Thursday, October 9, 2008

The JC Gang

Last night I watched a documentary on one of the most controversial figures in the early church, Paul. The documentary portrayed Paul as changing the beliefs of the church to fit his ministry to the gentiles and ignoring early church doctrine. It then went on to say that modern Christianity is based off of Paul's teachings and is therefore not the same Christianity of Christ and his early followers. I've heard this allot lately, and all though there is a grain of truth in it, it oversteps history and takes a step into fantasy.

1. Early Christians weren't revolutionaries, they were radicals. Early Christians WERE Jews. That's the whole reason Paul persecuted them. After Christs death any Jew who accepted him as the Messiah was committing blasphemy in the eyes of the Jewish establishment. These early Christians weren't out to buck the Jewish establishment. In fact they were just like every other Jew except for the fact that they believed Jesus was the Messiah.

2. Paul accepted the idea of following Jewish law when you became a Christian. Paul never said that it was wrong to follow Jewish law once you were a follower of Christ. In fact his view was that Christ had come for everyone, and therefore the law could not become a stumbling block to new converts.

3. The early church leaders met with Paul and agreed with his ministry. To often Paul is portrayed as a radical who corrupted the early church. In reality though Paul had the support of Peter, the rock on who Christ built his church.

4. Early Christians didn't live in communes. This one is a strange one because people forget to give it context. Early Christian communities were very localized. It wasn't like modern times where you had Christians scattered everywhere. These communities were built around their churches where the believers gathered. In this sense the Christian community is like other communities of it's time. During this time the main transportation was foot traffic or animals, so even the distance of 10 miles could be a hindrance in meeting with fellow believers. So early believers formed communities

There's more that could be expounded on, but meh.

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