Historical Perspectives in Christianity

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However, the Lutheran church was further divided into several denominations due to doctrinal differences. Some retained some rituals conducted by catholic faith while some did away with them altogether. Divisions continued and up to date many denominations continue to crop up. The birth of Pentecostalism however, can be attributed to the Azusa street revival led by William J. Seymour an African American preacher in 1906.2 Seymour was born in a catholic family but was later converted into born again Christian owing to his numerous travels. He believed in the baptism of individuals with the Holy Spirit and the filling of individuals with the Holy Ghost as stated in the book of Acts: 2 by Apostle Luke.3 The Pentecost was thus a renewal of the church and was referred as a revival. There are many events that led to the Azusa street revival that affected and continue to influence the church even today. These will be the focus of attention in this paper but first, a short history of the church will be given. The rest of the paper will be based on the events in the life of William Seymour which led to the revival. Brief History of Christianity The early church mostly was comprised of the Jews hence was regarded as Jewish Christianity. Its roots can be traced in the New Testament where Jesus used to walk with His disciples preaching the gospel to all nations. When He ascended to Heaven, He promised the Apostles He would send them a helper in the name of the Holy Spirit to enable them to preach the gospel widely and this was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.4 The apostles established a church and spread the gospel far and wide. However, they were all persecuted for holding on to their faith but this did not stop the gospel from spreading. These early churches practiced hymn singing and also believed in miracles such as healing. According to Noll, the Jews were attacked by Romans on 66AD and the war continued for seven years.5 This resulted in taking over of Jerusalem which was the centre of Christianity’s communication, organization and authority and consequently replacing it with Rome. This according to Noll served to expand Christianity from Jewish Christianity to universal Christianity, that is, from Judaism to Christianity. The church became independent and creeds were established to mark out boundaries of Christian faith. 6 Christian reform did not end with transformation from Judaism to Christianity. rather, more reforms were in the offing. The Roman Catholic was the dominant denomination and followed the structure that was used by the apostles with the pope as the head of the church. However, the church entangled itself with politics and materialism leading to decay of some moral values. The congregation was supposed to pay taxes, women were not allowed to preach, indulgencies.7 Besides, some people were not happy with the doctrine of celibacy. As such, the protestant movement cropped up and led to reformation of the church. In the protestant church, women were allowed to preach and clergy were allowed to marry. The doctrine of repentance or confession was done away with as people could communicate directly with God instead of confessing sins to priests.8 The protestant church also differed on several issues leading to formation of many other denominations such as Calvinists, Anabaptist, Lutherans and Anglicans.9 The ruling king decided on the denomination to be adopted by the country. some countries were