The object of this General Introduction is, to obtain a clear view of the nature and purpose of Church History, and thus to gain the proper position for the contemplation of its details.
Heathenism is religion in its wild growth on the soil of fallen human nature, a darkening of the original consciousness of God, a deification of the rational and irrational creature, and a corresponding corruption of the moral sense, giving the sanction of religion to natural and unnatural vices.
To see clearly the relation of the Christian religion to the preceding history of mankind, and to appreciate its vast influence upon all future ages, we must first glance at the preparation which existed in the political, moral, and religious condition of the world for the coming of our Savior.
When the disciples realized that they had seen the risen Christ for the last time and that it had now become their duty to spread His message, they gathered themselves together and restored the number of "witnesses" to the appointed Twelve. Immediately afterward the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave them the signal to begin work.
There is a widespread belief among both professional scholars and laymen that the Bible now used by Christians is significantly altered from the historical documents upon which it was based. This, they say, is because of the Church’s agenda to make Jesus a divine figure. What is the truth?
Colin. H Roberts tells us that there was a notable 'degree of organization, of conscious planning, and uniformity of practice' in the early church. (Roberts, Manuscripts, 41) Do not let someone offer some exception as a means to undermine the organization of early Christianity.
There is much in-depth information in this article: The Synoptic Gospels in the Ancient Church: The Testimony to the Priority of the Gospel of Matthew. We have a brief introduction to papyrus from Tyndale Bible Dictionary. We have a lengthy apologetic article on Papias and the arguments from higher critics by F. David Farnell. This is followed by Papias' writings from two leading scholars on the Apostolic Fathers, Michael W. Holmes, and J. B. Lightfoot.
THE APOSTOLIC AGE
The period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Great Commission of the Apostles by the resurrected Jesus in Jerusalem (33 A.D.) until the death of the last Apostle, believed to be John the Apostle in Anatolia (100 A.D.).
John 20:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV) 23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Do these words mean that Christians can forgive sins? Specifically, there is nothing within Scripture that would lead us to believe that Christians in general, or even... Continue Reading →
First Century AD Christianity found itself at odds with the culture, which dominated the Roman Empire at the time. Just as the Jewish Maccabees rejected the Greek culture two centuries before, so did the early Christians who would not pay homage to other gods or to the Roman Emperor. This brought about a clash of... Continue Reading →