What Difference Has Jesus Made in History? Notes

As a non-Christian attending a State University, I was struck that no matter what class I took, the professor took issue with Christianity. This was true in areas such as history, sociology, gender studies, anthropology, and philosophy among others. In every discipline, was apparent that the shadow of Jesus Christ and the Christian Church loomed so large over everyone and everything that it demanded to be dealt with, positively or negatively, in every academic department.

This is curious since education and the founding of nearly every one of the first 123 colleges and universities founded in America had Christian origins. Nearly every Ivy League school was founded by Christians for the purpose of extending the influence of our faith into every area of the academy. In 1646 Harvard published it’s “Rules and Precepts” which said, “Every one shall consider the main end of his life and studies to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life. Seeing the Lord giveth wisdom, every one shall seriously by prayer in secret seek wisdom of Him. Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that they be ready to give an account of their proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of languages and logic, and in practical and spiritual truths….”

One thing that people who both love and hate Christianity is that the legacy of Jesus Christ and the difference He has made in human history is the greatest of anyone who has ever walked the earth.

  • Theologian and historian Stephen Neill says, “He who says ‘Jesus’ says also ‘history.’”
  • Noted scholar and historian W. E. H. Lecky said in regard to Jesus’ impact on history, “The character of Jesus has not only been the high- est pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive in its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said that the simple record of three years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”
  • The inscription at the entrance to Rockefeller Center in New York City says, “Man’s ultimate destiny depends not on whether he can learn new lessons or make new discoveries and conquests, but on the acceptance of the lesson taught him close upon two thousand years ago.”
  • English Preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon says, “Christ is the great central fact of the world’s history. To him everything looks forward or backward. All the lines of history converge upon him. All the great purposes of God culminate in him. The greatest and most momentous fact which the history of the world records is the fact of his birth.

The persistent and passionate opposition to the influence of Christ and Christianity sparked my curiosity. I decided to pick up the Scriptures and read it for myself to see what I thought about Christ and the basic beliefs of the Bible. Soon, I became a Christian and began building what I believe and how I behave on Christ as my cornerstone and getting into constant arguments in class which only confirmed and deepened my new Christian commitments.

Christ is our Cornerstone

1 Peter 2:6 For it stands in Scripture [Isaiah 28:16] : “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Alternative Cornerstones

  1. Karma – the concept of repaying your karmic debt leads to inequality, the caste system, and mercy as a form of injustice that harms the debt repayment
  2. Islam – women and men not treated equally under law, Christians and Jews considered subhuman “monkeys & pigs”, jihadists also justify terrorist acts as holy war
  3. Atheism – in the 20th century alone 170 million people were killed by other human beings, 130 million by atheists. Stalin in the former Soviet Union killed 40 million. Hitler in Germany killed 15-16 million (6 million Jews in addition to 9-10 million other people including many Christians), Mao in China killed 70 million.
  • In addition over 1 billion people have died from abortion

Atheist Friedrich Nietzsche (“God is Dead” & the “Superman”) credits Christianity for equality – In The Will to Power, “Another Christian concept… has passed even more deeply into the tissue of modernity: the concept of the ‘equality of souls before God.”

Atheist Richard Rorty “the idea of universal human rights was a completely novel concept in history, resting on the biblical teaching ‘that all human beings are created in the image of God.’”

  • He calls himself a ‘freeloading atheist’ to borrow a basis for morality from Christianity
  1. Evolution – Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
  • People are on a continuum from animal to human which explains the 3/5 compromise for the American census of 1787-1865
  • Survival of the fittest, might makes right, natural selection are essential tenets

Charles Darwin’s original book title was: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

Charles Darwin said, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries,
the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

  • Took Darwinian evolutionary theory to its’ logical conclusion
  • Falsely assuming overpopulation and scarcity resources requires population controls including sterilization, birth control, and abortion for the less fit

Nazi Germany – applied Darwin and Malthus as a governmental and social experiment

Margaret Sanger

  • From concentration camps to clinics

1933 Planned Parenthood magazine Birth Control Review published ‘Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,’ by Ernst Rudin, Hitlers director of genetic sterilization & founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene.” Same year “published article E. A. Whitney ‘Selective Sterilization,’  praised and defended Nazi racial programs.”

  • Founded Planned Parenthood in poor neighborhoods
  • nearly 1 million abortions year in US, 29% population is black/Hispanic but 55% abortions are for those two groups

Margaret Sanger said, “Birth control appeals to the advanced radical because it is calculated to undermine the authority of the Christian churches. I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Christianity no less than Capitalism.”

  1. Cultural Marxism
  • The failure of military and economic Marxism has been replaced by cultural Marxism
  • It still holds the underlying commitment to atheism, and seeks to transfer power and wealth
  • A desire for Heaven on Earth but no belief in Jesus and the Bible underlies “utopia”
  • A sense of the Fall that blames only systemic not also personal conduct for suffering
  • Critical Theory says that institutions were built by those who are privileged to take advantage of the less privileged.
  • Intersectionality teaches that there are degrees of oppression and disadvantage.
  • Justice demands the dismantling of all systems, and allowing the disadvantaged to recreate new systems they deem just ignoring original sin and impact on any system
  • In Christian theology this is called “Liberation Theology” and often talks about “social justice”
  • This theory is what allowed Germans to dismantle Judaism, redistribute Jewish wealth, and seek to extend German dominance over privileged nations that oppressed it in WW I with WW II

The Bible is the Basis for Equality

Genesis 1:27-28 God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and…have dominion”

  • Human dignity and equality by virtue creation
  • Human dominion over lower creation
  • Cultural mandate

Leviticus 19:15 (NIV) “Do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great.”

Proverbs 28:21 (NLT) “Showing partiality is never good.”

James 2:1 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Colossians 3:11 (ESV) “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

God’s Path to Equality

  1. All people are created by God as full image bearers
  2. There is one race made up of all nations and cultures descended from Adam and Eve
  3. Every person is a sinner, and every system is affected by human sin
  4. God establishes laws to provide equality for all people
  • Might makes right – rule of force
  • VS Bible – rule of Law over all people
  • In the Roman empire Christian Bishops appointed for legal disputes, the Christian Emperor Justinian established legal system that served as the basis for American Declaration of Independence and the European Charter of Human Rights
  1. God’s Kingdom is the pattern for justice and social order for those in and under authority
  • Jesus – blessing nations, befriended Samaritan
  • Gentiles welcomed
  • Jesus, Paul, others refer to themselves as “servant/slaves of God”
  1. God’s people are a new family called a “chosen race” and “new man”
  2. Leadership in the church is based upon character not social factors
  • Onesimus – in Philemon he’s a slave and a church leader who carried a book of the Bible (Col. 4:9)
  1. Christianity has the most diversity of any movement in history
  • Saint Patrick was a slave who got free and fought against slavery as a Christian pastor
  • Historian Rodney Stark says medieval European slavery ended “only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves & then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews).”
  • William Wilberforce and other Christians opposed secularists evolutionists and fought for the freedom African slaves in Great Britain
  • Dr. Wayne Grudem said in a personal interview that 2/3 leaders of the American abolitionist movement were Christians
  • Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all Christians driven by the teaching of the Bible to oppose racism and slavery

Christ and Christianity Bring Life

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


  • In the ancient world children were the property of their father with no legal rights
  • In the ancient world child sacrifice and abandonment common
  • Jesus was a child and loved children
  • Jesus told us to be like children
  • Christians adopted children like Jesus was adopted


  • Didymus the Blind invented Braille in 4th century
  • AD 797 priests sent to open schools and parents paid whatever they could
  • printing press was invented by Christian Johann Gutenberg (1398-1468)
  • The Bible was the first book every published
  • Christians have lead in language formation for Bible translations
  • Literacy and education have spread since the Reformation so that people can read the Bible
  • In the 1500s John Calvin opened one of the first free schools, this became a university and beginning of higher education
  • Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and more were all started by Christians to honor Christ
  • In the first 217 years after the Pilgrim’s landed in (1620-1837) nearly all American education was private & Christian
  • Most of the first 123 American colleges and Universities were founded by Christians including Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Brown, Princeton, NYU, and Northwestern
  • By the turn of the twentieth century, largely non-Christian nations such as India and China had a literacy rate ranging from 0 to 20 percent, primarily Catholic nations had a literacy rate ranging from 40 to 60 percent, and largely Protestant nations had a literacy rate ranging from 94 to 99 percent.
  • Public education became popular with Thomas Dewey and Horace Mann who were two signers of the Humanist Manifesto


  • Science requires a worldview of order, laws, and repeatable consistency as opposed to worldviews of illusion, chaos, or divination
  • The Christian worldview also guards against the closed system of naturalism allowing both science and spirituality to coexist


  • Bible teaches that all authority is derivative down from God so that no sinner is in ultimate authority
  • Bible teaches rule of law for justice for all
  • Bible teaches private property rights which is why it opposes stealing
  • Bible teaches that work is a sacred matter to be done unto the Lord leading to the Protestant Work Ethic
  • Bible teaches human sinfulness and need for checks and balances
  • Bible is replete with examples of godless tyrant political leaders who are demonic (Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Nero, etc.)
  • Bible teaches respect for government, and Jesus paid His taxes


  • Jesus cared for the whole person, feeding and healing the body
  • The primary contributor to the New Testament is Dr. Luke
  • In the ancient world hospitals were for the rich not for the poor
  • In 325 A.D. the Council of Nicaea decreed hospital be established wherever a church was planted to care for the body and soul
  • Today many hospitals have Christian origins (e.g., Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic)
  • The Red Cross was founded by Christian Henri Durant


  • Jesus was poor and did miracles to feed poor
  • Bishop Basil the Great started soup kitchens, food banks, homeless shelters
  • Christians consistently give more to charity than any other group, and poor Christians are the most generous (Bernie Sanders gives 3.4% to charity, Kamala Harris gave 1.4% to charity, Joe Biden gave 1.8% to charity)


  • Literature –  Dante, Chaucer, Donne, Dostoevsky, Bunyan, Milton, Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, Tolstoy, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Sayers, and Solzhenitsyn were all Christians
  • Visual Arts – Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci were all Christians who depicted Jesus.
  • Music – Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi were all Christians, and today the worship genre of music fills airwaves, stadiums, churches


  • In India with suttee a wife will burn herself alive when her husband dies as she has no value apart from him
  • In the ancient world a woman was the property of her husband and could not divorce him, although he could divorce her
  • Female was infanticide common in the ancient world and in China today
  • William Carey & Amy Carmichael who missionaries fought against slavery for boys and prostitution for girls
  • Jesus befriended women like Mary and Martha, taught women in His ministry, forgave women like the woman caught in adultery, dignified women outcasts like the Samaritan woman at the well, served women as God’s image bearers, and honored his own mother from the cross
  • Women were the first to find Jesus’ empty tomb even though they could not testify in court legally
  • The early church was largely female because it liberated women, and today 60% of American church attenders are female
  • The New Testament has a lot more demands on husbands than other ancient moral codes or religious teachings


  • W. Bradford Wilcox esteemed Sociologist at the University of Virginia and Director of the National Marriage Project has conducted the largest research project in American history on marriage and family
  • The highest divorce rate is between two people practicing different religions. The lowest divorce rates, highest marital satisfaction rates, and best dads

Everyone and Everything Will Flourish in God’s Kingdom

Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

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