The date of origin and founder(s)
of various Christian faith groups
Listed below are the founder(s), starting date and starting location of a number
of Christian faith groups and traditions. They are organized in chronological
order. In some cases, the data is under dispute.
According to the Roman Catholic Church, the church was founded by the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost during the year 30 CE, some 50 days after Jesus' execution by the Roman Army which ocurred
circa 30-APR CE. Peter moved to Rome, and became the first pope
of the Christian movement. The church teaches that he was followed by a continuous succession of
popes up to the present day. They teach that the Roman Church is the true church
founded by God.
According to many liberal theologians and historians: Peter never
moved to Rome. James, the brother of Jesus, headed the Jewish Christian
Movement in Jerusalem after Jesus' execution, along with Peter as a co-leader. Paul
returned to Judea
later and founded Pauline Christianity in competition to Jewish
Christianity. Gnostic Christianity came still later. Only Pauline
Christianity survived. They assert that centralization of church power in
Rome did not occur until perhaps the mid 5th century CE. Pope Leo I, who
reigned from 440 to 461 CE, claimed that the Bishop of Rome was
highest ranking bishop. That time period could be considered as the
start of the Roman Catholic church.
2. Beliefs concerning the origin of the Eastern Orthodox church also
The Eastern Orthodox church and most religious historians teach that there were five Patriarchates in the early years of
Christianity. They were: Alexandria, Antioch Constantinople,
Jerusalem and Rome. Each was governed by a Bishop. With the advent of
Islam, only Constantinople and Rome survived as major power
centers. They were in a continual state of disagreement until they
formally severed their relationship in 1054 CE by mutually
excommunicating each other's leaders.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Bishop of Rome was universally recognized as the center of authority within very early
Christianity. The Eastern branch of Christianity broke away from
Rome in 1054 CE. However, the two groups both recognize the
Apostolic succession and what the Roman Catholic Church considers
to be "a valid Eucharist."
3. Beliefs concerning the origin of Protestantism:
Popular belief is that on 1517-OCT-31, Martin Luther wrote a list of propositions for change in the Roman Catholic Church and nailed it to the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg Germany. In reality, he probably hung the list on the door to announce an academic discussion that he was organizing at the time. In the document, he criticized many beliefs and practices of the Church, notablly its selling of Indulgences to church members that were promised to lessen the time that they would spend after their death in Purgatory before they were sent to Heaven. This resulted in the creaton of the Lutheran Church and later the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations and faith groups that exist today in all their diversity.
4. Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986):
He started the Radio Church of God in Eugene OR in 1933 -- one of many
churches which contained the phrase "Church of God." He changed the
prefix to "Worldwide" in 1947