Which Church was the First Church

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Thomas, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Dear bhaktajan, oooo, my bad. I was assuming "Church" to be "Christian Church". Shucks, we Quakers do not even have that, we have Meetings and Meeting Houses (not required for Meetings, which to me is just Quakerish for "Meeting with G!d").

    So this was a very philosophical and academic discourse for me (what else is new?).

    In your sense, I do not know what "First Church" (meaning something like "First Religion") would be. Academically, probably an animistic shamanism.
     
  2. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Yes. This is the old time popular retort.

    IMO, this concept is not born of scientific proof--- but ironically,
    it is based precisely on a lack of scientific proof.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    NOTE: The following comments are NOT something implied by Radar's post ---it's a wild comparison, that I admit inadvance, may not be logical:

    A Speculation:
    Is racism, and other bigot-like opinions similar in composition?
    IE:

    The "First Religion" = animistic shamanism (ironically, based on a lack of scientific proof).
    ...compared to...
    The "Non-White cultures" = aboriginal heathens (ironically, based on a lack of scientific proof).

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    IMO, The Ten Tribes, the House of David, The progenitors of Greece & Rome etc were alive and living during pre-historic epochs. And Today, just like its, hard to find ancient edifies and loose coins along old trade routes and world ports ---simialrly all remenants of Golden-Age Glories have been lost.

    And Just as Only God (or his representative) can reveal their absolute Identity ---so also, the lost Shambalas and wonders of the Ancient World were absolute entities with real dimemsions and breathe ---alas, they have departed the scene.

    At least its a good thing for the Craftmen and builders gereation after generation.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bhaktajan —
    On the one hand ... on the other we have the 'God of the philosophers', the object of intellectual discourse.

    In the latter case, the 'big issue' is that the intellect knows, and it knows that its knows. It's capacity to know is infinite, as it can always look to what lies beyond the horizon, and in that sense its capacity to know is greater than the thing known.

    God is the only thing acknowledged as something known that is greater than the capacity to know (Anselm's tricky argument: 'God is that of which nothing greater can be thought').

    So back to 'absolute transcendence', but then, there must be something transcendent in/of the intellect to appreciate that ...

    ... and so it goes ...

    Ah, there's the rub ...

    Actually I favour the evolutionary route over the devolutionary, and I think evolution is Biblically supportable!

    There is a really, really interesting article in New Scientist. It did a 'religion' issue with a number of interesting points, not the least that the scientific opinion is that religion was prior to science, and will out-live it!

    But the point in question was that 'religion' evolves within the societal body once the bounds of the family unit prove no longer capable of managing, ethically and morally, the conduct of its members.

    From very shaky memory (I'll check and ref if anyone's interested), and in very bad analogy, in the family there's the head. This extends through small groups and nomadic units to evolve a 'first family', the top-dog.

    As the social unit gets bigger, pressure increases on the first family to provide reasons for why they're in charge, other than putting down any opposition by violence or otherwise ... so reasons evolve ... which exist today as in the 'divine right of kings' ... in short, a system of ethics and morals that depends on something more than 'because I said so'.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yep.

    Well they thought of themselves as part of the 'Way', which is how the early community defined itself. They saw themselves as within orthodox Judaism.

    The issue is complicated because we know that Jesus sent out 72 disciples before His final trip to Jerusalem. It would seem from Acts that the disciples of John the Baptist turned to Christ after John's execution.

    Also when Paul was travelling, he came across Christian communities who were not instructed in the post-resurrection gospel that Peter and John and the others were preaching in Jerusalem – they had been founded beforehand.

    Interestingly, the 'baptism of John' referred to in Acts was regarded as a baptism of repentance only, whereas the post-paschal baptism, into which Paul was initiated by Ananias at Damascus (after his own initiatic experiences on the road, and later on Mt Sinai).

    So there early communities, founded before the crucifixion, who will not have the 'complete picture' that was made known to the disciples in the resurrection.

    I would say the Church spoken of in Scripture was founded at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts. The RC and the patriarchates stem from this and all can claim that heritage.

    Quite. As a European, it seems to me that many of the US denominations owe more to the Old Testament than the new.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    As usual, at least we are communicating. But is that not the point of an "interfaith forum"? I do not claim to be a christian scholar, let alone one on Christianity (see how neatly I used the different senses). So I shall have to do a little reading on Acts and Pentecost to re-engage meaningfully (exercise those neurons).
     
  6. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    The thing that has fasinated me, and I hope would be explored here, is:


    The degree and/or level of sophisticated intellectual discourse of those "Roman-Times" 'Philosophers of God' and metaphyscis afficinados.

    IMHO, there would have been a George Ivanovich Gurdjieff on every corner [like in the movie Life-Of-Brian] ---like so many East-indians palying dominos outside the corner store . . . mixed with a plethora of the latest "Thoughts-from-the-East".

    There would have the equivilant to a "Popular Mechanic" journal read by armchair thinkers everywhere. No?


    What was the mind set and philosophical catch-phrases and talking points of the time?

    The mere fact that conversions to Christian thought [that reaches it's apex in accepting Christ as Redeemer] ---IMHO, may NOT have been a giant leap of faith ---it had to be presented & debated over large expanses of the known world of the time ---a public debate etc etc . . . for the apostles of Jesus to 'gather the fish' ... and moreover, 'make fishers of men'.

    How to plead your case to heathen Roman citisens? What did it take? How did one "Prep" oneself?
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yup.

    Yup.

    I got it!

    OK. In the spirit of friendship, may I offer a view from here?

    My Roman Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Christ, and the call of the Apostles. That, I would say, is indisputable.

    So can the Ethiopian, the Coptics, the Nestorians, the Patriarchates, good grief, so can the Arian!

    What vexes me more, indeed vexes me most, is are the Churches, the one that was called 'Catholic' (meaning universal) in Antioch in the 1st/2nd century and the one that calls itself Roman Catholic today, present the same face to the world?

    I think we dispute too soon. I think the real question rests not on matters of doctrine as expressed in the Councils, but matters of the presentation of dogma as expressed by the Latin West and the Greek East as they moved further apart politically and sociologically, and the self-image of the Church as it took on its 'Roman' identity.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well a good many the Fathers, with a couple of notable distinctions, were heavyweight Platonists in their own right. Justin, the first of that era, argued that if Revelation was true, it was arguable philosophically. It's from the traditional black garb of the Greek philosopher were get our ecclesial black today.

    We called them 'gnostics' :eek:

    Probably much like today. At the height of the Arian dispute the popular chant of the Arian party was 'there was a time when he was not' — it's a rather snappy ditty in Greek, but I can't remember it.

    There is a source who notes in a contemporary journal his despair at not even being able to buy vegetables in the market without being accosted by stall-holders who want to dispute whether Christ is eternal or created!

    I'm not so sure.

    Before the church was theological, it was liturgical. Being a Christian meant initiation into the Christian Mysteries. Theology only developed subsequently, 'faith seeking understanding' as Anselm defines it, not understanding seeking faith.

    Many would be seekers, looking for understanding, sure, and would be drawn to the answers the church was preaching — Paul's discourse with the Athenians in Acts 17 is such a case — but those answers are received in faith, the same today as then.

    There's big debates over Christology for example, over the person and nature of Christ ... but the resurrection was not an issue. You either believed He rose again or you didn't, and if you didn't, you didn't become a Christian and then argue the details, you just diodn't become a Christioan. As Paul argues, it's absolutely fundamental. If you don't believe in the resurrection, then being a Christian is rather pointless.

    Well, the Mysteries aside (as stated above), that's where theology evolved. Luke's Gospel, for example, is the gospel of social justice. This was a huge attraction. It accorded everyone equal rights as a person before God, whereas Roman law saw only male Roman citizens as 'a person' and everyone else peripheral to that.

    Matthew addresses a Jewish sensibility. Mark a populist sensibility (the pace of Mark is breath-taking). Luke addresses an educated Greek sensibility. John a primarily Jewish spiritual sensibility.

    In the 60s, there were running street battles in Rome between rival Christian and Jewish mobs. (That's why Nero thought he could scapegoat the Christians, they could be a noisome lot!)

    By the middle of the next century, the Church in Rome had an extended social outreach programme, caring for widows, orphans, the sick and the dispossessed. A Roman senator is recorded as complaining to his brothers in the Senate that 'even the Christians care better for their people than we do. Documentary evidence shows some 1,500 people were listed 'on the books' in this care programme.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  9. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Hi Thomas,

    Here is some ecclesiastical humor, if you don’t mind.

    I rarely agree with dogmatic constitutions of the Roman Catholic Church, naturally, given my vocation as the penultimate protestant, but I must say that, to a certain extent (and without referring to the finer points of Latin or the subsequent clarifications from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), I think it entirely possible that, as Lumen Gentium says, the “Church of Christ ... subsists in the Catholic Church.” The question, to my mind, is not only how but also where it is subsisting. I suspect, and only a suspicion it is, that the Church of Christ is in the Vatican’s basement, dangling in manacles from the dungeon wall, subsisting on daily rations of stale bread and water delivered by Quasimodo. Meanwhile, upstairs, the Curia, as always, is served Beluga caviar and Lafite Rothschild ...


    Best regards,

    Serv
     
  10. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Thank you Thomas.

    The minutia of earily Christian/Roman pathos is greatly appreciated.

    I could listen to it for hours.
     

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