Mister Richardson’s
Church History Class

Chapter 2: Persecution

A. The Apostles
1. The Apostles were the first leaders of the Church.
2. They (or their assistants) were the ones who wrote the New Testament.
3. They all suffered persecution for their faith.
4. James, the brother of Jesus, was thrown from the top of the Temple and then stoned.
5. Peter and Paul were executed by Nero in Rome.
6. It is thought John was boiled in oil, only to survive and die of old age.

B. The First Roman Persecutions
1. Nero was the first emperor to target Christians for persecution.
2. He was looking for an easy group to blame for the great fire that broke out in Rome in 64, that he probably started.
3. He tortured the Christians in many ways, including burning them at night to provide light for his parties.
4. He had Paul beheaded and Peter crucified.
5. While there was no general persecution for the next 100 years, Christians could still be targeted when it pleased the government.
6. Among these were Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who was thrown to the wild beasts in Rome in AD 110.
7. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was taught by John, was burned because he wouldn't sacrifice to the emperor and he wouldn't deny Jesus.
8. And Justin Martyr, an apologist, was scourged and beheaded in Rome.

C. Later Persecutions
1. Emperor Marcus Aurelius continued the persecutions in the late 2nd Century.
2. Septimus Severus, Decius, Valerian, and Diocletian all persecuted Christians in the 3rd Century.
3. Christians were tortured, beheaded, thrown to the wild animals in the arenas, and had their property confiscated.
3. Galerius continued this policy up to the year 311, when he ceased the persecution.
4. In spite of all this, the Church grew tremendously in the first three centuries.

1. How did persecution affect the Church?
2. What were the catacombs?
3. Why did the Romans persecute Christians?
4. Why is little known about the Church from AD 70 to AD 300?