Ancient Christianity may be divided into two great periods. In the first, it was a religion liable to persecution, suffering severely at times and always struggling to maintain itself; in the second, it became the religion of the State, and in its turn set about to repress and persecute the heathen religions. It was no longer without legal rights; it had the support of the secular rulers and was lavishly endowed with wealth. These two periods are markedly different, and the conditions had a distinct effect upon the life and growth of the Christian religion.
The central idea presented by the author in this paragraph is that:
A.Early Christians were often persecuted for their beliefs, and sometimes even killed.
B.Though later Christians were no longer persecuted, they never forgot the history of their religion.
C.The Christian church became very wealthy over time and was supported by kings and emperors.
D.The two very different periods of early Christianity each served to mold the nature of the religion.
E.Becoming the religion of the State was the turning point for Christianity as a world religion.