In our times, our understanding of the Christian faith is largely determined by what we see and experience. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that there is an endless number of interpretations of what it means to be a Christian and how Christians should live. On the one hand, some might feel good about the diverse ways that Christians worship and practice their faith. On the other hand, it can be hard to navigate this modern plurality of expressions, especially when doctrinal or moral contradictions appear.
Of course, the Christian Church wasn’t always so divided (or denominational). This is not to say that there was ever a time when the Christian faith didn’t have competing ideas. A surface reading of the New Testament shows that even in the infancy of the Church there were many people pulling in different directions. However, there is clear historical evidence that not all ideas and practices were considered equal and that within a short period of time many Christian doctrines and practices were shared and normative.
In our day and age, Early Church history often seems to be shrouded in mystery and mythology. As a young Christian convert I remember being taught about the “Constantinian apostasy,” a belief that the Christian Church disappeared or became corrupt after Constantine. I have heard accusations that Early Christians changed or tampered with the Scriptures. Every year around Christmas new programs come out attempting to put a new spin on the faith of the Early Church. Many might be surprised to know that there is a lot of historical documentation about early Christian belief and practice. Early Christianity is not as mysterious as some make it out to be.
On November, 6th, and 13th at 7 pm we will be having a series of classes at St. Innocent Orthodox Christian Church in Bolingbroke. What did Early Christians believe about Jesus? How did they worship? What was their doctrine? Dr. Gary Cox, a retired History professor, parish catechist, and a lover of Church History will be presenting: “The Dayspring from the East: The Church from Christ to Constantine.” These classes will appeal to those who would like to learn more about Early Christian beliefs and practices. This event is free, there will be light refreshments and all are welcome.