Church History

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C h u r c h H i s t o r y I

By

Mr. Kennedy K. Kirui

I. Benefits to be gained from the study of Church History

A. A perspective informed by a sense of continuity

1. The whole family in heaven and earth (Eph.3:14)

2. Connecting the canonical history with our own time (Acts 28ff)

3. Escape from the theological and ecclesiastical provincialism (1 Cor.14:36).

B. The encouragement of a Godly Heritage

1. The great cloud of witnesses (Heb.11; 12:1)

2. Perspective on persecution (James 5:10-11)

C. Learning from the mistakes of others (1 Cor.10:6-10)

1. A wise man learns from others’ mistakes, a fool must make his own.

2. Those who will not study history are doomed to repeat it.

II. Broad Outline of the History Since Christ

A. Ancient Period (approx. 30 to 600 AD)

1. The Infant Church Era (30-325)

a. Pentecost (30)

b. Constantine (325)

2. The Adolescent Church Era (325-600)

a. Constantine (325)

b. Gregory the Great (600)

B. Medieval Period (approx. 600 to 1550)

1. The Roman Church Era (600-1300)

a. Gregory the Great (600)

b. Renaissance (1300)

The Very Beginning

A. The remnant of Israel

The Old Testament Church (Acts 7:38/Mal.3:16-17)

The remnant comes to Christ (Isa.10:21-22/Mal.4:2/John 17:6)

B. Christ and the synagogue

Origins of the synagogue (Neh.8:4/Acts 15:21)

Legitimacy of the synagogue (Matt.23:2-3)

Synagogue as mission (Luke 4:16/John 18:20/Acts 18:4)

Christian synagogues (Jas.2:2/Heb.13:7, 17)

C. Lordship/discipleship

Inclusion in the movement (John 8:31/Luke 6:46)

Joining the movement (Matt.16:24/Acts 2:38)

Believers and “followers” (Mark 5:18-19/Luke 9:49-50)

D. Apostolic Authority (John 13:20)

Credentials (Mark 3:14-15)

Experience (Acts 1:21-22)

Commissioning (John 20:21)

Signs(2 Cor.12:12)

Testimony (Acts 1:22/4:33)

Teaching (Acts 2:42/Jude 17-18)

Establishment of theological norms (Acts 15)

E. The Holy Spirit

The supernatural Church (Acts 1:8)

The Church becomes the Body of Christ (1 Cor.12:13)

F. Spontaneous combustion

Sovereignty of God (Acts 2:47/11:21)

Organization when necessary (Acts 6/1 Cor.14) 5

G. Expansion and opposition

Jewish persecution as missions incentive (Acts 8:3-4/11:19-20)

Deliberate gentile missions: Paul, et al. (Acts 13:1-3)

Roman persecution (Acts 18:12-17/ Revelation)

Where the other apostles went (traditionally)

Peter: Rome

John: Ephesus

Bartholomew: Armenia

Andrew: the Southern steppes of Russia and the Ukraine

Thomas: Parthia and India

Matthew: Ethiopia

James: Egypt

Jude: Assyria and Persia

Simon Zealotes: Egypt and Britain

Mark (not an apostle): Alexandria

H. The threat of heresy

Judaizers (Acts 15:1/Col.2:16)

Greek philosophy (nascient Gnosticism) (1 Cor.15:12)

Mystery religions (Col.2:18)

I. Early tendency toward centralization

James and Jerusalem (Acts 12:17/ 15:13/ 21:18/ Gal.2:12)

J. The Passing of the Torch

Apostolic succession? (Matt.16:18)

Judas (Acts 1:15-26)

James of Zebedee (Acts 12:2)

Paul’s strategy for perpetuity (2 Tim.2:2)

Elders and deacons

The Post - Apostolic Infant Church (100 – 325 A D)

Political developments in the Empire

1. Why Christians were persecuted (Rev.12:17)

–Social isolation, avoidance of sports and theatre, and suspicion of criminal behavior: incest, cannibalism (1 Pet.4:1-4)

–Economic reasons: bad for the idol business (Acts 19)

–Religio-political non-compliance (Rev.13)

2. Claudius banishes Jews from Rome (50 AD –Acts 18:2)

3. Nero’s persecution of Christians (64-68)

4. Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter & Paul (late 60’s)

5. The destruction of Jerusalem (70)

6. Imperial persecutions:

A. Relatively moderate and incidental (“don’t ask, don’t tell”) Domitian (95) Trajan and Pliny the Younger (111-115) Ignatius martyred Hadrian (117-138) moderate Antoninus Pius (139-161) Polycarp...
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