Questions tagged [church-history]

The history of the Church following the book of Acts

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62
votes
12answers
42k 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?
20
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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: ...
43
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5answers
4k 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
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. ...
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 ...
12
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1answer
390 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 ...
12
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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 ...
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 ...
14
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2answers
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
2k 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
675 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 ...
3
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1answer
173 views

History of the doctrine of religious vocation in Catholic Church

I am reading Aquinas and I am puzzled by his view on religious vocation and common view in the Church today (I will for sake of simplicity call it a modern view) about religious vocation. In On the ...
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 ...
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 ...
11
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2answers
654 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: Francis ...
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 ...
17
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3answers
752 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
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1answer
3k views

Who was the first Church Father to argue for executing heretics?

When was it first said in Christianity by a church leader that heretics must be put to death? Who came up with this idea and presented it?
13
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1answer
1k 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 ...
24
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5answers
18k 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 ...
22
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4answers
19k 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 ...
12
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3answers
25k 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
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1answer
168 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
529 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" (...
14
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4answers
1k views

What is a brief history on the idea that the Pope is the Antichrist?

I am quite familiar with the Reformers' opposition to the Papacy, and many said the Pope is the Antichrist. What confuses me is this quote from that same page: In calling the pope the "...
14
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3answers
8k 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 ...
6
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2answers
814 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 ...
16
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2answers
752 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 ...
10
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2answers
558 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
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1answer
634 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
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2answers
991 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?
7
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2answers
981 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 ...
4
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1answer
1k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
147 views

By what ordinary methods has God preserved infallibility in the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church teaches that in order for the saving truths of the faith to be preserved, explained, or observed, Christ endowed his Church with the charism of infallibility.1 It is not uncommon ...
27
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6answers
7k 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
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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 ...
15
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1answer
2k 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) ...
22
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4answers
87k 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
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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 ...
15
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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 ...
11
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2answers
292 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
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3answers
3k 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 ...
2
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3answers
413 views

Catholic Church and the Critique of Pagan Worship? [closed]

There has and still is a major Critique of The Catholic Church when it comes to doctrine around the Pope and the leadership structure and also what is seen as the worship of Mary, you may also add the ...
11
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2answers
950 views

When was Sunday first called the Sabbath?

I am looking for the first extant record of Sunday being referred to specifically as the "Sabbath" or "Christian Sabbath" I am not asking which day the early church gathered. I am not asking which ...
11
votes
1answer
531 views

When did the Church in the West begin communicating in Latin, instead of Greek?

Since the Gospels, Paul's epistles, and the other books of the New Testament were written mostly in Greek, as well as much writing of early Church fathers, it stands to reason that much – if not most –...
10
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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
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4answers
16k views

Where did the religious symbol of the 'halo' come from?

I once read somewhere that the 'halo' was inherited by Christianity from ancient worshippers of the Sun.  However, although this seems believable I never bothered to verify its historic credibility - ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Why do Christians have different books in their Bible?

Some Bibles have all 4 Maccabees books, for example, while others don't. Some Bibles have Esdras and Wisdom, and yet others don't. Why is this? If there was an agreement on what books would be in the ...
8
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2answers
2k 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
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1answer
261 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 ...