Doctrine and Politics of the Early Church

Published: 2020-08-13 06:35:14
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Doctrines of the Early Church have been followed by the Christians while some have been on the opposing side of the doctrines. A doctrine is simply an expression as well as a symbol used or followed by the Christians. These doctrines shaped the early church and the way people worshiped. During the Roman Empire, Christianity was hated because the Christians were viewed as different from the rest (Noll, 1997). Most Christians avoided involvement in social activities and this was interpreted as discourteous. Some of the social events then were idolatry and paganism among others that was unacceptable in the Christian beliefs. Christianity in the early church was mostly characterized by persecutions and politics. There are some Doctrines that were present in the early church among which were politicized. During these periods, martyrdom was very present and the church history has recorded several martyrs such as Peter, John and Paul among others.

Some of these Martyrs had committed no crimes but were persecuted for the fact they could not bow before anybody else apart from Christ. These Martyrs respected the Romans who persecuted them instead of hating and despising them. They even offered prayers for them and the Holy God to forgive them. History documents so many instances of Martyrdom (Shelley, 1995). After the Persecution of Christ the church had started to spread and within no time though slow in some other parts, it was almost everywhere. Most of these persecutions were committed by the Roman Empire. It is through this persecutions that the church would move from the conversion stage to the middle age and then to the reformation stage.

The doctrines of the early church were also characterized by controversies that emerged after the Romans scrambled for power as well as rivalries within the political arena. The controversies according to history were started by Bishop Alexander. The politicians used the doctrines for political reasons believing that people believed and cared about the issues. It is clear that political ambitions of the Romans caused Doctrinal controversies. While some disagreements were caused by politics, others were because of differences in religious beliefs. Communities during the early church often believed in following their cultural and religious beliefs other than adopting other religious elements. Spreading the gospel and getting people to embrace Christianity was therefore not an easy task.

One doctrine that was highly politicized was the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The doctrine merely affirmed that Christians should believe in one God. It also explained other ways in which God was revealed to us and that is through Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are others, however, who did not believe in this doctrine and chose to teach otherwise. Some of these people included the Arians as well as the Gnostics. However, most fathers during the early church believed and practiced this doctrine. These fathers though they shared the belief, they all had different interpretations about the meanings of the creed about having a single God. Until today, people are not able to simply understand this doctrine and there are still some that do not believe in it.

Another controversial doctrine is that of Christology. It was believed by most fathers in the early church that Christ walked on earth and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. This form of interpretation agreed with the Nicene Creed as opposed to the Arianism. It was not clear to explain the human nature of Christ and how his nature changed after the crucifixion. It is always hard to conceive Christ as a human without personality (Shelley, 1995). This alone is what caused the controversy in the doctrine of Christology in the early church.

The church anthropology is also one doctrine that caused political controversy. According to Augustine, the anthropology of the Church was somehow indefinite. Man was to be held accountable for their sin and it is only through Grace that they could be redeemed. Anthropology embraced and respected the relations of man to sin. The controversy was, however, whether the redemption was the work of God or the man. Therefore, some of the doctrines that anthropology embraced were the doctrines of; freedom, primitive state, conversion, redemption and regeneration. Another controversy in anthropology was whether there was the need of man to be born again or even be improved. Augustine in the early church makes regeneration and incarnation a process that is gradual in perfecting the virtues of human beings (Noll, 1997).

To conclude, the existence of the early church and its ever increasing influence was all new as indicated by Eusebius, the historian of the church. Christianity teachings were there during the times of Abraham and Moses. The crucifixion of Christ has over the years brought meaning to those who were oppressed. Christianity has since expanded to many parts of the world and is proving to be unstoppable. Over the year, the church has always struggled with its definition and it was hard for some to distinguish and understand what being a protestant or catholic means. The church has come from being all Catholic to having so many religious conformations including the Protestants.

References

Noll, M. A. (1997). Turning points: Decisive moments in the history of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books.

Shelley, B. L. (1995). Church history in plain language. Dallas, Tex: Word Pub.

sheldon

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