This GCSE RE quiz takes on 'The Church' ~ which, in its huge variety, is one of the most widespread institutions on the face of the earth. It effectively began on the first Whit Sunday (‘Pentecost’, as the Jews present then knew it) and was enthusiastically grown and spread around the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, not least by the tireless missionary and correspondent St Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus).
Its creeds and scriptures were mostly debated and codified by believers over the following few centuries, and the catholic church was governed by a succession of popes in a tradition that reached back to Jesus’ commission to the disciple Peter (‘Peter’ itself being a nickname: he was originally called Simon, but Jesus referred to him as ‘the rock upon which I shall build my church’, even after Peter had shown himself to be an impulsive and fallible follower).
Around 500 years ago, the Reformation led to a split within the church, since the Protestants identified several traditions for which they could find no justification in Scripture, and which they therefore rejected in favour of a leaner, cleaner and more personal brand of faith. Many other new subdivisions and sects have since been set up, so that nowadays there are probably church communities to suit every sincere style of personality.
Amidst all this rich and fascinating history, it bears remembering that the original concept of 'ekklesia' denoted a community of like-minded souls, rather than the seemingly traditional physical premises in which they would gather (i.e. ‘church buildings’ as we know and perhaps cherish them).
Let's do our best to familiarise you with some key elements of 2,000-odd years of church history in just 10 questions!