The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: YouVersion Bible App

For some time now we have been exploring the history of Christianity through a collection of objects. Each of these objects helpfully signifies or encompasses a person, an event, or a period of history crucial to the growth and development of the Christian church. These are objects, historical relics, you can see and touch and experience. You can stand in The Braccio Nuovo at the Vatican Museum and see Augustus of Prima Porta, standing today as he has for nearly …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Billy Graham’s Prayer Wheel

The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina is meant to be an ongoing crusade that will continue for many generations. Situated on the same property as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the library opened in 2007 and is neither a museum nor a memorial. Rather, it is an extension of the evangelistic ministry that Graham carried out for so many years. The building, notable for its giant cross-shaped door, is meant to expose visitors to the gospel of Jesus …

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The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Riverside Church

From a small home in a Los Angeles neighborhood, we now travel clear across the continent to Morningside Heights in New York’s Upper Manhattan. At the corner of 120th Street and Riverside Drive, looking out on the Hudson, is a massive stone building called Riverside Church. Built in the Neo-Gothic style, its spires reach 392 feet into the air, making it the tallest church in America. Riverside Church was the product of a collaboration between industrialist and philanthropist John D. …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Bonnie Brae House

In February 1906, William J. Seymour, a 24-year-old, one-eyed son of former slaves, began what had been planned as a one-month visit to Los Angeles. Seymour was a preacher based in Houston who had become convinced that speaking in tongues was the first evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Barred from many churches in Los Angeles, he and a group of followers began a series of meetings in the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry at 214 North Bonnie …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: William Carey’s Couch

If you were to visit Oxford, England today, and find your way to the Angus Library of Regent’s Park College (a part of Oxford University), you might just come across an old, nondescript couch settled there in the archives. This antique couch sits at the top of a stone staircase, beside a plaque warning that this area of the library is a “quiet area.” It looks for all the world like a piece of furniture someone put down for a …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Whitefield Rock

In the fall of 1740, America was abuzz. Revival was sweeping the northern states and Christian fervor was at fever pitch. George Whitefield, the great English evangelist was traveling through the colonies, and his reputation as a powerful preacher and orator had preceded him so that great crowds swelled to hear him preach. Because most churches were closed to him, he chose to preach in the open air just as he had so many times in his native England. On …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Olney Hymns

The Houghton Library at Harvard University holds a vast collection of important historical papers, letters, and manuscripts. There are works there from Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Keats, Louisa May Alcott, and many other notable authors and poets. Deep within that library is a fragile old volume, worn, faded, and crumbling. It is a handwritten manuscript labeled simply “Vol. 2.” Yet that otherwise unremarkable volume has great historical significance because it contains half of the portion of hymns that …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Loughwood Meeting House

Nestled on a remote hillside overlooking Axe Valley in Devonshire, England is a small, nondescript church building. A few weatherworn gravestones surround it, many of them nearly toppled over. The roof has been thatched again and again, its walls have been repaired repeatedly through its many years. The Loughwood Meeting House has stood here since the late 1600’s and it represents one of the oldest surviving Baptist meeting houses in all the world. In this series which looks at The …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: King James Bible

In 2012 Stevenson University, located on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, entered into an important partnership with the Maryland Bible Society. The Society had an extensive collection of rare and antique Bibles and related documents but no place to properly store and display them. Stevenson University offered space in its library and today houses the collection. The jewel of this collection is a rare first edition King James Bible, the next of the 25 objects through which we can trace …

The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Le massacre de la Saint-Barthelemy

“The whole of France is bathed in the blood of innocent people and covered with dead bodies. The air is filled with the cries and groans of nobles and commoners, women, and children, slaughtered by the hundreds without mercy.” So read a Genevan diplomatic dispatch from the autumn of October of 1572 in a description of what would come to be known as the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, one of the most bloody and horrifying episodes in the history of …