What factors allowed Christianity to spread within the Roman Empire?

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Three characteristics of the Roman Empire are typically credited with aiding the advancement of Christianity. First, the Pax Romana, or Roman peace, created a relatively stable political climate that allowed for travel in the years immediately before the birth of Christ until about 200 AD. Since the territory of the Mediterranean Sea was not ravaged by wars, everyday Christians, as well as missionaries, could travel throughout the kingdom freely, bearing the good news of Christ. The Romans had a hands-off policy toward local religions in their provinces and allowed local governance as long as citizens paid taxes and allowed military occupation. More than once, early Christian leaders were protected from harm by Roman laws and rulers.

Second, Roman roads made travel much easier than it had ever been. Although the roads were built to allow Roman armies quick access to the regions under their control, they were also used for commerce and personal travel. Previously, sections of the Mediterranean region would become impassable in the rainy season. Roman-engineered roads were of such high quality that many are still used today. This network of highways allowed missionaries to easily make their way around the Roman Empire.

Finally, a common language greatly enhanced the spread of Christianity. Koine Greek had become the commonly spoken language in the region of the Mediterranean. This enabled missionaries like Paul to go to far-off lands and still be understood. The Bible refers to Jesus coming "in the fullness of time." Indeed, the convergence of several characteristics within the Roman Empire—including Roman laws, Roman roads, and a common language—created an environment especially conducive to sharing the gospel widely and rapidly.

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Interestingly, it was the overwhelming power and efficiency of the Roman Empire itself that made it easy for Christianity to spread so rapidly. The armies of Rome had forcefully imposed an era of peace within the Roman Empire known as the Pax Romana. Without the physical dangers and distractions of war, early Christians were able to disseminate their ideas much more easily.

To complement the reduced risk brought about by lack of war, the Roman Empire made travel even easier by the network of roads that it constructed throughout the Mediterranean area. Travelers such as the Apostle Paul and other Christian missionaries were able to make use of these roads as they journeyed from place to place spreading their message.

Another significant factor that contributed to Christianity's rapid spread was the common language of Greek that was used throughout the Roman Empire for trade and commerce. As a result, there was no need for early Christians to learn to speak and write new languages as they spread Christianity from one area to another. The New Testament was written in Greek, and this made it instantly accessible to literate people throughout the Roman Empire.

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Several factors allowed Christianity to spread within the Roman Empire.

The main cause of its spread was that it was an evangelical religion, sending missionaries across the Roman Empire. The decision, made first by Peter and then expanded upon by Paul, to preach to gentiles as well as Jews and not to require gentile converts to follow Jewish law increased its appeal.

The Pax Romana, as well as extensive road and shipping network of the Roman Empire, facilitated the physical circulation of missionaries and letters, and thus was another enabling condition for the spread of Christianity.

Finally, polytheism was a system in which new gods were normally introduced freely and their worship allowed. Where Christianity, as Judaism before it, ran into trouble was not in worshipping a new God, but in insisting that this was the only God and refusing to worship the state gods and deified emperor, an act that was viewed as a form of treason, until Constantine who legalized Christianity.

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One important reason for the spread of Christianity was the evangelical missions of Paul of Tarsus.  Paul, originally called Saul, was perhaps the one person most responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.  Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, whose life and teachings are the basis of the Christian religion.  Paul originally persecuted the followers of the teachings of Jesus until he had a conversion experience after which he became a strong follower of Christ and began his evangelical missions.  Paul, a Greek speaking Jew from Asia Minor, went on three missions covering 10,000 miles over the course of thirty years.  He traveled through Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome, establishing Christian communities in each area. Paul made the decision to spread the Christian faith to non-Jews, which helped establish the Christian religion throughout the Roman Empire.   The Roman system of roads allowed the Christian message to travel quickly from one place to another.  The fact that Paul spoke Greek and was a Roman citizen also helped Paul in his travels to spread the Christian religion.

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What factors enabled Christianity to spread within the Roman Empire?

Great question. Here are a few points to consider:

1. The most important factor for the growth of Christianity was that it wanted to grow. This factor might seem small, but this makes all the difference. Most religions in the Roman world did not seek out converts. The followers Epicurus and the Jews might be the only exceptions. Christianity, on the other hand, wanted to grow. Just look at Paul's missionary journeys.

2. Because Rome had such a great empire in terms of travel, any religion that wanted to spread could. In other words, Christianity came at the right time.

3. Christianity also had a great demonstration of power. A historian like Ramsey MacMullen  (one of the great) even states that the ability of Christians to perform miracles helped its growth. Now, you might not believe in miracles, but the ancients certainly did!

4. Julian, the Roman emperor, also writes about Christian charity. This must have had an effect, especially during difficult times, like during plagues.

5. Some of the stories of heroic martyrdoms must have helped as well. Even a few stories can cause a buzz.

6. Some notable converts made a difference. Some were from the upper-classes. The most famous is obviously Constantine.

7. Finally, Christian apologetic literature should be included. This probably helped the educated class.

 

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What factors enabled Christianity to spread within the Roman Empire?

Great question. Here are a few points that Roman historians state:

1. Because Rome had such a great empire in terms of travel, any religion that wanted to spread could. In other words, Christianity came at the right time.

2.

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What factors enabled Christianity to spread within the Roman Empire?

There are two major factors that, in my opinion, contributed to the spread of Christianity within the Roman Empire.

  1. The fact that the Roman Empire existed.  Because the Roman Empire existed, it tied together people in many different areas from what's now Turkey to Egypt to Northern Europe.  People could travel and trade pretty freely within this area.  Because it was so easy to move around (relatively speaking) the ideas of Christianity could be spread as Christians moved around the Empire.  This would have been much harder if it had been split into a bunch of different countries.
  2. The conversion of Constantine.  When he converted, Christianity became the state religion and that helped it spread tremendously.
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Why did Christianity spread with ease in the Roman empire?

There are many reasons Christianity spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire. It was well poised during the first few centuries to grow in leaps and bounds due to the nature of the physical geography of the Roman Empire as well as the doctrinal shift of one particular emperor.

The physical structure of the Roman Empire was the initial boost for evangelizing throughout the world. The wealth of trade routes and shipping hubs allowed the early Christians to travel extensively and spread the Gospel to far flung areas of the empire.

The nature of the Roman Empire and its dictates on the practice of religion also eventually helped to preserve the church from persecution; it was eventually ruled ruled that Yahweh was an acceptable God to worship. This transitioned the empire into a period of open evangelism; before, people of different faiths were persecuted because they refused to worship the emperor or the gods of the Roman pantheon.

Finally, Constantine the Great converted to Christianity. At this point, he changed the official religion of the empire to Christianity, which accelerated the spread to unimaginable speeds.

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Why did Christianity spread with ease in the Roman empire?

Christianity was able to spread so efficiently through the entirety of the Roman Empire for at least three main reasons.

First, there were the characteristics of the empire itself.  It was an enormous empire to be ruled efficiently given the era being discussed. There is much speculation that it had actually peaked and was in decline.  Though it had become cumbersome to rule, it still set forth with some great advances in the field of communication. Many Christian believers used these advances to their advantage.  

Second, we must recognize one of its most devoted followers, apostle Paul of Tarsus.  He made it his 30-year mission to preach and spread the word concerning this new religion that was based not on the ancient Hebrew religion but on the coming and resurrection of Jesus.  He preached in some of the largest cities of the empire.  However, it was not merely what he preached, but to whom he preached.  His preachings told of loving kindness, equality, and redemption.  His gospel was not only for the holy and most high, but for all people - the poor, women, and sinners.  Mainly, he preached not just to Jewish people, but to non-Jews, as well.

Third, there was the conversion of the Roman general - Constantine.  His converting to the religion of Christianity would prove to be a deciding factor in its triumph throughout the Roman Empire.

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Why did Christianity spread in the Roman Empire with such ease?

The swift spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire had a number of different causes. The most obvious event was the conversion of Constantine to Christianity. Emperor Constantine also made it legal to practice the religion and ended the practice of persecution that had been so common in Rome. The Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the state, which also greatly aided the spread of Christianity. Despite the importance of these two emperors, Christianity had already taken hold in the many areas controlled by Rome. It is estimated that roughly ten percent of the population practiced Christianity as early as the Fourth Century. How did the religion spread so ferociously despite the persecution of its believers?

It can be said that the religion was tailored for the masses. Much of the message of Jesus was directed at the poor and destitute. The promise of an afterlife for believers was attractive and the stories of miracles also intrigued many. Christians also sought converts and those that died for the faith attracted attention amongst the masses.

The relative ease of travel throughout Rome was another reason the religion spread. The Roman road system allowed the movement of goods and ideas. The teachings of Christianity spread to millions of people as a result. The peace provided by the Roman army allowed ease of travel along these roads.

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