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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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What are the key differences between the Western and Eastern Christianity?

I'm currently reading about Eastern Christianity as a part of my study. Those are the churches that have existed since early times, such as the Nestorians, the Jacobites, the Coptics, and others. But ...
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What did the Apostolic and ante-Nicene Fathers believe about Sheol/Hades?

What did the Apostolic and ante-Nicene Fathers believe about Sheol / Hades? Did they believe that it was a real supernatural place that houses the spirits of the dead? Did they believe that it was a ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Did 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 ...
Logan Baxter's user avatar
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3 answers
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Are there any biblical examples of Early Church disciples praying to deceased saints in order to request their intercessory prayer?

Certain Christian denominations, notably Catholicism and Orthodoxy, hold the belief that living Christians can pray to deceased saints in order to request their supportive intercessory prayer. Is ...
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6 votes
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Is there any historical evidence of Early Church Christians denying the divinity of Jesus during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD?

I'm essentially asking the counter-question to this one. Is there any historical evidence of Early Church Christians (post-New Testament) openly denying the divinity of Jesus in the 1st and 2nd ...
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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 ...
El'endia Starman's user avatar
13 votes
7 answers
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Into whose name should Christians be baptised? [closed]

Jesus said, "...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." However, the early church apparently baptised in the name of ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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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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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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Is there any historical evidence that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit were still in operation after the apostolic age?

Once the apostolic age finished with the death of the apostles, is there any evidence that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit (e.g., tongues, prophecy, words of knowledge, healing, miracles, etc.) ...
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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 ...
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Did the church fathers or OT talk about the visible and invisible church?

In the Reformation, the doctrine of the distinction between the visible and invisible church was important in the Reformers' claim not to have started a rogue church. I am wondering... Given that it ...
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When and how was the doctrine of the one divine will established?

Many (perhaps most) Trinitarian theologians says that the Father, Son, and Spirit each possess the one singular divine will. This is a stronger statement than saying they are "united in will", which ...
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9 votes
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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?
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What did the early church believe about the "rapture"?

There are a lot of differing opinions on when the rapture will take place (pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation). From my own attempts to research the topic and look at Scripture from ...
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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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Is there any historical evidence that the early church believed in the divinity of Jesus?

Is there any historical evidence that the early church believed in the divinity of Jesus? What about the first century? What about the second century (and so on)? Was the belief in the divinity of ...
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26 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
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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?
Bruce Alderman's user avatar
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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?
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3 answers
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What is the earliest written surviving liturgy?

The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, for example, has been traced to the fourth century, and is purported to be based upon even earlier forms. The Liturgy of St James is even more ancient, and is ...
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Did anyone understand the Holy Spirit to be a person prior to the Council of Constantinople in AD 381?

Do we know of any case of the concept of the Holy Spirit being a person existing among Christians before the Constantinople council of 381 A.D.? The reason I am asking this question is because one ...
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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 Proverbs 8:22–25: ...
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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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6 answers
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Which NT books were written after the destruction of the temple?

The temple was destroyed sometime around AD 70. Which New Testament books were written after that catastrophe? Do these books comment at all on the destruction of the temple?
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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'...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
585 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, ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church?

Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church? If so, where's the evidence? The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the ...
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Did any church fathers after Chrysostom believe that Mary committed sin?

The belief that Mary never committed sin has been around a long time, much longer than the final formulation of the doctrine of her immaculate conception (which happened around the 13th century). ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
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3 answers
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What support is there in the Patristic writings for Marian Devotion?

Specifically, I want to know if there is evidence in the early Church of Christians venerating Mary. Evidence from the time following Mary's earthly life is preferred, though not required.
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Did Pelagius believe in "faith alone"?

The doctrine of "faith alone," or sola fide, teaches that people are justified only by their faith in Christ, not by any works they do. It was emphasized during the Protestant Reformation, where it ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
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What view of eschatology did the early church believe?

I have recently been studying eschatology and have been looking at the main views of eschatology. So far, I have found four (I apologize in advance if I have misrepresented your view. I would ...
Mathematician's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
961 views

How did the early church fathers refute Adoptionism?

Adoptionism is a Christological heresy which denies the pre-existence of Jesus, and therefore denies Jesus's title as "God the Son" in the Trinitarian conception of the Christian God. See the ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Anne's user avatar
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Is there any historical evidence that the early church believed in the doctrine of intercession of saints during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD?

Motivated by a related question, I would like to know if there is any historical evidence that the early church believed in the doctrine of intercession of saints during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.
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6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Did the 1st Century Church Accept the Deuterocanonical books?

I understand that both the Eastern Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church accept the Deuterocanonical books as scripture. However, since their founding (I understand that they would both claim to begin ...
Luke Hill's user avatar
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6 votes
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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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4 answers
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Are there any denominations that defend their doctrines by appealing to extra-biblical evidence from the 1st/2nd century of the early Church?

When it comes to controversial doctrines, I have a tendency to pay attention to what the early Church had to say on the subject. Of course, the most important early Church writings are compiled in the ...
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4 votes
4 answers
3k views

Did the early church believe that St. Peter was the first pope?

Roman Catholics believe that St. Peter was the first Pope, had primacy over the church and was given a pastoral role by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, we know the scripture argument for the papacy, ...
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4 votes
3 answers
829 views

What did the Early Church Fathers believe about the fate of the unreached?

Many individuals have died and continue to die without ever having heard the message of salvation. Illustrative examples of this are everyone who was born before Jesus, individuals contemporary to ...
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2 votes
3 answers
130 views

How does the LDS view of achieving godhood compare with the early church view of Theosis?

Many church fathers, from Justin Martyr to Tertullian, preached Theosis. For an example, take St. Clement of Alexandria, who says: "Yea, I say, the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn ...
Luke Hill's user avatar
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1 vote
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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, no ...
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1 vote
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What are the strongest apologetic arguments for the existence of miracles and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit during the apostolic age?

The four gospels, the book of Acts and the epistles by the apostle Paul affirm very clearly that the early Church was endued with power from on high. Christians during the apostolic age had access to ...
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0 votes
0 answers
67 views

What is the Cessationist view on miracle reports surrounding St. Macarius of Egypt?

Macarius of Egypt: Macarius of Egypt (c. 300 – 391) was a Coptic Christian monk and hermit. He is also known as Macarius the Elder or Macarius the Great. St. Macarius was born in Lower Egypt. A late ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did Tertullian forbid Christians from being school teachers?

While reading Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language, I came across the following quote, in the context of how early Christians separated themselves from the world around them for fear of ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
31k views

Why did early Christians in Acts still go to the Jewish temple every day?

In the Acts of the Apostles we find that the early believers were every day visiting the temple and afterwards meeting in each others homes. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple ...
Mike's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
733 views

What is the earliest use of the phrase "God the Son"?

Does the phrase "God the Son" appear in manuscripts or early translations (Textus Receptus, Vulgate, etc.) of the New Testament scriptures? If not, when did the phrase enter into the Christian ...
Andrew's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why did Christianity survive at all? [closed]

I was reading about ... hold on, what was I reading about? Nevermind, I was URL surfing. Jumping around from one link to another I somehow got to this - He [Nero] was known for having captured ...
Monika Michael's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
818 views

Did St. Thomas come to India?

Did St. Thomas the apostle come to India? Most of the Indian people believe that he came to south India, and spread the good news even before the Roman Catholic Church is formed. However, the church ...
dimancrown's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

What did "one baptism" in the Nicene Creed mean back then?

In the following statement in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (AD 381), what exactly does "one" mean for the framers (i.e., not to subsequent interpretation)? English: We [or I] ...
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