Establishment of the New Testament Church
I. Harnack - German church historian
A Prime source used in this time frame. Called father of Church history
1. Others quote heavily from his work
B. Wrote late 1800's and early 1900's
C. Wrote book on the spread of Christianity in the first 300 years
D. Strong German influence in study of theology
E. Gave 7 Reasons for "Christianity boom"
1. Diffusion of Judaism throughout empire
a. colonies spread - dispersion (Diaspora)
b. Jews laid the foundation so when Paul went out there were communities in place in all major cities
2. Hellenization of the world (Greek culture)
a. Language - communication
b. The society became polytheistic
c. They allowed God's religion to exist
3. Roman monarchy - one world government
a. This gave the empire one law
b. It united people in thought and protected all
4. Communication system
b. postal system
5. Humanitarian ideas developed
a. Tolerant attitude about religion
b. Generated questions about man's importance and purpose, questions Christianity could answer
c. Christianity grew under guise of Judaism
6. Roman tolerance of religion
a. Church was viewed as a sect of the Jews
b. It was forbidden to have a new religion
c. This proves that the Church had the doctrines we have today
1. If it had X-mas, Sunday, or others then outlawed
2. All scholars agree that the early church was Jewish
3. Judaism had Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes, and Nazarenes, the church
7. Diffusion of Assyrian and Persian religion
a. Persians emphasized religion and allowed all
b. Greeks carried on the concept of Polytheism
c. these groups blended - Syncretism
1. System developed that was Greek, Jewish, Babylonian, etc.
2. Into this, Simon Magus began to add Christianity
* He had the whole system to work with.
* He had background of mythology.
* He had the belief in after life and the legends of Isis and Osiris.
* None of the Apostles ever included any other religions into what they preached - Simon did.
SIMON WAS NOT THE FIRST POPE
* The Catholic Church took time to develop.
* What Simon did to blend Christian concepts with Pagan led to what finally became the Catholic Church.
* What came out of this was a church that accepted the name and the person of Jesus, yet held totally different doctrines and preached a totally different message.
* Mr. Armstrong explained it as a church that preached about the person of Jesus but did not preach His message.
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