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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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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What is the origin of the story that the Apostle John taught only “love one another”?

I've heard in a sermon that there is a story about Apostle John's last days, when he was working in Ephesus. The story tells that usually, at the Lord's Supper, John was invited to give a little ...
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Does Augustine ever say that Christians in his time identify their Deus [God] with the Roman deity Saturn?

I first encountered this notion on p. 30 of R.S. Sugirtharajah's book The Bible and the Third World: Precolonial, Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters (2001, Cambridge University Press). In reference ...
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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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Were the early Christians known by any other name?

We see in Acts 11:24-26 (NRSVCE): "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and ...
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What have old Christian writers opined about a couple living with in-laws during marriage?

I understand a question has been asked and was closed on this topic previously, but I wanted to more specifically ask about Christian writings on it, preferably early ones. Often people today use ...
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Why is there no archaeological evidence that Christians existed for 200 years after 70 AD?

This is from the 2/1/2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Society: ...For almost two hundred years after the crucifixion, Roman cities are entirely devoid of any trace of early Christians; to date, ...
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Do any church fathers directly connect “speaking in tongues” with anything other than existing human languages?

One of the arguments made by those who believe that the gift of speaking in tongues has ceased (cessationists) is that the "tongues" spoken of in both Acts and 1 Corinthians 12–14 are "real" human ...
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Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that?

Was there any case of a homosexual priest in the early Church and how did the Church handle that (if it occurred)?
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How was the church structured during the time of 300 AD - 500 AD?

I know in 1054 AD, the Catholic & Orthodox churches had split - creating the great schism, but I'm curious to learn about the earlier history of the church. Are there any historical sources which ...
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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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What Scriptures did Arius use to support teaching that Jesus was created?

Arius probably quoted the following: Revelation 3:14: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. Psalm 8:5–6: thou madest Him ...
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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 ...
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When did the Early Church begin and end their twice weekly fasts?

In the Didache, it tells us "8:2 but keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation day (Friday)." Assuming that some actually did keep these weekly fasts, when exactly did they begin and end? ...
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Was the Gathering Relics of Holy Men in 1st Century common in the Early Church?

I am hoping to understand or know if Jesus' apostles would have had gathering relics of something like the crucifixion in mind at some point when it as still possible to locate them (ex: the true ...
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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, ...
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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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Did early Christians believe the world was about to end?

Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16:28, NIV) Edit: adding another verse in ...
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How did Christians respond to abortion in the early Church?

I think that the churches (all Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox and others) should be involved in the fight against legalized abortion. I am looking to the history of the Church to ...
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Famous Pre Reformation Christian Pastors (Non Catholic)

After the Splintering of the Protestant Revolt, there have been many men who are famous as Pastors and Preachers even up to the present day, the Billy Grahams the Joel Olstiens, John McArthurs, an ...
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For how long did the early Christians share all their possessions?

According to Acts 4:32-37, the early Christians pooled all their possessions and had no private ownership. Is there any record of how long this lasted, and why it ended?
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Did any other early church fathers besides Origen teach the pre-existence of souls?

Origen taught about the pre-existence of our souls, which, among many other of his teachings, was later condemned as heresy. Did any other early church fathers teach this doctrine?
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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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Are any of Arius' writings extant?

In 325 CE, following the defeat of Arius at the Council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine the Great went on a campaign of book burning to eradicate all memory of Arius and his beliefs: After the First ...
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Which church father first taught the perpetual virginity of Mary?

Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck, in his Reformed Dogmatics, III, §366, briefly deals with Mary's perpetual virginity, and touches on the doctrine's history: We do not yet find this idea of Mary'...
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What liturgical languages were used in the worldwide church/broad christiandom around 500 AD?

I understand that the western church used Latin, the eastern church used Greek, and the far eastern church was using Syriac. Was it only those three languages? Or were other languages in use as well ...
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What languages were used during Mass from paleo-Christianty until the Council of Trent?

I know Latin was a vulgarization in attempting to make Mass more accessible to Christians. So which were the languages used in paleo-Christian Mass? Koine Greek, classical Greek, or something else? ...
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When was the formal title of Pope first officially bestowed on the Bishops of Rome?

I’ve read conflicting claims about who the first Pope was. I read this question in a newspaper - "Was Boniface the first true Pope?" Boniface I (418-22) was spoken of as a pope, but so were his ...
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Did St. James write the Divine Liturgy of St. James?

This is related to the question titled "What is the earliest written surviving liturgy?", but different in what it is asking. I was reading on Infogalactic the following. The Liturgy of Saint James ...
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Is Christianity evolved from shamanism? [closed]

Latest researches show with an abundance of evidence, that modern religion (including Christianity) are evolved from primordial believes system as a reflection of its social and political structure. ...
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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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How did the Christian movement distinguish itself from Judaism?

Can anyone explain to me how Christianity distanced itself from Judaism and set itself apart?
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What is the earliest extrabiblical teaching of baptism using a trinitarian formula?

Oneness Pentecostals and others who hold to "Jesus-name" (or "Jesus-only") baptism maintain that the trinitarian formula used by Nicene Christians and others is based on a misunderstanding of Matthew ...
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Which church fathers taught involuntary universal salvation?

Which early church fathers (including those now considered heretics like Origen) pre 1054 taught that "all will be saved", including all of the dead without "hearing and believing"? In other words, ...
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Who was Tychicus?

In studying through the book of Colossians, I noted that the letter was carried from Paul to the church by some dude named Tychicus. Colossians 4:7 (ESV) 7  Tychicus will tell you all ...
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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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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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What is the basis for the claim that the entire New Testament can be reconstructed apart from original and copied manuscripts?

Bit of a mouthy title, but I remember reading a few years ago that the entire New Testament (perhaps with the exception of very few verses) and most of the Old Testament could be reconstructed from ...
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Which Ante-Nicene Church Fathers believed that Jesus is the “eternal Son” of the Father?

Economic trinitarianism, in the pre-Nicene sense of the phrase, says that God is a monad who becomes tripartite for the purposes of creation and redemption. Forms of this view were held by Justin ...
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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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Were there women leaders in the early church?

We have a lot of documents from early church fathers, who were as far as I'm aware always male, but is there any accounts of females acting in a leadership or authority role similar to that of the ...
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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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What is the Christological difference between the early Church fathers and the Arians?

There is a debate on whether or not precursor to Arianism can be found among the earliest church fathers before the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea. Among the early Christian authors whom the early ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...