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General Theology The forum for general theological discussions about issues that do not fit in any other forum, eg. Angelology

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  #1  
Old 26th February 2010, 07:29 AM
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Early Church

When people speak of the early church why do they only go back to 367 or so?
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  #2  
Old 26th February 2010, 08:28 AM
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That's not true. We speak of earlier than that as well. Holy Tradition goes all the way back.
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Old 26th February 2010, 08:29 AM
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I'm not sure.

Honestly, I consider "early" anything before the setting of the Biblical Cannon. For the sake of discussions with those who do not share this opinion, there are several very good texts that we have from the first and early second centuries. Usually in discussions here I try to focus on those.
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Old 26th February 2010, 09:30 AM
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I think their are several reasons:
  • It provides a convenient time frame for some to place a great apostacy at the hands of Constantine and the Pope.
  • On the other side, there are an abundance of writings at this time to draw from.
I agree that this is in error since Church history begins at Calvary and there are no shortage of writings earlier than the fourth century to draw from.
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Old 26th February 2010, 09:55 AM
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Because the early church has varing beliefs from Adoptionist to Trinitarian. From a literal 1000 years reign of Christ to a non literal 1000 years. From Mary having relations(Gospel of Matthew) to her being sinless and a ever virgin. Because they do not like to read about the Great Apostasy.
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Old 26th February 2010, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by MamaZ View Post
When people speak of the early church why do they only go back to 367 or so?
Good question. Why 367? What happened?

Most go to Nicea 325, without realizing that there were two issues determined. The creed and the day/dates of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Nearly all focus on the first, but the real divisive issue that led to the schisms over the next 1700 years was the second.
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Old 26th February 2010, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MamaZ View Post
When people speak of the early church why do they only go back to 367 or so?
There are really very few people who try and say this when compared to all of Christianity. All people who understand the history of the Church, including Protestants, know that the Church goes back to the Apostles.
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Old 26th February 2010, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MamaZ View Post
When people speak of the early church why do they only go back to 367 or so?



there are many people on here who quote things like the didache, extra-biblical writings, rabbinic and social histores and the like.

i suppose its a little one sided. the Jewish traditional side of believers tended to continue to adopt an oral approach to the faith for a long long time (see references to Papias), whereas the non-jewish side tended to adopt a written form of transmission. Maybe this is one reason the church 'seems' so gentile.

But an earlier post did highlight a good point. Until orthodoxy was established, the christian faith was multi-faceted in both practise and doctrine. Personally I think that is a better way and leads to a more vibrant christianity rather than a one size fits all.



Steve
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  #9  
Old 26th February 2010, 11:50 AM
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I have been in discussions with some posters that speak of the early church and when I ask how far back they are going they give me a 300 and some date
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  #10  
Old 26th February 2010, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MamaZ View Post
When people speak of the early church why do they only go back to 367 or so?
That's sort of a random year. If you'd said 313 (Edict of Milan), 325 (Council of Nicea), 380 (Christianity becomes the official religion of the empire), or 381 (Council of Constantinople), now that would have made sense.

In any case, I don't see that anyone does this purposefully. It's simply when the corpus of Christian literature comes into abundance. But there is plenty of excellent Christian teaching that precedes this that Anglicans, Lutherans, Catholics, and Orthodox take very seriously:

Clement I (AD 93)
Ignatius of Antioch (AD 107)
The Didache (c. AD 100)
Polycarp of Smyrana (c. 140)
Justin Martyr (mid second century)
Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
Irenaeus of Lyon (latter second century)
Tertullian (latter second second)
Hippolytus (early third century)
Origen (early third century)
Cyprian (mid third century)

Of course, you have to be careful with writers like Tertullian and Origen, since they're both heterodox writers bordering on heresy.

But you can draw a direct line from Peter and Paul, whose taught Clement I and Ignatius of Antioch, and also from John the Apostle to his disciple Polycarp of Smyrna and from him to his disciple Irenaus of Lyon, at which point the fullness of the Great Church (early Orthodoxy and Catholicism) has already taken shape. And we take that very seriously.
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