The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries

The burden Rodney Stark undertakes to bear in this book is a heavy one. He ventures to show that long before Constantine’s Edict of Milan, Christianity had spread across an empire to become the force that would cause rather than result from the emperor’s decree. This rapid rise of Christianity cries out for a thorough study of the sociological and socio-economic environment of its first four centuries. Having illustrated a plausible growth curve for the rise of Christianity, sociologist Stark observes and delineates easy parallels between the rise of the Christian movement and the growth of modern religions, giving particular attention to Mormonism.

Stark is well known for his projections of the future growth rates of Mormonism as a new world religion. For many reasons, Latter-day Saints should take particular interest in the very readable and informative explanations given by Stark to account for the extensive christianization of the Roman Empire by the middle of the fourth century.

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