EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Introduction)

 

Today begins a new teaching series entitled Early Church History 101. Each post will be based on passages from our only text book, The Acts of the Apostles. Your interaction and dialogue are encouraged.

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INTRODUCTION

Because this is an introductory course, I hope to post on as near a regular schedule as possible and keep the lessons fairly brief, hopefully interesting, and possibly compelling. I suggest engaging in your own research as you see the need.

Our goal is to become better acquainted with the beliefs, practices, and accomplishments of the Lord’s original Community. It served as a prototype and foundation of the Church Age which began at Pentecost in AD 32 and continues to the present. During this almost two thousand year period, the Lord Jesus never taught any subsequent transition or alteration which would negate or change the beliefs and practices of our early forebears. We in the present must therefore respect and seek to emulate their holy and courageous example as they worked in close cooperation with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Early Church was sent into an often hostile world with the life-giving Good News in the opening salvos of a spiritual war destined to cover the planet. Their accomplishments were nothing short of miraculous.

The author of The Acts of the Apostles is Luke—Early Church historian, gifted writer, the beloved physician, oft traveling companion of the apostle Paul, and also author of his masterful “first account,” the Gospel of Luke. It is possible that Luke did not originally affix a title to Acts but the title we have is likely correct. However, based on the author’s chosen vocabulary and grammar, he clearly indicates that this historical record is a continuation of the ministry of the Lord, which means it could have been titled The Acts of Jesus. Some have suggested The Acts of the Holy Spirit.

Inserting Apostles in the title, however, serves primarily to indicate the Lord working through His original twelve (minus Judas Iscariot), but certainly was not limited to them. In fact, it was the entire Community through whom He worked, which includes each and every believer, though the apostles were the most spiritually mature at the time. Because they were His initial chosen ones who followed Him throughout His ministry and witnessed the Resurrection, they were the men primarily utilized in the early years. This was especially the case with the apostle Peter, whom the Lord powerfully anointed on that first Day of Pentecost in ancient Jerusalem to set the many authoritative precedents of the Early Church which continue until today.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Posted on March 29, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. love it RJ! thank you

    “These are the Words of Him Who holds the seven stars [messengers for the church in His right hand], Who go about among the seven golden lampstands [which are the seven churches]: ‘I know your activities, toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked men and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles [special messengers of Christ] and yet are not, and have found them to be imposters and liars. I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My Name’s sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary. But I have this against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love you had at first [you have deserted Me, your First Love]. Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s Will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and REMOVE your lampstand, unless you CHANGE YOUR MIND and repent. Yet you have this: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as CORRUPTERS OF THE PEOPLE], which I Myself also detest. He who is ABLE TO HEAR, let him listen and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who OVERCOMES [is victorious], I will grant to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” Revelation 2:1-7 AMPC

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  2. Acts is my favorite book of the New Testament. I’ve always been partial to stories, and the true ones with God’s involvement at every turn are especially exciting!

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    • Thanks Ann. I appreciate it. Acts is certainly an exciting book! It is still somewhat unknown, however, and even mysterious to many Christians. But I agree wholeheartedly, that the rich history, the only early Christian history we have, is incredibly valuable and the personal interactions especially compelling. I appreciate you joining in on the series. As you read in the Introduction, I want to bring greater knowledge and awareness of the Book but want to keep each post relatively brief and on a foundational level, while adding lesser known facts and perspectives. Though there’s a lot of good material here—the Introduction and 13 Lessons—please consider reading each as you have time. You are most welcome to join us! We are still just getting started. Blessings to you.

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