The history of the Church from the book of Acts and after

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

50
votes
11answers
24k views

Why does Judaism celebrate Sabbath on Saturday and most Christians celebrate Sabbath on Sunday?

When did most Christians (possibly excluding exceptions such as Seventh Day Adventists) and Jews start celebrating Sabbath on different days of the week and why?
26
votes
3answers
4k views

Is Xmas a secular name for Christmas?

I heard that Xmas is a secular way of "taking Christ out of Christmas". When and why did this practice originate? Is there any truth to the claim that it has a secular or "un-Christian" origin?
25
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the history of the concept of a “personal relationship with Jesus”?

It is common these days to hear questions like: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Or... The most important thing is your personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible never ...
20
votes
3answers
885 views

Did the Apostles' Creed originate with the Apostles?

The Apostles' Creed is perhaps the oldest statement of faith in the Christian tradition. Is there any evidence that it was used by Jesus' first followers? If not, when did it originate?
20
votes
2answers
885 views

Why, according to the Catholic Church, did the Reformation happen?

Has the Catholic church ever put forth a theological theory or statement as to why the Reformation happened? Please note.... I'm not asking about how the Reformation happened. History is what it is....
20
votes
3answers
4k views

How did the cross come to be a symbol for Christianity?

I understand WHY the cross became a symbol for Christianity, but HOW did it become a symbol? How did it start and how did it evolve into the symbol (or symbols since there are many variants) we all ...
19
votes
4answers
6k views

Was tithing 10% required or encouraged by the early church?

I cannot find in the New Testament an obligation on Christians to tithe 10% of their income. Instead I read that it is up the individual to decide: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV1984) Each man should ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Why did Rome and Constantinople split in 1054 AD?

The Great Schism represents the break between the Eastern and Western churches. I know that a primary bone of contention that the East had with the West was Rome's insistence on Papal Supremacy. My ...
19
votes
1answer
301 views

When in the development of trinitarian doctrine was the word “persons” first applied to God?

In the Bible, the word "persons" is not used in reference to God, nor are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit called "persons." When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "persons" (...
19
votes
1answer
601 views

What of Augustine's ecclesiology was rejected in the Reformation?

BB Warfield is famous for saying that the Reformation was a triumph of Augustine's soteriology over his ecclesiology. For those who believe that Augustine's ecclesiology was rejected in the ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

From where does the doctrine that there is no time in heaven originate?

I'm quite familiar with the fact that God himself is outside of time, this is very easy to show through scripture. However it seems to be an increasingly popular conception that there is no time in ...
18
votes
7answers
8k views

What is the oldest hymn (with music) that is still sung in churches today?

Using any of the standard hymnals, what is the oldest hymn that people are still singing? For example: The Baptist Hymnal 1975 / 1991 / 2008, The Faith We Sing (Methodist, right?), The (Episcopal)...
18
votes
4answers
9k views

Why does communion frequency vary in different denominations?

Different churches celebrate the Eucharist (Communion, Lord's Supper, ...) with different frequency. At one extreme, Catholic and high Anglican churches tend to celebrate it at least daily. Many ...
18
votes
6answers
8k views

What color was Augustine's skin?

Ok, let me start by saying I don't think more or less of a person because of the color of their skin. I consider racism to be both misguided and a sin. But, when I visualize a person, I like to think ...
18
votes
2answers
17k views

How did the Crusades affect the Pope's power and authority?

How did the Crusades affect the Pope's power/authority, during and after the Crusades? The Crusades, from Wikipedia The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns, called ...
18
votes
1answer
324 views

Early church writers opposed to the baptism of infants?

In his book On Baptism, Chapter 18, "Of the Persons to Whom, and the Time When, Baptism is to Be Administered," Tertullian says According to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of ...
17
votes
1answer
775 views

Did the Church Fathers advocate celibacy?

What is an overview of the Church Fathers' views on celibacy? Did they see celibacy as a higher or more spiritual calling than marriage? Did they see marriage as incompatible with a spiritual life? ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there any writings from the church fathers teaching Original Sin before Augustine?

It has been said by some that Augustine was the first to teach Original Sin, "It was Augustine (354-430 A.D.) who first promoted the idea that; "the fallen nature of Adam was transmitted ...
17
votes
2answers
25k views

What happened to the the practice of women covering their heads?

Why don't more Christian women wear a covering? Most people today might associate the idea with the Old Testament, but references to the custom are actually found in the New Testament too: 1 ...
16
votes
7answers
36k views

What is the evidence that suggests that the Apostle Paul was married?

I have heard people say over the years that it is likely that the Apostle Paul had been married at some point, perhaps prior to his conversion. However, there doesn't seem to be any biblical evidence ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What did Jonathan Edwards have to say about the fact that he owned slaves?

I recently learned from a John Piper podcast that Jonathan Edwards owned slaves. Edwards lived in the early and mid 18th century, long before the American Civil War, and passed away decades before ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it true that early Christians were baptised naked?

I was told that people were baptised naked in the early Christian church. Is this true? If so, could you provide references please?
16
votes
2answers
919 views

How old is old earth creationism?

The answers to What is the biblical evidence for an old Earth? say that biblical arguments for old Earth creationism are based on the ambiguous words used for describing lengths of time in Genesis. ...
16
votes
5answers
553 views

Did Augustine teach sola fide?

It is popularly taught that the reformers declared five distinctive elements of theology that differentiated them from Rome: salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the ...
16
votes
1answer
593 views

How did St John of Damascus view Islam?

John of Damascus was one of the first Christian authors to write about the rise of Islam shortly after the time of Muhammad. I am fascinated by this man but I can't seem to find enough info about this ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the Biblical and historical basis for Christian pacifism?

My understanding is that early Christians were generally pacifists. Today (at least in the U.S.) Christian pacifists are a bit hard to come by. Many quote Romans 13:1-3 to support Christian ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

According to evangelicals, before the Reformation, who were Christians if “Catholics are not Christians”?

Every now and then I hear non-Catholic Christians, usually evangelicals, say things along the lines of "Catholics are not Christians" or "the Catholic Church does not teach the true gospel". Unless I ...
15
votes
3answers
339 views

Who first distinguished between the inerrancy of the Bible and the inerrancy of the original autographs?

It's common these days among those who believe in the inerrancy* of the Bible to limit the statement to the original manuscripts. For example, the Chicago Statement reads: We affirm that ...
15
votes
2answers
594 views

Was the Nicene Creed accepted under duress?

In the book Are you Really that Stupid? Observations of a Skeptical Believer, author Joshua Christian makes the claim that the Nicene Creed was accepted under less than ideal (from a theological ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Is Partialism a real heresy?

This YouTube video identifies Partialism as a heresy. It states that Partialism is the heresy wherein The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each described as 1/3 of God. To me, it's a vaguely familiar ...
14
votes
3answers
821 views

When is the first documented case of Christians praying to the dead saints?

When is the first documented case of Christians praying to the dead saints? (A point in comments was brought up that "asking the dead saints" does not mean "praying to the dead saints" as "prayer is ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the Toronto Blessing?

Just over a decade ago there was much hype in the media about the Toronto Blessing, a phenomenon that began at Toronto Airport Church and subsequently spread from there. What is it? Is it still ...
14
votes
1answer
398 views

What doctrinal changes did the Westminster Confession bring to the Church of Scotland?

After the reforms of the 16th century, the Scots Confession served as the primary confession for the Church of Scotland for just over 80 years. In 1648 it was replaced by the The Humble Advice of the ...
14
votes
3answers
186 views

Dating the sacerdotal hierarchy

What is the earliest generally accepted date for the sacerdotal hierarchy of the Christian Church? My own best guess is that it cannot be much later than the destruction of the Temple, though I ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Why did Christianity survive at all?

I was reading about ... hold on, what was I reading about? Nevermind, I was URL surfing. Jumping around from one link to another I somehow got to this - He [Nero] was known for having captured ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

Have any real people been de-canonized?

People can be canonized (declared to be saints) and these official declarations are held to be infallible. Some people might be considered saints because of popular devotion, without being actually ...
13
votes
1answer
357 views

When was the word “trinity” first applied to God in Christianity?

The word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "trinity" first used in reference to God? After that first (known) occurrence, what are ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Where did the notion that Adam and Eve ate an APPLE come from?

Contrary to popular belief no mention of the fruit being an apple can be found in the Book of Genesis. Jewish commentaries recorded in the Midrash Rabbah speculate that the tree might have been a ...
13
votes
1answer
542 views

What is the earliest historical testimony of the celebration of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ?

What is the earliest historical testimony (e.g., in writing) of the celebration (i.e., a feast) of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether it be on the equivalent of December 25, January 6, or ...
13
votes
1answer
487 views

When did people start to deny Jesus as a historical person?

Somewhat related to this question: What extrabiblical sources support the existence of Jesus in history? Is there any record of when people started to give the idea that Jesus never existed? Is ...
13
votes
2answers
952 views

What evidence is there that Peter was a bishop in Rome?

The Encyclopaedia Brittanica says The claims that the church of Rome was founded by Peter or that he served as its first bishop are in dispute and rest on evidence that is not earlier than the ...
12
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the origin of the Good Friday tradition?

As suggested by this question and this answer, it seems possible that Jesus actually died on a Wednesday, not on a Friday. In light of these competing theories, what is the origin of the Good Friday ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

When did the angel archetype change from masculine to feminine?

Throughout the bible, angels typically appear as men or a masculin form. They're often described as warriors, engaging in battle. (Source) However, in modern, generally Western (or at least ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the Nicene Creed condemn Chiliasm?

I've repeatedly seen it asserted that Chiliasm was condemned as a heresy in the fourth century by the Church when it included the phrase "whose Kingdom shall have no end" in the Nicene Creed. However, ...
12
votes
1answer
471 views

What happened to the wives of priests when celibacy was first instituted in the Catholic church?

Since priests were not originally expected to be celibate, many must have been married when celibacy was first introduced. So what happened to the wives during this time when the institution started?
12
votes
2answers
469 views

What was Anselm's biblical basis for his theory of atonement by satisfaction?

Upon which Bible verses did Anselm base his satisfactory theory of atonement?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Why would cold running water be preferred for baptism?

The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (an early Christian text not part of the New Testament) says of baptism (chapter 7): On the subject of baptism, baptise thus: after having taught ...
12
votes
1answer
821 views

How has the position of the Catholic Church on drugs changed over time?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 2211 The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially [...] the protection of security and health, ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Were the medieval popes examined on a toilet-lid-like chair to establish their masculinity?

Is one of the consequences of the Pope Joan story, whether it was true or false, the use of a marble chair with a large, toilet-like hole in its seat? As the picture above shows, it seems that that ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are the Vatican archives kept secret?

Other than a few documents, most of the Vatican archives are kept secret from the public. What is the official explanation for this? As an outside observer, it seems like the secrecy might be to hide ...