They viewed earthly life and institutions as unimportant because they expected Jesus to return to the world very soon.
The religion of Christianity evolved from these groups with a formal organization and set of beliefs.
Paul of Tarsus, an educated Jew who was comfortable in both the Roman and Jewish worlds, was the catalyst in the spread of Jesus's teachings.
After persecution of members of the new sect, he became a vigorous promoter of Jesus's ideas and became a believer.
Paul wrote letters to many groups while he was in the Roman Empire.
These letters transformed Jesus's ideas into more specific moral teachings.
Paul was the most important figure in changing Christianity from a Jewish sect into a separate religion.
The Roman Empire was a factor in the spread of Christianity.
The Roman system of roads made it easy for early Christians to spread their faith throughout the world.
The Romans considered their secular empire universal, and the early Christians combined the two concepts of universalism.
People from social classes were included in the earliest Christian converts.
These people were reached by missionaries and other people who spread the Christian message.
Women were spreading Chris tianity.
Some Christian communities wanted to give women a bigger role in church affairs, while others were more restrictive.
There were many reasons people were attracted to Christian teachings.
It was a mystery religion that gave its followers special teachings.
Christianity promised this immor tality to al.
Christianity offered the possibility of forgiveness for believers who accepted that human nature is weak and that even the best Christians could fall into sin.
Christianity gave the Roman world a cause and was attractive to many.
Christians played a part in God's plan for the triumph of Christianity by spreading the word of Christ.
They believed Christianity to be impervious and were not discouraged by setbacks.
Christianity gave its devotees a sense of community, which was very welcome in the mobile world of the Roman Empire.
To emphasize the spiritual kinship of this new type of community, Christians often cal ed one another brother and sister.
Many Christians took Jesus's command to love one another as a guide and gave it to widows, orphans, and the poor, just as they would for family members.
Christians said that the Lord's Supper, in which they ate and drank the body and blood of Jesus, was an act of cannibalism.
The Greco-Roman gods were worried that the Christian insistence that the pagan gods were evil spirits would cause them to withdraw their favor from the Roman Em pire.
Christians were trying to destroy the Roman family with their insistence on a new type of kinship.
The religious misunderstandings were caused by Christians.
Most of the gory stories about Chris tian martyrs are not real.
There were some cases of pagan persecution of the Christians, with few exceptions, but they were local and sporadic.
The hostility and suspicion of pagans decreased as time went on.
Christians were not trying to overthrow the state and Jesus was not a rival of Caesar.
Christianity was changing as well.
As the number of converts increased, permanent institutions were established.
The Roman Empire had a hierarchy of officials.
They said they had the right to determine the correct interpretation of Christian teachings and to choose their successors.
The rise of the bish- and the power to determine the correct interpretation of Christian ops shows caused lines to be drawn between what was considered correct teaching and what teachings.
A religious practice or be Christianity began to attract more highly educated individuals who were judged unacceptable by the church for their interpretations of issues that were not clear in scripture.
Often drawing on officials.
Roman legal traditions and Greek philosophy worked together to understand how Jesus could be both divine and human, and how God could be both a father and a son.
The prosperity of the second century gave way to a period of chaos and stress in the Roman Empire.
The emperors tried to repair the damage.
They changed the empire with political and religious reforms.
For a short time, emperors ruled.
The army leaders in the provinces either broke from the empire or declared their loyalty to one.
Barbarian groups crossed the Alps into Italy and invaded Roman territory along the Rhine and Danube.
The armies of the East advanced to the Mediterranean.
The court ceremonies and trappings of the Persian Empire were adopted by the emperor and his successor.
The empire had become too large for one man to handle and so was divided into two parts.
The system is known as the Tetrarchy because four men ruled the em pire, but Diocletian was the final source of authority.