Church History:  The 100s

 

What happened in this century?

  • Roman persecutions of the Christians occurred, yet were sporadic.

  • The Age of the Apostles is over and the Apostolic Fathers lead Christianity up to the middle of the century. 

  • The Apostolic Fathers are replaced by the Apologists, church leaders who defended Christianity in writing against literary attacks.

  • Gnosticism and Docetism became the main heresies with which Christianity had to contend.

  • Marcion caused a stir by developing his own Scripture; this caused early church leaders to begin developing the correct Christian Scripture.

  • Canon [Scripture], Creed, Clergy:  Christians developed these three ideas over the next 300 years; this brought about an institutionalization of Christianity, which defended the faith and promoted and protected the growth and development of Christianity.

Contact Mark Nickens, Ph.D. in Church History, at drnickens@triad.rr.com.  Questions, comments, and observations are welcome.

 

2009-2012 Mark Nickens

 

Go to Study Church History here.

The Big Picture:  What's up with Gnosticism and Docetism?

(Repeat from First Century)  Gnosticism predated Christianity and had many forms.  It did have two constant ideas:  (1) dualism, that physical-ness is evil while all things spiritual are good and (2) a hierarchy of gods, where the highest god can be thought of as the spiritually purest god (or the "good" god).  Different gods or spirits exist, with a "lower" or even evil god being responsible for creating physical-ness (think "earth").  Gnostics sought to communicate with the higher or good god in order to learn its wisdom.  Docetism is a take-off from Gnosticism.  It taught that Jesus was a messenger sent from the highest god (or maybe a lower good god depending on the Gnostic system) to teach its wisdom.  And, since Jesus was a messenger from a higher god who was not connected to physical-ness, that meant that he was spiritual and not physical.  He appeared to be physical but was not; this state has been called a phantom.  These two were considered attacks on Christianity because they denied the Trinity and the Incarnation.  Basically, some people could not accept the idea that God had come to earth in physical form, and so they married the idea of Jesus with Gnosticism and came up with Docetism.

 

The Big Picture:  The Apostolic Fathers

(Repeat from First Century)  The time period from Jesus to the late First Century is known as the Age of the Apostles.  The next era in Church History is known as the Apostolic Fathers.  These Christians were the next generation of leaders and helped solidify the new churches and church leadership.  Think of the Apostles as the founders of a corporation and the Apostolic Fathers as the CEOs who run the corporation.  The Apostolic Fathers produced works which guided the administration of churches and even tackled some theological ideas.  The Apostolic Fathers are Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Shepherd of Hermas, Polycarp, and Papias, and the writings of the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle to Diognetus, II Clement, and the Didache.  You can find many of these here:  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.toc.html.

To read a short description of each, go here.

100       John, the last original Apostle, probably died in Ephesus in this year, plus or minus several years.

100       The Epistle of Barnabas was written by this year.  The Didache may have been written by this year.  Both are works of Apostolic Fathers.

c. 100       The Elkesaites emerged at this time.  They were a Jewish Christian group who lived east of the Jordan River and taught a docetic version of Jesus.  They are an early example of the many people who had a problem with the incarnation (God becoming flesh).

108       Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was martyred by being fed to wild animals in Rome.  He was arrested in Antioch and taken to Rome.  Along the way he wrote 7 letters, 6 to Christians in 6 different cities and one to Polycarp.  These writings are considered part of the Apostolic Fathers.  [Note:  This year was given by Eusebius, the first Church Historian in the 300s.  Some date it as late as 117.]

     Also:  In one of Ignatius' seven letters, the letter to Smyrna, he used the term "catholic," which means "universal" or "complete".  This is the first time "Catholic" was used to describe the Church.

     Also:  Development of Clergy:  Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, in a letter to the churches in Smyrna, wrote "Let no one do any of the things appertaining to the Church without the bishop.  Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. . . . It is not lawful either to baptize or to hold an agape [Christian "love feast"] without the bishop; but whatever he approve, this is also pleasing to God, that everything which you do may be secure and valid."

112       Letter from Pliny the Proconsul in Bithynia (Turkey) to the Emperor Trajan which establishes the Roman reaction toward Christians.  In this letter, the emperor states "They are not to be hunted out.  If they are denounced and convicted, they are to be punished, but he who denies that he is a Christian and proves it by supplicating our gods, although suspect in the past, may gain pardon from penitence." This will be the attitude of emperors to the Christians for the next 140 years; no systematic persecution of the Christians by the Romans occurred until the middle of the next century.  To be sure, some many Christians were persecuted, but they were not sought out en masse until 250.  To read excerpts from Pliny's letter to Trajan and Trajan's letter to Pliny, click here.

 

The Big Picture:  Why were Christians persecuted by the Romans?

Christians were persecuted by the Romans primarily because they were seen as a threat to the established (Roman) order in two ways.  Unlike in America today, when different opinions and beliefs are accepted as non-threatening to the government, the Roman government believed that different opinions and beliefs could lead to chaos and war.  Therefore, all conquered people (except for the Jews) had to worship the emperor once a year; first, this showed loyalty to the Roman government and second, this showed loyalty to the Roman gods.  Failure to do so constituted a potential threat to the government through rebellion and through the anger of the gods.  Since Christians believed in one God and would not worship the emperor, they were persecuted.  Often Apologists wrote to the Emperor to prove that Christians could be good Roman citizens and yet not worship the Emperor.

 

The Big Picture:  Apologists

The word "apology" technically means "a defense."  Christian apologists were people who defended Christianity against heresies and literary attacks and rumors.  By the middle of the Second Century, Christianity had become so prominent that non-Christian thinkers began to attack the central ideas of Christianity in an attempt to disarm it.  A new position developed within Christianity, men who wrote responses which defended the faith, ergo, the Apologists.  Among the most prominent Christian apologists were Quadratus (d. 124), Tatian (d. c.160), Justin Martyr (d. 165), Theophilus (d. c. 175), Athenagoras (d. 2nd Century), Aristides (d. 2nd Century), Tertullian (d. c.225), and Origen (d. c.254).  You can read many of these here:  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.toc.html.      

 

 The Big Picture:  Development of Canon, Creed, & Clergy

From the time of Jesus to the end of the Fourth Century, Christianity developed as an institution.  The three aspects which undergirded this Christian institution were the Canon, Creed, and Clergy.  While some view this institutionalization of Christianity as a negative development, it was necessary.  Think of it this way:  the Canon, or Scripture, was the message given to the Apostles from God by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, it was the standard by which to measure true Christian faith and practice.  But who was to define and interpret the faith?  The Clergy.  And the Canon is long (think Old and New Testaments) and so an abridged or shortened version of the major teachings was needed, this was the Creed.  Why was an abridged or shortened version necessary?  Two reasons:  to quickly defend against heresies--once you have a Creed you can immediately see where a heresy is wrong--and to serve as a measure and instruction for people becoming Christians--do you accept all the teachings in this Creed, which is the teachings of the Canon in a nutshell?  Therefore, to protect against heresies and instructed the faithful, the Canon, Creed, and Clergy were developed.  Now, this process was not decided early on; in other words, no one set down in the year 100 and said, "We need to develop the 3 C's," they just happened naturally.  And they developed from the time of Jesus to the end of the Fourth Century.

 

124       Perhaps in this year, Quadratus wrote his apology and addressed it to the Emperor.  This was one of the first known Christian Apologies.  The date of his death is unknown. Only one sentence has been discovered of his apology.  To read it, click here.  This sentence was reported in Eusebius' "Church History," written in the early 300s.  Eusebius also wrote "Aristides also, a believer earnestly devoted to our religion, left, like Quadratus, an apology for the faith" also addressed to the Emperor. 

 

More info:  Find out who the bishops of Rome were during the first 100 years after Jesus.  Click here.

 

c. 125        The earliest known fragment from a New Testament book dates from around this year; it has been dated between 100 to 150.  Parts of John 18:31-33 and 37, 38 were discovered in Egypt in 1920; it is known as P52.  While not the original copy of John, it may have been a copy from the original.  To see a copy, go to http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/specialcollections/collections/stjohnfragment/.  To read more about P52, click here.

 

130       Papias died in this year.  He may have been a disciple of the Apostle John and was a companion of Polycarp.

 

132       The Jews revolt against Rome and win their land back.

 

135       The Romans recapture Jerusalem and force the Jews to leave.  Except for a brief time in the early 600s, the Jews will not regain control of Jerusalem until the year 1948.

 

140       The Shepherd of Hermas was written between this year and 155.

 

140       Around this year, Marcion arrived in Rome.  He

 

The Big Picture:  Canonization

Marcion came under the influence of a Gnostic named Cerdo and began an attempt to synthesize Christianity with Gnosticism (see late First Century for an explanation of Gnosticism and Docetism).  To Marcion the Old Testament represented the lower, inferior god of Gnosticism.  Therefore, he rejected anything from the Old Testament.  In addition, he compiled his own "scripture" which consisted of a stripped-down version of the Gospel of Luke and 10 letters of Paul (shorn of any OT references or influences)(I & II Timothy and Titus, known as the Pastoral Epistles, were not included).  Marcion's movement lasted for several centuries.  This was an important movement for the development of Christianity, because it caused Christians to realize that they needed to construct the new Christian scripture (which would supplement the OT) instead of letting someone else, like Marcion, do it.  The process of deciding the eventual 27 books which comprise the New Testament took over 200 more years (go to the years 357 and 390 for more information).  To see a list of different lists comprised during this period, go here.  To learn more about Marcion, click here.

 

144       Marcion was excommunicated.

 

c.150        Tatian compiled the Diatessaron, a single biography of Jesus compiled from the Four Gospels.  One importance of this work is that it signified that by this year Christians acknowledged only Four Gospels and no other.

 

155       Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, martyred in this year.  Polycarp initially fled his Roman persecutors but changed his mind and allowed himself to be captured.  At his trial, the proconsul asked him to curse Christ, whereupon Polycarp replied "Fourscore and six years have I served Him, and he has done me no harm.  How then can I curse my King that saved me."  He was stabbed and burned to death.  While a Bishop, Polycarp travelled to Rome, in part because of the Quartodecimian controversy (involving the dating of Easter), and also wrote a letter to the Philippians. 

 

More info:  To find out more about this Controversy and why Easter moves on the calendar, go here.

More infoPolycarp may have met or been instructed by the Apostle John.  Go here.

More info:  To find out more about Polycarp's letter to the Philippians and to read an excerpt, go here.

 

The Big Picture:  Veneration of Relics

The veneration (adoring and honoring) of relics dates at least from this time.  Polycarp was concerned that Christians would venerate his body and so asked that it not be buried; therefore it could not become a shrine.  In later times and especially in the Middle Ages relics become very important cause of pilgrimages.  The Second Council of Nicea in 787 pronounced that everyone should venerate relics and that no altar should be consecrated unless it contained a relic.  John Calvin made a list of available relics during his time (1500s) which you can see here.

 

155       The "First Apology" by Justin Martyr appeared; it was addressed to the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius.  Justin later wrote "Dialogue with Trypho" while the "Second Apology" was addressed to the Roman Senate.  To read a quote from Justin, click here.

 

c. 155       Montanus came into prominence.  He focused on the Holy Spirit and taught that the age of the Paraclete had come and that the Paraclete spoke through him.  He also taught that the New Jerusalem would soon appear.  Montanus and two others, Maximulla and Priscilla, claimed to be able to forgive sins.  This movement spread from Asia Minor into Europe and North Africa.  It was eventually condemned as a heresy.  Monatanism lasted for several centuries.

 

c. 160       Tatian died, he had been a disciple of Justin Martyr; Marcion died.

 

165       Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, one of the early Christian Apologists.  He, along with other Christians, refused to sacrifice to the emperor and so were scourged and beheaded.  In response to the command to sacrifice to the emperor, Justin replied "No one who is rightly minded turns from true belief to false."

 

c. 170        Development of Canon:  The Muratorian Fragment is the earliest attempt to define the Christian Scriptures (later known as the New Testament).  This was a reaction to Marcion, see the year 140 above.  To read the Muratorian Fragment and to see which books it proposes, click here.  To see the list in a chart form, go here.   The first complete list of the NT books dates from 357 (I have also seen 367) in a letter Bishop Athanasius wrote.  The early church leaders took a long time because they wanted to ensure that no spurious or heretical books made it into the new Christian Scriptures, only those came from God.  The criterion used was that a book had to be linked with an Apostle.  Even though some books were popular, such as Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache, they were not included because they did not have  a link with an Apostle.  To learn more about the development of the Canon, Creed, and Clergy, go to The Big Picture after the year 117.

 

c.175       Theophilus died.  He was an apologist and one of his apologies has survived, "Apology."

 

More info:  To read a portion of this "Apology," go here.

 

More info:  While Theophilus did not coin the word "Trinity," he came close.  To see how close, go here

[Tertullian was the first to coin the word "Trinity."  To learn more, go to the Third Century and look for Tertullian.]

 

177       A persecution of Christians occurred in Lyons and Vienne, in present-day France.  The account was written by members of the churches there to the churches in Asia; the descriptions are quite graphic.

 

177        Athenagoras wrote "A Plea for the Christians" and addressed it to the Emperor.  As part of his defense, he wrote against the accusations against Christians of eating babies (a misunderstanding of the words of the Lord's Supper) and incest (because they had secret meetings and called each other "brother" and "sister").

 

c. 178       Celsius wrote "True Discourse," an attack on Christianity; this was the first literary attack on Christianity that has been discovered.  Of all the attacks on Christianity during this period, this work has remained the most intact.  While the work itself has not been discovered, Origen (from the Third Century) quoted extensively from it.  In this work, Celsius propagates the rumor that Jesus was the son of Mary and a Roman soldier Panthera, among many other attacks on Christianity.  To read a small part of Celsius' attack, click here.

 

More info:  To find out more about the myth of Mary and Panthera, go here.

 

c. 185        Development of Creed and Clergy:  Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, wrote "Against Heresies," in which he made an appeal to the supremacy of Rome for all Christians.  To read a portion, click here.  Acknowledgement of Rome as the head of Christian will not occur for some time. 

     -He also included what could be an early form of a Christian creed.  To read it, click here.  To learn more about the development of the Canon, Creed, and Clergy, go to The Big Picture after the year 117.

 

c. 190        Development of Creed:  The Old Roman Symbol had developed by the late Second Century.  It is a creed which was possibly used during baptisms.  To read it, click here.  To learn more about the development of the Canon, Creed, and Clergy, go to The Big Picture after the year 117.

 

c. 190       A theological school existed in Alexandria, Egypt for at least the next 50 years. 

 

193-211       Rule of Septimius Severus, Roman Emperor.  He attacked Christianity by persecuting converts to Christianity.  After his reign, Christians enjoyed peace until 250 (with some exceptions here and there).

 

197        In this year, Tertullian penned the most famous quote concerning the persecutions which Christians endured:  "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

 

More info:  Tertullian described the worship practices of his church.  To read about it, go here.

More info:  A number of smaller heresies developed in the next centuries.  To learn more, go here.

 

c. 200        Irenaeus died.

Primary Sources

"Pliny to the Emperor . . . . I have never been present at the trial of Christians.  For that reason I do not know what or how much to punish or to ask.  I have hesitated no little whether any distinction should be made for age, whether the weak should be more leniently treated than the strong, whether pardon should be granted on repentance, whether he who has been a Christian should profit by renunciation, whether profession of the name should be punished if there be no attendant crime or whether only the crimes associated with the name are subject to penalty.  In the meantime I have taken the following course with those who were denounced to me as Christians.  I asked them whether they were Christians.  If they confessed, I asked a second and a third time with threat of penalty.  If they persisted I ordered their execution, for I do not doubt that whatever it was that they profess, certainly their stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy deserved to be punished.  There were others addicted to the same madness who, because they were Roman citizens, I sent to Rome.  Soon after this incident, as usually happens when the crime spreads, a variety of cases appeared.  An anonymous denunciation was laid before me containing many names.  Those who denied that they were Christians or had been, who in my presence supplicated and placed incense and wine before your image, which I ordered placed among the statues of the gods, especially when they cursed Christ, which those who are really Christians cannot be brought to do, these I thought should be released.  Some, denounced by an informer, at first said that they had been, but had ceased to be, some three years ago, some several years back and one even twenty years ago.  These all worshiped your image and those of the gods and cursed Christ.  They said that this was the sum of their fault or error, that they were accustomed at dawn on a stated day, to come together and sing a hymn to Christ as to a god, and that they mutually bound themselves on oath not in order to commit any crime but to refrain from theft, robbery, adultery, perjury or denial of trust funds.  Then they disbanded and came together again to take food in common and quite harmless and this custom they had discontinued after my order in compliance with your mandate against forbidden societies. . . .

    The Emperor Trajan to Pliny. . . . You have followed the proper procedure in dealing with the Christians who were brought before you.  No absolute rule can be laid down.  They are not to be hunted out.  If they are denounced and convicted, they are to be punished, but he who denies that he is a Christian and proves it by supplicating our gods, although suspect in the past, may gain pardon from penitence.  Anonymous accusations are not to be entertained with respect to any crime.  These are the worst examples of our age."  To go back to timeline click here.  From Bainton, Early Christianity, pp. 88-89.

 

Quadratus' one-sentence fragment from his "Apology":  "But the works of our Savior were always present, for they were genuine:  those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Savior was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for quite a while, so that some of them lived even to our day."  To go to Timeline, click here.

 

From Justin Martyr's "First Apology":  Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honor and love only what is true, declining to follow traditional opinions, if these be worthless. For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who did or taught anything wrong, but it is incumbent on the lover of truth, by all means, and if death be threatened, even before his own life, to choose to do and say what is right. Do you, then, since you are called pious and philosophers, guardians of justice and lovers of learning, give good heed, and hearken to my address; and if you are indeed such, it will be manifested. For we have come, not to flatter you by this writing, nor please you by our address, but to beg that you pass judgment, after an accurate and searching investigation, not flattered by prejudice or by a desire of pleasing superstitious men, nor induced by irrational impulse or evil rumors which have long been prevalent, to give a decision which will prove to be against yourselves. For as for us, we reckon that no evil can be done us, unless we be convicted as evil-doers or be proved to be wicked men; and you, you can kill, but not hurt us."  To go back to Timeline, click here.

 

The Muratorian Fragment is the oldest known list of New Testament books. It was discovered by Ludovico Antonio Muratori in a manuscript in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, and published by him in 1740. * It is called a fragment because the beginning of it is missing. Although the manuscript in which it appears was copied during the seventh century, the list itself is dated to about 170 because its author refers to the episcopate of Pius I of Rome (died 157) as recent.

  • The Muratorian Fragment alludes to Matthew and Mark, although they are not mentioned because that part of the manuscript is missing.

  • NT books listed in Muratorian Fragment:  Luke, John, Acts, Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Jude, I & II John, and Revelation.

  • NT books missing from Muratorian Fragment:  Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, and III John.

         ". . . at which nevertheless he was present, and so he placed [them in his narrative]. (2) The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. (3) Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, (4-5) when Paul had taken with him as one zealous for the law, (6) composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. Yet he himself had not (7) seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, (8) so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John. (9) The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples. (10) To his fellow disciples and bishops, who had been urging him [to write], (11) he said, 'Fast with me from today to three days, and what (12) will be revealed to each one (13) let us tell it to one another.' In the same night it was revealed (14) to Andrew, [one] of the apostles, (15-16) that John should write down all things in his own name while all of them should review it. And so, though various (17) elements may be taught in the individual books of the Gospels, (18) nevertheless this makes no difference to the faith of believers, since by the one sovereign Spirit all things (20) have been declared in all [the Gospels]: concerning the (21) nativity, concerning the passion, concerning the resurrection, (22) concerning life with his disciples, (23) and concerning his twofold coming; (24) the first in lowliness when he was despised, which has taken place, (25) the second glorious in royal power, (26) which is still in the future. What (27) marvel is it then, if John so consistently (28) mentions these particular points also in his Epistles, (29) saying about himself, 'What we have seen with our eyes (30) and heard with our ears and our hands (31) have handled, these things we have written to you? (32) For in this way he professes [himself] to be not only an eye-witness and hearer, (33) but also a writer of all the marvelous deeds of the Lord, in their order. (34) Moreover, the acts of all the apostles (35) were written in one book. For 'most excellent Theophilus' Luke compiled (36) the individual events that took place in his presence (37) as he plainly shows by omitting the martyrdom of Peter (38) as well as the departure of Paul from the city [of Rome] (39) when he journeyed to Spain. As for the Epistles of (40-1) Paul, they themselves make clear to those desiring to understand, which ones [they are], from what place, or for what reason they were sent. (42) First of all, to the Corinthians, prohibiting their heretical schisms; (43) next, to the Galatians, against circumcision; (44-6) then to the Romans he wrote at length, explaining the order (or, plan) of the Scriptures, and also that Christ is their principle (or, main theme). It is necessary (47) for us to discuss these one by one, since the blessed (48) apostle Paul himself, following the example of his predecessor (49-50) John, writes by name to only seven churches in the following sequence: To the Corinthians (51) first, to the Ephesians second, to the Philippians third, (52) to the Colossians fourth, to the Galatians fifth, (53) to the Thessalonians sixth, to the Romans (54-5) seventh. It is true that he writes once more to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians for the sake of admonition, (56-7) yet it is clearly recognizable that there is one Church spread throughout the whole extent of the earth. For John also in the (58) Apocalypse, though he writes to seven churches, (59-60) nevertheless speaks to all. [Paul also wrote] out of affection and love one to Philemon, one to Titus, and two to Timothy; and these are held sacred (62-3) in the esteem of the Church catholic for the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline. There is current also [an epistle] to (64) the Laodiceans, [and] another to the Alexandrians, [both] forged in Paul's (65) name to [further] the heresy of Marcion, and several others (66) which cannot be received into the catholic Church (67) for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. (68) Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; and [the book of] Wisdom, (70) written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. (71) We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, (72) though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church. (73) But Hermas wrote the Shepherd (74) very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, (75) while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the [episcopal] chair (76) of the church of the city of Rome. (77) And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but (78) it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among (79) the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among (80) the Apostles, for it is after [their] time. (81) But we accept nothing whatever of Arsinous or Valentinus or Miltiades, (82) who also composed (83) a new book of psalms for Marcion, (84-5) together with Basilides, the Asian founder of the Cataphrygians . . ."  (This information gathered from http://www.bible-researcher.com/muratorian.html on 10 Dec 08)  To go back to Timeline click here.

 

A small quote from Celsius, as found in Origen:  "The assertion made both by some of the Christians and by the Jews, the former saying that some God or son of God has come down to earth as judge of mankind, the latter saying he will come, is most shameful. . . . What is the purpose of such a descent on the part of God? . . . Was it in order to learn what was going on among men? . . . Does not He know everything? . . . If, then, He does know, why does He not correct men, and why can He not do this by His divine power? . . . Was He then unable to correct men merely by divine power, without sending some one specially endowed for the purpose? . . . Is it only now after such a long age that God has remembered to judge the life of men?  Did He not care before?  Either God really does change, as they say, into a mortal body; and it has already been said that this is an impossibility. Or He does not change, but makes those who see Him think that He does so, and leads them astray and tells lies."  To go back to Timeline, click here.

 

Early development of Clergy:  "But inasmuch as it would be very tedious in a book such as this to rehearse the lines of succession in every church, we will put to confusion all persons who, whether from waywardness or vainglory or blindness or perversity of mind, combine wrongfully together in any way, by pointing to the tradition, derived from the apostles, of that great and illustrious church founded and organized at Rome by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, and to the faith declared to mankind and handed down to our own time through its bishops in their succession.  For unto this church [in Rome], on account of its commanding position, every church, that is to say, the faithful from everywhere, must needs resort and in it the tradition that comes from the apostles has been continuously preserved by those who are from everywhere."  After this, Irenaeus lists the Bishops of Rome from Peter to his time:  Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, and Eleutherus, who was Bishop of Rome at the writing of "Against Heresies." To go back to Timeline, click here.  Bainton, p. 137.

 

Early form of Creed:  "The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from

   the apostles and their disciples this faith: 

in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them;

and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation;

and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God,

and the advents,

and the birth from a virgin,

and the passion,

and the resurrection from the dead,

and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord,

and his [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father 'to gather all things in one,' and to raise

   up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and

   King, according to the will of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in

   earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess' to Him,

and that He should execute just judgment towards all;

   that He may send 'spiritual wickednesses,' and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together

   with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and the wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire;

but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept

   His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course],

   and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory." From http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.ii.xi.html, Irenaeus "Against Heresies" 10:1.  To go back to Irenaeus, click here.

 

The Old Roman Symbol: 

"I believe in God the Father almighty;

And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord;

Who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary;

Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried;

The third day rose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,

And sits at the right hand of the Father;

From where he shall come to judge the quick [living] and the dead.

In the Holy Spirit;

The holy Church;

The forgiveness of sins;

The resurrection of the body."

Bainton, 140.  To go to Timeline, click here.

Question/comments contact Mark at drnickens@triad.rr.com.

Bibliography

Bainton, Roland.  Early Christianity.  Second Edition, 1984.  ISBN:  089874735X.

Cross, Frank L., ed.  The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.  Second Edition, 1993.  ISBN:  0192115456.

http://www.bible-researcher.com/muratorian.html