The term Christian is defined as a follower of Jesus Christ and these people are a part of Christianity.
The evolution of how a Christian was seen and behaved is split in several timeframes:
- The Beginning – This timeframe refers to the early times, when Christianity appeared. People tend to have different definitions of the church and how it affects the life of its members. During this period the perceptions visible differ from the ones seen today. Tradition accepts the fact that the Church includes all people that are baptized in its faith. It all started with the doctrine created by the belief that Jesus Christ was God’s son and that he sacrificed himself so that mankind’s sins could be forgiven. The word church has different meanings based on some possible derivations from other languages. Minority traditions will use other terms for the church but its purpose remains similar in all Christianity.
- The first millennium – Christianity started to grow during 64 and 313 AD. It mainly spread in the Roman Empire although several actions have been taken to suppress it. Persecutions against Christians were very brutal until Emperor Constantine ended it with the Edict of Milan. Since this turning point Christianity started to spread and rose very quickly. In 390, Emperor Theodosius the Great proclaimed Nicene Christianity as the official state religion. This led to the evolution of the Church. Hierarchical structures appeared and this made it possible for a better organization. The local areas were led by bishops and a region was led by a patriarch. As expected, problems appeared but they were mainly caused by differences in opinions concerning the Christian doctrine. Ecumenical councils became popular and their exact purpose was discussing such problems.
- Medieval – During the Medieval times the Roman Catholic Church reached its peak. Missionaries were being sent in other countries to spread Christianity and it became so powerful that the monarch was directly linked with it. He needed the support of the masses and this was done through the Church. People started to dedicate their entire lives to God. They made offerings, donated everything they could and this quickly led to even more power. Christianity became richer every day and the Pope established itself as one of the most important figures in the world.
• Modern times – As time passed and technology evolved Christianity started to decline. The appearance of the Protestant Reformation brought in the idea of self analysis of the Bible and it led many people to ignore the church (as a worship place). Nowadays Christians can be found in all parts of the world. This was because of the former tendencies to spread the religion to as many people as possible. Several movements have shaped Christianity during modern times. Examples can be given in fundamentalism, the emergent church, the return to orthodoxy, liberalism and many more.