Christianity as an emerging religion in its early days

By looking to the Gentile non-Jewish world and carefully dissociating itself from the Zealot revolutionaries and the Pharisees, Christianity made possible its ideal of a world religion, at the price of sacrificing Jewish particularity and exclusiveness.

This interpretation is debated between those Christian denominations who advocate immersion baptism exclusively and those who practice baptism by affusion or aspersion as well as by immersion.

Early Christianity gradually grew apart from Judaism during the first two centuries and established itself as a predominantly gentile religion in the Roman Empire. Other groups were the Herodianssupporters of the client kingdom of the Herods a dynasty that supported Rome and abhorrent to the Zealotsand the Essenesa quasi-monastic dissident group, probably including the sect that preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Pharisaism as enshrined in the Mishna oral law and the Talmud commentary on and addition to the oral law became normative Judaism. By Stephanie Hertzenberg Shutterstock.

But the attempts of foreign rulers, especially the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes in — bceto impose Greek culture in Palestine provoked zealous resistance on the part of many Jews, leading to the revolt of Judas Maccabeus against Antiochus. In its early days, the faith had few to no children who were born into Christian families.

Churches such as the Catholic and Orthodox use the word "priest" of all the baptized, but apply it in a more specific sense "ministerial priesthood" [33] to bishops and presbyters [34] and sometimes, somewhat loosely, treat "presbyter" and "priest" as synonyms, [35] applying both terms to clergy subordinate to bishops.

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Despite the danger, Christians continued to spread their faith, and the religion continued to grow in the shadows. More than a building The earliest Christians did not have church buildings. This latter sect did not participate in the Temple worship at Jerusalem and observed another religious calendar, and from their desert retreat they awaited divine intervention and searched prophetic writings for signs indicating the consummation.

Christianity owes a great deal to these converts. Humanly speaking, the odds were all stacked against it. They did not have public ceremonies that would introduce them to the public.

In the post-Apostolic church, bishops emerged as overseers of urban Christian populations, and a hierarchy of clergy gradually took on the form of episkopoi overseerspresbyteroi elders[30] and diakonoi ministerial servants. In Palestinian Judaism the predominant note was separation and exclusiveness.

The earliest followers of Jesus composed an apocalypticSecond Temple Jewish sectwhich historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. Baptism in early Christianity Early Christian beliefs regarding baptism probably predate the New Testament writings.

This hierarchy emerged slowly and at different times for different locations. The proper course of action leading to the consummation of the drama, however, was the subject of some disagreement. By the end of the early Christian period, the church within the Roman Empire had hundreds of bishops, some of them Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, "other provinces" holding some form of jurisdiction over others.

What relation the followers of Jesus had to some of these groups is not clear. Under the social and political conditions of the time, there could be no long future either for the Sadducees or for the Zealots: Jewish missionaries to other areas were strictly expected to impose the distinctive Jewish customs of circumcisionkosher foodand Sabbaths and other festivals.

Many others eventually joined Christianity after hearing the sermons of the Apostles, especially Peter and Paul. Sabbath in Christianity According to Bauckham, the post-apostolic church contained diverse practices as regards the Sabbath.

The Orthodox Church continues this practice, submerging the baptized and then pouring water on the head in that formula. The fact that Christianity has never succeeded in gaining the allegiance of more than a small minority of Jews is more a mystery to theologians than to historians.

The Spread of the Early Church

Justin Martyr, a noted early Christian theologian, wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius and described the believers: Courtesy of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge The Hebrew Scriptures presented history as the stage of a providential drama eventually ending in a triumph of God over all present sources of frustration e.

Tertullian acknowledges the practice and that sponsors would speak on behalf of the childrenbut, holding an unusual view of marriage, argues against it, on the grounds that baptism should be postponed until after marriage.

5 Famous Christian Conversions

How did the early Christian church survive? Early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr — described these practices. However, it seems clear that most of the Early Church did not consider observation of the Sabbath to be required or of imminent importance to Christians and in fact worshiped on Sunday.

Early Christianity

Two were found at Pompeii which would have to date back to before 79 AD when the city was destroyed. Clement, a 1st-century bishop of Rome, refers to the leaders of the Corinthian church in his epistle to Corinthians as bishops and presbyters interchangeably. Some believe that the Church in the apostolic period practised infant baptism, arguing that the mention of the baptism of households in the Acts of the Apostles would have included children within the household.

Yet the Didacheone of the earliest Christian writings on liturgical practices, mentions that baptism may occur by pouring water on the head three times using the trinitarian formula i.The spread of the Christian church in its earliest centuries is one of the most amazing phenomena in all of human history.

The Diversity of Early Christianity

The church was considered a religio prava, an illegal and depraved religion. Wave after wave of persecution was unleashed to squash it. Early Christianity is the history of Christianity in antiquity, from its origins (1st century) until the First Council of Nicaea in Nevertheless, the story has become embedded in the early history of Christianity.

If Nero did indeed execute Christians, it was not official Roman policy at this time. The decision to persecute Christians most likely began during the reign of Domitian ( CE). And 40 days after Jesus was resurrected (ten days after he ascended into heaven; see Luke ), that promise was fulfilled when Peter and the early Church were in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

Although many North American Christians hardly notice Pentecost today, traditional European churches consider it a major feast day. Mar 20,  · Author Traces Christianity's Path From 'Forbidden Religion' To A 'Triumph' Religion scholar Bart Ehrman says that the early spread of Christianity transformed the entire history of the West — for better or worse.

His new book is The Triumph Of Christianity. Christianity was extremely diverse during this period, and we probably ought to think of it as a kind of regional diversity; that is, the Christianity of Rome was different than Christianity in North Africa in certain ways, and that was different from what we find in Egypt, and that different from what we find in Syria or back in Palestine.

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Christianity as an emerging religion in its early days
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