Where did Christianity originate?
Christianity originated in the city of Jerusalem in
present-day Israel. The founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was born
in the small town of Bethlehem, just a few miles southwest of Jerusalem.
He was raised in the town of Nazareth in the region of Galilee, about one
hundred miles north of Jerusalem. However, prophecy demanded that the
Messiah come to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a
donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). The New Testament records Jesus riding into
Jerusalem and only a few days later being crucified there. Two days
later, on the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead. Jesus told his
apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the sending of the Holy
Spirit. Forty-nine days after his resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost,
the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles as Peter preached the first public
gospel sermon. All this is recorded in Acts chapter two. From its birth,
with three thousand baptisms of the first day, the church rapidly grew in
Jerusalem, later spreading to Judea, Samaria and Galilee in the following
few years. Once the first non-Jews were baptized (Acts 10) the church
rapidly spread outside what were traditionally Jewish lands into all the
Roman Empire and beyond during the next three or four centuries.
A question arises, which is can we know from sources outside
the New Testament whether the accounts in the New Testament are accurate
history. This is a broad question, but the general consensus of
historians is that the broad background of the history described above is
accurate. Both the Jewish historian Josephus (late first century), as
well as the avowed religious Jews who wrote the Talmud (second through
fourth centuries) agreed that Jesus was a real person who did indeed die
in Jerusalem. All the evidence we have points toward the fact that the
earliest preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ included the central
teaching of his resurrection in Jerusalem. Therefore, it can be stated
with confidence that the church of Jesus Christ and therefore Christianity
itself began in Jerusalem.
John Oakes, PhD