Custom «Evolution of the Early Church» Essay Paper Sample

Evolution of the Early Church

In the first century CE, a Jewish sect started in the Palestine which marked the start of the early Christian church (Lockard, 193, 3). The roman culture was by then integrated into the early Christians’ life. This was based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth who was a Jewish teacher during the time when Romans ruled Palestine. The early church was mostly influenced by the cultures that influenced Jewish faith such as Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian and Greek traditions. This section of the paper analyzes the early church in terms of evolution and the changes it went through to usher in the medieval church.

The coming of Jesus of Nazareth was a fulfillment of the Jewish law that rejected Heretics as well as the formal Jewish leaders. The early church then spread from Palestine to North Africa, southern Europe and western Asia. This was mostly accomplished in the third century 300 CE. While Jews scattered across North Africa, the number of non-Jewish Christians increased due to trade and occupation routes through North Africa and western Asia (Lockard, 195, 1). In this era, Christians believed in life after death and had rites such as baptism which was taken as an initiation rite into the church. Such rites fostered the strength of community belonging in the Christian church. The Christians also believed in the spiritual equality of all people.

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The early church was mostly influenced by Paul’s teachings which emphasized on the fact that Jesus Christ was a son of God meaning that he was a superior and divine being. Paul insisted that Jesus died for forgiveness of sins of all mankind when he was crucified. Paul also challenged the laws of Romans like slavery by insisting that all were equal in the eyes of Jesus Christ. His argument for spiritual equality was based on the fact that a young man who did not follow Jewish laws was miraculously transformed into a follower of Christ (Lockard and Kyle, 188, 2).

The church in middle ages (400-1250 CE)

During this time, the church changed from the early Christian church into the middle ages church popularly known as the medieval church. The time between the fourth century and the fifth century saw the fall of Rome into the rule of Barbarians. The fall of Roman Empire left the bishop of Rome as the sole patriarch of the west. The bishop was later named the pope and was the greater secular power over the municipal officials (Deanesly, 2, 1). This section of the paper focuses on the early middle ages church and how it evolved from the early church.

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Between the fifth century and mid fifth century, the organization of the church evolved into groups in the cities which were headed by the bishop assisted by his clergymen. The church continued to grow into the countryside and a group of churches would form the parish (Deanesly, 3, 1). This means that in the medieval church, there were people who were ordained mostly by their political standing to head the church. The authority of the bishop extended to supervision of Episcopal elections which were conducted by the clergy and noble in the society. The bishop was also the head of the provincial group of churches which was known as Episcopal sees.

The Islamic religion is based mostly on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who later died in the sixth century, 632 CE. The Islamic law started in the Arabian land during the Hellenistic period but it was not recognized as a religion (Berkey, 57, 1). In the seventh and eighth centuries, the Islamic religion was just emerging where people started having an Islamic identity and created patterns of religious authority. The Islamic adherence started in the deserts where the roman and other surrounding empires did not care to extend their rule. It was considered a barren land not worth governing. The Islamic religion was mostly monotheistic just like Judaism and Christianity.

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The first dynasty of Muslim rulers was in the mid eighth century during the Abbasid revolution the successors of Muhammad. The early ages of Islamic religion depends on reconstruction of narrations which are hard to provide evidence for. The Islamic religion was much like Christianity because they believed in angels and prophets. For instance, Muhammad claimed that angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him narrations about the religious laws of Islam which he was required to narrate in his presence. The rabbi leaders have openly agreed to subtracting or adding some information while reporting though they do not mean to lie. This is one of the issues that the Christians and Muslims do not agree on.

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The medieval church was also different in that they trained the clergymen and formulated rules on discipline issues of the clergymen. The doctrine which was to be followed by the adherents of the medieval church was also laid down together with the canons which formed the standards and rules of governance of the church (Deanesly, 3, 1). Growth of the church and its doctrines were much affected by the political tide at the time. Some kings who ascended to power were religious while the Germans who entered the Roman Empire were neither pagans nor Arians. The church in Italy practiced heretical Christianity because congregating in one place was illegal. In North Africa though, the Christians were persecuted. This led to the formation of two religions the Roman Catholic and the Arian Christianity. Pope Gregory the great ruled the Catholic Church until his death in 593 CE (Logan, 18, 2). Most of the medieval church teachings and doctrines form the basis for today’s church and its teachings. The medieval age also brought about the division of the church along doctrinal lines.

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