14 Early Christianity - BYU

14 Early Christianity - BYU - Early Christianity Creatively...

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Early Christianity Creatively Coping with Change
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Transitions in Early Christianity 1. Geography  Success came mostly outside Palestine Jerusalem ceased to be the central church (70 AD) 2. Sociology From a mostly rural to a mostly urban movement 3. Language From Aramaic to Greek 4. Culture From Jewish to Greco-Roman
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Difficulties in the Early Church Persecution from the Jews No reference text on which to base Christian teaching New Testament assembled in 5th Century Gospels written in 80 – 90 AD Disagreements among the leaders
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Gentile and Jewish Christians
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1st Century AD Changed from Jewish- Christian church to a gentile  church Problems over common meals  forced the change from a  Jewish-oriented church Diverse beliefs proliferated    due to different cultures and  lack of an “official” theology Chi-rho fish anchor
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Diversity of Christian Beliefs “Modern Christianity is widely diverse…but this diversity is mild in comparison with Christianity during the first three centuries” Bart Erhman, Lost Christianities (The Teaching Co. 2002), 3. Diversity appears to have existed from the beginning Christian sects divided on fundamental issues: covenant, salvation, the Godhead, etc. No single theology seemed to dominate.
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Examples of Christian Diversity Belief Extreme Moderate Mild Divine Sonship Literal Son Adopted Son Figurative Son Nature of Christ Divine Hybrid (Diophysite) Human Number Gods Three (or even more) Two One Saving power Atonement Secret knowledge Moral Teachings Scripture Only Gospels (and Paul) Only New Testament Old and New Testament Rites Jewish + Christian Christian only None necessary
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Progression of Authority Jesus chose 12 apostles. Apostolic church had  elders and deacons. Post-apostolic church  added bishops and  priests.
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1st Century AD Discussion: How did the  Jewish   persecution  affect the  Christians? How did the  Roman  persecution  affect the  Christians?
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2nd Century AD Period of no record (100-150) Probably when the apostasy occurred Loss of righteousness Evidences of apostasy  Principally from historical records  Eusebius = Bishop of Caesarea in the 4th century  and author of  History of the Church
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Apostasy—Keys Loss of leadership and    priesthood Unauthorized elections of officers Lack of apostolic overview
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“When James the Righteous had suffered  martyrdom like the Lord and for the same  reason, Symeon the son of his uncle Clopas  was appointed bishop.  He being a cousin of  the Lord, it was the universal demand that he  should be the second.” [Eusebius,  History of the Church , 22.7]
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Loss of authorized leadership “But when the sacred band of the apostles 
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14 Early Christianity - BYU - Early Christianity Creatively...

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