Lesson1

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Lesson1

  1. 1. Jesus the Christ (4BCE-27/33CE) Early Christian ChurchPaul’s Missionary Journey (47-57) Persecutions (54-305CE)
  2. 2. Disturb us, O LordDisturb Us, O Lord When with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost thirst for the water of life; When we are too When, having fallen in love with time, well-pleased with we have ceased to dream of eternity; ourselves; and when our efforts to build the new Disturb us, O Lord earth have allowed our vision for a new heaven When our dreams to grow dim. have come true because we Stir us, O Lord dreamed too little; to dare more boldly, Disturb us, O Lord to venture on wider seas, where storms shall show thy mastery, When we have where losing sight of land, we shall find arrived in safety the stars. because we sailed too close to the In the name of Him shore; who pushed back the horizons of our Disturb us, O Lord hopes and invited the brave to follow Him. AMEN
  3. 3. The Future does not belong to the faint-hearted, but to those who, historically rooted in the faith and tradition of our Church, are open to the surprises in the present. “Yes to Jesus Christ! No to Church!” The Church seems to be loosing its relevance. To gainrelevance does not mean however, that we have to go alongwith whatever is the latest fad. A look into some distinctcontributions of Christianity, in situations of the past,may lead us to the discovery of new relevance that will stop us from giving up on the Church.
  4. 4. Why Study History at All? MEMORY: A Key to Personal Identity  Finding Out Who We Are Our memory of our personal history plays key role in telling us who we are and enabling us to function (our talents and our virtues)  Knowing the Why of Things With a sense of personal history, we discover why we are the way we are, how it is that we have certain traits, reaction or stumbling blocks  Choosing Wisely Knowing our personal history can help us make better choice for the future. When we know the why of things, we have the tools to figure out what to do in the future.
  5. 5. Why Study CHURCH History?Christianity is a historical religion, based on the life ofa historical person, Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospelsoffer us faith-filled accounts of Jesus’ life. Likewise thestory of the Church, its history, provides us with aperspective on how Christians have lived out theGospel message over the centuries.In fact, learning about the Church is learning aboutthe presence of Jesus Christ throughout history.Christ acts through and in the church’s people, Helives in peoples’ hearts and is seen in actions of thosewho work in His name.Clearly, not all actions of the church’s members areChrist-like. However the same people have at timesbeen the sign of the Lord’s presence. Thus knowingthe Church means knowing Jesus through his people.
  6. 6. The history of the church is thestory of the relationship between Jesus and the believers who have followed him over the centuries. Some parts of history may disturb you. Other parts may inspire you.Fundamentally, Catholics believe that God’s Spirit has been with the Church through good times and bad,guiding it in the most difficult and disastrous periods as well as in the apparently glorious eras.
  7. 7. A CHURCH OF CONVERTS: Widening the Circle Of Jesus’ Followers
  8. 8. The Original Circle: Those Who Walked with JesusThe Church began with the group gathered around Jesus:the 12 Apostles and the other disciples who knew himpersonally. They saw themselves Jewish to the core. Like other Jews, the disciples longed for the coming of a political messiah. Gradually they would come to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.The church history began in a powerful FAITH experience:the disciples living, talking, walking with Jesus.
  9. 9. Together at the Last Supper: The night before He died, He gathered the 12 to celebrate Passover. It was a ritual meal repeated in remembrance of Him. The 12 were taught how to serve one another.Amazed by the Risen Lord: Jesus being raised from thedead, was the crucial event for the church. Without it,the Apostles would have certainly disbanded and Jesuswould be a forgotten religious fanatic.
  10. 10. The Early Church• The story of the early church is recorded in the “Acts of the Apostles” (Acts 2: 1-6) written by Luke.• It is a story about how the disciples were energized by the resurrection event to preach the Gospel.• Even then, they preached in hiding for fear of persecution.
  11. 11. Transformation at Pentecost: After the joy of experiencing Jesus with them again, the Apostles were disheartened & frightened when Jesus ascended to heaven. In ACTS 2:1-4, the coming of the Holy Spirit, upon them suddenly turned the timid, discouraged, scared followersinto bold, confident, zealous heralds of the Good News.
  12. 12. The Day of the Pentecost (Acts 2: 1- 4)• Pentecost means the fiftieth day. The Jews celebrated fifty days after the Passover.• Disciples of Jesus had gathered in hiding to celebrate the Passover.• The Holy Spirit descends on them, gave them gifts to prophecy, teach to speak in different languages.• Other people who came for the Passover were amazed at the different tongues spoken by the disciples.
  13. 13. • Peter testified to the crowd that the holy spirit was a testimony that Jesus was Christ –The savior, the messiah.• 3,000 Jews present believed and converted as followers of Christ.• After this event, disciples went into the open and preached amidst persecution for Heresy.
  14. 14. The Circle Expands: Jews Who Did Not Know Jesus The 1st Christian Baptisms: Acts 2: 38-39 Baptism of the 3000!Jewish & Christian: As a minoritymovement within Judaism, the earliestfollowers regularly met at the Temple,in local synagogues and in privatehomes to share meals and prayers. In Jerusalem, the Jewish authorities began harassing the growing community of Jesus’ followers. Harassment, imprisonment and executions began. In Acts 7:54-60, tells of the 1st Martyr for Christ: STEPHEN. As witnessed and consented by Saul (Acts 8:1-6)
  15. 15. Stephen, the f irst Martyr (Acts 7: 54- 60)• Stephen was the first martyr. He was stoned to death by Jews for preaching the gospel.• Disciples fled Jerusalem to escape persecution.
  16. 16. PAUL: The Link Between Jewish Christians & the Wider WorldWho was Paul:A well educated Jew from Tarsus (a major city in Asia Minor, now Turkey).A zealous defender of the Jewish orthodoxy.DAMASCUS: INITIALLY TO A JEWISH AUDIENCEAfter 3 years of reflection in the desert , Paul was on fire. So powerfulwere his word, that an order was made to arrest him. He startedpreaching at Damascus. The persecutor now becomes the persecuted! “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
  17. 17. Saul/ Paul and the Spread of the Gospel• Saul met Jesus in a vision, was blind for a while and was then commissioned to preach the Gospel. Jesus renamed him Paul. After the event he was baptized, and began preaching the message of Christ.• He traveled around the Mediterranean preaching the Gospel• He established churches in various cities in the Roman Empire-Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Thessalonica, Athens etc.
  18. 18. Saul/ Paul and the Spread of the Gospel• Paul was persecuted, shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, beaten and died as a martyr in Rome.• PAULS’ TEACHINGS.• They were based on interpretation of Jesus teachings.• Tried to convince Jews that Jesus birth, death, and resurrection had been predicted by the O.T prophets.
  19. 19. Saul/ Paul and the Spread of the Gospel• He invited gentiles (non-Jews) to be Christians. Gentiles were worshippers of the old gods, followers of dualistic Greco-Roman philosophers. Dualists regarded matter as evil and that the soul should be emancipated from the corrupt influence of evil matter.• Gentiles were not required to practice the Jewish tradition when they converted because salvation comes by faith as in the case of Abraham E.g they were not to get circumcised.
  20. 20. Saul/ Paul and the Spread of the Gospel• Paul taught about Agape Love and God.• Agape –is altruistic, self giving love as the center of Christianity. It is higher that spiritual wisdom, asceticism, supernatural spiritual gifts- prophesy, healing, speaking in tongues.• The Cross- with or without the image of Jesus as a symbol; of Christianity.• Repentance, of sins, baptism and rebirth into a new life as a Christian.
  21. 21. Paul’s First Missionary Journey (47 – 49) -This journey took him to Cyprus and Asia Minor. *From Antioch, Salamis, Paphos, Perga (John Mark deserted and went to Jerusalem), Pisidia Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and derbe, back to Antioch, which became the center for missionary work for the Gentiles. ANTIOCH: THE 1ST JEWISH-GENTILE COMMUNITY (Acts 11:19-26) A controversy re-opens at Jerusalem community if they should welcome the Gentiles. Barnabas was sent at Antioch. He saw the Jews & Gentiles united in faith. To distinguish this community, the members were called “CHRISTIANS” It was the 1st time the term was used.45 The Antioch community collected money and sent Paul and Barnabas to deliver it to the hungry and persecuted Christians of Jerusalem. (Acts 11:29)
  22. 22. Paul’s First MissionaryJourney (47 – 49)
  23. 23. • Disputes bet. Paul and Barnabas: Practice of “circumcision” as necessary for salvation• 49/50 Council of Jerusalem: first Council of the Church (Acts 15) : Peter argued in favor of the Gentiles : broke the barriers to the universalities of the Church
  24. 24. Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (50- 54 AD) With Silas, he revisited the Churches he found in Asia Minorlike Galatia, derbe and Lystra. Paul took Timothy as his companion and went to Troas ( wherehe had a vision). Philippi in Macedonia was the first Christian. - Community found in Europe. - He moved to Thessalonica and evangelized there. - They went to Berola then Athens where he preached to Pagan Philosophers, who rose from dead (Acts 17:31-32) - Paul proceeded to Corinth and Stayed there for 18 months. - Then he sailed to Ephesus going to Jerusalem to visit there and returned to Antioch.
  25. 25. Paul’s Second MissionaryJourney (50- 54 AD)
  26. 26. Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (56- 57AD)Paul traveled from Antioch to Northern Galatia and Phrygia toEphesus, spent two and a half there and move to Macedonia to visitother communities that he found during the 2nd Missionary Journey.He went to Thessalonica and then to Corinth. He wrote his letters tothe Corinthians, Romans, Galatians and Others, and looking towardhome and Spain.The significance of Paul in Christianity is great. His letter to thecommunities formed the oldest written source of information aboutour faith and early Christian Church.
  27. 27. Approximate Date (C.E.) Title of Book Authorc. 50 1 Thessalonians Paul 2 Thessalonians Paulc. 54-55 1 & 2 Corinthians Paulc. 56 Galatians Paulc. 56-57 Romans Paulc. 61 Colossians Paulc. 61 Philippians Paulc. 62 Philemon Paulc. 66-70 Gospel of Mark Anonymousc. 66-73 Jewish war against Rome: Destruction of Jerusalem and the Templec. 80-85 Gospel of Matthew Anonymousc. 85-90 Gospel of Luke, Acts Anonymousc. 85-95 Hebrews, 1 Peter, Ephesians, James Anonymousc. 90-95 Gospel of John Anonymousc. 95 Revelation (the Apocalypse) John of Patmosc. 95-100 1,2 & 3 John The Elderc. 110-130 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus Pseudonymousc. 130-150 Jude, 2 Peter Pseudonymous
  28. 28. Paul’s Third MissionaryJourney (56- 57AD)
  29. 29. Spread of ChristianityFactors that contributed to the rapid spread of the Gospel among Pagans and throughout the Roman Empire:1.) Largely due to the efforts of the apostles and missionaries. Because of Paul and other apostles, Christianity spread rapidly becoming a non- Jewish religion.2.) Other factors: a. Internal Peace (relative peace) and order in the whole Roman Empire for about two centuries. The Mediterranean world is completely dominated by the Romans thus peace and order is maintained. b. The construction of roads and highways made possible more extensive travel among the missionaries of the Church. c. Mediterranean Sea was not infested by pirates Main reason for the success of the spread of Christianity in the first Century: c. The growing spiritual hunger amidst the moral decadence and across idolatry of the times led to openness and acceptance of the messages of the of the Christian Gospel. -The message of the Christian Gospel lifted the tortured soul from the moral corruption and crash idolatry of the times.
  30. 30. Spread of Christianity• By 200CE Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire and into the Mesopotamia.• The governance of the Roman State and the Empire proved to be providential for the spread of the Christian faith and the Gospel (spread of Christianity)
  31. 31. ROMAN EMP E IR
  32. 32. Characteristics of early Christianity• One heart and one soul; unity/ oneness (Acts 2,47-4,4)• They still follow precepts of Judaism (ofer sacrifices in temple, circumcision, mosaic law)• New traits (baptism, Kyrios, Eucharistia- worship with gladness and thanksgiving, Common use of goods)
  33. 33. Split of Jesus Movement f rom Judaism.• Some Jews who believed in the teachings of Jesus did not like the emphasis placed on the person of Jesus as this overshadowed Jesus teachings.• The teachings about God’s salvation for all people offended some Jews. Some Jewish followers of Christ expected new converts (Gentiles) to practice Jewish traditions.• Christianity at this point, which was known as ‘The Way’ (before it was called Christianity), was seen as a different religion from Judaism. It was considered a heresy.
  34. 34. Split of Jesus Movement f rom Judaism.• 62 CE - the separation between Jewish Christians and majority of Jews was pronounced when James the leader of the Way in Jerusalem was arrested by Jewish High Priest thrown from the roof of the Temple and was stoned to death.• 70 CE – fall of Jerusalem• 90 CE – the break between Christians and Jews was final
  35. 35. Questions f or discussion• How is missionary work today similar or dissimilar to Paul’s missionary endeavors?• Can you think how mission work of our time is done?• How have we been missionaries in our own way?
  36. 36. Gold Tested by Fire Courageous Faith Hostility & Persecutions Outside the Community: Clear Doctrine Ideas & Direction Within The Community:
  37. 37. ourageous Faith Amid the Fires of Persecuti urageous “If the world hates you, realize that it had hated me first…If they persecute me, they will also persecute you…” John 15: 18-20 “I tell you, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna…Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid…”
  38. 38. Causes of Persecution:1. Refusal to venerate the state gods in spite of Rome’s toleration towards other religions of the people in conquered2. Herod Agripa in the year 42, began a formal persecution among Christians because of frequent outbreaks of mob violence in Jerusalem. Christians were suspected of being revolutionary because of their claims about a Messiah and the new Kingdom3. Christians incurred special distrust of their “anti-social who hate the human race” aloofness from games and theater and the common life of the people.4. The habit of meeting among Christians to worship secretly in the catacombs in the evening or early morning provided suspicion to political conspiracies, crimes, and infamous practices such as sexual promiscuity.5. Their secret rituals of symbolically drinking Jesus blood and eating his flesh was suspected as a cannibalistic cultic behavior- leading to further persecution.
  39. 39. Why were the Christianssuch a threat to the Roman The Roman Demand Empire that the Romans for Conformity: felt it necessary to torture and execute them? Roman Authorities Thinking: Common religious observance fostered unity in the empire. Refusing to observe religious sacrifices and pay homage to the “divine” emperors were unpatriotic, even treasonous. Roman Religious Belief: Romans citizens believe that the gods sent blessings on them only if they offered sacrifices. They feared that the God’s would curse them for tolerating the Christian’s refusal to offer sacrifices.
  40. 40. 1st Period of Persecution 54- 60 A. D. The first persecution by Emperor Nero He blamed the Christians for the six days of fire that destroyed ¾ of the city of Rome. Which it was Rumored that Nero himself instigated the fire to gain the glory of rebuilding the city. The Christians were persecuted and turned to living torches in the Garden of Nero.Among the victims are: -Peter and Paul -Apostle John-exiled to Patmos where he wrote the Apocalypse.
  41. 41. GREAT PERSECUTIONS The first emperor who persecuted 1. NERO: 54-68 Christians in the Roman empire. Nero was responsible for the death of both the Apostles Peter and Paul. Cause of Nero’s death - committed suicide.o He deliberately burnt a huge section of Rome in 64 AD. To 1 escape blame, his evil adviser, Tigellinus decided tomake the Christians as an easy scapegoat.o Christians were given skins of wild beasts and left to bedevoured by dogs; others were nailed to the cross; numberswere burnt alive to serve as torches in the night.(conflagration)o Nero had St. Peter (64AD) crucified; St. Paul (67AD) beheaded.o Nero issued a decree of condemnation against Christianity as a religion and made it as a basis that Christians bepunished.o Profession of Christian names was a sufficient ground for persecution. Christians were convicted of : hatred of the human race.
  42. 42. B NING R UR OME
  43. 43. 2nd Period of Persecution 100- 250 A. D.Christianity- illegal religion in the Roman Empire. - Informers were hired to report those engaged in Church worship and practice.Trajan- 98-117 A.D. - issued a decree stating that to be a Christian is punishable by death. - St. Ignatius of Antioch, martyr in this period.*Emperor Hadrian- gave some relief to the suffering Christians.Antoninus Pius- 138-161 A.D. - accused the Christians for being atheists for not worshipping the Emperor.Marcus Aurelius- 161-180 A.D. - legalized persecution.Septimus Severus- Christians were fed to the Lions during disasters or famine (accdg. to Tertullian).*Philip the Arabian- 244-249 A.D. - his reign provided the lull before the last and most severe persecution.
  44. 44. 3rd period of Persecution (250- 305)Decius-249-251 A.D. - saw Christianity as poison - ordered all Christians to pay Homage to the Roman gods. - required all citizens to the worship of State religion. - Goal is to eradicate Christianity.Emperor Valerian- 257 A.D. - Declared that all Christian bishops, presbyters and deacons were to offer sacrifice to the gods. - those who caught conducting secret meetings at “catacombs” were punished by death. - (258 A.D.) he ordered the arrest and execution of those who refused.
  45. 45. 3rd period of Persecution (250- 305) - Christian nobles were demoted, their states confiscated. - Others were sent to hard labor, be tortured, or executed. - To guard against Roman spies, the Christians used secret signs the Greek word for “fish” -”ICHTHUS” what they believed of JesusI- Jesus, CH- Christ, TH- Theos(God),U- Uious(Son), S- Soter(Saviour)
  46. 46. 3rd period of Persecution (250- 305)Other Signs are: Dove- Peace Anchor- Hope Phoenix- ResurrectionChi – Rho- 2 Greek letters, initial of ChristThe Blood of Martyrs- is the seed of the Church
  47. 47. 3rd period of Persecution (250- 305) Emperor Diocletian- 284- 305 A.D. - last persecution of the Christian - the Bloodiest throughout the Roman Empire - (303 A.D.) He declared all Christian Churches be destroyed and Bibles be burned. - all Christian’s meetings are banned - immediate arrest and execution of all priest and deacons. *He passed a general order: - All Christians must be sacrificed to the Gods - Their eyes & tongue should be urged out - Their feet sawed, many were thrown to wild beast toentertain the mob. - Others were starved to death or thrown to dungeons.
  48. 48. 10 GREAT PERSECUTORSPERIODIC PERSECUTION: A law against being Christian was in effect for 2 centuries, though enforced periodically.10 GREAT PERSECUTORS:1. NERO 54-682. EMPEROR DOMITIAN 81-963. EMPEROR TRAJAN 98-1174. * EMPEROR HADRIAN 117-1385. EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS 161-1806. EMPEROR SEPTIMUS SEVERUS 193-2117. EMPEROR MAXIMUS I 235-2388. EMPEROR TRAJAN DECIUS 249-2519. EMPEROR VALERIAN 253-26010. EMPEROR DIOCLETIAN 303
  49. 49. Courageous Faith Amid the Fires ofPersecutionEFFECTS OF THE PERSECUTION1. The members of the early Church left Jerusalem and dispersed themselves over Judea and Samaria become missionaries beyond Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-4) this is the start of the Church as universal.2. Paul was a product of the persecution. From a persecutor to an apostle.3. The persecutions had purified the small Christian community in Jerusalem. The members were more close to each other and they realized that they are a new entity and distinct from Judaism.4. Persecution strengthened the faith of the early Christians and pagans were attracted to this faith which is worth dying for.
  50. 50. End of Christian Persecution*Galerius & Maximinus Daia -admitted the fertility of his campaign against Christians * They realized that the persecutions only made the Christians more firm in their faith and attracted more Pagans become ChristiansEmperor Constantine- 313 A.D. - Attributed his victory to the help of the Christian God. - Issued the “Edict of Milan” which established policy of complete religion tolerance. - Christians where even allowed to get back their properties.
  51. 51. Questions f or discussion• How is missionary work today similar or dissimilar to Paul’s missionary endeavors?• Can you think how mission work is done in our time?• How have we been missionaries in our own way?• Do you see any evidence today that people are continuously persecuted for their religious belief? explain• If you are accused to be a Christian, will the prosecutor find enough evidence for you to be convicted? Explain• What are the forms of persecution do you as Christian suffer in our present times?

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