Movement Meets World Five Key Transitions

Scope: Christianity's rapid spread across the Mediterranean world in the first generation of its existence remains one of history's remarkable success stories. The spread of communities is all the more impressive when the circumstances of this expansion are considered. Christianity had to accomplish five major transitions immediately: geographical, linguistic, cultural, sociological, and demographic. The wonder is not that it is diverse from the beginning, but that it had any coherence at all. The Acts of the Apostles provides a narrative framework for Christianity's emergence in the world of Jewish and Greco-Roman culture. It has its limitations but remains a valuable historical source, not least because it shows the role played by some of the religious phenomena that we will consider in the following presentations: baptism, fellowship meals, healings, speaking in tongues, visions, and prayer.

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