Questions tagged [church-history]

The history of the Church following the book of Acts

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64
votes
12answers
44k 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?
44
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5answers
16k views

When did the prohibition of marriage for priests in the Catholic church originate?

The Bible mentions that one of the miracles Jesus performed was the healing of Peter's mother-in-law. This makes it quite clear that Peter himself was married, and Peter is the considered the first ...
43
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5answers
5k views

How were the books of the New Testament chosen?

I'm interested in finding out: what the process of choosing the books of the New Testament was, when did it occur, who did the choosing, and what are the supporting evidences
31
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7answers
7k views

Can somebody summarize the different "branches" of Christianity to me, and explain why they exist in the first place?

All my life, I've been massively confused about how there exists separate, seemingly incompatible and separate, "branches" of Christianity. I know about "protestant", "catholic" and then there's ...
27
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?
27
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6answers
8k 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 ...
26
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12answers
26k 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) ...
24
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5answers
35k 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 ...
24
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5answers
19k 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 ...
23
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7answers
4k views

What have Christians taught during past plagues and pandemics?

Christians have lived through many major plagues, epidemics, and pandemics over the past two thousand years. Some of the most severe pandemics were the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death, both of ...
23
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5answers
10k 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 ...
23
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2answers
6k 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 ...
22
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3answers
2k 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 ...
22
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4answers
20k 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 ...
22
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4answers
5k 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 ...
22
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4answers
92k 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. ...
22
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2answers
1k 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....
21
votes
2answers
6k views

What does "see" in "the Holy See" mean?

The seat of the Bishop of Rome is called "the Holy See". What does "see" mean? Does it mean “Holy Sea”, as the word “see” could be an archaic spelling of the word “sea”. It would make sense, because ...
21
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3answers
3k 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?
21
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2answers
4k 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: ...
21
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1answer
591 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" (...
21
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1answer
622 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 each ...
20
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1answer
4k 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 ...
20
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2answers
37k 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 by ...
19
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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. ...
19
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1answer
6k 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 ...
19
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1answer
2k 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? ...
19
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4answers
11k views

What effect did the Reformation have inside the Catholic Church?

I confess my knowledge of church history branches at about the Reformation. I know a quite a bit about Catholicism today, and I have an idea of what it was before the Reformation. These are not at all ...
19
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5answers
3k 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 ...
19
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2answers
38k 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 ...
19
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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 ...
19
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1answer
928 views

How prominent was "prosperity theology" in the early church?

Prosperity theology, or the "health and wealth gospel," is a recent movement that teaches that God promises material blessings, in this life, to those who have faith in him and who do his will. ...
18
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3answers
12k 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?
18
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3answers
5k 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 ...
18
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1answer
2k 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 ...
18
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2answers
4k 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 American)...
18
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2answers
982 views

What is the origin of the idea that Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't mention Lazarus in order to protect him?

As discussed in another question, on why Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't mention the raising of Lazarus, this miracle is only related in John 11 – the Synoptics, though they presumably knew about it, ...
18
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3answers
2k views

When is the first time in church history we find a prayer ending with "in Jesus' name, amen"?

It is commonplace in Christianity today to close prayers "in Jesus' name, amen". I don't see any prayer in the apostolic writings prayed in this way. When does this first emerge in history?
18
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1answer
647 views

Why did the Presbyterian Church of Korea split in 1959?

The number of Presbyterian denominations in Korea is breathtaking: Wikipedia lists dozens of them. From what I can tell, most of these denominations originate in the Presbyterian Church of Korea, ...
17
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7answers
86k 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 ...
17
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3answers
4k 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 ...
17
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2answers
2k views

When did the pronunciation of "Jesus" change?

When did the pronunciation of Jesus change from Yeh-sus to Gee-zus? Why did the name change? How? Where? Update: how did the name pronunciation change? Wouldn't there be people to correct ...
17
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1answer
3k views

Seeking a graphic or flowchart of the history of the formation of Christian denominations

I'm hoping someone can refer me to a graphic, flowchart or even a list of when various Christian denominations formed. For example, a biggie is the Lutheran church breaking off from the Catholic ...
16
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3answers
6k 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
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3answers
11k 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 ...
16
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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 ...
16
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2answers
594 views

How could a seventh-century heretic have possessed papal infallibility?

More specifically: How does the Roman Catholic Church reconcile the doctrine of Papal Infallibility with the Sixth Ecumenical Council's pronouncement regarding Pope Honorius? The Sixth Ecumenical ...
16
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1answer
696 views

What is the earliest known instance of a petition directed to Mary?

A recent answer on this site says that "People have always prayed to Mary as a chief intercessor on their behalf." Such a statement will surely seem excessive to Protestants, who would normally ...
16
votes
3answers
811 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 ...
16
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2answers
7k 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 ...

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