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Questions tagged [church-history]

The history of the Church following the book of Acts

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13answers
39k 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?
21
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the origin of the moral-civil-ceremonial distinction of the Old Testament law?

This distinction is often called tripartite division of the law. I ran across this series of blog posts, which considers the division of the law into "moral", "civil", and "ceremonial" parts: ...
19
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
12
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1answer
334 views

At what point did the Roman See start self-identifying as the Catholic Church?

The Great (East-West) Schism was a massive trainwreck centuries in the making and centuries in its outworking. At what point in the process did the Roman see start identifying itself as the Catholic ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Why is the KJV frequently said to be the “true” translation?

This question actually centers on the KJV translation itself. It's not hard to find a church in America (particularly in the south) where they believe that the KJV is the one true translation and that ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Have the dietary prohibitions of Acts 15:20 been applied to Christians today?

An answer to this question references Acts 15:20, which says -- (19) Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, (20) but should write to them to ...
14
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3answers
1k views

When was the Bible formally declared to be inerrant and/or infallible?

Fundamentally*, an inerrant Bible is one without errors and an infallible Bible is one that cannot have errors, as David Stratton pointed out in his answer. As for the Roman Catholic Church, all of ...
6
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1answer
504 views

Why aren't the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches in communion with each other?

Both the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Church worship the same God and the Blessed Mother Virgin Mary and the Saints and the Holy Trinity. Do language and cultural differences separate them? What ...
16
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
19
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4answers
17k 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
2answers
4k 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 ...
17
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3answers
589 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
770 views

When did “he descended into hell” become part of the Apostles' Creed?

There seems to be much more debate over one clause of the Apostles' Creed than the entire rest of it put together, and that is the "descent into hell" (or "hades") clause, also known as the "harrowing ...
12
votes
3answers
22k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
149 views

At what point did the Eastern Church start self-identifying as the Orthodox Church?

The Great (East-West) Schism was a massive trainwreck centuries in the making and centuries in its outworking. At what point in the process did the Eastern Church start identifying itself as the ...
21
votes
1answer
469 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" (...
16
votes
2answers
607 views

What has the LDS Church (Mormons) historically taught about the Curse of Cain and dark skin?

I have heard that people with black skin had been denied certain things in the Mormon Church until the past 30 years or so and that this has something to do with the Curse of Cain. What has been the ...
14
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
508 views

What's the basic premise behind “restorationist” movements?

To the untrained ear, the labels used in Christian circles for some groups of churches as either "reformational" or "restorationist" don't seem that different. If the label "reformed" is a direct ...
9
votes
1answer
471 views

Was William of Ockham the first sedevacantist?

Ockham (cf. this article on him by the Catholic logician Paul V. Spade) invented his dead-end nominalist philosophy in order to justify his being against the papacy (cf. Thomist John Deely's Four Ages ...
8
votes
2answers
830 views

What was Martin Luther's perspective on the early Christian church?

Was Luther's belief that the church's foundation was faulty to begin with, or that through time it fell into an apostate state and needed to be reformed back?
4
votes
1answer
887 views

What major changes have American Presbyterians made to the Westminster Confession of Faith?

As someone who generally affirms the Westminster Confession of Faith, one comment I hear periodically is that I therefore must believe that the Pope is the Antichrist. However, the Confession ...
26
votes
6answers
6k 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 uses ...
19
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
523 views

What is the Catholic Church's historical position on capital punishment: how did we get here?

It's big news in the internet today. Pope Francis declares death penalty unacceptable in all cases. The Pope made specific changes to the catechism reflecting this. From the New York Times: ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between classical and revised dispensationalism?

I understand from Wikipedia and elsewhere that dispensationalism can be broken into three main categories: Classical (Scofield, Chafer) Traditional, revised, or normative (Ryrie, Walvoord) ...
20
votes
4answers
75k views

What is the origin of praying hands folded?

I was taught in Sunday school to pray hands folded. On the other hand, there's no biblical mention of the practice (as far as I know). It actually doesn't seem to matter which position we pray in. ...
19
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the history of the doctrine of inerrancy?

Is there any reason, biblical or otherwise, not to believe that the doctrine of inerrancy is relatively new (past two hundred years). I found the following statement on Wikipedia. "It has in fact ...
-1
votes
4answers
129 views

How did Christians get from the biblical feast of Passover to Easter sunday?

Can any one offer an educated answer of how the Christian Church moved from Passover on the 14th day of the first biblical month to the day we now call Easter? (You can even pretend Passover and ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a brief history on the idea that the Papacy is the Anti-Christ?

I am quite familiar with the Reformers opposition to the Papacy and many said the Papacy is the Anti-Christ. What confuses me is this quote from that same page: In calling the pope the "antichrist,"...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

What is “ Origenism”

I ran across this quote in the Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St. Anastasius I A pontiff who is remembered chiefly for his condemnation of Origenism. A Roman by birth, he became pope in 399, ...
10
votes
2answers
211 views

What is the basis for saying that the Gospel of Thomas was accepted as scripture by early Christians?

In an answer here, Dick Harfield writes: we know that [the Gospel of Thomas] and (probably) Q were treated as scripture by early Christians. Reading the Wikipedia article on the Gospel of Thomas, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Martin Luther teach penal substitution?

The Wikipedia article on Penal Substitution states (under the heading "Differing views"): Critics, however, argue that the theory of penal substitution is solely a later development, only forming ...
7
votes
1answer
221 views

Is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves and impart blessings with the Cross?

Among the Christians who make the sign of the cross [cf. this @fredsbend's answer], is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves with the Cross? The best answer will also include when ...
6
votes
2answers
368 views

Was there a non-Augustinian response to universalism in the early Church?

Most are aware of Augustine's abandonment of his universalism and his later adoption of eternal conscious torment in literal fire. His rejection of universalism is ultimately founded upon a ...
5
votes
2answers
366 views

Hierarchy of Catholicism, government, and papal teaching

The bible teaches that we should submit to our governments in: Romans 13:1-2 (KJV) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ...
5
votes
2answers
539 views

How does the Roman Catholic Church interpret predestination?

I've been trying to determine how the Roman Catholic church interprets the idea of predestination. From what I have found so far it appears to be a view more rooted in single predestination, though I ...
21
votes
3answers
2k 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?
16
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

To whom does Pope Francis confess?

So, Popes sin too. (At least, I assume they do.) Presumably, they confess their sin and do penance. Who hears his confession? Is it an office that rotates, or one individual? And, does the Pope ...
8
votes
1answer
245 views

Are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit explicitly identified as “persons” in any writings directly associated with the Nicene Creed?

Neither version of the Nicene Creed (325 or 381) contains the word "person," in the singular or in the plural. Are there any extant writings that came out of, or are closely associated with, either ...
7
votes
1answer
585 views

Did John Calvin ever read Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica?

I've read in a few places online (here, for example), that John Calvin did not have access to Thomas Aquinas's great treatise, Summa Theologica. This is mind-blowing. Consider: The last edition of ...
7
votes
2answers
598 views

When did the Latin Catholic Church begin to generally require fasting only one hour prior to the Eucharist?

According to Wikipedia's article on eucharistic discipline, the Latin rite of Catholicism requires only one hour of fasting before the Eucharist (cf. Canon 919 §1), but that prior to 1955, the fasting ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

Has the term “born again” always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church?

Has the term "born again" always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church? St. Irenaeus (202) wrote the following in 185, which many claim it refers to infant baptism: ...
6
votes
3answers
376 views

Why is “faith” omitted as a doctrinal consideration in TULIP (five point) Calvinism?

Throughout the Bible “faith” coupled with God’s “grace” is essential for salvation. The I in TULIP stands for irresistible “grace”, what role does “faith” hold in Calvinism and why is it isolated ...