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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16
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4answers
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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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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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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 ...
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2answers
758 views

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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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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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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795 views

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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857 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?
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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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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 ...
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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 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?
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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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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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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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4answers
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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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What is an overview of early church opposition to authorities?

What is an overview of early church father expressions of opposition against authorities? I'm looking for things like: Protests against state-/government-sponsored injustice Arguments against the ...
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Did Christ know who He was as a youth? [closed]

Did Jesus Christ know as a baby that He was the Son of God? When He worked carpentry with Joseph, His earthly father, did He know then Who or What He was? Did He sense in anyway prior to being a ...
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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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What is the earliest Christian use of a worship leader?

Music directors existed in Old Testament times (see these 56 references). But was there such a thing as what we now call a worship leader in Christian (New Testament and early church) times? Or is it ...
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1answer
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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Was regular weekly fasting a widespread, formal tradition in the early Church?

In The Story of Christianity,* author Justo Gonzalez offers the following: There were indeed times set aside for sorrow for one's sins, in particular during the two weekly days of fasting, which ...
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1answer
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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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Is there any explanation from the early church Fathers as to why there is no record of the Apostles being baptized?

I never really noticed this before but it does seem odd that everyone is to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet it does not appear that the Apostles were. At least there is ...
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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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What is the purpose of asceticism?

Christians have been practicing asceticism for thousands of years. Why? I would prefer sources from before the Great Schism. If not are available I will accept Orthodox teaching from after that time. ...
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How does the Catholic Church explain their belief that Jesus chose Peter to build upon?

Jesus was God and knew well the character and faults of Peter his disciple. The gospels give us a look at his impetuosity, asking Jesus 'if it is you, tell me to walk on the water'; arrogance, ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
377 views

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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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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Other than Augustine, which Church Fathers have directly influenced John Calvin's teaching of “double-predestination?”

"By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are ...
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Does Jesus's soul exist before his incarnation?

I am referring to clause III in "The Anathematisms of the Emperor Justinian Against Origen": If anyone says or thinks that the soul of the Lord pre-existed and was united with God the Word before ...
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What exactly is Peter's connection to Rome according to Catholic dogma?

This answer confused me. I tried wading through the sources, but then I decided I'd just ask here. According to Catholic dogma: Was Peter ever in Rome? I'm sure the answer is yes, but I'd like to see ...
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How were women to serve the church according to the Apostolic Fathers?

Did the Apostolic Church Fathers write about the capacity in which women were to serve in the early church, or expand the capacity in which they served the church? In other words, what were they ...
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What do the Nicene, Apostles, Chalcedonian, Creeds add to the concept of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost that is not found directly in the Bible?

There were opposing views especially on the nature of God and His relationship to Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. That was in part the reason for the councils. To try to unify the church and come to ...
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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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1answer
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Was St. John Chrysostom Pelagian?

In this answer about Pelagianism (Did Pelagius believe in "faith alone"?) the author makes a sort of apology for Pelagianism and claims that St. John Chrysostom was Pelagian himself. The ...
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What, exactly, is the “early Church”?

We use the phrase "The Early Church" all the time around here, which leads me to ask... What exactly is "the early Church"? The New testament Church is easy to define – the fellowship of believers ...
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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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1answer
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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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Where the church should gather?

Ok, where i gather, we have a Brethren-like "house church" system, which means that we have no building for the chuch meeting. But the number of members are increasing and we are about to face a ...