TO start this post here is a quote from Robin Myers book entitled The Underground Church – Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus. Although Western Christianity would eventually be defined as a belief system about God, throughout its first five centuries people understood it primarily as spiritual practices that offered a meaningful way of life in this world not as a neat set of doctrines, an esoteric belief, … Continue reading Early Christian Practices….
I want to give you a quick answer up front to the question posed in the title above. The answer is absolutely not. Let’s use the following quote from Harvey Cox in his book the Future of Faith as a starting point for this post. Recent discoveries about the first three centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus shed a bright new light on a series of … Continue reading Were the Early Christians Unblemished??
Let’s start this post with a long quote from A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass: The early Christian text (from the second or third century) known as the Epistle to Diognetus explains that Christianity is neither an ethnicity nor earthly citizenship but a way of life that is somehow at odds with the societies in which … Continue reading Citizens as Foreigners…
Let’s start out this post with another quote from A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Origen all specifically condemned participation in war. “The Christian fathers of the first three centuries,” states theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill, “were generally adamant that discipleship requires close adherence to the nonviolent and countercultural example of … Continue reading Nonviolence – Absolute Pacifism
Given the amount of weight that “correct” beliefs have with so many churches today it is hard to understand just how little weight the early church put on such things. In the early years Christianity Bibles weren’t available to local congregations because it would be several hundred years before it was formulated by a council of then current day church leaders. But there were several … Continue reading The Didache
Hospitality was a very important thing to the early Christians. They put it above beliefs in their understanding of Jesus. I will use a quote from Diane Butler Bass’ book Christianity After Religionto illustrate this point: Not offering hospitality was a much greater failure than not believing that Jesus was truly God and truly human. Early Christians judged ethical failings as the most serious breach … Continue reading Hospitality….
As I have said many times on this blog I am perfectly attuned to the Quaker concept of the “light of God in each of us”. Everyone, including the most evil in history, has a glimmer of God in them. Some have covered it with a very dark and dreadful blanket but it is there none the less. Even those who absolutely deny the existence … Continue reading Aside — A Glimmer of God….
Lets look at just how much the Followers of the Way increased in membership during the Pre-Constantine years. Here is what Wikipedia says about that: Early Christianity spread from city to city throughout the Hellenized Roman Empire and beyond into East Africa and South Asia. The Christian Apostles, said to have dispersed from Jerusalem, traveled extensively and established communities in major cities and regions throughout the Empire. The original church … Continue reading Early Church Growth….
In this post lets revisit one of the quotes from Robin Myers’ book entitled The Underground Church – Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus. Empires seldom worry about religious beliefs that have no real effect on the loyalty of their subjects. But when that loyalty is subverted or replaced, those beliefs must be investigated and the believers crushed… It would take time before People of the Way came … Continue reading Subverted Loyalty….
For the month of July we will be studying just how the early Christians went about practicing their faith. As will be typical of many of my posts I will start them out with quotes from one of my many sources that got me to thinking about the current post. This quote comes from a book by Robin Myers entitled The Underground Church – Reclaiming the Subversive Way … Continue reading Just Ordinary People….