18 Game-Changing Christian Figures Who Shaped History After the Bible

SharePinEmailThe foundations of Christianity lie in the Bible, a series of texts and scriptures that make up the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the contributions made to Christianity do not end there as numerous post-biblical figures have left a long-lasting impact on the Church and the Christian faith as a whole. Here are…

The foundations of Christianity lie in the Bible, a series of texts and scriptures that make up the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the contributions made to Christianity do not end there as numerous post-biblical figures have left a long-lasting impact on the Church and the Christian faith as a whole. Here are 18 reasons why these post-biblical figures are essential to Christianity.

Clement of Rome (35 AD – 99 AD)

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One of the Apostle Fathers and the first Bishop of Rome, Clement of Rome led the early Christian Church after the Apostle Peter. It is said that he was killed for his faith by being thrown into the Crimean peninsula with an anchor tied to him. Clement of Rome is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

Ignatius of Antioch (35 AD – 107 AD)

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Another Apostle Father, Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple of the Apostle John and is a Roman Catholic saint. Ignatius is well known for writing seven letters of epistles to communities including the Ephesians, the Philadelphians, and the Smyrnaeans, on his way to Rome whilst imprisoned.  It is believed that he was thrown to wild beasts as punishment for his faith. 

Polycarp of Smyrna (69 AD – 155 AD)

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The Third Apostle Father and another disciple of the Apostle John, he is most well-known for his veneered “Letter to the Philippians”. Polycarp of Smyrna is described in the Martyrdom of Polycarp as being burned at the stake for his faith. But the flames did not burn Polycarp, believing that God had protected him, so the soldiers stabbed him with a spear. He is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and some other denominations.

Saint Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)

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Born to a Christian mother and a Pagan father, Augustine made considerable theological contributions to Christianity, including political and social philosophy. Theological concepts proposed by Augustine include the doctrine of original sin due to the fall of Adam as well as the theory of a “just war”. In Roman Catholicism, he is known as a “Doctor of the Church”.

Gregory the Great (540 AD – 604 AD)

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Gregory the Great achieved the status of Pope in 590 AD and is well known for codifying Roman liturgy and for inspiring later Gregorian chants. He was also responsible for sending missionaries to England to evangelize the Anglo-Saxon population.

Anselm of Canterbury (1033 AD – 1109 AD)

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A Benedictine monk and later the Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm is a Roman Catholic saint and a profound philosopher. He is well known for theorizing that God is an existence greater than we know as well as projecting the “theory of atonement” which states the death of Jesus Christ was needed because of human sin.

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 AD – 1226 AD)

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Saint Francis of Assisi inspired the Franciscan movement, leading a simple life complete with humility and poverty. He founded the Orders of the Friars Minor and is known for viewing all creatures as his brothers and sisters. It is also stated that he received the stigmata in 1224, recording the physical markings of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Thomas Aquinas (1225 AD – 1274 AD)

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Saint Thomas Aquinas is a Roman Catholic “Doctor of the Church” and is well known for his “Five Ways” theory for God’s existence. He also theorized the theory of natural law, moral reasoning, and ethical conduct.

Saint Catherine of Siena (1347 AD – 1380 AD)

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Saint Catherine of Siena was a nun and is known as a peacemaker who had mystical experiences with Jesus Christ, Mary Mother of God, and many saints. 

John Calvin (1509 AD – 1564 AD)

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A key figure in the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin advocated for Presbyterianism and also influenced Reformed denominations of Christianity. His development of Protestant theology spread across Europe and North America.

John Bunyan (1628 AD – 1688 AD)

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John Bunyan was a Puritan theologian and created “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. He made a considerable contribution to Protestant denominations across England and beyond.

John Wesley (1703 AD – 1791 AD)

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John Wesley is the founder of Methodism, a Protestant denomination of Christianity. He often preached to working-class people in open spaces and was a keen activist for social justice.

Martin Luther (1483 AD – 1546 AD)

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A German monk, Martin Luther is known for his contribution to the Protestant Reformation. He created the “95 Theses” and translated the Bible into German to allow Christianity to become more accessible to the German population.

Ignatius of Loyola (1491 AD – 1556 AD)

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Ignatius was a Spanish Priest and previous soldier who developed a series of spiritual exercises consisting of meditation, prayer, and contemplation. He was part of the Jesuits and spread Christianity globally.

Florence Nightingale (1820 AD – 1910 AD)

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Florence Nightingale stated that she was called by God to become a nurse, despite being from a wealthy family and having no need to work. There was a public outcry when it was reported that British soldiers were dying of disease and malnutrition in the Crimean War. So, together with 38 other women, she helped wounded soldiers in the Crimean War and improved hygiene standards.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 AD – 1997 AD)

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Mother Teresa was an Albanian-Indian nun who established the Missionaries of Charity in poor areas of India. She was selfless and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work.

Saint John Paul II (1920 AD – 2005 AD)

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A Pope in the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until 2005, Pope John Paul II is credited with modernizing the Church to some extent. He wrote the “Theology of the Body” and advocated for human rights and improved relations between Catholics and other faiths.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 AD – 1968 AD)

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A Baptist Minister and civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is well known for applying Christian principles to social injustices, influencing Christians worldwide. He inspired Christians to confront injustices and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work against racial prejudice. He was assassinated in 1968 and is a martyr for the civil rights movement.

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