After the Apostles Learning from Early Church History Laindon Bible Class 10 Sept 2008
Why Study it? <ul><li>Is this unnecessary? </li></ul>Is this useful? The benefits of this study The problems encountered I...
Seeing through  the mist 0  33  67  100   200   300   400 The Apostles Council at Nicea (325) Athanasius confirms 66 books...
A Timeline
A Timeline
A Timeline
A Timeline
The Diverse pressures on the early ecclesias <ul><li>No New Testament scriptures yet </li></ul><ul><li>Variation in litera...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Docetists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doceo  – to appear/seem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chr...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Adoptionists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Late 2 nd  cent Theodotus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><l...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Ebionites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Origin uncertain ( ebyon =  poor? ) </li></ul></ul><ul...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Marcionites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marcion b. 100AD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith sa...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Gnostics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gnosis =  knowledge (1 Tim 6:20) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Gnostics (continued) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library </li><...
Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Montanists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Montanus, region of Phrygia mid 2 nd  cent </li></ul>...
Summary Apostolic Teaching 1 John 4:1 & 2 John 7 “many false prophets” Docetists Montanists Adoptionists Gnostics Marcioni...
Non-canonical  writings <ul><li>Gospel according to Hebrews </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of the Ebionites </li></ul><ul><li>Go...
Validity of the Canon A cross reference table of Writings and Authorities indicating whether the Authority consider the Wr...
Early Writings <ul><li>Clement of Rome </li></ul><ul><li>95/96 AD (possibly Clement in Phil 4:3) </li></ul><ul><li>From Ro...
Early Writings <ul><li>Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch </li></ul><ul><li>110AD: 7 genuine letters written on journey to Rome <...
Early Writings <ul><li>Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna </li></ul><ul><li>110AD: Letter to Philippians (Ignatius has just left) ...
Early Writings <ul><li>The Didache </li></ul><ul><li>100AD: A “church manual” </li></ul><ul><li>Part 1: the ways of life a...
Conclusions <ul><li>A sweeping overview  </li></ul><ul><li>Links with NT to see “what happened next” </li></ul><ul><li>Key...
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After The Apostles Early Church History

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After The Apostles Early Church History

  1. 1. After the Apostles Learning from Early Church History Laindon Bible Class 10 Sept 2008
  2. 2. Why Study it? <ul><li>Is this unnecessary? </li></ul>Is this useful? The benefits of this study The problems encountered In a sense – yes Scripture makes us wise unto salvation … but how was scripture preserved? In its place - yes “ be ye therefore wise as serpents” Insight into transition from spirit-gifts Confirmation of beliefs Confirmation of practices Evidence of sources of doctrinal corruption Answers to church claims about doctrines Awareness of doctrines prone to corruption Incomplete, distorted, falsified records
  3. 3. Seeing through the mist 0 33 67 100 200 300 400 The Apostles Council at Nicea (325) Athanasius confirms 66 books of canon (367) Constantine’s Edict of Milan (313)
  4. 4. A Timeline
  5. 5. A Timeline
  6. 6. A Timeline
  7. 7. A Timeline
  8. 8. The Diverse pressures on the early ecclesias <ul><li>No New Testament scriptures yet </li></ul><ul><li>Variation in literacy capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Explosion in growth of ecclesias </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of languages </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical and logistical difficulties </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural diversity – Jew & Greek </li></ul><ul><li>HUMAN NATURE – ability of the human mind to receive something Divine and twist it beyond recognition in an instant (eg Acts 8:18) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Docetists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doceo – to appear/seem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Christ was so completely divine that he could not be human, could not have a material body, could not suffer and die, but only appear to. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus was flesh and blood, but Christ was a separate person who left just before Jesus died </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gospel of Peter (a 2 nd cent forgery) found in the tomb of an 8 th cent monk. “he was silent as if he had no pain” “my power, my power, you have left me behind”. Refuted as heresy in a pamphlet by Serapion bishop of Antioch 199AD. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Adoptionists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Late 2 nd cent Theodotus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus was a mere man, the product of a normal relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He was chosen by God at his baptism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Castigated as heresy by Victor of Rome 189AD by declaring that he was not mere man but was also God. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Ebionites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Origin uncertain ( ebyon = poor? ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jewish Christians, Jesus was the Jewish Messiah from a Jewish God to the Jewish people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus’ followers needed to become Jews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observed Sabbath, circumcision & ate Kosher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not believe Jesus pre-existed (only used Matthew and Luke’s gospels + the Hebrew OT) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adoptionist views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He kept the Law perfectly and died as an effective ‘legal’ sacrifice, so his death only abolished the sacrifices of the law. The rest of it still had to be kept. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Condemned as heresy by Tertullian </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Marcionites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marcion b. 100AD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith saves, not works of the Law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God of the OT & Jews – hatred & vengeance because no one kept his law perfectly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God of Jesus came to save people from this God, referred to him as “God the Stranger”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejected the Old Testament </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jesus was not a part of this material world, a phantasm “in the likeness of sinful flesh” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marcionite churches lasted until 5 th cent </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Gnostics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gnosis = knowledge (1 Tim 6:20) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One unknowable, spirit God, many offshoots (Pleroma) material world is a cosmic catastrophe brought into being by one of these ‘offshoots’. It creates man but inanimate - the one God implants his divine spark in man. Salvation from material world is for divine spark to learn the secret knowledge to be liberated. Christ provides the knowledge but was not a material being of flesh and blood. With this knowledge, the divine spark is released to live eternally in the Pleroma. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Led to 2 extremes of view on what to do while in the body, 1 - do whatever you like, 2 - punish the body by ascetism </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Gnostics (continued) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Gospel of Thomas (a forgery) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is the sayings of Jesus that save because they impart the knowledge, not his atoning sacrifice. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Diverse pressures continued <ul><li>Montanists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Montanus, region of Phrygia mid 2 nd cent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strict ethical standards, including no divorce or re-marriage even after death of a partner. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Claimed the gift of prophecy, made predictions about a New Jerusalem which failed to materialise. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tertullian joined the Montanists in later life. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Summary Apostolic Teaching 1 John 4:1 & 2 John 7 “many false prophets” Docetists Montanists Adoptionists Gnostics Marcionites Ebionites Jewish Tradition Jewish philosophical views of God Greek philosophy (Platonic) Law of Moses Nature of Christ Spirit gifts External influence
  17. 17. Non-canonical writings <ul><li>Gospel according to Hebrews </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of the Ebionites </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of the Egyptians </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Mary </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of the Nazareans </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Nicodemas </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Peter </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Philip </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of the Saviour </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Thomas </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of Truth </li></ul><ul><li>Gospel of James </li></ul><ul><li>Secret Gospel of Mark </li></ul>Acts of John Acts of Paul Acts of Peter Acts of Pilate Acts of Thecla Acts of Thomas 1 Clement 2 Clement 3 Corinthians The Didache Epistle of Barnabas Letter to the Laodiceans Letter of Peter to James Apocalypse of Paul Apocalypse of Peter Shepherd of Hermas Luke 1:1 “many have taken in hand to set forth…
  18. 18. Validity of the Canon A cross reference table of Writings and Authorities indicating whether the Authority consider the Writings canonical http://www.ntcanon.org/table.shtml
  19. 19. Early Writings <ul><li>Clement of Rome </li></ul><ul><li>95/96 AD (possibly Clement in Phil 4:3) </li></ul><ul><li>From Rome to Corinth encouraging them to reinstate the church elders who have been forced out of office. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of service to God (as Heb 11) </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of the view men of faith had of themselves (eg Moses, David) </li></ul><ul><li>Deals with problem of faction </li></ul><ul><li>Appointment of bishops, elders and deacons </li></ul><ul><li>Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3, 2 Tim 2:2, Titus 1:7 </li></ul>
  20. 20. Early Writings <ul><li>Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch </li></ul><ul><li>110AD: 7 genuine letters written on journey to Rome </li></ul><ul><li>To follow leadership of those bishops appointed by the Apostles </li></ul><ul><li>Refutes the teaching that Jesus did not really suffer in the flesh and die. </li></ul><ul><li>Condemns those urging to adopt Jewish customs </li></ul><ul><li>Much debate about his views of Christ </li></ul><ul><li>Urges Roman believers not to intervene in his trial and martyrdom </li></ul>
  21. 21. Early Writings <ul><li>Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna </li></ul><ul><li>110AD: Letter to Philippians (Ignatius has just left) </li></ul><ul><li>Response to Philippians asking advice on how to deal with an elder who has embezzled ecclesial funds </li></ul><ul><li>“ call them back as frail and wayward members so as to heal your entire body” </li></ul><ul><li>Itinerant teachers who do not confess that Jesus came in the flesh is an antichrist, the firstborn of satan. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Early Writings <ul><li>The Didache </li></ul><ul><li>100AD: A “church manual” </li></ul><ul><li>Part 1: the ways of life and death, focus on greatest commands – similar to sermon on the mount </li></ul><ul><li>Part 2: Baptism – cold running water </li></ul><ul><li>Fasting – on different days from Jews </li></ul><ul><li>Pray 3 times a day </li></ul><ul><li>Prayers for wine and bread </li></ul><ul><li>Resolve quarrels before partaking of emblems </li></ul><ul><li>How to test those claiming the spirit and to treat visiting speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Elections to ecclesial offices </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusions <ul><li>A sweeping overview </li></ul><ul><li>Links with NT to see “what happened next” </li></ul><ul><li>Key issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping Jewish laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of Christ and impact on the atonement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divorce / remarriage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Claims to possess spirit gifts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apostolic succession and ecclesial discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unity versus factions – but at what cost? </li></ul></ul>
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