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Questions tagged [early-church]

Relating to first several centuries of the Christian church; usually considered to end in the 4th century

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Why is the Textus Receptus important?

I've seen it mentioned that some translations use the Textus Receptus and others don't, so why is this document important?
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True Doctrines Or Heresies?

I am a Protestant. I have been trying to trace the church from the time of Jesus to the current day. I have a question. In the first half a century I see great debates in the defense and ...
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Who was the first person on record who was killed by a Christian or group of Christians for religious disagreements?

I am trying to learn when did things start to go wrong in Christianity and when did it start to change from a peaceful, loving religious group into a movement that engaged in war and physical ...
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Early Christians who Defended Licitness of Non-Procreative Sex?

Were there any early Christians who defended non-procreative sex as licit?
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Did the early church teach that God performed the first animal sacrifice in Gen 3:21?

An earlier question asks about the first animal sacrifice. The two top answers both suggest that God instituted animal sacrifice by example when He killed an animal to provide Adam and Eve with ...
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Was Origen and/or certain teachings considered a heretic and/or heretical?

What was clear enough has become muddled for reasons unknown about Origen. We can speculate the resurgence of the idea of universal salvation is one reason for Origen's rise. In the seventeenth ...
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Salvation Possible After Death

Which early church fathers (pre 500) taught it was possible for a person after their death to hear and receive salvation in Christ Jesus? We know some groups teach the necessity of water baptism to ...
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Was universalism the majority belief of the early church?

I recently came upon an article that made this statement: According to historical records, Universal Reconciliation was the majority belief of the church during the first five centuries of the ...
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Did anyone before Augustine teach Original Sin? [duplicate]

From what I understand Augustine was the first to introduce the idea of original sin. Did anyone before Augustine state that Adam and Eve's sin was a punishment to all humanity?
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When and from whom is the source that for Christians, God dwells in buildings you go to, rather than in believers?

The question of when Christians started attending church at a building rather than their homes led to a few answers and comments. One got me to thinking and asking this question. When did the ...
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Has anyone in history suffered God’s visible wrath by uttering disrespect & attack on the dignity of the Vicar of Christ?

We know from Apostle’s times that Jesus claimed that an attack or persecution to the Church member’s is a direct attack on Himself what more to a Vicar of Christ. The Road to Damascus "As Saul ...
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Is it true that no post-apostolic theologians before St. Augustine believed in Eternal Security / Assurance of Salvation?

According to Wikipedia in it's entry of 'perseverance of the saints', eternal security has its roots in Church Father St. Augustine of Hippo. Considering that Augustine lived centuries after the ...
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Was any early martyr of the Church sawn in two, as mentioned in Hebrews?

In Hebrews 11:35–37 the author writes: ...Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and ...
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Jesus said I am the Way, how does the Catholic Church best explain this passage?

John 14:6 New International Version (NIV) "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This passage from St.John Gospel had a strong ...
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Are the Seven Sorrows of Mary the seven pillars in Proverbs 9:1?

Proverbs 9:1 English Standard Version (ESV) "Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars." "HEWN" (Thesaurus) Adj. 1. hewn - cut or shaped with hard blows of a heavy cutting ...
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Was Mary’s appearance to St.James the Greater in year 40 AD an apparition or bilocation?

Tradition has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary, sometime before her bodily Assumption into heaven, appeared to the Apostle St. James the Elder while he was living and preaching in Spain. After ...
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Is there a sound doctrine or biblical explanation why Satan is called “the ape of God”?

I encountered this word in the book entitled "The Devil", I forgot the name of the author. it said Tertullian called Satan the "ape of God" but offer very little explanation. We know from the bible ...
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Nature of the Church in 1st Corinthians

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-12 - (“10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same ...
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Are there eyewitness accounts of Jesus Christ written during (or closely after) his lifetime?

In recent times, it has come to my understanding, that the New Testament was written in its entirety only after Jesus Christ has died. I ask for in the search of documents which date to Jesus' ...
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What denominations of Christianity forbid meat from strangled animals?

In Acts 15, at the end of the Apostolic Council the Church sends the following letter to Gentile Christians: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria ...
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Was there any meaningful difference between the terms “presbyter” and “priest” in early Christianity?

There has been much debate between Christian denominations on whether or not there is a special priesthood rooted in apostolic succession. I do not mean to disturb this debate with my question, but I ...
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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: ...
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What is the earliest explicit mention of infant baptism?

The Bible describes several adults being baptized (notably Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch that Phillip baptized). And while it mentions many others being baptized, it doesn't explicitly mention ...
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Why did the early Christians think Jesus would return soon?

In multiple New Testament passages the Disciples and even Jesus appear to think He would return within one generation or so: Jesus says, 'What I say to you, I say to all: Watch, for you know not the ...
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When did the term “New Testament” first come into usage?

While reading William Bridge's, "The Wounded Conscience Cured," (1642) I came across Bridge's usage of the term "New Testament" : "And in the New Testament, Romans 13.1..." -William Bridge, "...
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What do Protestants think about canon laws given by the Church Fathers?

In the seven ecumenical councils, and throughout early Christian history, various Church Fathers gave certain canon laws, or rules that the clergy and laity had to follow. What do Protestants think ...
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Ancient Western Christianity & Indian Christians

India is well outside the bounds of Roman influence, but there is evidence of Christianity in India very early. After the faith reached India, how much contact was there with Christianity in the ...
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What are the traditional reasons ascribed to why God saw it fit that Jesus be born of a virgin?

According to the early church fathers, why did God decide that Jesus would be born of a virgin? I would imagine that someone like Augustine would say that it has something to do with why he is ...
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What was the socioeconomic makeup of early Christian Gnostic sects?

There is ample evidence that early Christianity was socioeconomically very inclusive, being made up of the poor, the wealthy, men, women, the educated, uneducated, etc. For example, Pliny the ...
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Why did early Christians believe in the Real Presence?

I'd imagine that if Christ directly taught the doctrine of the Real Presence, then one of the Gospels would have recorded it. So given that fact that it isn't directly taught, let us assume for the ...
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What did “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” say about the Epiphany?

I was reading the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" to answer another question on this site and chanced upon a strange tidbit that I don't understand the meaning of: The apostles further appointed: ...
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What did early Christians say about apostolic succession?

Did early Christian writers teach apostolic succession or reject it? How do their teachings on this topic compare with contemporary and significant historical understandings of apostolic succession?
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When the early church was formalising the canon, what did they understand by the word 'Inspired'?

When the early church was formalising the Biblical canon, what specific definition of the word 'inspired' did they have in regard to the biblical literature? I'm curious about how this relates to the ...
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Why is the Bishop of Jerusalem still Greek?

I understand that after the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 135 AD, that Jews (not even Christian Jews) were not allowed in Jerusalem, and that Christian bishops were forced to be gentiles. The last known bishop ...
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Was the 66 book Bible being used by early Christians?

Referring to the most widely used Protestant canon of exactly (and only) the content of these 66 books.
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How did Christian come to be the name for believers?

Who changed the name believer to Christians. Are there bible verses calling the followers of Jesus Christ Christian? If yes, were are the verses? If no, who coined the word and under what condition ...
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What was the general opinion of the Early Church Fathers concerning the giants/nephilims?

What was the general opinion of the Early Church Fathers concerning the giants/nephilims, described in the following verses? Genesis 6:4 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and ...
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Are there any surviving writings by Marcion or is everything we know of him what his enemies wrote of him?

I'm growing increasingly suspicious that Marcion was more of a dispensationalist or "hyper-dispensationalist" who fell victim to misrepresentation by those who either did not understand him or agree ...
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What was the first recorded near death experience of a Christian claiming to have one?

What is the first recorded description of a Christian claiming to have what we would today call a near death experience? Did perhaps any of the early church fathers describe such an event that ...
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What are the historical arguments against a literal interpretation of Luke 22:44?

This question led me to reread Luke 22:44 in various translations, and I noticed that all of them used a comparison, as if Jesus’s sweat was similar to great drops of blood, but not actually great ...
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What was the early-Christendom position on attributing pagan names to Christian concepts (mainly god)? Was there opposition to doing this?

In the ancient times, the newly-converted European cultures naturally reused their native "pagan" words to refer to some of the newly-acquired Christian concepts, rather then re-inventing the wheel. ...
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Do we have or know of additional writings from the four Gospel Evangelists? [duplicate]

The New Testament of the Christian Bible is commenced with four Gospels: Matthew's, Mark's, Luke's, and John's. Early church tradition has taught us that Matthew and John's Gospels were written by two ...
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How did attitues to the deutero-canonical books in the Western Churches change during the second millenium? [closed]

What was the pre-Reformation understanding and how did that change during and after the Reformation Era for Protestants and for Catholics? What is the current position?
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Why does church tradition teach that one third of the angels fell with Lucifer when no verse supports that

The verse used is Rev. 12:4, but the context takes place in the midst of the great tribulation and not before Adam sinned. Daniel 8:10 seems to confirm that the stars that the dragon flung down were ...
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In which writings does Tertullian apply the concept of satisfaction to salvation?

Everett Ferguson, in Church History, I.21.IV, cites Tertullian (d. ~240) as a proto-satisfaction theory of atonement thinker: The sacrificial or satisfaction theory had an initial statement by ...
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Early Church Fathers and “Q”

Starting with the early church, a large portion of Christian tradition has held the Augustinian hypothesis which believes that Matthew's Gospel was the first to be written, then Mark's, then Luke's, ...
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What Defines an Early Church Father?

There are a number of early writings about Christianity apart from Scriptures (the NT 27 books per this question). Some of those authors are considered by some to be what are called Early Church ...
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How many New Testament Manuscripts do we have from the period between the first century and the fourth century?

How many early New Testament Manuscripts do we have from the first four centuries of the Christian faith? (It does not have to be a complete manuscript of a book to count)
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Do any early Church Fathers record the event of the ceasing of spiritual gifts?

A central belief held by an overwhelming majority of Cessationists is that the "supernatural spiritual gifts" (e.g., tongues, prophecy, healing, miracles, etc.) ceased with the end of the apostolic ...
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Were Christians in the Roman Empire known to rescue abandoned babies?

I've read in a Christian publication that one of the things that distinguished early Christian groups in the Roman empire was that they would rescue babies that had been abandoned by their parents. ...