oxford organized by his brother Charles (1707–1788), its members being dubbed the “Methodists” for their emphasis on methodical study and devotion.
Charles Finney leads revivals in New England. He is one of the main leaders of The Second Great Awakening. Finney has become a very controversial figure. Jerry Falwell considers him one of his “heroes and a hero to many evangelicals, including Billy Graham.” But then there are those who, like Monte E. Wilson, who feel that Finney “was espousing nothing short of heresy.”
The Mormon cult is founded by Joseph Smith as a result of reported visions of the angel Moroni. The angel had led Joseph to a hill that contained a set of golden plates comprising a holy book called the Book of Mormon. The book is written in symbols, which Joseph called “reformed Egyptian,” but with the gold plates were two stones, with which Joseph could decipher the ancient symbols on the gold plates.
London Presbyterian pastor Edward Irving and associates start the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement by encouraging spiritual gifts at Regents Square Presbyterian Church. Irving’s belief in the imminent coming of Christ also leads to personal medical foolishness. He rejects medical help, and will not have doctors treat him or his children. Three of his children die from serious health problems.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is born in Kelvedon, Essex, England, on June 19, 1834. He is educated at Colchester, but much of his religious training comes from his father and grandfather, both of whom are preachers. Spurgeon preaches at Metropolitan Tabernacle, and the church audiences frequently number more than ten thousand (and this is in the days before microphones). Spurgeon writes over 3,560 sermons.
To a half billion Pentecostal believers, 312 Azusa Street, Los Angeles, California, is one of the most important addresses in the world. This is where in 1906 an African-American preacher named William Seymour and his followers experience a radical outpouring of the Holy Spirit that leads to one of the largest religious movements in history.
Billy Graham becomes a believer in Christ and goes on to preach the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. He reaches hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and radio.
Hal Lindsey writes the book Late Great Planet Earth, which becomes the best-selling book of the 1970s. Lindsey has been called the father of modern-day Bible prophecy.
Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins write the end-time novel Left Behind, which turns into a series that sells more than fifty-five million copies as well as a movie franchise.
The twentieth century has more Christian martyrs than all the other centuries combined. This century also has seen the gospel message being preached to more regions of the world than during any other century.
Just before the stroke of midnight on December 31, this website, Rapture Ready, completes a timeline on Christianity and posts it on the Internet. It joins several other timelines located on the site.
The assembly of the western state of Rajasthan in India approves a new anti-conversion law, prohibiting conversions from Hinduism to Christianity that take place by “use of force, allurement or fraudulent means.” Anyone caught breaking these laws is to be condemned to five years in prison and a fine of fifty thousand rupees (approximately 800 euros).
Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) vote to allow homosexuals in “life-long, monogamous” relationships to serve as clergy in the church. Previously, only celibate homosexuals have been permitted. Speaking on the decision, Tim Mumm, a supporter of gay rights organization Lutherans Concerned, says, “We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus’ time and culture…. We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood.” This decision follows on the heels of a change made by the Episcopal church to allow committed gay bishops.
More than one hundred Christian leaders unite and sign the Manhattan Declaration, stating that they will never sacrifice their beliefs and compromise in areas such as gay marriage and abortion, etc.
“Islamophobia” becomes a buzzword for those opposed to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. The proposed civic center project called Park51, located two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks, draws criticism from dozens of Christian leaders and initiates nationwide debate over religious freedom, rights, and cultural propriety. The controversy also causes concern for retaliation against Christians in Islamic countries when a renegade pastor in Florida escalates the fight, threatening to burn the Koran in protest of the project.
The Crystal Cathedral megachurch, led for five decades by Robert Schuller (who also shares his personal ideology of positive thinking on the Hour of Power television show), files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The breakdown with Crystal Cathedral’s ministry may be a sign of things to come for other megachurches based on psychology and human-centered philosophies.
An evangelist pastor from a Calvary Church and two of its members file a federal civil rights suit against a California Highway Patrol officer after he arrests one of them for reading the Bible outside a DMV office. The two others are later arrested for trespassing. (The entire incident was videotaped and posted on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FruQO8qaw9c.)
Megachurch pastor Rob Bell launches a debate when his book, Love Wins, discounts the existence of hell and argues that “a loving God would never sentence human souls to eternal suffering.”
As the “Arab Spring” emerges, Christians in the Middle East and Africa suffer as the movement of political unrest gives way to Islamic domination and growing hostility against religious minorities (Christians). Secular regimes are being replaced with Islamic states that have instituted sharia law, which is enforced on citizens of all religions. Life for Christians is only getting worse under such radical conditions.
Former Heisman Trophy winner, Denver Broncos Trophy winner, and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has become one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in sports because of his strong, outspoken Christian faith. Regardless of whether people are in favor of his faith, he has managed to get people thinking and talking about Christ and has encouraged putting faith into action.
A Southern California family is fined for holding regular Bible studies at their home because it violates a city zoning code and they do not have a special permit.
Phoenix, Arizona, pastor Michael Salman is arrested and taken to jail following a raid on his home. His crime, according to the City of Phoenix, is that people aren’t allowed to hold private Bible studies on their
The Democratic National Committee bans dozens of Charlotte churches from distributing gift baskets (and welcome letters) to delegates because the congregations hold values that are contrary to the DNC party platform. “They told us our views on women’s rights are contrary to the Democratic National party platform,” says David Benham, the lead organizer of the Charlotte 714 religious movement─a group of more than one hundred churches across the region mobilized to pray for the Democratic National Convention.
The outrageous, offensive absurdity of the Democrats dropping God and then Jerusalem as Israel’s capital from the DNC convention platform has been very controversial and a true testament to the anti-God, anti-Christian stance of so many in the liberal “progressive” DNC party. After shock-and-awe comments from Republicans and others, the Democrats reluctantly reinsert “God” and “Jerusalem” back into their party platform amidst the sound of booing and hissing from a large segment of the DNC convention audience.
More public schools and other public facilities show signs of being less accepting of churches meeting in their facilities. Some other local governments are resisting approval of non-tax-paying congregations expanding their facilities. New churches and existing churches that are expanding their venues will be forced to become more creative as they look for new locations. (LifeWay Christian Resources,LifeWay.com).
Nearly twice as many Christians die for their faith in the past year than in 2012, according to Open Doors International’s 2014 World Watch List. Open Doors International, a charity that supports Christians under pressure for their faith, said 2,123 Christians are reported to have been killed during the twelve months ending Oct. 31. That compares to 1,201 during the previous twelve months. During the most recent period, more Christians were killed in Syria alone than were killed globally in the previous year.
Christian persecution is on the rise. Christians are being slaughtered in huge numbers by ISIS in the Middle East. The US Obama administration refuses to allow Christians to enter the US, but invites Muslims en masse to relocate to the US despite their ongoing record of violence, death, and torture—not only of Christians but some Muslims as well.
Kim Davis, the County Clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, gains national media attention after defying a federal court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses following the US Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, starting a same sex-marriage controversy in Kentucky. Davis is subsequently jailed for five days for contempt of court.
The Pew Research Center reports that 2016 presidential election exit polling reveals little change in the political alignments of US religious groups. Those who supported Republican candidates in recent elections, such as white born-again or evangelical Christians and white Catholics, strongly support Donald Trump. A growing share of self-identified “evangelical or born-again” Protestants (41 percent) say it has become more “difficult” to be an evangelical Christian in the US.
With approximately 70 percent of Christian teens who are entering college walking away from their faith, college ministries are tackling the attrition rate head-on at secular campuses across America. This drop-off has been credited to high school seniors leaving home for college unprepared for campus life and vulnerable to its secular influences. Ministries such as Campus Renewal are stepping in to aid these Christian students to hold onto their faith during the transition to college.
Billy Graham, considered by many to be one of the most influential Christian leaders of the twentieth century, dies of natural causes at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, at the age of ninety-nine. He has preached to live audiences of 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various “crusades,” and avoided explicit partisanship while serving as a trusted spiritual advisor to every American president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. His life is celebrated and his death is mourned via many television specials and public memorials.
In national news, a gunman enters West Freeway Church of Christ in the Fort Worth, Texas, area, and kills two men during the Lord’s Supper during a Sunday morning worship service. The gunman’s motives aren’t known, but congregants recognized him as someone whom the church had helped in the past by providing food. And around the world, Christian organization Release International predicts that persecution of Christian is set to rise this year, particularly in China, India, and Nigeria.
Christian leaders launch a “Year of the Bible” movement that has drawn support from religious leaders around the world, including Pope Francis, Ravi Zacharias, and Francis Chan, as well as from more than twenty thousand churches and ministry organizations in more than one hundred nations. The movement, founded by Nick Hall, considered by some to be a “new Billy Graham,” involves reading plans, videos, and other resources designed to encourage believers and nonbelievers a like to read the Bible for themselves.