Professor Rod Carruthers
Did you know that Christianity is the largest segment of our world’s population (according to a Pew Research Report issued on December 19, 2011)? It represents nearly one-third of the estimated global population of 6.9 billion. The United States Christian population is estimated to be 246,780,000 (2010); the U.S. is the country with the greatest number of Christians in the world. From the bible through to scriptures such as the Book of Abraham, there is a lot to take into consideration. No one can really stop learning about religion, as there is a large amount of resources and writings that allow many people to continue finding out more. Opinions change, therefore allowing it to become quite an interesting topic to delve into.
What would our world be like today if the Christian movement became extinct, just ceased to exist? Without Christianity – and its one-third dominion over the world’s population, the outcome could be disastrous for humanity. Christianity has a profound influence on our world.
An entirely new seminar series, crafted by Prof. Rod Carruthers, will cover Christianity’s most vulnerable period, the four centuries following the crucifixion of Christ. It was a time when persecution of the early Christians came from Jewish religious leaders, from within the Christian movement itself, and from the Roman Empire.
During the first century, most of the Apostles were martyred by stoning, crucifixion and beheading, to the extent that it was a miracle that effective leadership survived. Some of the strongest examples of faith are portrayed in the history of the first century. Yet, the growth of Christianity exploded.
The second and third centuries also took a significant toll on the early Christian population. It would seem that the succession of Roman Emperors grew more and more vicious in killing Christians by the thousands in their blood-thirsty arenas. The crazed Nero, in the first century, set an astounding example when he inflicted horrendous suffering on the early Christians. It’s a miracle the Christian movement mustered the courage to stand up to the Roman’s inhuman cruelty. The pagans were awestruck at how the Christian martyrs met their tortuous torment – singing, and dying with bright smiles on their faces.
Finally, in the fourth century, Constantine the Great became Emperor – one who was pro-Christian and aspired to end the persecution of the Christians. He, along with Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, brought about the acceptance of Christianity as the state religion for the entire Roman Empire. This huge accomplishment ended the persecution, and assured the survival of Christianity.
This inspirational story is told in a one-of-a-kind program that Prof. Rod Carruthers will be presenting – the “Miraculous Survival of Christianity.” It will begin Friday, October 17 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. in Room 1 of the Education Building at Sun Lakes United Methodist Church, 9248 E. Riggs Road. The first session will end in mid-December. The second session will begin in mid-January, and continue to the end of March 2015.
This seminar is open to all Sun Lakers. To register, call the church office at 480-895-8766.