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Transcript of EARLY CHURCH
What Does “Christian” Mean?
From the Greek word “Christianos” which literally means “follower of Christ” and “Christos” which means “one who is anointed”. In Latin, the word is “Christianus”, it denotes to, adheres to, and belonging to, as in “slave ownership”
The Formation of Early Church
The Early Church may be briefly divided into three categories:
- The persecution by the Jews led many early Jewish Christians leave from Jerusalem and Israel then scattered throughout the Roman Empire.
- Peter and Paul maintained in their works in sharing and expanding the words of Christ despite eminent suffering. Apostles sealed their faith by dying as martyrs.
History of the Early Church
- First Christians in Palestine were Jews and their compatriots looked down on them and considered them as fallen-away Jews as their beliefs and faith that Jesus was the promised Messiah separated them from the majority of the Jews that did not believe in Jesus as such.
Why Do we Have To study It?
- It transcends us to a greater light as Christians.
- First of all, it is 'His' story. Knowing all of these can lead us to a more substantial identity of the Church and of ourselves.
- We may be inspired of the treasures that the Lord has buried for us in the past.
- We may aspire to continue his saving works for us and realize that the stories of the past may guide us in our contemporary world as it is correlated to build a better foundation for the next generations.
- To simply revive and remember the progress and moving spirit of God's kingdom here on earth.
1. Exclusion from Judaism.
2. Persecution from Roman Culture.
3. The development of heresies.
The Jews fear on how these Christians may affect:
1. Destruction of membership in the synagogues.
2. Ruin the prerogative status with Rome.
3. Zealots hated the sense of lost nationalism.
Zealots were members of a first-century political movement among Judean Jews who sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.
Political Reasons of Rome:
1. The Christians trusted in the belief of the coming of Christ and His kingdom as the ruler and not the emperor.
2. Union of state and religion excluded Christians from political customs.
1. Rejection to engross and participate in sports and theatrical events.
2. Excoriation regarding the gladiatorial games.
3. Christianity gave hope to slaves, women, and the lowest in the social ranks.
4. People were suspicious of those who are different.
5. Superstitions led to blame Christians.
6. People believed that Christians are cannibals.
Heresies are beliefs that challenged common thinking and led the church to develop it's orthodoxy and common scriptures.
1. Declining profit for the building of their idols in support of their pagan and other beliefs.
2. Christians were fall guys.
1. Christianity was monotheistic.
2. Engaging in Agape Feasts.
3. Refusal to adore and glorify the emperor and their gods.
4. Christians called themselves as saints that provoked others.
The Faith of Christianity
Effects on the Romans:
1. The emperors were aggressive and demanded to be worshiped.
2. Emperor worship was made compulsory by the 3rd Century.
Effects on Christians:
1. More persecutions was administered.
2. Emperor Nero wanted to kill both Peter and Paul.
3. Trajan passed laws against Christians and had Ignatius burnt at a stake.
4. They thrived in an era of terror and persecution.
5. Faith was strengthened by the persecution.
The Timeline of A.D. 70-312
150: Justin Martyr dedicates his first apology
- It is a work of Christian apologetic written by Justin Martyr addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius.
- This work provides an argument to stop persecution and a detailed explanation of contemporary Christian practices and rituals.
- It contains three categories:
1. Addressing Criticisms of Christians
2. Jesus Christ as the Logos
3. Early Church Practices
151: Polycarp martyred
- He was the bishop of the church in Smyrna.
- Polycarp was one of the Apostolic Fathers.
- Also, he was the last surviving person to have known an apostle, he is St. John's disciple.
180: Irenaeus wrote against Heresies
- He wrote the book "Adversus Haereses" or plainly "Against Heresies", a book attacking Gnosticism.
- Gnosticism teaches that the world was created by a lesser divinity and that Christ is just an emissary of a remote supreme divine being therefore considered as a serious threat to the church.
196: Tertullian begins writing
- He is known as the "Father of Latin Christianity", an early Christian author from one of Rome's province; Carthage.
- He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin- Christian literature who also fights against Heresies.
215: Origen begins writing
- He is considered as one of the two Church Fathers (the other one is Tertullian).
- He was a writer and a teacher.
248: Cyprian elected bishop of Carthage
- One of the most important early Christian writer.
- He was a controversial figure during his lifetime, his strong pastoral skills, firm conduct during the Novatianist heresy and outbreak of the plague, and eventual martyrdom at Carthage vindicated his reputation and proved his sanity in the eyes of the church.
- means "in bounds" or accepted thinking.
- A belief focusing on two views that Christ is divine and 100% human.
The Creeds developed, from Latin "credo" which means "I believe" were:
- Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
- "Jesus came in the flesh, was bodily resurrected".
The Christians grew stronger in their faith thus making Christianity spread broad.
During those times, the Church faced not only persecution but also heresies:
The 2 main heresies concerning Jesus:
1. People who say Jesus was a great 'Man' but not God (emphasize humanity of Jesus).
2. People who emphasize Jesus' deity.
Lessons to learn:
In this certain era where persecution is prominent, numerous lives of Christians died but were not wasted for what they fought for their faith until the end.
Now, as the present generation, we should learn to follow them as our role models and not by being a martyr or by dying but instead by fighting for what is right and just. We should stand up and stand out to the crowd to show them our faith with conviction and to not be ashamed to proclaim God's message and Christ's love to people.